Electronic Design

Bob's Mailbox

Dear Bob: The letter from Dave Miller* reminded me of a recent tire episode and questions. The front tires of my Camry needed replacing. The dealer insisted that the new pair go on the rear (and rotated the rear tires to the front). He claimed that was now the recommendation of the tire manufacturers. I recall that new tires used to be put in the front. When did this change, and why?

(What about the recommendation of the car manufacturer? Does its owner's manual give any advice? As far as I'm concerned, recommendations of tire manufacturers are about as valuable (and trustworthy) as you-know-what on a boar hog. When people get stupid, I have to be very skeptical of that advice. Of course, on a rear-wheel drive car, you may want better traction from new tires on the rear. Likewise, on a Camry, you may want better traction from new tires on the front. /rap)

Also, they left a sticker on explaining that the tires were inflated with nitrogen. What's wrong with air, as available at most gas stations?

  • Mike Smolin (via e-mail)
  • Pease: Technically, the oxygen in air can oxidize the rubber a little. So I suppose the dealer is trying to impress a bunch of yuppies. Or, the dealer is admitting its lousy tires are liable to be oxidized... But I guess if we soon will be able to refuel our cars at a hydrogen station, we can fill up our tires at a nitrogen station. What a bunch of crapola. (That's a technical term...)

Dear Bob: Just a quick note to make you aware of my Web site devoted to analog electronics and history. Check out www.kennethkuhn.com/ hpmuseum. Take the picture tour of my shop and museum. This may be one of the largest home electronics shops anywhere. All of this vintage analog electronics is menu driven using an analog GUI—the instruments perform the function the knobs point to. No programming required. Help menus not needed. (That, I like!! /rap) I enjoy your column in Electronic Design. Keep up the good work.

  • Ken Kuhn (via e-mail)
  • Pease: Hello Ken. That's a very nice museum! At first I was worried about those tall racks of equipment—just an invitation for an earthquake to knock them all down (see the figure). But as you appear to live in Alabama, I guess they are safe. I hope you aren't too close to that earthquake site near New Madrid, Illinois, or Missouri, or whatever. I guess you're at least 100 miles away, allowing for the size of Mississippi.

    Do you have a "Wanted List" of old HP instruments or instruction manuals? I too used to study the schematics of the new instruments such as TEK, HP, Data Precision, etc. These days, everything is so computerized, and most of it I hate. Menus, I hate. I prefer your analog GUI. It's like Analog PowerPoint. There also is a Philbrick Archive people should check out. Take a look at www.philbrickarchive.org.

FINDING PAST COLUMNS
People often ask me how they can find a recent column on a particular subject. It's easy to find most of the most recent 200 columns and Mailboxes going back over nine years, and a few dozen before that. Go to my Web site at www.national.com/rap. While you're there, take a peek at some of the horrible pictures. There are also links to various vacuum-tube op amps, other old columns (such as Widlar Stuff), and my Lists.

Next, click on the "ED Columns" and then on "click here." A fairly good little search engine will appear. But if you're interested in my stuff on "doctoring," don't just search on "doctoring," but on "doctoring stuff." If you're interested in searching for recent "Ozone" topics, that turns up nicely, even if there wasn't any column about ozone. It searches the readers' letters, too. /rap *ELECTRONIC DESIGN, Jan. 19, p. 18

See Associated Figure

Comments invited! [email protected] —or: Mail Stop D2597A, National Semiconductor P.O. Box 58090, Santa Clara, CA 95052-8090

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