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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Taming Glitches in a Soyuz Space Clock (Plus -- Inside a Logic Chip and How Crystals Work)

Thanks to Bob KD4EBM for sending this.  

There is so much good info in this video:  They crack open a logic chip and look at the internal construction (it is entirely understandable by mortal minds).  They use cool test gear to troubleshoot the clock from a Soyuz spacecraft.  They explain very clearly the series and parallel resonances of quartz crystals, then display these resonances on a very nice spectrum analyzer.

The creator of the video is CuriousMarc.  He has many other interesting projects: 

His bio is here: 

One paragraph from his bio really resonated with me: 

Working on this old stuff forces me to deal with the very fundamentals of electronics (and electro-mechanics). The principles are exactly the same as today, but nothing is hidden in mysterious circuits - you can understand and fix everything. Years of Moore's law has sure given us gobs of transistors, oceans of memory and a glut of gigacycles, but many times, particularly in consumer hardware, these are simply used to cover up poor and inefficient designs - and resource devouring software. What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away, as they say. It often irritates me that my PC takes several seconds to react to a simple command, in which time it must have executed billions of unnecessary instructions and consumed a few gigabytes of memory, no one knowing exactly what for anymore. Nothing like this in old high-end hardware: designs are pure and efficient, and the lack of resources is compensated by engineering mastery and immense cleverness, which is a joy to reverse engineer. Not only does it teach us timeless electrical fundamentals and engineering tricks, but it also gives us a much better appreciation of today's tech. How did all the technology we take for granted came to be? It will make you a far better engineer and inventor if you take the time to be a thorough student of the inventions of your illustrious predecessors.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Bill. Good to see you back 'on deck' here!
    The philosophy applies universally: knowing the fact is only half the story: the rest is How and WHY the fact.


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