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ELECTRONICS

B. D. McKay was a master of vacuum tube electronics, the precursor to today's solid-state circuitry.
Electronic Symbols And Pictures
An overview of schematic symbols for various parts, along with pictures of what they really looked like. Some of these parts predate solid-state electronics, such as the wire-wound resistor, and of course the vacuum tube!
Radio-Receiver Diagram
A diagram of a radio receiver from the days of vacuum tube electronics!
Bicycle Diagram
A look at all the parts of the bicycle and what they do.

The Electronics Papers

What started it? In 1979, B. D. came to visit my family in Kingsport, TN and that's about the time when the electronics lessons started for me. I can remember us going to a video arcade. I remember him playing a game in which the player looked through a periscope, but I can't remember the details. My enthusiasm for these games must have been apparent. (I was nine years old at the time.) Could my interest in video games have sparked him to begin to teaching me about electronics?

The first papers from 1979:

The 1980s papers:

Ohm's Law: Resistor Color Code Card front
Ohm's Law: Resistor Color Code Card back
The card is old, and one B. D. already had at the house in Hendersonville and had likely been around for many years.

Schematic Diagram from Dec. 1957.
This would appear to be a diagram for how to construct an analog reverb sound effect.

Hit and Missile
Background information.

Electronics Artifacts From Hendersonville

The following are some of the artifacts that have been preserved from Hendersonville. Many of these are ones B. D. and I would have worked with together.

A dime has been placed by the components for scale. One of the most notable features of tube electronics is the amount of power that was used. All components had to be heavy-duty to withstand the wear and tear of the electrons coursing through them. The switch to low-power transistorized electronics meant that other components could also shrink, because they had to handle much less power than before.

Electronics Artifacts
This is a sample of some of the more representative of the electronics parts B. D. had in Hendersonville.
Electronics Artifacts: Big Resistors
Right to left: the wafer capacitor discussed later, a 10-ohm resistor, and another capacitor rated at 600 volts.
Electronics Artifacts: Box And Fuzzy Capacitor
The diodes no longer survive, but this box had two diodes (rectifier is another word for diode) in it. Interesting to see the RCA box and stock number. The white thing is some sort of capacitor.
Electronics Artifacts: Top Hat Transistor And Others
From clockwise, starting at the dime, is: A wafer-style capacitor. Two other capacitors. The plastic container for the transistor. A top-hat style transistor (these were used for a while before the tiny transistors I knew were in use). A resistor (interesting example of a large resistor with a high power capacity, with the color code still visible).
Electronics Artifacts: Tube Mounts
These are three tube mounts. Tubes were prone to failure, so these mounts would be wired into the circuit and a tube plugged into them. When a tube failed, it could be unplugged and a new one plugged in.
Electronics Artifacts: Wiring Post
This is very likely one of the wiring posts which B. D. used to teach me how to solder.
Electronics Artifacts: Small Tube
B. D. and I never progressed far enough for me to actually build tube radios. He did, however, have a few extra tubes around in his supply bin. This is a small one.

Electronics Artifacts: Large Tube
This is a larger tube which did not have a box.

Electronics Artifacts: Suspended Parts Of A Tube In Glass
This was one of B. D.'s favorites, a tube and its parts encased in glass.

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