Long ago I was the youngest member of an electronics
design group. An older collegue had a bench opposite to
mine. He was a wise and experienced guy, but also rather
proud of this experience. Above all he marvelled in his
ability to operate a very special Tectronics scope. For
its time a very fast one, with dual trace, delayed
timebase, memory screen and a lot of funtionality thanks
to various plug-in units.
OK, no problem so far.
However, the scope was so large that it stood partially on
my bench. OK, not a real problem, BUT, it was also blowing
a LOT of hot air into my face and my experiments. Polite
suggestions for other arrangements, a cart for instance,
so that others could use this wondermachine too, were
stubbornly negledted (very bad for the tubes, no one else
can work it, etc).
I was once tought that every
problem has one or more stupid solutions and sometimes
also a smart solution. Making a row might cost me my job
in this really good group, so a smart solution was
After some days of staring into
the back of the monster, I discovered some plugs. One of
them was labeled 'Z'. A smart idea was coming up!
I (secretly) consulted the manual, and indeed, this input
directly controlled the beam intensity.
arranged some other equipment, including a power supply,
on my bench and hidden behind this I slipped a cable
loosely on the Z-plug. The rest was simple. In the middle
of an experiment my esteemed collegue would suddenly loose
his trace. After some juggeling with the triggering, it
suddenly reappeared. But after a week, he decided that the
scope needed repair. It took two man to lift the monster
and I agreed to help, so nobody noticed my little cable.
After a day of testing, we decided that a minor
adjustment in the trigger circuit and a new tube had
solved the problem. But the next day the problem was there
After a month, several replaced tubes and a lot of
contact cleaning it was decided that the beast was tired
of life and was put aside. We both got a 7000 scope that
fitted neatly on our benches.
The monster was later donated to a very happy
collectioner. Smart solutions make everybody happy, but
not everybody has to know everything.