I just received an email from my chum Matt Pulzer, who is the editor and publisher of Practical Electronics, which is the UK’s premier computer, electronics, and maker hobbyist magazine. In this email, Matt spake as follows:
I can’t remember if I ever sent you a pic of my favorite (rather dusty) meter — doesn’t everyone have a favorite dusty meter?
I think it’s from an old railway signaling / points control system and is essentially binary — ON/OFF.
However, it also has a third position called ‘WRONG,’ presumably to indicate a detected system fault.
Somehow the use of the word ‘WRONG’ seems to resonate with the troubleshooting associated with every digital circuit I’ve ever built.
It’s almost as if there is an element of sarcastic condescension and tut-tutting from the meter. Its terse and somewhat unhelpful ‘WRONG’ is a wagging finger with which it says, with a deep sigh: “Try again, if you really must. The output should be ON or OFF, but you’ve managed neither; well done, you’ve achieved the WRONG output from a choice of just two possibilities. Perhaps you’d have better luck with a potential divider or LEGO.”
Funnily enough, this reminded me that somewhere here in my office I have a monster meter that was a gift from a guy called Ian who hails from Down Under — we’re talking about an antique artifact that’s about 9” in diameter presented in a cast-iron case that weights around 15 lbs. I always had it in mind to use this bodacious beauty as the centerpiece for some sort of cunning steampunk-inspired creation, but I’m drawing a blank as to what that creation could be, so any ideas you have would be very gratefully received.