Electronic Design

Bob's Mailbox

Dear Bob,
Like you, my primary car is an old one—a 1969 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe that someone gave me a few years back. It is mechanically perfect, but desperately in need of replacement of its original paint. When I got it, the engine had little compression, so I replaced it with a new used engine.

Now it passes smog with flying colors and gets 30+ mpg on the highway at 75 mph. Coworkers wonder why I keep it, but the figures are sufficient justification. Besides, no one would ever steal a Fiat, and it hasn't been broken into either (knock on wood). My "good" car, a 1977 Lancia Scorpion (with a similar Fiat engine), also passes smog with flying colors, but it is not as fuel efficient as the Fiat. As long as you can still get parts for the oldies, and can keep them running clean, why change?

Besides, I can work on either ear myself—the engines are not overly cluttered with smog equipment and the rat's nests of hoses and cables the newer cars have.

By the way, it seems like the whole world is sending me copies of your column that featured my last letter, the one on the problems faced by the engineering technologist. I even got a copy from my cousin via my father.

I think you are doing the right thing by writing a column each month, rather than each issue. I write columns for a number of monthly newsletters, in addition to one entire bimonthly newsletter, so I certainly understand and appreciate the need for the mind to rest and accumulate data over a period of time. And I also enjoy the letters you print in the columns in between articles. Keep up the great work!

Mark Hutchenreuther, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Oxnard, Calif.

Not only do our old cars run fairly efficiently, but we avoid depleting the earth's resources by buying a new car before we really have to. —RAP

Dear Bob,
In response to your Sept. 3 letter by "Name and Address Withheld" about technicians, I believe what he says is true.

I was an electronics technician for over ten years while attending engineering school part time. There are many good and better technicians working with (or for) good and not so good engineers, usually for much less pay!

The school I attended was a hands-on, real-world engineering school where you got your hands dirty and "learned" the practical side.

Today I am a supervisor of five electrical controls design engineers. The practical hands-on education and technician experience has served me well, something I don't see in younger, recent engineering graduates.

C. H. Frey, Sr., Electrical Controls Supervisor, Modine Manufacturing Co., Racine, Wis.

The University of Hard Knocks is a good practical training ground for working on many kinds of problems. I like to have people with different kinds of wisdom on my teams. —RAP

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