Tales from the Cube: Soldering at Sea
This scenario reminds me of another of my own tales from earlier days as a technician, but only from the standpoint of constructing a semiconductor component from pieces of others. For a couple years I worked closely with a few engineers on special projects. The guy who managed the small group spent most of his career as a technician in the manufacturing realm of the company. He was not a degreed engineer. His position was secured because of a special relationship (yes, legitimate) with the special customer. All the other team members (except me) were "real" engineers, and they somewhat resented the manager's control over them even though he never tried to "pull rank." One day the group was sitting at a table discussing a particular circuit design and the manager made a comment about making a transistor out of two discrete diodes. I kid you not. You should have seen the looks the engineers (all electrical types) gave each other when he said that. Even I, at the time working on my BSEE degree at night, knew he had violated the old adage that it is better to remain silent and appear to be a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Yep, you guessed it. Because the schematic symbol for a transistor - and the physical construction for that matter - implies that it might be actually constructed from two back-to-back diodes, he assumed you could connect the two anodes together (for an NPN), call the joint the base and call the two cathodes the emitter and collector.
Posted September 29, 2013