Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for December (2018)

Hello campers, I bet you’ve been dribbling in anticipation of my December report so lets plunge straight in.

After a quite a busy run up to December I was thankful for a slow down in training assignments so that gave me time to catch up with admin and sort out my workshop etc. I also managed to knock up a few training aids I’d been hankering after for a while. One was an old motor out of a washing machine with wires for the Field and Armature hanging out the side that I was able to put in a terminal block and demonstrate how to reverse a Universal Motor (reverse either Field or Arm but not both). I can also use this on a DC supply to show how it gets its name. The other is a swinging arm that can carry current along it while suspended in a magnetic field (from a strong permanent magnet). The bar will of course move according to current flow/field and is a perfect demonstration of “Fleming’s Hand Rules”.

With regard to fault-finding, how about this: The plasma TV in our conservatory started playing up recently so Ted decided to have a go at sorting it out. The symptoms were intermittent and included, pixelated view of “Yesterday” channel, loss of remote control response and suddenly starting to hunt for an input between “PC”, “Ext” and “TV”. For loss of remote control, I figured could be just a faulty remote. For the other two conditions I had a feeling that a poor aerial connection may be to blame so in I went and manufactured a new aerial lead – no change. Re-terminated the aerial socket outlet – no change. Metered from the socket to aerial – all ok. Now this is where it gets interesting, I brought down a TV from the attic and plugged it in, guess what? – same symptoms! Hmm. So I check the aerial connections again. Replace the leads, again. Tried wrapping the leads round magnets to avoid any RF interference. No change. In the end started to contemplate a séance but got in a temper, packed away my tools and turned the light off to storm out– and it all started working perfectly, even the remote! By trial and error I went on to establish that one of the CFL lamps in the conservatory was to blame. A faulty component must have been acting as a low-power “oscillator/jammer”. It just goes to show how easy it is to get caught out.

For January, I have training booked in for Melton Mowbray (always makes me think of pork pies), Havant, Poole, Caerphilly and Lingfield in Surrey. I even have a few days on my doorstep in Witney.

There is of course a lot of interest in 18th Edition training at the moment but Maintenance and Service training is going through the ceiling (hence the electro-magnetic training aids). I recently had a training assignment at a German company that manufactures motors to train their staff. Talk about a tough gig. I was a bit apprehensive but I seem to have ticked all the boxes as I have been booked for two further courses there!

Have to start thinking about holidays soon, I really hate this time of year from now until April it’s either dull, freezing cold or precipitating down (I’m sure I’ve got that SAD wotsits). So I really do need to get down to Spain for a bit of therapy.

Anyway, time to crack on. If you watch NCIS you will have heard of “Gibbs Rules” well here’s a few of “Ted’s Rules”:

#1 Be reliable.

#5 Be kind, but don’t be a schmuck.

#7 Don’t do anything you don’t want to.

#9 Don’t mix with dickheads, liars and piss-takers (even if they are related).


Adios mi Amigos and Amigas, catch you on the flip side.


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