Electronics Classes and Some History

in Senior School News

During ECP 2017, before Mr Guidice commenced at Girton, students looked at a quick overview of the key transformative developments in electronics.

The inventions and innovations of Thomas Edison and many other groundbreakers have transformed our way of life profoundly and this is often taken for granted. Valves, transistors and IC’s have brought on the electronics and telecommunications revolution from the electric light globe, telephone and radio then on to sound recording, television and computers then the telecommunications and Internet Age and our current state of “networked intelligence” and Ai profoundly affecting us.

Authoritative texts say the single most transformative invention impacting human existence in the last century has been the invention of the Integrated Circuit Chip. It brought on miniaturisation and an array of fabulous consumer goods and services that we enjoy today.

During ECP Mr Phillips brought in a working 1948 Astor Radiogram with vintage bakelite and vinyl records. Students were fascinated. This was a wedding present for his parents and the centre of home entertainment and broadcast information during mid last century and just before television arrived. This device could receive radio station broadcasts of news, music and radio plays from BBC London, Radio Luxembourg Europe and Moscow using its shortwave frequency bands as well as Australian radio. Students were fascinated to hear a local AM station still operating ie Gold Central Victoria on the 1071 AM frequency band broadcasting daily race meetings.

Valve technology was used in early radio, military communications, television and consumer goods. It is still used today by the legendary brands of VOX, Marshall and Fender in their contemporary electric guitar amplification products widely used by modern musicians who are pushing innovation.

An Australian custom designed and built valve guitar amplifier from DB Concert sound was shown demonstrating that valves are still used today. The original innovative Australian Playmaster guitar amplifier circuitry was modified and built by Geelong audio engineer legends Ray Calaby, Bill Dart and Alan Kelly. Mr Bill Dart was well respected and attended the same primary school as Mr Phillips and was a key founder of DB Concert Sound Australia. He went on to mix front of house live sound for legendary touring and recording Australian bands Goanna, Dragon and Hunters and Collectors as well as providing technical support servicing, modifying designing the first double 4 way PA systems in the country.

Click on the link below to view a video where we see further aspects of the class that day and the students at work practising their soldering techniques to build foundation skills and learn safety rules when using hand tools.

These eye-hand coordinated precision skills and handling are fundamental for their technical learning in preparation for robotics, design, programming and collaboration. It is also key preparation for their future construction activities and assessments.