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What’s All This Floobydust Stuff, Anyhow? (Part 15)

April 19, 2011
This column wraps up the Floobydust series.

This article is part of Bob Pease's Floobydust series found in the Electronic History section of our Series Library.

I needed some drills smaller than 1/16 in. diameter, such as #66 at 0.033 in. diameter, for 1/4-W resistor leads. These are defined at sizes of #1 to #80, per Even the best hardware stores said, “WHAT?” I tried 10 hardware stores and found none. This was annoying because I needed several.

Finally I got smart and went down to my neighborhood hobby store, Franciscan Hobbies at 1920 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, Calif. 94127. The store had them at a price of $1.50, including tax. It would be silly to buy fewer than five or 10. These little guys can break. So send a SASE with 88 cents postage, and they’ll be happy to sell and send you some.

Sizes range from just slightly smaller than 1/16 in. to #66 at 0.033 in. to #80 at 0.0135 in. diameter. Drill sizes between #1 and #52 are roughly covered by ordinary fractional-inch drill sizes from 1/16 in. to 1/4 in. But as there are 52 drill sizes, there may be better fits for your needs.

Nuclear “Dangers”

I have been studying this nuclear radiation confusion. Some stories show a wide range between eating a banana and getting badly hurt by radiation but neglect to point out that this range represents a factor of hundreds of thousands in ratio.

It seems they’re preaching to people who cannot understand four or five orders of magnitude. They can’t comprehend a log scale. Then we hear of radiation detected by very sensitive instruments, even thousands of miles away. These amounts can be another factor of 10,000 further down. Bring me some of that radioactive spinach from northern Japan. I’d love to buy and eat some!

Dirty Dishes, Daddy Do?

A few months ago, I noticed that my dishes weren’t coming out washed clean from my fairly new KitchenAid dishwasher. I called the company’s service branch, which sent out a repairman. He did some nominal cleaning and sold me a couple bottles of snake oil to rinse it out with. There was no real improvement. Ahem?

It turns out, many soap-makers have recently reformulated their soap to cut out the phosphates. We don’t know for sure what they put in instead, but the dishes don’t wash clean. If you like to wash all your dishes by hand, so they are clean when you put them in the dishwasher, be my guest.

It’s true that if your local grey water winds up in lakes or rivers, it is a good idea to cut down on phosphates, which can gum up the environment. My grey water flows into the ocean, and I don’t give a hoot! But don’t waste $150 on a “service call” that will do you no good, because nobody else (except rap) is talking about the real problem—the inferior soap. Let me know if you find some good soap.

Soldering to SOT-23s... Wicked Wires

I had to solder up a small surface-mount IC and didn’t have the best of tools. I tried for a half hour to connect to the five leads of an SOT-23, and the wires didn’t want to wick the solder properly, no matter what wire I tried.

Finally I took some #22 stranded wire, stripped off 1/3 in., and cut off all the strands but three. To my surprise, these three strands wicked up the solder beautifully, and it took only a couple minutes to solder to the SOT-23-5.

Steering Locks Up?

Has anybody actually seen any car where the steering locks up when you just turn the key left (CCW)? Make, model, year? Test for this in an empty parking lot. Nobody yet has told me of any car that locks the steering if you don’t pull the key out.

Unintended DEceleration

Some people are afraid of turning off the key when they are driving, because their car would be hard to steer or brake without power brakes. Well, what if a hose falls off, or a wire, and the engine dies? What if they run out of gas? They really ought to check out how it feels to drive on a road in this condition.

What if you’re on a highway and run out of gas in the fast lane? You’ll start slowing down gradually. What if the driver behind you doesn’t notice this? Reach over and blink your taillights ON and OFF to wake up the guy behind you.

As mentioned recently, just shifting into neutral to cut off unintended acceleration may not work well, as a wide-open throttle may cause loss of manifold vacuum and loss of power brakes. Turning off the key still works better.

Airport Thieves

I had some Valuable blue pills stolen out of my checked baggage recently. Apparently they light up like a Christmas tree when X-rayed. Some thieves have been caught at various airports, but not all. Carry your Valuable pills in your carry-on baggage to minimize the risk of losing them.

How to Change Your Audio Amplifier Distortion

Recently I heard of some $85 modules that are supposed to improve your amplifier’s distortion and lower its input noise too. A guy tested out a couple and found the distortion was changed. It got worse, and the noise, too. Don’t be fooled by absurd claims.

Check out the whole Bob Pease's Floobydust series in the Electronic History section of our Series Library.


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