Electronics World articles Popular Electronics articles QST articles Radio & TV News articles Radio-Craft articles Radio-Electronics articles Short Wave Craft articles Wireless World articles Google Search of RF Cafe website Sitemap Electronics Equations Mathematics Equations Equations physics Manufacturers & distributors Engineer Jobs LinkedIn Crosswords Engineering Humor Kirt's Cogitations RF Engineering Quizzes Notable Quotes Calculators Education Engineering Magazine Articles Engineering software RF Cafe Archives RF Cascade Workbook 2018 RF Symbols for Visio - Word Advertising Magazine Sponsor RF Cafe RF Electronics Symbols for Visio RF Electronics Symbols for Office Word RF Electronics Stencils for Visio Sponsor Links Saturday Evening Post NEETS EW Radar Handbook Microwave Museum About RF Cafe Aegis Power Systems Anritsu Alliance Test Equipment Amplifier Solutions Anatech Electronics Axiom Test Equipment Berkeley Nucleonics Bittele Centric RF Conduct RF Copper Mountain Technologies Empower RF everything RF Exodus Advanced Communications Innovative Power Products ISOTEC KR Filters Lotus Systems PCB Directory Rigol San Francisco Circuits Reactel RFCT TotalTemp Technologies Triad RF Systems Windfreak Technologies Withwave LadyBug Technologies Wireless Telecom Group Sponsorship Rates RF Cafe Software Resources Vintage Magazines Thank you for visiting RF Cafe!
Exodus Advanced Communications Best in Class RF Amplifier SSPAs

Burning out Your Circuits Without Really Trying
May 1970 Popular Electronics

May 1970 Popular Electronics

May 1970 Popular Electronics Cover - RF CafeTable of Contents

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Popular Electronics, published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Green polyester outfit from 1969 Sears Wish Book - RF CafeAcrylic wall-to-wall carpeting really came into vogue in the late 1960s to early 1970s - just in time for the arrival of miniaturized microelectronics (is that redundant or just superfluous?). Gate widths were being shrunken rapidly as the birth of the Moore's Law era was in its infancy (born in a 1965 paper written by Intel engineer and co-founder Gordon Moore). The result was copious quantities of electronic gadgets being zapped when the unsuspecting user would walk across the Van de Graaff generator in the form of floor covering and reach for a dial or switch. A couple thousand volts could easily build up on a body clad in lime green polyester pants (remember the era), then fzzzzt, there goes the clock radio or AM/FM tuner. Vacuum tube circuits from a decade earlier never even felt the shock. Welcome to the world of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and ESD (electrostatic discharge) vulnerability.

Burning out Your Circuits Without Really Trying

I made an excellent human treasure locator! - RF CafeBy Errol J. Queen

The age of semiconductors brought with it the many advantages of subminiaturization, cool operation, and improved performance in everything from sophisticated FM tuners to electronic light dimmers. Diodes and transistors are not without problems, however; as I recently discovered.

I made an excellent human treasure locator!

I am an audio-visual enthusiast and take great pains to put on semi-professional slide shows for friends and relatives who visit us frequently. A Kodak Carousel projector is connected through a Sound Synchronizer to a transistorized tape deck and amplifier. The Synchronizer unit receives trip signals from one track of the stereo tape, in turn changing the slides in coordination with pre-recorded commentary and music. Colored lamps light the projection screen prior to the show's beginning; and by means of a light dimmer, the room lights and colored spots are slowly dimmed as the first slide comes on.

Recently. in redecorating our family room, I made the mistake of having acrylic wall-to-wall carpeting put in. I was unaware of its highly electrostatic nature, particularly on cool winter evenings. Sparks can play havoc with apparatus containing semiconductors.

When my wife or I walked across the room and then touched any metal surface, an intense spark was created. While not dangerous because of the infinitesimally low current, the voltage was probably near 100,000 volts with sparks as long as an inch and a half. We even found that we were able to locate metal surfaces behind the wall plaster (such as plumbing and conduits) by walking about and probing with a finger until a spark jumped into the wall. My wife insisted that perhaps there were treasures buried beneath the floor and asked that I crawl along the carpeting as a human treasure locator!

In all seriousness, the electrostatic nature of acrylic was such that within a week I saw sparks fly into my FM tuner, lamp dimmer, and FM-AM clock radio. Each in turn suffered semiconductor damage, which was costly and emotionally disconcerting. At that point, I felt I would have to make a serious decision - sell the carpeting at a tremendous loss, or sell the semiconductor equipment at a loss of dollars and pleasure. I searched the catalogs and concluded that tube-type tuners and clock radios were rapidly becoming a thing of the past - what with their problems of size, heat dissipation, and lack of demand.

My problems were finally resolved when I called in the firm which sold the carpeting. They recommended one of several available sprays, which, when applied, reduce the charge buildup on such fibers. Powders are. also available for the same purpose. They can be brushed into the rug, with the excess vacuumed up immediately.

If you own or plan to buy transistorized radios, amplifiers, tuners, tape decks, light dimmers, or other appliances, make sure your carpeting is static-free.



Posted May 27, 2019      (original 9/12/2012)

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 - RF Cafe
Anatech Electronics RF Microwave Filters - RF Cafe
Innovative Power Products Passive RF Products - RF Cafe
Lotus Communication Systems Modular RF Component Building Blocks - RF Cafe
Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF Cafe

Please Support RF Cafe by purchasing my  ridiculously low−priced products, all of which I created.

These Are Available for Free


About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

My Hobby Website: