Burning the fuses on a new microcontroller can be a daunting challenge! One false move and you have bricked your unobtainium MCUs and ruined a build.
Western Electric is looking to expand American tube production.
Question that Parker was asked by the MacroFab sales team
Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.
In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.
In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.
Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.
Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!
Welcome to the Mac fab engineering podcast, a weekly show about all things engineering, DIY projects, manufacturing, industry, news and tube manufacturing. Were your hosts, electrical engineers, Parker, Dolman. And Steven Craig. This is episode 321. So, handful of weeks ago, in Episode 316, which was titled chunk to chunk current returns, we talked about a project that I've been working on that I started, well, let me put it this way. I purchased a lot of the items in 2010. And I started it seven years ago. So they sat for a while, and then I started it, and then it sat for a while. And I finally got it. I'm using air quotes here wrapped up. In other words, the electronics of this device is done. The the the chassis and all the circuit boards and all the wiring stuff, I've got that finished, I still need to decorate it and put it inside of a nice box and things like that, which I'm currently working on. But I've got the electronics done. Well, you have the metal chassis done, correct. Oh, like the labeling for the knobs and stuff? Correct. It is a functional unit currently. So you can build like a wooden box that goes around it that like protects it. Yes, yeah, absolutely. And then like full on do the decorative elements and like the toe Lex and all that stuff. So in back in episode 316, I was discussing some aspects about this circuit that were kind of unique. The PCB itself was basically just had reference designators on it, but none of the values, so the user just buys this PCB and then populates whatever they want into it. So you can kind of sculpt it, however you feel like and if you know if some parts of the circuit don't work for you don't populate them or populate them, however, works for whatever's in your head. So I finally got that all squared away. And this is a fairly big amplifier, that that it's a three channel tube amp 100 Watt, all the bells and whistles. It's like five feet wide. 26 inches close, close to five. Now, yeah, it's 26 inches wide. Like for me, controllers, it's got MIDI control, it has relay switching, it's got just all kinds of stuff going on inside. But one of the big reasons why I was even building it. Two things. In fact, we had talked about this right at the beginning of 2022. Parker and I talked about engineers New Year's resolution. Oh, yeah. One of them for me was to just chew through my backlog, get old projects done. And out. And near the beginning of the year, I got my oldest project done, which was a decade old. And then this was number two. And I have got the electronics done on this. My favorite thing, but this project is it's as old as macro fab. I actually. So I had this, I had the parts for this just lying around. And the week I started macro fab, I started this project. In fact, I would leave macro fab at the end of the workday, and I would drive to my shop because I had a shop that was on my way home. And, and that's where I did all my electronics. And I would, I would go put in 30 minutes after work and then drive home from there. I did that for a handful of weeks. And one of the funny things about why I didn't finish this project is because it had so many unique characteristics about it that I wanted to do. Correct in a way, I guess correct as in like, there was certain because this was partially a kit. There were certain things that I didn't get to choose. And I was kind of upset about the fact that like, like, there were so many that's okay, so this is one of the big problems about a kit. Once you've once you've been a designer for a while and you put together someone else's kit. There's so many things where you sit back and be like I wouldn't do it that way I would do it this way. And and this project ended up turning into a lot of that where it's like, I don't want to do it this way. I want to change things. And I need better tools to be able to change things. So I shelved this project until I had the ability to do the things I wanted to and now I do because I have access to some pretty nice CNC machines. And actually I got a 3d printer thanks to craft labs who's been on our podcast a few times. And so there's a handful of extra little things that I wanted to add to this project to make it correct and right such as like brackets and things to hold wires and and things of that sort. But but really the the main impetus why I even wanted to build this is because this circuit the PCB forced the user to use a star ground configuration. And I've talked about this a handful of times in the past. But now I actually have a device that is truly star ground. Maybe not truly, but like as close to star ground as I'm willing to go. In fact, I posted some pictures on Twitter about this and one person, I don't remember the name. But they commented that they call it comment grounding, which I kind of really liked that it ended up just being comic grinding, because of the way that I used green wires and red heatshrink. Because it just looks like a whole bunch of like lines coming into a single point. And I get where they're going with that. But, but effectively, this circuit has a ton of different sub circuits to it. Each one has its own dedicated ground point that goes to my store ground which I located right at the input of this of the chassis. And this, so 10 individual grounds that each service, their own sub circuit come together. And from from a design and even manufacturing perspective, I look at this circuit, and it makes me shudder because it's just like, Oh, this looks terrible. And something deep down inside. Like my engineering soul is like, I don't like this, this doesn't look right. You know, I want to put a ground plane and I want to connect everything through a via down to my ground plane and be happy. But but but that's the whole purpose. Why even built this circuit was like, Okay, I just want to try this, just to see if it works out well. And so, so here's the thing, I've been able to try it now. And I'm actually a bit surprised because it works out well. Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised because Star grounding has been around for a long time. It's it's sort of a surefire way to have low noise. I say surefire because it doesn't work for a lot of situations. But it is the most, I guess, simple to think of implement, every ground point has its own wire to a single point, right? Yeah. It makes sure you
pay attention to returns and that comes up because you actually have to manually routed
Correct, yeah, yeah, you have to think a lot more about that. But when it starts, okay, we talked about this a few episodes ago, but when you start to have something that is like, considerably large, given, you know, this, this chassis, it's seven inches by 26 inches long, it's it's it's an amplifier that's in three zip codes. Exactly, exactly like the the, okay, so the ground returned. Wires are not measured in like, one or two inch, they're measured in like 1214 20 inch long wires, which, that's the part in my soul that's like, Oh, this is terrible. Why would I ever do it this way, like the ground planes or sequential series grounds that that flow down the path that that makes the most sense from a like, strictly like PCB layout, keeping the returns short, keeping your return short and return current, short, sorry, returning current to, from their destination to their source, right. But in this situation, that bucks that entire rule. And the result is surprising, because it works really damn well. Like this amplifier is very quiet, I get no oscillations whatsoever, I can have my guitar cranked all the way up and juice this thing like have it extremely loud. And the the most amount of noise I get out of it is hiss that's generated from resistors, basically just random electron noise due to thermal noise in in resistors. So it's one of those things that's making me rethink my grounding strategies for a lot of situations where, okay, I can have a circuit that's hand wired with many, many say, eight 910 very, very long ground wires, which seems like ridiculous method of designing something that functions very, very well. Now we're talking about low frequency. The second you add high frequency to this, it's just don't even think about this. Well, and here's the thing, like I've got a microcontroller on this board that's running it on remember 16 megahertz, something like that. But it has its own ground plane. That's just for the microcontroller. So stuff. Yeah, it's a trap. That's that's holding all the high frequency stuff in there. But the main five volt regulator that feeds the digital stuff has its own wire that goes off to the star ground. So it's, some of this is obvious. Some of this is not terribly obvious. It's just a very different way of thinking. Seeing, and I've certainly built circuits the other way. I mean, I've built circuits both, well, let's put it this way, three grounding schemes, Star grounding, where the I'm discussing, I've done one now that it has great success. I've done plenty of single ground planes and a circuit board, that's my go to. And then I've done a handful that are sequential grounds where each ground flows upwards from the input stage all the way to whatever your power is. And that works as well, too. So it's not that any of these are superior to another. It's just about how you approach each one and what situation works best for each one.
That sounds correct. It's because when you go on to the forms, it's always a battle of which one's better? Oh, yeah. And it's like, well, they can probably all be the best if you design it, right? There's a reason why it works, right? Yeah.
You have to take care for them. The one thing that's that's shocking to me is just the sheer length of wire, is, it seems to me like that's just a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yeah, it's like being an antenna, like being an antenna, I even have all of my ground wires bundled together, all nine of them bundled together with zip tie, so all the currents between all my ground wires are in proximity of each other, and they're still not interference in between them. And so it's just, it's something that I want to explore some more. And it's all dependent upon what your frequency is, what your frequency of operation. Now, when it comes to like my day job and my my professional job that I do, there's no way that I'm gonna go away from ground planes, like, that's just, first of all, it's easy. Second of all, it just works and my the the length of separation, but that my ground traces have to travel are measured in inches or less, much less than inches. So there's no way that I would employ start grounding in this, but when when we start getting into larger circuits, or even circuits that are in say, like a control cabinet, start grounding starts to become more attractive, or required in terms of like a cabinet. Well, yeah, I mean, I guess in a cabinet, you end up with like a ground bus. Right?
So I wonder if this might play into it. Yeah. Is? Does the, because the wire is a lot thicker than then the trace can ever be
really? Oh, yeah. Yeah, buy orders. I wonder if that that wire been very interesting try to calculate basically is like, so you have a plane, trying to figure out what the impedance of your return path is right? on that plane? Versus a really long 18 gauge? What gauge were using, like 1622? Oh, that's a bit thinner. I thought, yeah, just do the calculation what the impedance would be on that.
Yeah, the other thing, the other thing is I all of my ground wires, I actually suspended them above the PCB by maybe a centimeter or two, something like that. So you know, if you have to run all of your traces on the PCB, you're guaranteed that your proximity to other traces, it's going to be a lot closer.
Yeah, and that's actually your like, one thing, the first thing you can do to reduce noise is the trace goes perpendicular, not parallel to the other trace, because when you're parallel, that can actually couple and then the second thing is make them far apart. That's number two.
That's an interesting, there's an interesting side note to that. Every time I do a two layer PCB, I'll lay out the entire board. And I will set aside specific time to go do a perpendicular check, where I turn on both my top and my bottom layer, and I look at all of my traces. And any trace that isn't perpendicular. I ask, is that okay, that is not perpendicular? Or, or would it be better for me to slightly reroute it such that it's perpendicular at the crossing point. But that only applies to two layer boards as soon as you're doing four layer boards with planes like Yeah, screw it doesn't matter anymore. Yeah, it doesn't matter anymore.
I mean, you look at the pinball board, and there's like, lines that are parallel all the way across the board, but it's like you gotta get the best signal over there.
Yeah, how Yeah, how else is it gonna work? Right? Yeah. So yeah, I'm excited about this. There's there's certain things I want to experiment with it a little bit further, to see what's the effect I'm designing a four layer board right now that I'm planning on doing star grounding. As opposed to sequential grounding, like I've done in the past, just, I want to do it one more time. With a PCB this time, as opposed to wires to see if I get the same level of success. This one worked out really well, in my opinion, I think it was, it was really good. So for this project, I need to build a wood enclosure, which I've actually already cut and glued up. In fact, after the podcast, I'm gonna go sanded down and wrap it up. Hopefully this weekend, maybe I can get around to decorating it and getting it close to finish. Because as soon as this thing is in that enclosure, I can mark this project as 100% done and move on to the next thing, which is nice. That's a goal I'm trying to knock out. I'm almost done with number two for the year. And we're in March. So trying really hard here. Doing better than me so far. I got all the macro podcasts up that it's uploading to YouTube. That's my last thing on that list to do. You've been doing a lot of back end stuff. And you've got all your torque wrench stuff that you're working on.
Yes. Which is a different project, though. It's a big data to project the very beginning. Yeah.
All right. So today at macro fab, I had a huge meeting with sales team.
And they were asking you a bunch of questions of like, basically, I was doing like that, like being a mock customer, so to speak, right? Where they ask you questions and like because you like you're, you're an engineer that actually designs and build stuff.
So they have a good resource to ask lots of questions like that. They asked me a question that I didn't really have a good way to answer.
And I thought this would be a good thing to talk about. And this is a great question for our community too. And I'd love to get them their feedback on this. And it's because we've talked about this before on the podcast is like engineers, and sales can really never get along. It's oil and Waterman. It's oil, water, but it's like, because there's two opposing
goals to those two jobs. They have to work together gets the only way you can, you know, make a lot of stuff, right.
And that's like, they never really get along because they have two opposing ideas of not just not just how things are done, but just how they approach problems. And what their end goal is. But so they asked me What can a salesperson say or do that will spark an interest of an engineer, because and so this came after basically, when I get a call or an email from a salesperson, I almost immediately just delete it. And so that's funny. And so how can a salesperson even do their job? So I would open up that email or like not just hanging up the phone. Like when all team calls you. Like, you just say you want to buy it for like 20 bucks. I've tried, I have tried. Well, okay, so so so this, there's a second question that comes up. Okay. Yeah. Especially since engineers don't like speaking to salespeople, what would make the conversation more intriguing to them? So in chat right now, DJ said we have parts in stock is what you could say, Yeah, that would work. That would work. But you don't know what parts you need. Yeah. So that's kind of hard to do. Yeah. And this goes to last week's episode where they're like, We have parts and stuck. Are they actually at your location? Exactly. Are
we actually at your location? Oh, I have an update to that. So we'll keep talking about this thing, though. Just remember to talk about that. So DJ, that's one of the things I mentioned, which was I would rather talk to an engineer than a salesperson. I said I'd rather talk to a project manager.
The problem with that is project managers are always really busy, because they're managing projects. Now, that's not to say salespeople are not busy, but a project managers job is not to get more business.
It's not on them to get another project, right. It's just been to manage it. I Okay, guys, so Steven, you go, I'm going to read some comments. If there's a salesperson listening to this podcast, here's what I can, I would suggest right now. Find an engineer that works at your company, or maybe even another company and say, Hey, you want to go get a beer let's, let's hang out one night, and put in an honest to god effort to just go out and listen, and try to listen, like literally just try to hear what they have to say, and ask questions. And try to hear the engineers position on things. That I think that applies to if you're a salesman trying to sell to engineers, or if you're a salesman, at your own company, whatever company you work at, and, and you have engineers that that work on on a different team of yours, try to get their position on things, I would be personally, I would be ecstatic. If a salesman was like, Hey, let's go get a beer. I just want to talk to you. And I want to hear what life like an engineer is like at this company. And you know what I would be absolutely 100% Glad to hear what life's like a salesperson is like, I want to understand you. But you absolutely have to put in the effort to understand me. And in my experience with salespeople, they don't give a rat's ass about putting any amount of effort into hearing about what you have to go through as an engineer, especially when salespeople have the tendency to walk in and say, Hey, I sold XYZ later, and XYZ doesn't even exist. Or it's a new product that you have to design or when they just walk in and say, you know, here's a whole boatload of work that I just put on your desk, and you're just a technical nerd that I don't care about. And your job is to just get it done. So I don't want to hear about it, just get it done. That's a great way to make an enemy, not a friend. And so I would say try your best to meet in the middle. I'm happy to meet you there. But if you don't put any effort into meeting me in that space, like it just ain't gonna happen, you know?
Yeah, I was I was reading comments in Twitch chat. It's, I would say it's one of those Yeah, they're a salespersons job is to sell. But engineers don't like being sold to either. Like, oh, we like. So this is a great example is actually an engineer going to go find a parts. Okay. So first thing they're going to do is go if they're in a company, okay. But most engineers work for companies, right? They versity go through their vendor list or like, what are approved manufacturers that can use us, sometimes there's that list, sometimes there's not. They take that they go to a distributor, and start looking for parts that fit their specs, they might need only like, three or four specs are in mind. This is like this, like a MOSFET for example. Okay, they'll go, Okay, I have a peak current, a continuous current, I have what my gate voltage should be. And then my working, you know, VDS, my drain to source voltage and mine. It's like, what, five things and then you start, you plug those in, and you start going through the data sheets. And then at the end of the day, you have like five or six of them, and then you pick the cheapest one, right?
A MOSFET company didn't come to you and sell you it. You know, you don't really care what manufacturer it is, unless it is not on your vendor list. Of course.
I guess that's the salesperson job is to get on that person's vendor list, right? So it's the engineer engineers like to go and seek out the stuff.
I think a way is to figure out what the engineer is seeking. And then sell that to them. That's really hard to do though. How Yeah, how could you know that be a good salesperson? No, but that's that's because that's that's how engineers like even even now I'm in electronic projects myself, like half of my of your projects and my projects are just researching and looking up stuff and figuring out what is going to be a good way to do whatever it is. It's It's the it's the path. It's the journey. Knee the journey to eight year journey. Stephen, you had the finish that that amplifier? Where a lot of it was you just thinking about it six years of you just thinking about it there. Well, yeah, you're right. There was a lot of things you'd wake up at four o'clock at night and go, Uh huh. Common grounding. Yeah, common grounding in like a cold, sweat, cold sweat. You like, write it down on a journal. But that's the thing is engineers, at least the engineers that I meet, and we talked to in our Slack channel, and on Twitch. Most of the project is the journey. It's not the final thing that is done. I know a lot of engineers that don't even finish stuff ever, like ever, their projects. They know. They just want to learn. And they get about 90% of the way there and they'll Okay, it's done. I've everything learnings done.
Yeah, all the learnings done. So they don't have to do last 10%? Because that part doesn't matter to them.
Yeah. That's, that's where I'm going to come at with this is figure out what that engineer is seeking. So setting up your questions that way, and then selling what in this case is a macro fab can offer to solve that, that that burning? Adventure and that engineers mine? I, you know, one of the things I love about this kind of age old question of engineers and salespeople is engineers always have a story to tell when it when it comes to this kind of question. And right now our chat is lit up. It's like it just constantly scrolling. And yep. And it wasn't just a moment ago, before we ask the question. So
the oh, man, if you ask this my wince when someone asks you a question. That's a technical question.
It's one of those how the first question I asked myself internally is, how far back should I rewind the clock to answer this question?
That's the question. That's the question that engineers have to ask ourselves. It's like, okay, how is is a yes, no answer going to be suffice? Or do I need one o'clock to like, you know, and then the Big Bang happened?
Okay, it's been my experience that if you if you take any, any longer than the salesperson expects their eyes gloss over. So the fastest you can answer that question, the better. Man, I, you know, me I love giving context. So, yeah, and salespeople hate context.
Maybe they maybe that's what makes a better salesperson to engineers as they start. They'd like context now.
Which, again, allows them to peer in and figure out what that engineer is seeking. Yeah, I know, you put the title for this. schematics and chill for this podcast, I think, Oh, that was tentative. Yeah. We just found it right there, though, is what what engineers seek? Yeah. The I remember the first my first job. The the, this happened literally one time, one of our sales guys came to the engineering department. And he was just trying to be friendly, like, just straight up friendly. And I had a schematic open. And he literally pointed someone's command. It goes, What's that? And it was a diode. And I was like, dead silent for quite a long time. And I looked him straight in the eyes. I'm like, What do you want? What Why are you here? And he's like, No, literally, I just want to know what that is. So he sat down, and he let me explain a diode to him. He's like, That's cool. And he left. And it was like, mind blowing that a sales guy had done that. And, like, legitimately, the guy was just interested. Now, he probably went back to his desk and sold something that doesn't exist. But it was it was completely it blew my mind. I don't think that's that kind of level of friendliness is something they a salesperson might need. Because that's that's someone it's in your company, though. Not? Yeah, the Altium guys not calling me up and yeah, ask him what's a diode? We're picking on Altium they're good. Now they're good. I think Uh, it's that's kind of a running joke with with this podcast, though, is because I've gotten that story.
Because I was way early in mockups early career where like, you know, oh, a customer sent a copy of Altium. And our copy of Altium has expired, go get a free trial. Yeah. And so we would have like, we get the free trial, and then all team would call us up. And like, Hey, you want to buy a copy? And I always be like, how much? It'd be like, a couple looks like 1000 something dollars, something like that. Yeah. And I'm like, No, I'll just stick with Eagle because I was running. You know, Eagle was like,
I think actually, no, that was, that was when you could just buy Eagle for the subscription service. Right? And, like, No, we got a copy of Eagle that we've had for two years at that point. So it's, you know, whatever. And just remember, Steven, Steven talking to the Altium person and be like, they asked you, how much would you pay for joining box? It's like, Hey, I tried because what if they were like, Sure. Let's do it right now. I'd be like, Yeah, let's do it. Please. Like it's like going to like a like zine on Craigslist is like Ferrari for sale or best offer. Yeah, you're like, do 20 bucks. 20 bucks right now, right now. cash in my pocket in your hands. Yay. You can't blame me for trying, right? No, no, that's, hey, that's salesmen in you. Yeah. Hey, there we go. I must be a terrible salesman. No, because I still have. You didn't close that deal. ABC dude. So DJ in chat says the engineers are typically introverts who don't always mess with extrovert salespeople. And they Yeah, like I can, I can totally get on board with that. Although I'm curious. Do engineers actually tend to be more introverted? Is that like, a, like a notable thing? I could, I could totally see that being the case. It's just other studies out there. I'd love to see that.
I would definitely say salespeople are more extroverted.
I think that's, I don't I wouldn't say engineers are strictly introverted, because as you said, the moment you like, ask, what is that? The engineers what's going to go bananas? Right? Oh, is this an introverted person actually do that? No. Maybe not? Yeah. I don't know. Maybe. Engineers are very passionate about what they do. That's true. Yeah. And so that's, that's the thing is you got to just crack crack the nut on that one, the passion shell, the passion shell, that's probably a CZ and you can buy it like heb or something. I'm actually curious if I would, I would be really fun to know is, is how many sales people listen to our show. I wonder if we have a sizable chunk, you know, no, no, not join our Slack channel and let us know. We promise we won't jump you even though it's like 600 engineers in a Slack Slack channel. I, you know, I I'm guessing we don't appeal to the sales channel. But maybe we do. Yeah. That's a good point in our chat. I think engineers do like to get to the point of the matter sooner than like in meetings, like, IT engineer designs a meeting, it's like, you come in with bullet points, you're gonna hit all the bullet points and be done. Right. And it's like, there's no time to be wasted. Whereas it does feel when you're trying to be sold to. It's like a rap, you know, it's kind of going around the bush. So.
And one thing I thought of just now too, is engineers typically only like to do things once, as we were talking about the Python stuff, like an engineer will spend more hours to make sure they don't do the same task twice. Yeah, that's true. Whereas the whole process of like, sales is the same thing over and over and over again, right. Whereas, like, let's say you have your widget and you need to go get your widget made. So you talked to 10 manufacturers, and now you're
now you're doing the same process. 10 different times to get like quotes and stuff, talking 10 different sales do You're talking to 10 Different quoting teams because etc etc. And it's like that for me it leaves you know, like doing that the same thing over and over again but grinds my gears. So yeah, Barger wants to be in and out. I'm gonna be Waterberg. So what's funny is like you were mentioning engineers want to go into meetings and they got their bullet points they get in they get out they they get it done with it make that makes it seem like engineers are super efficient. I think we are we waste time. And we're lazy in a completely different way. Not like you said earlier, like we will spend forever researching something, which seems like you're not getting anything done, right? Because like you're not moving the ball forward. But in reality, I think you're formulating all the paths that the ball needs to roll says oh, you execute? It just rolls. I've seen 4832 dimensions where this ball goes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All which one's successful? And on your see the matrix? Actually, that's just our normal division. But yeah, it's just, it comes down to priorities. I think, you know, what, what is your priority. In fact, craft Labs was mentioning in our chat, experiencing sales guys wanting to just get in meetings, such that close the deal leave done. Because they don't want to hear that the path that the engineer took, they don't want to hear the research, they don't care. That means nothing to their bottom line. It means nothing to the commission that they're going to get right. It's just, you know, so it's all it all just ends up being like, what are its what is your priority that's been assigned to you not even your priority that's in your own mind, at the same time, like, if you get paid via commission? Well, that's going to be your priority. And if anything hinders that. We I mean, you're not paid to listen to an engineer. Talk about their passions. You're paid to seal the deal. Yep. But you know, co founder and engineering talk to him. They're nice people. Mostly. Well, true. Yeah. The ones that listen to this podcast are very nice. Oh, they're the best engineers and they're the best engineers.
All right, one more topic. one more topic. loha on on that. So if you haven't answered that question, pop in our Slack channel. I did invite some people on our sales team to our Slack channel public Slack channel. I told them no sales. You can't sell stuff there. But y'all they can talk to y'all are y'all can talk to them, I should say. And just like, I want them to get more exposed to what actual engineers are like, Mike. Get that that lifeblood. Right in their veins.
Come on in the water's warm. Yep. Okay, so yeah, one more. One more topic here. I'm kind of excited about this one this Oh.
Yeah. One more didn't mention on the was it the Do you really have that part in stock thing? Oh, yeah. All right. So because I'm trying to look for that intake manifold. By the way, anyone out there has a four barrel intake manifold for an AMC 360 engine. Well, you know, because I need one. Because it's a lot of stock until like two months, right? And I did, I mentioned I found one on eBay. It went for three times. MSRP. Oh, I did not buy it. Like I was like, oh, yeah, I'll pop on and probably get for just a little bit over MSRP be fine. It was when I popped on like an hour before the auction ended. It was two and a half X and I'm like nope, I can wait two months.
Yeah. All right. Well, now you just told people I'm not gonna pay that.
I already said I'd wait two months for someone wants to sell me one for MSRP I'll totally buy it. Take off hands.
See Parker's a bad salesman here. Just told you that you could get a ton more money. Yeah, we're gonna give it to me. So I get my project done. All right. All right. So this last topic is about Western Electric, which is a old tube manufacturer that has been around since the 1800s. And they are tubes back then though. They I mean, yeah, they're making they actually have a whole go to their website. They have a really cool like history. That's it's not animated. But there's a lot of really the the graphic designer who did it, I think did a great job. It has like a an old vibe to it that just works for what they're doing. So, in fact, they have have like a whole history up to today. And they manufacture one particular type of tube, which is the 300 B. It's a 40 watt Triaud output to. They also manufacture like CD players and a handful of other things at their shop, which is in Rossville, Georgia, which is literally like a street over from the border of Tennessee at Chattanooga. So they're right in that area of the country. The The reason I'm bringing them up is because I got a notification from them this week, that they're looking to expand and bring tube manufacturing, back to America, you know, outside of this 300 D tube, which, if you go look at the prices of their their vacuum tubes for a matched quad of these tubes, four of them, they went $3,000 I think I think in singles they're asking $800 apiece, yeah, so it's, it's rough. This, they're very much in the Hi Fi world. When I was looking at the website, and they're totally going that way with they're going that way, although they may be changing. And here's the thing. So new center, which is a company out of New York, New Center, which has also dva electro harmonics. They own a one of the largest tube factories in the world. Well, actually, at this point, it is the largest to factory in the world, Expo pole factory out in Saratov, Russia, which, if anyone's been keeping up with any news in the past month or so, that part of the world is in a little bit of turmoil. Right now. There's some stuff going on over there. And and about, about eight days ago, a export ban on goods from that area of the world was put in place, which included everything from this factory. So the entire world's supply of vacuum tubes minus a small one out in, gosh, where is it? It's JJ tubes. I think it's checklist vaakya, they, the entire world's supply just dried up all at once and everything went out of stock. There was a lot of panic buying that went on. So in fact, the owner of new sensor sent out so I'm just imagining, like that mean, it's like you panic buy toilet paper, I panic back tubes. Yeah. It was totally that. Yeah, no, I mean, it was like, Okay, I mean, these things are very, very niche. And there's one place in the world that really does like, honestly, most of the brands that you you would see, and they just completely dried up. So all of this dried up. And but luckily, about six days ago, so two days after the the export ban, new sensor got it resolved. However, all exports now come with the 35% Tariff that was imposed by the US. So just overnight, your prices went up by 35%, which, okay, under understandable, I understand why we're doing that. But it does have an impact on this particular industry that's going up. So back to Western Electric, Western Electric sent out a survey in effect, which if you go to Western electric.com/expand, they're looking to expand their offerings to a lot more of the more widely available tube offerings. So your 606 as you 66 is El ad fours to 30 fours to all the Jelly Bean tubes, all your jelly bean tubes. And that's got me really excited because I would love to purchase American made tubes. And Western Electric actually has some really cool technology that they're utilizing, mainly in the form of like laser welding, as opposed to just, you know, tack welding, and things like that, but but they they're, what they do, is actually has some measurable differences in my opinion. So I'm really excited about this. And what's funny is my wife and I were planning a trip out to Tennessee this summer, just for fun, we want to kind of go back to the South for a little bit and have a good time. And we're going to be right in this area. So I'm going to try to see if I can get a tour of Western Electric this summer, and maybe there'll be setting something up. Maybe they will already have some setup for manufacturing these new tubes. But regardless, if anyone is interested, please go to Western electric.com/expand and let them know, you know, are you a hobbyist? Are you an OEM? Are you whatever or you dealer and because they're looking to see is there a market out there for manufacturing in America? And frankly, if there's a 35% tariff on purchasing from Russia and you If we're talking about labor prices being different in America, if the if you know, prices being the same 35% from there or American prices, I'll buy American I would love to buy you know from right down the street effectively so if this interests you, please go check that out. And then we'll see maybe this summer maybe I can get some pictures from the inside and see what we get them on the podcast. Yeah, absolutely. I would love that. In fact, it would be really fun Parker if you flew out for a day and we we did a tour of the factory because I mean, they do more than just tubes there it'd be it'd be really cool to see Yeah, so perhaps that out so that was the macro engineering podcast. We're your hosts Burt Dolman and Steven Craig. Later everyone take it easy Thank you. Yes, you our listener for downloading and listening to our podcast. If you have a cool idea, project or topic, let Stephen I know Tweet us at McWrap or at Longhorn engineer or at macro fab. I always had that analog E and G I almost got you Steven, or emails that email@example.com Also check out our Slack channel. You can find it at macro app.com/slack and also our live stream which is Tuesdays at six o'clock, which I think is gonna change next week. Steven, so I thought you know that, but that's twitch.tv/macro Fab
Burning the fuses on a new microcontroller can be a daunting challenge! One false move and you have bricked your unobtainium MCUs and ruined a build.