By davidc

Tiny Tuesday: "Hobby" - Being a Geek

KangaZu has chosen "hobby" for this week's TT challenge, in honour of it being National Hobby Month in the USA (what a lovely idea!).

Well of course my main hobby is taking photos and blipping them, but I thought I should go for another hobby for my blip: I guess my main other hobby is being a bit of a techno-geek.

I blame my Dad for this, as he taught me to solder an an early age, and encouraged my hobby of building a variety of devices (radios, amplifiers, etc). I'm happy these days to return the compliment - at the age of 96 with damaged nerves in his right arm (following a nasty shoulder fracture some years back) and slightly defective vision in his only useful eye he needs a bit of techy help from time to time (his computer is misbehaving so I'll be there tomorrow to see what I can do).

The hobby has its uses: over the years I've been able to repair a variety of toys and household applicances at minimal or zero cost. But it means that whenever my Dad and I get together in the presence of my Editor she soon gets bored of the technical conversation which ensues!

Anyway, back to today's blip. Back in my student days (40...and an ever-increasing number of additional years ago) I built an amplifier for a stereo system. (I've never been geeky enough to design these things myself - the circuit was provided in my favourite magazine at the time, "Practical Wireless".) It did stalwart service for almost 40 years until I got concerned that the mains transformer was getting rather warm when in use and pensioned it off. But so far I've not had the heart to throw it out.

So this photo is a mockup of soldering a transistor in place (a BC109 for any techy blippers). Don't worry, it's common to see a bit of smoke rising, as the flux in the solder tends to burn a bit - but I cheated, the soldering iron was cold and the smoke was Photoshopped on afterwards. (Note: the silver-coloured "wire" coming in from the left is the solder itself.)

If you've got this far you're probably a fellow geek. So you'll be able to decipher the colour code on the resistor: it's Grey, Brown, Green which if I remember correctly must mean it's 8.1 MegOhms, and the gold stripe means it should be within 5% tolerance of this value.

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