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Heathkit.......Anyone "Old" enough to remember

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by BCGray, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    I was E-mailing prometheos, and we were reminiscing about our past, and the way we got introduced to "Electronics" and low and behold the name "Heathkit" came up. Hey anyone out there old enough to remember Heathkit in it original 50's kit era (the company still exists, but is now a seller of educational only kits

    We can call them "Oldzimers Heathkit Tales" I'll leave mine for later;)
  2. augiedoggie

    augiedoggie The Canadian Loon - LocoAugie (R.I.P. 2012)

    I never got to build a kit but I remember drooling over the ads in electronics magazines and day dreamed in class. *sigh*
  3. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    Yeah, I remember the Heathkits from Ye Olde 60's-70's era. 50's was a bit before, even my time.[​IMG]

    Heathkit Virtual Museum
  4. Calltaker

    Calltaker MajorGeek

    My Parents were into Amateur Radio, I remember a few Heathkit sets laying around.... I also seem to remember a comic strip by that name......

  5. musksnipe

    musksnipe Guest

    I remember Heathkits. I had a buddy who had a stereo dual-amp that could be run as two seperate amps or connected together to supply twice the power. We all tried to buy stereo equipment to match or better that, but he had the best deal price wise. This was in 1973 when stereos was the next thing you bought after your car. (or before)
    Didn't Radio Shack also carry Heathkit back in the day? I seem to remember them there. But things get hazy when I think that far back. LOL
  6. sibeer

    sibeer MajorGeek

    My Dad was into those. I think they were available at RadioShack.
  7. Natakel

    Natakel Guest

    Yeppers, they were. I built an AM/FM radio, and a Multi-meter. This was back in the early to mid 70's. Great fun!
  8. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

  9. ItsWendy

    ItsWendy MajorGeek

    I used to go to a Heathkit store in the early 80's. I've owned more than one kit, a lot of them bought assembles, just so I could have the test equipments (such as a O'scope)

    So how many people still dabble in real electronics nowdays on this site. I'm talking about build your own, if not designing, with resistors, capacitors, bipolar transistors, fets, mosfets, you name it?

    I have to admit I still think in terms of the old 7400 family, since that is where I cut my teeth.
  10. BluesMan

    BluesMan Sgt. Snot Bubble

    Sounds alot like my current amp project


  11. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    God BluesMan does that one bring back some memories, along with "Tube Testers" in your local Pharmacy/Drug Stores, when a Chocolate Bar was a shiny dime. Thanks BluesMan

    I assembled three "Heathkits" back in the Late Fifties/Early Sixties. First was their "All Transistor" Radio (Medium Power T's cost $75 CDN in the Late Fifties/Early Sixties) their Oscilloscope (Which was there most popular seller) and a "Cabinet" Stereo/TV for my folks. Had to repair the later for my sister back in the 80's, and she had lost the Manuals wrote to Heathkit and they sent me copies and a list of parts that they still carried some twenty years later.
  12. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    I built my first radio when I was about five. It was just a diode, a resistor, a coil, and a variable capacitor for tuning, and an ear plug. Hey, it worked - and didn't even need batteries, and all in a matchbox. Everyone thought that was pretty "gee-whiz" in those days, especially when it was built by a five year old, LoL! ;)

    Later on, when I was older, I collected all the old T.V.s and valves, and made a few quid on the side repairing T.V.s and such, since that was mainly what used to go wrong.

    Had some ‘300-in-One’ electronic project kit that I used to design stuff with. (I still have it in storage, someplace).
  13. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    Don't know if you had them in Australia Phantom, but here in North America a real big hit in the early Fifties was a "Crystal" radio that was designed like a "Rocket". You use to tune it by pulling the Nose Cone up or down, and I believe the ear plug plugged into the base, and yea no Batteries.................Oh my god do you guys remember those "Old" leaky batteries, with "Paper Wrappings"
  14. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    Well, I was in the U.K. at the time, but I don't remember the rocket radios (which I would have loved, if there any about!).

    Between my electronics, and explosives and chemistry and microscopes and telescopes, books, etc., I kept busy. I still do, eh. ;)

    I was a bit of a geek kid, can ya tell? - LoL! Guess I still am. :eek:

    Now, those old batteries were very useful - for a few purposes. ((You'll 'prolly think this is a little strange, but I'll 'share', anyway). You get hold of some old scissors, the batteries, and some pliers. Rip the zinc off. (This can be mixed with acid to make hydrogen, or powdered and mixed with sulphur (nicked from the garden shed), to make a rocket propulsion fuel. The black stuff is Manganese Dioxide. This can be mixed with Hydrogen Peroxide ('procured from the medical cabinet), and one can make Oxygen gas - good for some serious burning experiments. The carbon rods from the centre of the batteries are handy too, for a few good experiments. Like sharpen the ends with a pencil sharpener, apply current across them (with some batteries that do work. And you have a dandy-dandy electrical arc lamp. Do it in some oxygen generated as per above - and "Oooh!! bright! Also, take two carbon rods, connect them to some working batteries; put them in water; stick a test tube over each end (From my mandatory chemistry set(s)), And viola!, we have hydrogen and Oxygen gas., in the ratio of 2:1 (H2O).

    I could go on forever. Guess I really am still a geek-kid. :eek:
  15. ItsWendy

    ItsWendy MajorGeek

    I liked the saltpeter and sugar mix myself.

    So does anyone know of any good forums similar to this one for electronics and experimenters?
  16. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    Found this Phantom link http://www.tompolk.com/radios/rocket.html


    Man that brings back memories of lying under the covers at night listening to "WolfMan Jack" out of L.A. on my "Rocket Radio", the "Red Clip" was your Antenna
  17. ItsWendy

    ItsWendy MajorGeek

    It occurs to me that came out very badly, you light the mixture (50/50) and burn it, it burns with a brilliant pink flame. :eek:

    What is the manufacturers logo on the box of that rocket radio?
  18. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    @Bill:- Yep, nice, pink Potassium flame. I was just thinking of some of the many used I had for dud batteries.

    @B.C.:- Now that you mention it. I think there was some kind of 'Sputnik' crystal radio out. Well, I remember the Sputnik and Space Bar ice creams, lol.
  19. Scousetechie

    Scousetechie Specialist

    I'm sure I remember the Heathkit stuff being advertised in a magazine in the UK called Practical Wireless back in the 60s
  20. Natakel

    Natakel Guest

    Bluesmans' post reminded me of long past projects - nice pic!!

    Anyone remember the mantra for the color code of resistors? It isn't PC right now . . . lol (though, the one girl in my class didn't have a problem with it . . . but that was the '70's . . . )

    B B R O Y G B V G W
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

    My "electronics" teacher was an industrial arts major stuck in a venue he had little knowledge of and no interest in. I told him of this simple memory aid. It was imparted to me by my elder brother who learned it in the army. It's a good system apparently, since I still remember it almost 30 years later.

    Makes me want to build something from the ground up . . .
  21. ItsWendy

    ItsWendy MajorGeek

    Bad Boy Ravished Our Young Girls, But Violet Gave Willingly.

    B - Black - 0
    B - Brown -1
    R - Red - 2
    O - Orange - 3
    Y - Yellow - 4
    G - Green - 5
    B - Blue - 6
    V - Violet - 7
    G - Grey - 8
    W - White - 9

    3 digits
    Number Number X 10 ^ Number

    Never cared for political correctness, this mnumonic must be at least 70 years old.
  22. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    When I was a young lad we use to Titter over that mnemonic, but boy did it stick.............Oh and PS there was a slightly naughty version of it as well:eek:LOL

    Oh and for those that haven't dabbled in Electronics that mnemonic and the numbers Bill posted are the color codes on resistors and the values so "Brown", "Red" and "Yellow" on the resistor would mean "1","2", "0000" = 120,000 Ohms or 120 Kohms of resisitance a handy link if you want to play with it is http://www.dannyg.com/examples/res2/resistor.htm
  23. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    Speaking of early electronics. If you can remember what a 'Cat's Whisker' (used) to be used for (besides the obvious animal term), then you really are "older than dirt", LoL!
  24. BCGray

    BCGray Guest

    Dang it Phantom now everyone knows that......................Oh yea thats right I am "Older than Dirt":eek::D
  25. ItsWendy

    ItsWendy MajorGeek

    Guilty as charged.
  26. Natakel

    Natakel Guest

    As an extension to that memory aid, I recall another one I also learned from my brother - I've managed to retain this one for decades also . . .

    Black - It's a "no" color, a zero

    Brown - 'brow-one'

    Red - Two red lips

    Orange - Orange tree

    Yellow - Yell for help

    Green - a five dollar bill is green

    Blue - Blue and sick

    Violet - Violet heaven

    Gray - Great

    White - White wine

    I used to think the refrain for green was the weakest of them all . . . but I still remember it after all these years.

    I surmise this was a companion to the 'Bad Boys' refrain in the event the three 'B's and two 'G's confused someone. At any rate my brother learned both in tech school.
  27. Phantom

    Phantom Brigadier Britches

    Also, don't forget the tolerance colour code band (gold=5%; silver=10%; none = none).

    Then there are four or five band colour codes, and a numerical code, of course.


    4-digit numerical code:

    2741F = 274*10 = 2740 ohms (2.74K) with a tolerance of 1%

    3320F = 332*1 = 332 ohms, with a tolerance of 1%

    1001G = 100*10 = 1000 ohms (1.00K) with a tolerance of 2%
  28. mag00

    mag00 Sergeant

    I ran accross a heathkit vom not too long ago and waxed nostalgic. Never did one, but my brother did quite a few.

    I remember high school getting into a bit of trouble and instead of detention opted for the servant of the science/chemstry lab.

    Learned all my resister codes by heart as my pennance was sorting resisters after the geeks took apart their projects.

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