Today was the monthly Electronics Flea Market in Cupertino, and we came across some gems this month.
Above, an AN-OIL-IZER. The seller said her geologist father used it for testing oil purity.
It’s described in patent number 3182255, a device for capacitively testing lubricating oil (e.g., engine oil) for contaminants, by looking for changes in its dielectric constant. To use it, you place a drop of the oil in the holder, and the ball bearing into that drop of oil. The bearing is held down by a leaf spring, keeping it indexed against the holder. This forms an oil-filled capacitor between the ball bearing and a lower curved plate that is insulated from the bearing. The capacitance will vary as the dielectric constant of the oil changes due to contamination. It comes with two ball bearings, as well as oil samples for calibration.
The E-Z-Code Jr. is a tool for learning morse code: when you draw the “electric pencil” through the slots, it crosses contacts in the correct spacing to make the characters. It also has a hinged telegraph key which can be tucked away below the device.
The seller of the E-Z-Code Jr. told me that the thing I really should be photographing was this magnetron. It is a beautiful old piece of hardware, with its wave guide and high-power tube.
We found a book on Magnetic-Bubble Memory Technology. We also saw a book on tube delay memory. We’re not sure if these are a step up from the single-bit flip-flop memory in our Digi-Comp II.
I’d love to see the circuit diagram for the Cosmic Energy System by Psy Herabel [sic] Health Town, Inc.! (Sadly, their domain no longer seems to be active.)
6 thoughts on “Oddities at the Electronics Flea Market”
Wonder if that last one is related to Scientology’s “E meter”, sounds suitably nutty ;-)
There’s the remnants of a page on the internet archive –
A better description of Bubble Memory is a solid state floppy drive. I was interested in them when they were first introduced then didn’t hear anything about them for a long time. Around 15 years ago, my company picked up a product line that used Bubble Memories and I was able to learn the bad stories about them. It seems that they become corrupted and fail after long use and unless you put away a large stock of replacements, your only option is to try and restore them. The process involves a strong magnet to over power the magnet which is part of the memory. With luck, about 1/2 can be restored to normal operation.
Our product uses nonvolatile battery back up memory so with a little software we were able to replace the older design with our unit. Our the battery last over 10 years and if it fails, we just replace the battery and reload the code and configuration. We do have a stock of replacement memory chips, but we have never replace one. As for the batteries, they are a common design but could be replace with any 3 volt long life battery. The battery life is also extended if the unit is left power on which is the normal way our unit is used. Flash drives weren’t available when we picked our storage memory and because the memory is just standard ram, we do allow the processor to run around in it, a no-no with flash memory.
The memory we used was not available when bubble memories were first introduced so bubble memories were seen as the best way to store large amounts of data without the use of floppy/hard drives. It didn’t take long before history passed them by.
For the oil checker, these days you have http://www.lubricheck.com/
Got mine on kickstarter.
Strange, the design of the “Cosmic Energy System” seems to predate the dotcom era. I would say it’ from the late 70s or 80s. Dont’ you think so?
The Cosmic Energy Thingummy is certain to be yet another “electrodiagnostic” doodad, indeed like unto the E-Meter, but there are umpteen other such things.
A person unquestionably in the pay of the villains, idiots, and idiot villains who make up the entirety of Conventional Medicine and the overarching Science Conspiracy In General writes more about these things here:
I had one hooked up to me, years ago:
I’ve also helped out the Conspiracy Against Them from time to time…
…though my cheques from NASA and the Freemasons seem to have been lost in the mail.
Some cool finds. Anybody know of alike shows outside of Cupertino?
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