A Tour of Apex Electronics

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And if you don't follow Dave Jones EEVblog, have a look at the first video at:
http://www.eevblog.com /
or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XesfMfS5usY&feature=player_embedded


and check out the comments on utube

Dave dropped by Apex Electronics in Sun Valley just outside LA, the biggest and
oldest surplus electronics store in
California (and probably the US?) . Come on a tour through the Aladdin cave of
surplus electronics and hardware. Itís
actually pretty sad to see all this old technology just lying on the scrap heap
:-(

Cheers Don...

==============================




--
Don McKenzie

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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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Thanks Don
Was just about the post this.
Cross posted to sci.electronics.design.

Dave.
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Check out my Electronics Engineering Video Blog & Podcast:
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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I noticed some of the techtronix stuff is their plug ins from their
modular design era of the 1980's.

I say this in order to rant about modular design.  We use lots of
techtronixs stuff that predates the modular design crap that
tecktronix made, and all the modular design crap that techtronix made
sits in a corner of the lab having been off for decades now.

Modular design seems like such a great idea to the "ideas" people, but
it generally turns out as crap.  I worked with a guy who worked for
General radio back in the 70's.  He said that they went on a modular
design effort and it pretty much kiled the company.  Anyhow, I have
not seen any modular design stuff since the techtronix episode.


Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
On Sun, 31 Oct 2010 14:22:20 -0700 (PDT), brent

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Podcast:http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog /
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Sampling scopes still use plugins.

http://cp.home.agilent.com/upload/cmc_upload/86100D_86105D_83496B_LargerView.jpg

We still use our old Tektronix (sp!) scopes once in a while,
especially when a special-purpose plugin does something we need, like
10 uV/cm or 120 dB CMRR or 1000:1 vertical zoom.

GR just did dumb stuff, like clumsy separate power supplies.

What really killed cool stuff like the TM500 series was the price.

John


Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
On Oct 31, 6:27A0%pm, John Larkin
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I love the color, how can I get one - haha

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Its funny you mention that, I remember my old friend mentioning that
the power supply was the real killer on it, but I never really knew
the details.

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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics

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http://cp.home.agilent.com/upload/cmc_upload/86100D_86105D_83496B_LargerView.jpg
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Sounds like a 7A13, my favorite (apart from the relays)

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I still have a 6-holer on my bench.

--
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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I interviewed for a job at Tek when I was finishing grad school in 1987.
  I loved Tek gear, and was recruited pretty hard by a Tek guy by the
name of Jeff Goll, who was spending that year at Stanford.  He and his
group were trying to use the Pockels electro-optic effect to make
ADCs--you make 6 or 8 integrated-optic Mach-Zehnder interferometers in
some usefully electrooptic material like LiNbO3, with path differences
scaled as powers of 2, and apply the vertical amplifier output voltage
across them.  Because the Pockels effect is linear, the LSB goes through
64 or 256 periods per period of the MSB, so in principle you can make
fast ADCs.  The big problem was that they couldn't make the transitions
line up well enough to do more than a 6-bit ADC, and the powers-that-be
said it had to be at least 8 bits.  (A pity you can't make the Pockels
effect work in Gray code.)    That ADC could have run well over 1 Gs/s,
which would have been pretty amazing in 1987.

I didn't take the job, mainly because (a) the full-time pay was less
than I could get as a postdoc at IBM, and (b) they were poorly equipped
but thought they were well equipped.  (They had a lot of those modular
things themselves.)  If they'd been more competitive $-wise I might have
gone to work for them--my family was from Vancouver, and Beaverton is a
lot closer than NYC.

IME the biggest problem with the Tek modular stuff was that the modules
died if you hot-plugged them.  At one point, I had one of their
briefcase-style modular enclosures, with a small scope, function
generator, power supply, low noise amp, and pulser.  It sat on my bench
for some years, and got a reasonable amount of use.  I made my own low
noise amp plugin using one of their prototype modules--that one would
survive hot plugging!

Cheers

Phil Hobbs

--
Dr Philip C D Hobbs
Principal
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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The modular approach made a certain amount of sense in that, back then, the
cost of the power supply, the backplane, etc. were a pretty significant chunk
of the overall widget's price.

Granted, in the case of Tektronix, the prices were so high anyway that some of
that benefit never really made it to the end user... :-)

Not being hot-pluggable, as Phil mentioned, was also a mistake IMO.


Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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   The plugins for the old TUBE scopes could be hot-switched.

Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics

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That's what I got told when I tore a strip off a tech, when he cost us a
nearly-unobtanium IC by hot plugging an amplifier in a 7904.

--
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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I'm surprised about that.  7K series was supposed to be hot-
switchable.  5K series and TM500 was definitely not (most of the time
it was, but the mechanical alignment wasn't as good).
I worked in 7K design at one time, and people there routinely hot-
swapped plugins.

Of course, I've fried the power-supply tantalums just turning on the
power switch!

Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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  BUT..a 7904 is (mostly) solem-state; the tech plainly did not know the
equipment and needed to be Eddy-Kated.

Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics

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He sure got Eddy-Kated.

Giving excuses when apology and contrition are called for doesn't work
with me.

--
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics

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I spent a lot of time at Apex when I was a kid. Not too far from Apex, in
Chatsworth, was another place called Bernie's Surplus. In Pasadena, C+H
Surplus had some very strange optical stuff. Those were good times.

Bob
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
On a sunny day (Mon, 1 Nov 2010 08:11:09 +1100) it happened "David L. Jones"

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You never heard of Ray Conniff?


Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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must admit, I nearly fell out of my chair when Dave said that. My wife would be
mortified. :-)

Cheers Don...

=======================



--
Don McKenzie

Site Map:            http://www.dontronics.com/sitemap
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Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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APEX was always good for the net mass of the industrial surplus. I
don't think the guy walking through in the video was old enough to
really appreciate what he was seeing (he recognized the newest stuff
but passed over, without mention, some more truly interesting items).

IMHO, C&H Surplus in Pasadena (now Duarte) was/is much better for the
"cream of the crop" especially in terms of mechanics/pneumatics/optics
and working lab and test equipment. (Albeit working test equipment was
never cheap compared to the broken test equipment!)

Tim.

Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics

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APEX was always good for the net mass of the industrial surplus. I
don't think the guy walking through in the video was old enough to
really appreciate what he was seeing (he recognized the newest stuff
but passed over, without mention, some more truly interesting items).

IMHO, C&H Surplus in Pasadena (now Duarte) was/is much better for the
"cream of the crop" especially in terms of mechanics/pneumatics/optics
and working lab and test equipment. (Albeit working test equipment was
never cheap compared to the broken test equipment!)

Tim.

=============================================================

I just 'wasted' ten  minutes checking out C&H's website, they have some neat
toys for sale.

http://candhsurplus.com/product/index.htm



Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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Overall the southern california surplus scene was really happening 20
years ago. Unfortunately the vast quantities of surplus at the time,
were the result of the shutdown of nearly all aviation and avionics
engineering/manufacturing in the area, so it was kind of bittersweet.

Through the 90's and early 2000's most community college/vocational
education/academic lab programs in avionics and hands-on electronic
engineering got shut down. This produced a hugely advantageous flow of
test equipment etc. to the surplus market but again, a bittersweet
gain.

Tim.

Tim.

Re: A Tour of Apex Electronics
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Thats my kind of store! I'd have probably come away with more useless
old junk than I could fit into my baggage allowance.

I went to the MIT swap meet in Cambridge Mass last July, but it was
disappointing. Some interesting stuff but it was largely a trash and
treasure market (with the accent on the trash) for ageing hippies.

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