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Blog for February

Posted on 2 March, 2022 at 11:55

Blog for February

Well here we are again folks, it must be the end of February so here is my report for the month named after the roman god of purification, Februa.

See, you get entertainment, engineering and culture when you visit my page!

So where has Ted been this month? As it happens, I can’t always reveal locations if I check in on social media due to commercial confidentiality. As I state elsewhere on my website I respect discretion and client confidentiality.

But, I can say that this month I have been to Braintree, Chalfont St Peter, Hitchin and Witney.

I wish that global warming we’ve been promised would hurry up and get here, my motorbike is staying firmly in the garage until we get back to decent temperatures and lose the rain. However, I still go out to the garage and start her up every so often and tell her what a beautiful girl she is.

Sometimes relationships need a little work.

Talking of which, I am constantly amazed at the amount of engineers that can’t use their multi-meter properly. When I do Maintenance or Fault-finding courses I ask the guys to bring in their meters and run through a simple set of exercises that involve taking readings.

And well, my oh my, what a useful exercise that is. Here is what I commonly find.

• Meter is dead – flat battery or just broken.

• Meter case/leads/probes broken – all in contravention of GS38.

• Owner does not have a clue how to use the probes safely.

• Owner does not know how to set up the meter.

• Owner does not know how to interpret readings.

Now, these are often service or maintenance engineers that are in-house or out on the road, so how they manage to effectively fault-find I can’t imagine, their days must be very long.

In my opinion, that instrument is your best friend. If it was a woman, how would you treat it? (remember “Swiss Tony”?) Well, you would get to know it, take it out for a meal, walk along the beach together holding hands. If you don’t show her any care and attention, when you expect her to give her all, you’re going to be disappointed.

And in my experience the truth isn’t that far behind. That instrument is your workmate, it’s your best buddy, it can get you out of all sorts of situations. It can help you solve problems nobody else could (because they couldn’t use their meter). It can be reason you weren’t made redundant or why you were promoted. It could even be the reason you get home to see the kids before their bedtime. As a service engineer or technician it really is your best friend. If you are not that familiar with your multimeter here’s what I suggest:

• Give your meter a clean-up and all-over check.

• Put new batteries in it.

• Check for damage to meter/leads/probes – if any are damaged, replace.

• Buy a “Cal-Card” or nail a few fixed resistors to a board to practice taking resistance readings with.

• Arrange a few fixed voltages to take readings of, for example, 110V transformer a 12V power supply.

• Also arrange AC and DC supplies so you master switching between supplies.

There are many more things you could do, but that will do for starters. Remember how animals learn to fight in the wild – they play. You need to do the same with your meter, play with it and learn by your mistakes. I would stress two things though:

• When measuring 230V, make sure you have moved the selector to AC Volts otherwise the meter might go bang (show me a sparky who hasn’t done it).

• Put the first probe on the Neutral or Earth to avoid 230V coming straight through the instrument and out the other side.

Without being too crude, the next time you whip it out, you need to know what to do with it.

I bought a new laptop a few months ago and I am horrified how Microsoft are peddling climate change. I don’t know why they have climbed on this nonsense, perhaps they feel they have to follow the latest trend. But they keep re-broadcasting weather stories from around the world that make it appear that the end is nigh.

This is exactly how to “Spin” a story.

What happens is in their news feed that keeps popping up, it shows headlines like “Flooding along coast line” When you read the story its in the Philippines. “Mud slides kill dozens” its in South America. And so on and so on, none of this is any different to our normal weather around the world. You must also remember that seasons vary between hemispheres. So if you go shopping for dramatic weather stories you’ll find plenty around the globe. Perhaps that is why news agencies perpetuate climate change stories – they haven’t got anything else in their tiny heads to report on.

Weather records only go back to the late 1700’s so we haven’t really got that much to go on apart from examining tree rings and ice deposits and drawing “opinions” from that “evidence”. I would also add that unless you are using the same instruments from the 1700s then you are bound to have a calibration issue. Us common or garden electricians have to have our instruments calibrated annually to avoid reading errors!

At the moment its all about selling anything with an ”Eco” label on it and bidding for funding research, and if you want funding, you know how to slant that evidence.

But just stop for a moment and think about this, the famous diarist Samuel Pepys noted on a visit to Deptford, London “the gardens are excellent; and here I first saw oranges grow: some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree, and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other”

The above extract was from Pepys diary dated Monday 25th June 1666.

Can you grow oranges outdoors in Deptford today?

World temperatures do fluctuate, its normal, it doesn’t mean we have to run and hide under the bed.

Remember 1999, when the “Experts” predicted planes crashing out of the sky when the digits rolled over to 2000? And the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 surely predicted the end of the world. Hippies were touring round schools in the 1970’s explaining how an ice-age was due within a decade. Need I go on…

So that’s my report for February done.

Happy trails folks and remember, never bring a knife to a gunfight.


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