WAY BACK WHEN I WAS A HIGH SCHOOL KID in the Paleolithic 1960s era, I wanted to learn electronics. I experimented a lot (destroying a few radios along the way), assembled Heath and Knight kits, and regularly built DIY projects featured in Radio-Electronics and Popular Electronics magazines.
In-between splattering solder on my thumb and digging into these articles to figure out how to adapt the circuits to 220V/50Hz operation (I was living in Europe at the time), I couldnâ€™t help but notice some ads featuring a stern-faced guy who said, â€œGet more education or get out of electronics!â€?
The pitch was to promote a correspondence schoolâ€™s learn-at-home electronics course. These days I canâ€™t even recall which school it was from, but that manâ€™s message was clear and very relevant. Todayâ€™s systemsâ€”analog or digital, virtual or actualâ€” are more complex than ever, and keeping up with changing technologies requires continuing education. However, textbook and in-class training alone arenâ€™t enough â€” actual hands-on experience can make all the difference in the world.
For example, changing a diaphragm on a high-frequency compression driver isnâ€™t exactly rocket science. All you have to do is select the right replacement part (with the proper impedance), remove a few screws, match the polarity of the wires, plop the new one into place, and tighten things down.
However, thereâ€™s one detail that shouldnâ€™t be overlooked: the procedure should be done with a NON-ferrous screwdriver. Unless youâ€™re using a brass or an aluminum screwdriver, the powerful gauss field of the driverâ€™s magnetic structure will yank the tool out of your grasp, attracting it into the center of the driver, instantly shredding the fragile, and very expensive, diaphragm. When it happens in the real-life, non-textbook world, itâ€™s not a pretty sight and hardly a lesson thatâ€™s soon forgotten.
No matter who you areâ€”novice or expertâ€”we all still have a lot to learn and changing technologies donâ€™t make things easier. For me, that decades-old message from the mean-looking guy in that electronics magazine still holds true. Learning is a lifelong process that we all need to work at.
Related Topics: Musings