Archive for the ‘name that ware’ Category

Name that Ware, March 2024

Saturday, March 16th, 2024

The ware for March 2024 is shown below.

This fine ware is courtesy of KE5FX. Really fascinating stuff, thanks for the contribution!

Winner, Name that Ware February 2024

Saturday, March 16th, 2024

The ware for February 2024 is the core of a B&G 213 Masthead Wind Sensor, an instrument capable of reporting both wind speed and direction. Thanks again to FETguy and Renew Computers for the contribution! The coil on the left hand side is a brushless resolver, which determines the angle of the wind; the speed of the wind is detected by the pair of inductors on the right hand side.

One might assume the right hand coils are part of a switching power regulator (due to their shape and size), but, interestingly, they are connected with tiny traces, and there are no large capacitors nearby that could be used for filtering. Instead, it seems the coils are used to pick up the movements of magnets that would revolve around the assembly. Presumably these magnets would be attached to the shaft of the anemometer cup assembly, thus giving a read on wind speed.

Personally, I would have implemented something like this using a Melexis rotary position sensor chip, like the MLX90324. These gems can determine the angle of a magnetically coupled axis to 10 bits precision over its entire rated temperature range. I’m guessing there must be something that prevents the use of hall-effect sensors in the application — not sure what, but it would be interesting to know why.

I was thinking I’d give the prize to anyone who pointed out the oddity of the inductors on the right hand side of the board, but nobody seemed to have noticed that. There was one poster, Anon, who did name the exact make and model, but the explanation didn’t do enough to convince me that it wasn’t imaged-searched first and then backfilled with some details. If I judged this incorrectly, I apologize. But, given a lack of satisfactory answers, I will say this month there is no winner.

Perhaps if I let the competition run till the end of the month I’d have more entries, but the competition post will also get progressively more buried under IRIS updates. Thanks for playing, and hopefully my Name that Ware subscribers aren’t too annoyed by the temporary shift in gears!

Name that Ware, February 2024

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

Here’s the Ware for February 2024:

Here’s another ware courtesy of FETguy, who recovered this from Renew Computers in San Rafael, CA. Renew is a recycling facility that apparently processes a fair bit of e-waste. NGL: I’m a little envious of being able to rummage around an e-waste facility from that part of the world – probably some great gems to be found there!

As with most wares these days, you’ll find some hits if you do an image search, so a simple recanting of make and model number will not beat an entry that elucidates at least some the many unique and interesting aspects of this design.

Happy leap day!

Winner, Name that Ware January 2024

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

As I noted when posting the ware, I actually don’t know what its original function was — it’s just a gizmo I picked out of a junk bin in Akihabara.

Personally, I could not figure out the grabby motion until I actuated the central plunger manually:

So, I was impressed that Ian Mason could infer this was a grabby thing by just looking at it; so I’ll say he’s the winner. Congrats, email me for your prize!

The plunger in the middle is, as far as I can tell, just a passive element on a spring with an optical interrupter on the other side. It probably serves to ensure that both a thing was picked up, and that the thing stays put inside the grabbers. As others had noted in the comment thread, the entire assembly can be moved up and down through a limited range of motion via the motor on the side. The “floating” optical interrupter just next to the side-motor indicates to me that this entire assembly probably was mounted on another axis that moved laterally – possibly at a fairly high speed, since the grabbed object was held in place during transport. A final clue, which was not obvious from the photos, is that there is an outline of a dark ring on the inside surface of the grabbers, but there’s virtually no other wear marks of note.

The logo on the assembly is for the Tosoh corporation, a Japanese company that produces…chemicals, but like many Japanese corporations, is vertically integrated; it would not surprise me if they had an entire in-house automation group devoted to building custom assembly lines with gear that bears their logo.

My guess is that this was actually part of a production or packing line for a Tosoh product: it picked up something small and ring-like (about the diameter of an 18650 battery) from a feeder off to the side of a production line and placed it onto an assembly or into a box. It was in a bin with a number of other similar-sized actuators, no two the same, so I’m guessing a production line was retired, and the various custom heads used to grip parts and pieces from the assembly line found its way to the junk shop.

Name that Ware, January 2024

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

The Ware for January 2024 is shown below.

I picked up this little gizmo at a junk shop in Akihabara. I actually have no idea what the original purpose was, so I’m curious to see if anyone can convince me as to what this thing did, presumably for many years and millions of times. I got it mostly because it was a great price for a linear guide plus associated optical interrupters and motors (although I think the central motor’s bearing is busted, hence its junk shop fate). Fortunately the mounting patterns for these kinds of mechanical parts are almost, but not quite, standardized.