Xmas presents

Well I hope all of you received at least a little present from their relatives.

40 years ago I got a very special Xmas present. Packed in a slim box was a bunch of strange pieces of metal and plastic (looking) nicely presented in a carved polystyrene shell.

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“Of course, Phlips wouldn’t leave you with a bunch of components and a good luck!”, if I may paraphrase Limor Fried ! A well written book was providing the young apprentice with some theory and clean plans to build your own applications. The radio receiver was probably number 1 on my wish list at this time.

Building the circuit was pretty easy thanks to a very clever design. You would just put the diagram on a perforated wooden plate and use special springs and clips to attach components legs.

 

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After building an optical barrier, a buzzer and some other fancy applications came the wild, risky time for experimentation. I noticed that glass packed diodes where looking like lamp bulbs and I wondered if they would react the same. Well, the diode did, but once and in a flash ! Ooooops, this was my first experience at burning an electronic component . The problem was that I had no idea on how to replace it: where would I get a spare one, at which cost and above all, which reference should I ask for ? This is how I learned about the BOMs !

Because I could not get help from home and because I wanted to be a clock maker at this time, layers of dust soon covered the box which probably disappeared many years ago when mother managed to tidy up my old stuff (she would have called that m…) when I left home for university. However this Philips kit gave me a first taste of what electronics was about and how components where working together.

40 years later, Arduino took over the lack of kits and proposes its lovely stater kit which in many ways matches the spirit of the Philips EE kits. A good idea for a present isn’t it ?

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