Inside a Studio Strobe

I recently had the chance to open up a studio strobe and I just had to post this up. I’ve not seen so many “canisters of death” (capacitors) in a single device since my coilgun project. Each one is rated at 330v @ 800uF. With 16 capacitors, that’s a total of 688 joules of energy! Touching the wrong terminal will kill you several times over.

The bulk of the studio strobe is filled up with capacitors. These store energy required for the flash tube to fire. When the flash tube fires, the energy from the capacitors are discharged through the flash tube, creating the brief bright flash of light.

330v @ 800uF. 16 of them in total.

The controller board.

Warning: Never open up any flash units immediately after you have switched them off. The capacitors will still hold a lethal charge for as long as an hour. If you need to work on them immediately, discharge the capacitors by shorting them with a high wattage (5w) and high value resisitor (10k). Do not touch any of the bare terminals. You will get a nasty shock or even die. Continue reading

The Elephant

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn’t the same elephant.

This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming bullshit stories. Continue reading

Week Summary

Had a hectic but enjoyable weekend which involved flying back to Kuching for the Kuching festival. Managed to meet up with some friends whom I’ve not seen in a while so the journey was worthwhile. I had to take the jumpseat back to KL as well because flights were full.

As promised, here’s a video of the take off from KLIA as seen from the jumpseat of the Airbus A330. The takeoff roll was very bumpy but the moment it lifted off, the ride became incredibly smooth. The rest of the journey was mainly on autopilot.

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Kuching Festival. Sorry too lazy to lug a camera around.

Kuching festival was good. It’s the most happening place in Kuching in the month of August. Plenty of food to try and I wasn’t disappointed by the selection. It’s a good place to hang out with your friends.

I took apart the rotary telephone the other day because there was a problem with the cable. The copper in the cables had oxidized and wasn’t able to conduct current anymore, causing the phone to stop working. I didn’t want to replace the cable because it would make the phone less authentic. So since there were 4 wires in that cable, I just swap the corroded wire with a non-corroded one because only 2 wires are needed for the phone to work.

Note the AUG 1977 stamp on the side. This makes the phone 32 years old (2009). This phone is older than me!

As expected, this phone consists entirely of analog components and circuits. The bell itself is made of metal and a pair of electromagnets drive a hammer to strike the bells when a call is received. The rotary mechanism used to dial numbers is ingeniously designed. It has levers, gears and springs to sequence the number of pulses for each number. Watching the levers move and the gears turn and the electrical contacts rattle when the rotary dial was turned was immensely satisfying.

This phone was from Ipoh.

I bought this phone from an antique dealer from Amcorp Mall. At RM80, it was a bargain. I looked up “Pernas-Plessey” and discovered that it was a joint venture between Pernas and Plessey. Pernas, also known as Perbadanan Nasional, was established in November 1969. Pernas’s first chairman was Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. The Plessey Company was a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company, founded in 1917. The “3885″ might be the original phone number that this phone was connected to. Anyways I put it back together after swapping the wires and it’s now working again back home in Kuching. It’s always nice to hear the bells when the phone rings.

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3 KFC barrels and tons of ketchup. From front to back: Marzuki, Badri, Yunus, Iru and Rahim.

2 nights ago, we had a small “makan” (eat) because our 3 months stint at KLIA ASU was coming to an end. We bought 3 KFC barrels (63 pieces) to treat the ASU Shift D guys because they have helped and taught us so many things throughout the 3 months we were there and they made us feel very welcome. Our stay there was the least to say highly enjoyable. So much so that I didn’t want to take any leave because I was really looking forward to go to work. It’s something that I won’t forget for a very long time to come.

Haven’t had such a random post for sometime. I’ve shifted all my randomness to my Twitter just to keep this place clean. I have 3 lens reviews coming up so stay tuned! Continue reading