18 November 2011

Book 2 Chapter 17

Chapter 17, "There’s no place like home"

Jim's final chapter in the second book discusses the importance of having a home laboratory. "I estimate that about 90% of my work output has occurred in a home lab... A lot of work time is spent on unplanned and parasitic activities. Phone calls, interruptions, meetings, and just plain gossiping eat up obscene amounts of time."

The chapter is filled with great advice. In the following pages, he discusses the requirements for a home lab, including oscilloscopes ("Types 547 and 556 are magnificent machines"), probes ("It's too embarrassing to print how many probes I own."), power supplies, signal sources ("The Hewlett-Packard 200 series sine wave oscillators are excellent, cheap, and easily repaired."), voltmeters (Fluke handhelds and the HP3400A, of course), and other instruments.

The chapter is peppered with glamor shots of his home lab, such as the one below.




zebonaut said...

Hope you don't mind if I add the best quote: "As for economic benefits, no stock tip, no real-estate deal, and no raise can match the long-term investment yield a home lab can produce. The laboratory is, after all, [...] almost an unfair advantage."

Robby Beard said...

I am curious as to what Jim William's thoughts on the tek555 was. Wasn't as good or almost as good as the tek556? other than the fact that its a monster and has the hassle of a separate power supply. I know its also a dual beam and can display 8 traces on the screen. did Jim ever own one or use one?

Kent Lundberg said...

I never heard Jim talk about the 555 (he did, however, own at least two 556s). The 555 is a MONSTER, with the layout of the time bases and the separate power supply. I think the 556 is much nicer (also, I think the 555 is only 33 MHz, while the 556 is 50 MHz).

Robby Beard said...

they are ridiculously huge and consume over 1000 watts!
yes the 555 isn't quite as fast horizontally as the 556, and if someone owns a 556 they probably wouldn't ever need a 555. though am a bit surprised out of all the scopes he had, he never had a 555. I think im just a bummed since I would have wanted to hear a little jim williams wisdom on whatever he would have to say about the 555, since I'm currently trying to bring one back to life, and its my first scope.