DEC PDP 11 / 24 CPU CARD: State of the art design from 1979


DEC PDP 11/24 CPU card teardown from Electronupdate:

This is a cpu card from a class of computers known as mini-computers.
By the late 1970’s DEC was about to be eclipsed by the microcomputer. At the same time this card was in production the 68000 and 8086 16-bit class micro processors were also in the market: their superior cost would soon take much of DEC’s low end market.
The card uses their FONZ-11 LSI chip set. Most interestingly the CPU instructions are micro-coded and placed into separate chips: the instruction set could be expanded at will by adding more “303E”s. Typically this would be for a floating-point instruction set.

More details at Electronupdate blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Capacitor plague? Inside an HP 8620C sweep oscillator and HP 86245A RF plugin


A teardown of the HP 8620C and HP 86245A by Kerry Wong:

I just picked up an HP 8620C sweep oscillator with an HP 86245A 5.9 GHz to 12.4 GHz RF plugin on eBay. This time around though, the unit does not work. While it was advertised as a working unit I could not get it powered on and there was no sign of life whatsoever. So before I start troubleshooting and repairing the unit, I thought I would do a quick teardown to see what’s inside and if I could spot anything obvious that was out of the ordinary.

More details on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

Teardown of an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer


Kerry Wong did a teardown of an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer:

I recently bought an HP 8671A microwave frequency synthesizer on eBay. This synthesizer can generate signals from 2GHz to 6.2GHz with an unleveled output of more than 8dBm. It is a nice complement to my HP 8642B signal generator and Wavetek 907 signal generator. Using these generators, I can now generate signals of pretty much any frequencies under the 12GHz range. A video of this teardown is linked towards the end of this post.

More details on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

Inside a PM1A color analyzer


Kerry Wong did a teardown of a PM1A color analyzer:

As I mentioned in one of my posts a few years back, a color analyzer from the 80’s can be a treasure trove for the hobbyists. And at the very least, it is a cheap way to get yourself a photomultiplier along with the supporting circuitry to do experiments with. For instance, you can utilize the fast response time of a PMT to do accurate speed of light measurement in a lab setting like I showed in this experiment back in 2015.
I just bought another one off eBay, and this time it is a Beseler PM1A color analyzer. By the look of it, it is probably a cheaper version of the Beseler PM2L I did a teardown and reverse engineering with before.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Teardown of a 65W Cree LED bulb


Kerry Wong did a teardown of a 65W Cree LED bulb:

Upon removing the glass bulb enclosure, I was a bit surprised to see that only two power LEDs were used in this Cree bulb. Typically, you would see many more lower wattage LEDs put together to achieve higher wattage ratings. The two power LEDs are wired in series. Each power LED likely consists of eight to ten LED dies inside as the forward voltage drop of these two LEDs is measured at around 70V in operation, with each dropping around 35V. There is also a reverse polarity protection diode integrated into each of these power LEDs.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Sense energy monitor teardown – sampling in MHz

Sense Energy monitor teardown

Tisham Dhar did a teardown of a Sense Energy monitor:

Recently I obtained a Sense Energy monitor via US from Margaret of BitKnitting. She is doing a very interesting neighbourhood energy efficiency project. As usual I could not contain my curiosity and opened it up to have a look. I will start off with an analogy – the closest bit of open-source kit that I have to do half the amount of analog functions as the Sense is the PRUDAQ on the BeagleBone wifi

More details on his blog.

Teardown of an Extech 380460 milliohm meter


Kerry Wong did a teardown of an Extech 380460  miliohm meter:

This is a highly specialized instrument, all it does is measuring low ohm range resistance (from 200mΩ to 2000Ω in five ranges) and nothing else. The meter came with a rugged case which is handy for field use, although its portability is hampered by the requirement of a wall outlet.
Since this meter is designed for low resistance measurement, it came with a set of 4 wire Kelvin clips. The stock leads are not my favorite though, as the design uses rubber rings to hold the two clip pieces together. One issue of this (instead of proper spring tensioned clips) is that the tension is quite weak and it is difficult to make secure contact with small dimension leads. Also, the rubber ring is likely to lose tension and fail over repeated use.

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.