Monday, February 28, 2011

Digital Car Park

Digital technology gone mad!!

On the main road where I live is a community of shops, stores, library and health centre. There has always been a large car park at the front of the stores of Netto and Home Bargains. The car park is never full and is used by many to park while they go to the post office or health centre. For years there has never been any problems...
Then Netto that owns the car park, but managed by a parking company decides that they can make a bit of money here by using the digital technology.
They mount high resolution, number plate recongnition camera's and put up new signs with small print that you need a microscope to read. Oh...and they don't tell the customers!!

Result: Many people recieving fines of £80 because they have stayed longer than 1 hour...all caught, timed and photographed and automated fine sent out through number plate recognition. So people stop going to the stores and are VERY upset!

So how does it work?
Two cameras working together, one points at the entrance, the other at the exit to the car park! Oh and another can't return within 2 hours or it will get you again!

Well done Netto and the parking management company!! What good community spirit you have!
It is sooo pleasing to hear that Netto will soon shut down and be replaced by Morrisons, lets hope Morrisons have a bit more common sense and community spirit!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's a Soldering Iron?

"Another Radio man who knows the right end of a soldering iron, what a valve is and was around to see Neil Armstrong take 'one small step"

Thank you John...another Analogue Native!

This made me think... How many people now know what a soldering iron is and what it is used for? I still have a soldering iron, but don't use it as much as I would like to. I still have my skills with the soldering iron and can easily solder wires and PC boards without thinking about it even though I have never done it for years! It's like riding a never forget how to do it!

My favourite soldering iron is the Antex...light and coloured favourite colour!

I remember in 1968 when my Dad bought me a soldering iron for the first time from 'Modern Radio' in Bolton. I was only 14 years old, but I learned at an early age!

Yes..I certainly know the right end of of a soldering iron and using it is a valuable skill, sadly, this has been lost now to the young!

Such a shame that young people today don't know how to use a screwdriver, drill a hole, strip a piece of wire or even solder!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cobden Mill

Cobden Mill was one of many cotton spinning and weaving mills in Bolton, the inside is traditional and easy to imagine the hundreds of looms that must have been running there in the past.
Since the days Telefusion (we used to nickname it 'Teleconfusion') Cobden Mill in Farnworth has been used for other purposes. Now it has a large furniture and bed store, but the inside of the building is still the same. I went back to take some photos.

The old cotton mill is very large with 5 floors, most of it empty now. The roof of the building used to have lots of TV aerials and sometimes I had to go onto the roof and check the aerials. I was an apprentice don't forget...I got all the s**t jobs! There is a lift in there, but it scared me to death, so I never used it.

Telefusion owned three floors of the mill. The ground floor was the stores and loading bays. Stuff was sent out to shops in wagons all over the country including the shops in Northern Ireland. On the first floor was the service department, this was where I worked most of the time. Then on the third floor was a warehouse which housed hundreds of televisions waiting to be refurbished.

At the front of the building there is a small lodge, this provided water to the sprinkler system in the building. Now it is owned by Deane Fishing Club and it is currently airating the water with a huge pump in the middle.

I enjoyed working here, even though the building was horrible...I will never forget my toast and cheese in the canteen at break time...mmm!


Telefusion Head Office in Blackpool.

Gosh! I found a booklet that was given to me back in 1970 when I started working as an apprentice electronic engineer with Telefusion Ltd. I worked at Cobden Mill in Farnworth, this was the main service centre for refurbishing televisions. In my first year I was responsible for repairing and aligning UHF Tuner units. This involved using some quite suffisticated analogue equipment such as the UHF Sweep Generator and oscilloscopes to display the response curves of the tuner units. (Analogue Heaven!)

I worked for Telefusion for almost twenty years. I moved to the Heywood base and then to Whitefield working at the TAM (Television Audio Maintenance) service centre.

Telefusion's demise came around 1987 when Visionhire took over the company and asset stripped everything, closing down most of the Telefusion stores.

An end of an era!

Had some real good times at Telefusion, lots of friends and a nice working atmosphere!