With the educational well-being of the younger dudes on the board at heart, I thought I’d share this basic theory:
“The Smoke Theory of electricity” OR “How Microchip Circuits really Work”.
A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it, the realisation of a basic truth came over me. So simple!
So obvious we couldn’t see it.
Bill Smith, of the local amateur radio group, had discovered how Integrated Circuits work.
He says that smoke is the thing that makes ICs work because every time you let the smoke out of an IC, it stops working.
He claims to have verified this with thorough testing using the motherboard in his computer.
See, everytime it stopped he found hat one of those black blocks on the motherboard had a hole in it – from where a lot of smoke had escaped.
I was flabbergasted!
Of course! Smoke inside the blocks makes all things electrical work.
Remember the last time smoke escaped from your Lucas alternator?
Didn’t it stop working?
I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth dawned.
It’s the wiring harness that carries the smoke from one device to another in your Mini, LandRover or T120 Bonneville..
And when the harness springs a leak, it lets the smoke out of everything at once, and then nothing works.
The starter motor requires large quantities of smoke to operate properly, and that’s why the wire going to it is so large.
Feeling very smug, I continued to expand my hypothesis.
Why are Lucas electronics more likely to leak than say Bosch?
Hmmm… Aha!!! Lucas is British, and all things British leak!
British convertible tops leak water.
British engines leak oil.
Bitish carbys leak petrol.
So naturally British electronics leak smoke.
But more about that later.
Here is more essential theory:
How Electricity Works:
This is a dissertation on physical science for your enlightenment. I don’t know where it came from so it must be true!
Today’s scientific question is:
What in the world is electricity and where does it go after it leaves the toaster?
Here is a simple experiment that will teach you an important electrical lesson: On a cool dry day, scuff your feet along a carpet, then reach your hand into a friend’s mouth and touch one of his dental fillings. Did you notice how your friend twitched violently and cried out in pain?
This teaches one that electricity can be a very powerful force, but we must never use it to hurt others unless we need to learn an important lesson about electricity.
It also illustrates how an electrical circuit works. When you scuffed your feet, you picked up batches of “electrons”, which are very small objects that carpet manufacturers weave into carpet so that they will attract dirt.
The electrons travel through your bloodstream and collect in your finger, where they form a spark that leaps to your friend’s filling, then travel down to his feet and back into the carpet, thus completing a “round trip”, since the total number of electrons in the carpet must remain constant.
AMAZING ELECTRONIC FACT: If you scuffed your feet long enough without touching anything, you would build up so many electrons that your finger would explode! But this is nothing to worry about unless you have carpets throughout your house or place of employment.
Although we modern persons tend to take our electric lights, radios, mixers, etc. for granted, hundreds of years ago people did not have any of these things, which is just as well because there was no place to plug them in. Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lightning storm and received a serious electrical shock.
This proved that lightning was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin’s brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office.
After Franklin came a herd of Electrical Pioneers whose names have become part of our electrical terminology: Myron Volt, Mary Louise Amp, James Watt, Bob Transformer, etc.
These pioneers conducted many important electrical experiments. Among them, Galvani discovered (this is the truth) that when he attached two different kinds of metal to the leg of a frog, an electrical current developed and the frog’s leg kicked, even though it was no longer attached to the frog, which was dead anyway.
Galvani’s discovery led to enormous advances in the field of amphibian medicine. Today, skilled veterinary surgeons can take a frog that has been seriously injured or killed, implant pieces of metal in its muscles, and watch it hop back into the pond — almost.
But the greatest Electrical Pioneer of them all was Thomas Edison, who was a brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education and lived in New Jersey. Edison’s first major invention in 1877 was the phonograph, which could soon be found in thousands of American homes, where it basically sat until 1923, when the record was invented.
But Edison’s greatest achievement came in 1879 when he invented the electric company. Edison’s design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit: the electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again.
This means that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take the time to examine their electricity closely. In fact, the last year any new electricity was generated was 1937.
Today, thanks to men like Edison and Franklin, and frogs like Galvani’s, we receive almost unlimited benefits from electricity.
For example, in the past decade scientists have developed the laser, an electronic appliance so powerful that it can vaporize a bulldozer 2000 yards away, yet so precise that doctors can use it to perform delicate operations to the human eyeball, provided they remember to change the power setting from “Bulldozer” to “Eyeball.”
All very marvellous don’t you think?
Now – I can vouch for the Smoke Theory.
Two weekends ago my TV (A german Telefunken – doesn’t always have to be Lucas) lost some of its smoke and stopped. While I was trying to plug that smoke leak with a screwdriver it sprung another bigger leak and lost a LOT MORE SMOKE and hasn’t worked since.
No shop I’ve been to can sell me any “Telefunken Smoke” that I can put back inside. They all tell me that I need to buy parts with the smoke already sealed in, which cost a heap more than a bottle of smoke. Sort of like a sealed beam headlight. I think they’re having a lend of me but one day me and Letterman will uncover The Truth!