(Topic ID: 249534)

SOLVED. Crazy wired board found at work. What is it?


By woody24

6 months ago



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  • 38 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Thermionic
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 6 months ago

While looking for something in a storage room in the basement at work, I saw this board. No idea what it is. Could be artwork as my bosses husband is an architect and has created several mechanical looking pieces of art. But all the ones I've seen have been three dimensional, not flat like this.

Any clue what it is? Looks very cool. I also posted this to the Facebook Pinball enthusiast group, but figured I'd bring here.

*EDIT* Here's what it is. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/crazy-wired-board-found-at-work#post-5156239

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#4 6 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Holy shit that is amazing.

HA! I know, right!

Monday I took one photo of it but didn't have time to really look at it. Then later I really began to study it, and was like, WTF is this? And, how long did this take to do?

There's a grid system written on the board, so there was a plan for where all the pieces go. But the amount of time it must have taken to do? I can't even imagine. I may have to ask my boss, or at least her husband if they know what it is. The name on the back isn't his name.

#5 6 months ago

Looks like something my grandfather would have mocked up when he was working for Wurlitzer.

#6 6 months ago

Looks like a video board of some sort. With those pots, maybe it was to fade one video down and fade another in without having to make a hard cut? Would that make any sense in the context of your employment?

#7 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

HA! I know, right!
Monday I took one photo of it but didn't have time to really look at it. Then later I really began to study it, and was like, WTF is this? And, how long did this take to do?
There's a grid system written on the board, so there was a plan for where all the pieces go. But the amount of time it must have taken to do? I can't even imagine. I may have to ask my boss, or at least her husband if they know what it is. The name on the back isn't his name.

So fascinating! Can you read any of the numbers on the chips, or are they all covered by a sticker?

#8 6 months ago
Quoted from drsfmd:

Looks like a video board of some sort. With those pots, maybe it was to fade one video down and fade another in without having to make a hard cut? Would that make any sense in the context of your employment?

Yes, but no. I work at an Ad Agency. I think we started about 15 years ago. This looks older than that, but I'm also sure they didn't do video when they started.

I mention the tie to the architect husband, because he has some old architect building models stored in that room too.

#9 6 months ago

it's a time machine.

#10 6 months ago
Quoted from drsfmd:

Looks like a video board of some sort. With those pots, maybe it was to fade one video down and fade another in without having to make a hard cut? Would that make any sense in the context of your employment?

They do look like BNC connectors.

Pretty neat board though!

#11 6 months ago

Post this on Reddit to cast a wider net. Link to it here so we can follow along. High school or college electronics project perhaps? It reminds me of the circuit board Doc Brown built for Marty to get him back to the future.

#12 6 months ago

99.99% sure this was an "art" attempt.
It might have had also a purpose to go with it's art status (like a board montage which would disturb antenna signal and then display them on a tv to display that the power of tv can easily be manipulated by who ever has the knowledge and means)

#13 6 months ago
Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

They do look like BNC connectors.
Pretty neat board though!

BNC for video or network use?

#14 6 months ago

Nope. It's a 455KC 10.7MHz Signal Injector for tracing/troubleshooting old audio equipment and radios.

-Note the marking along the edge for 10.7 MHz. The other various switches and outputs match up with audio signals as well.


Warning, this guys voice will put you to sleep!

Is it for sale?

#15 6 months ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

Nope. It's a 455KC 10.7MHz Signal Injector for tracing/troubleshooting old audio equipment and radios.

Exactly what I was going to say. Dad was a ham radio operator. Looked like testing equipment with the bnc connectors

#16 6 months ago

Googling around shows that 10.7Mhz is also a common intermediate frequency for FM receivers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate_frequency

Fascinating

-1
#17 6 months ago

I second the suggestion to put it on Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/whatisthisthing/

Radio equipment I've seen and worked with does not have so many ICs in it. Could be hybrid (partly digital), maybe a signal scrambler or something like that.

#19 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

I may have to ask my boss, or at least her husband if they know what it is. The name on the back isn't his name.

You didn't ask?

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from poppapin:

You didn't ask?

They were away this week. The husband has an office in our building, but is there maybe once or twice a month. I'll have to catch him when he's in.

#21 6 months ago

My vote is some kind of signal combiner. Either video overlay or something to do with audio transmission or reception.

#22 6 months ago

I'll need to see a high quality scan of the schematic from (for example) Staples ($2) or Kinkos ($6)....

#23 6 months ago

SOLVED! Bosses husband was in, so I asked him. I guess my bosses brother used to work for RCA and this is a prototype board for an integrated circuit. Probably around 40 years old.

#24 6 months ago

I knew it wasn't artwork, but the person that put it together was an evil genius. I am sure it was drawn out on paper somewhere, but imagine trying to put that together. Great piece of history there and a good example of what the human mind and body is capable of.

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from Manimal:

I knew it wasn't artwork, but the person that put it together was an evil genius. I am sure it was drawn out on paper somewhere, but imagine trying to put that together. Great piece of history there and a good example of what the human mind and body is capable of.

Yeah. Figured it had to have been meticulously planned out. He said that he's planned on framing it, but just hadn't gotten around to it. Kinda cool thinking that I may have had an electronic device with a piece inside that started from that thing.

#26 6 months ago

That is a prototype of the board that replaced foil hats to keep aliens from reading our thoughts.

The current board resembles a pocket protector.

Steve (in Las Vegas)

#27 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

SOLVED! Bosses husband was in, so I asked him. I guess my bosses brother used to work for RCA and this is a prototype board for an integrated circuit. Probably around 40 years old.

Very cool! Although ICs are now ubiquitous and haven’t really been “novel” since the 70s, it’s still gives a sense of wonder to see a tangible example of the scale - all that complexity was destined to be shrunk down to 2-3 square mm, still amazing!

In that vein, I just finished building the kit below (kabtronics.com). It is a simple digital clock, but is designed with discrete diode/transistor circuits; the only modern part is the MOSFET in the nixie supply, otherwise this thing could have been built in the 60s more or less as-is. It ships with an unfinished wood plaque for mounting, but I think I am going to put it into a shadowbox and perhaps try to do some form of Pinstadium-style lighting to highlight the board in a dark room. (I highly recommend the kit - outstanding build manual, excellent parts/PCB quality, and great soldering practice.)

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#28 6 months ago
Quoted from Thermionic:

a simple digital clock, but is designed with discrete diode/transistor circuits; the only modern part is the MOSFET in the nixie supply

That's pretty cool! Are those IN-17's? I've got a bag full of them and I was once toying with the idea of building something similar from scratch since I couldn't find any nixie driver chips... but then I decided I'm lazy and would probably never finish it lol

#29 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

Yeah. Figured it had to have been meticulously planned out. He said that he's planned on framing it, but just hadn't gotten around to it. Kinda cool thinking that I may have had an electronic device with a piece inside that started from that thing.

This needs a Really Nice Frame.
Get it mounted for him. Perhaps he will give it to you later.

#30 6 months ago

With all that board's signal processing components, and link to RCA prototyping in the era, I wonder if that board is related to RCA's long-delayed and doomed-on-release CED (video LP record player) format? You should try to find out. As far as "technologies that destroyed their companies" go, CED is rather infamous. I've always wanted to see one just for the novelty of it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance_Electronic_Disc

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/flashback-1981-rca-introduces-ced-‘contact’-videodisc-player

#31 6 months ago

I was messing around with google, trying combinations of "Floyd Tolle" and RCA, and ran across this gentleman:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/floydtoole/

I wonder if the name on the back is a misspelling of this guy's name? Maybe you should reach out to him and see if he recognizes anything about it or the part number on the back?

#32 6 months ago

That is dead bug style at it's finest!!

Very cool thanks for sharing!!

There is a system 80reset board I like too but that's a different funny story this is really a nice piece.

#33 6 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

I was messing around with google, trying combinations of "Floyd Tolle" and RCA, and ran across this gentleman:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/floydtoole/
I wonder if the name on the back is a misspelling of this guy's name? Maybe you should reach out to him and see if he recognizes anything about it or the part number on the back?

Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm located in Indianapolis and RCA had a presence here in Indy at one point, so my guess is that it came from here. Don't see anything connecting that guy to Indy. As a side note, I do believe RCA is now owned by Klipsch, which is also located here in Indy.

#34 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm located in Indianapolis and RCA had a presence here in Indy at one point, so my guess is that it came from here. Don't see anything connecting that guy to Indy. As a side note, I do believe RCA is now owned by Klipsch, which is also located here in Indy.

I was more wondering if someone from RCA got a design from him or something, and in an effort to document it, they wrote his name down how they thought it was spelled. It's a reach, I know, was just surprised to sound someone very into audio with a very similar name.

#35 6 months ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

was just surprised to sound someone very into audio with a very similar name.

True.

Would be interested about the whole history of it. I really didn't want to push it since it is in a storage room downstairs in room that I really have to purpose being in. And not even sure if they even know the whole history. I thought he said it was gifted to him from his wifes brother who worked at RCA. But she's probably in her later 40's, and this seems like it would have had to have been made by someone older than that for a piece that old. Not sure of her maiden name. So maybe the brother worked at RCA but he wasn't the one who made it?

#36 6 months ago
Quoted from woody24:

True.
Would be interested about the whole history of it. I really didn't want to push it since it is in a storage room downstairs in room that I really have to purpose being in. And not even sure if they even know the whole history. I thought he said it was gifted to him from his wifes brother who worked at RCA. But she's probably in her later 40's, and this seems like it would have had to have been made by someone older than that for a piece that old. Not sure of her maiden name. So maybe the brother worked at RCA but he wasn't the one who made it?

May it remain a mysterious conversation piece forever. Seriously, that thing belongs in a coffee table or in a nice frame on the wall.

#37 6 months ago

We had something similar (framed and all) in the lobby at the Rockwell Semiconductor Products Division offices and plant on Jamboree Road in Newport Beach. The plant primarily fabricated wafers for their 6500 series of IC's. Yes, these included the ones used in Gottlieb pinball machines.

The division was sold off and the plant is now owned by Jazz Semiconductors.

#38 6 months ago
Quoted from 76brian:

That's pretty cool! Are those IN-17's? I've got a bag full of them and I was once toying with the idea of building something similar from scratch since I couldn't find any nixie driver chips... but then I decided I'm lazy and would probably never finish it lol

Those are IN-12s, soon to be replaced by a set of German ZM1100 I have on order. There is nothing wrong with IN-12s, but I have a boatload of them and have built a few other clocks with them, so I wanted to try something more rare and “exotic”.

A source for driver chips, high-voltage NPN and PNP transistors for building discrete driver circuits, and power MOSFETs for HV boost converter circuits:

https://www.pvelectronics.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4_7

(Excellent seller, with fantastic kits that look professional and “high-end” as finished products and have a lot of neat features.)

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