Archive for the ‘name that ware’ Category

Winner, Name that Ware May 2021

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

For email subscribers, apologies in advance if you get two copies of the Name That Ware post series this month — I’m still trying to sort out some new email client configurations. I’m guessing it’ll take a few tries before everything works right.

On to the Ware — looks like I left a little too much text in on this one! Taylan Ayken got the exact model and make, a 256-channel Net Amps 410 from Electrical Geodesics. Congrats, email me for your prize!

Whenever you hear things like “256 channels” these days it’s easy to assume it has to be all integrated into a single chip. But, then you come across gems like these and you’re re-assured that the technique of the board-level integration of hundreds of channels is still alive and kicking, despite the best efforts of Moore’s Law to integrate everything into a single epoxy blob.

Winner, Name that Ware April 2021

Monday, June 14th, 2021

Somehow, this didn’t get posted when I hit the post button, and I never noticed! I just saw that the new ware was up and assumed this went through as well. Sorry about that!

The boards from April 2021 were from a Bruker NMS120 benchtop NMR analyzer — according to the contributor of the ware, they “generate RF output to the power amp, digitize (downconverted) RF input, and generate some extra control signals”.

I’m always pleased when I manage to blur a logo just enough that you can’t Google image search it, yet it’s somehow recognizable to humans. Someday machines will beat us at this game but, for now, maybe there’s still a place for human experience vs merely large training sets thrown into a DNN!

Picking a winner is much harder this month. Because I don’t know the much larger system-level context from which these come, I can’t know if Willmore’s final guess is correct or not (but perhaps Don Straney can weigh in). Absent that bit of information, I found Zebonaut’s insights about the cultural biases of German PCB design to be really insightful. I can usually pick out a Japanese-made board based on stylistic decisions, but until now I hadn’t heard such a nice summary of some of the biases and preferences of German PCB designers. So, I’ll give the prize to Zebonaut for that bit of insight, along with a generally correct guess on the make and genre of the ware, which I’m unable to resolve further due to my own ignorance. Congrats, email me for your prize!

Name that Ware May 2021

Monday, May 31st, 2021

The Ware for May 2021 is shown below:

This ware might be a bit too bespoke for a fair shake at guessing what it is, but based on the previous months’ performances, maybe we’re due for something on the more difficult side. I did rather like the nice patch boards partially visible in the bottom of the photos. These are, once again, contributions from Don Straney.

Name that Ware April 2021

Friday, April 30th, 2021

The Ware for April 2021 is shown below.

Both boards are from the same machine. I really admire the construction quality of these boards! Thanks again to Don Straney for contributing these fascinating wares.

Winner, Name that Ware March 2021

Friday, April 30th, 2021

The Ware for March 2021 is a fire control system (not fire as in “artillery fire”, but fire as in “your building is on fire”) controller, a Honeywell HS-NCM-SF. It’s the sort of board that lives in those red boxes hanging near the entrance of big buildings with fancy fire alarm systems.

A quick Internet search shows these things go for around US$2k retail. This pricing is commensurate with a “made in USA” process, B2B volumes, and its choice of top-shelf parts, even though its specs are fairly modest if not strange. When I first saw this, I scratched my head at the use of fiber optic comms, matched with a CPU that was clearly not capable of handling fiber optic data rates. Once I learned its purpose, it made a bit more sense. At least, I’m presuming the fiber optics are chosen either because there is a reliability advantage in the context of fire-resistance of the cabling, or perhaps the fiber optics are advantageous because there is no risk of sparking wires in the case that one end of the line is engulfed in fire and presumably melts into a glob of metal that includes the power mains.

Again, Willmore nailed it. Congrats, email me for your prize!