I proudly thank two of my new friends,
 Dan from Lake City Florida, and Derek Kennedy, 
for they help with the English in this Newbies Section

Success in Life is measured by HOW GREEN is your Front Yard
I and Bill Gates were born in the same year of 1955. Around 1975 we started two different companies, Bill started Microsoft in USA, I started MicroLogic in Brazil. For some reason the word "micro" was fashion at that time, microchips, microprocessors, etc.  Bill believed in his company, he got investors, he put brains to work, he made lots of contacts, he worked hard and under the capitalism umbrela he succeeded very well.  I also believed in my company but I got no investors, I also put some brains to work, but I was unable to make lots of contacts, I also worked very hard, but Brazil always had expensive Import dutties, taxes and restrictions for technology components, so my company went down the ramp and broke 2 years later (I was also working to IBM at that time).  Microsoft made Mr. Gates the richest man on Earth.  I kept working to IBM for more 18 years after that, then moved to USA and started UST Research Inc.    Conclusion;  Today I am fighting the front yard grass problems, it is totally dry with Florida's sandy soil and terrible summer, now approaching winter makes everything worse, Orange County allows me to turn on irrigation only twice a week. Mr. Gates probably have no idea how big is his front yard, or what kind of grass is there, or perhaps he doesn't have any water restrictions.. For sure he knows the yard is greenish as it can be, does he?  Hey Bill, can I borrow the service of the landscape company who takes care of your yard? for free? no money, sorry.


Disclaimming Everything:

I am not here to attempt to educate anybody, to appear superior to anyone, to imply that I know more than others, or to say that other people are imbeciles or anything else.  I respect everyone!!! The goal of developing this page is to transfer some of the knowledge I have acquired through years of experience, most of which was acquired during the night, while I should have been resting as normal people do.  

We are ALL Newbies!!!

I started with electronics when I was 15 years old, and it was a marvelous world when I discovered it. It just exploded inside my brain as a bright flash opening new and fantastic ways to understand how and where those very few guys with a brilliant and gifted mind could develop things and create spectacular machines from raw metal and sand.

This marvelous world has changed, and changed very quickly. During the last 10 years it has changed faster than any human
brain can follow. It is just impossible to keep up... so many new things, new chips, new machines.  The adventure of the Internet shows a bright and spectacular new world of information and sharing knowledge.  I believe that today, with the use of the Internet, a person can acquire as much experience and information, about everything, in just 3 years. The equivalent of 50 years of life without it.   I guess that today you can acquire more information in a 30 minutes at the Internet, than probably all the information a person would receive during all his life in the beginning of the 20th Century.

Everything exists in terms of technology, not because some gifted brain was able to invent it, but because someone else saw oportunities in that invention.  This has a name,and its name is "creativity". Without it we are just dumb animals!!!

I don't like to discuss religion, but if God gave us intelligence and a brain to think, He made it because He wanted us to USE it in the best way to allow us to survive and keep going in the universe. It was using technology that proved that the Earth was not flat and was not the center of the universe. It allowed us to understand diseases and viri (some spell it viruses), and create vaccines to protect us against them.  I truely believe God gives us a little push and expects us to learn how to keep going. Anything less would be a demonstration of ignorance and a tremendous waste of God's effort.  You do it with your kids; You give them life, you teach them, you feed them, you show them how to walk, run, work, respect others and so on, but you expect them to learn and go ahead by themselves!  You would be very proud to see them succeed in life.  For sure you wouldn't like to see your kids expecting YOU to do things for them all the time!   Am I wrong???

In 2003 I turned 48 years old. And today I learned lots of new things
over the Internet, about my life and my family.  I will be learning new things up to my last days in this world. The learning experience is one of the most precious things our Creator gave us,  and it would be a crime and a shame not to execise it.  Different from technology our memory is totally free and very, very big.  Think about it!

I have learned more in the last 10 years  than in all previous years of my life. Technology helped me a lot even with all the spamming trash around. sometimes you can learn much from the trash.
So today, here, you are learning something new, and it does not matter how much you know about other things. You can always learn something new... even from a two years old newspaper.

We need to be pure, simple and modest to admit that we
need to learn how to learn.  Lots of people just feel ashamed because they do not know something. As it would be an obligation to know everything.  Everything we are obliged to know we were born with. The other things we could decide to learn or not, but it is better to learn as much as possible.

We are ALL NEWBIES, mainly for all the things that we
haven't see yet.  The World is still a marvelous place. Every time I see a new chip being released in the market, I look at it with fascination, and I ask myself... How far will it go in the next 50 years?  in the next 1000 years?  It is totally impossible for me to comprehend!  Can you?

Thank you for being my reader, God bless you.
I dedicate this section to my kids André, Aline, Izabella and Willy.

Wagner J. Lipnharski  - wagner@ustr.net
              Universal Solution Technology Research Inc.
              Orlando, Florida


"Energy can not be destroyed or created, it can only be transformed."
"The most valuable thing in all the universe is knowledge."
"The most important part of knowledge, is to learn how to use it."
"Propagating knowledge is also propagating the human species, forever."


The best way to describe something you can't see, is simply to compare it with something you can see.  Imagine a water-tank on the top of your house or over stilts, with some pipes running down to your faucets and garden hose valves.  It is not magic which makes the water try to get out of the faucet. It is gravity, a kind of energy which attracts bodies.  

Lots of people think that the water pressure is directly related to the number of gallons of water in the tank. This is not true. It is related to how many molecules of water are aligned one above the other, like a long, vertical, line of water. You can get much more pressure with just one gallon of water than with a whole swimming pool holding thousands of gallons.  If you take that one gallon of water and fill a 50 yard, 1/8 inch plastic pipe, and hang it vertically, the pressure on the bottom will be very great, much more than the pressure on the bottom of that 5ft deep swimming pool.  When you think about putting the water-tank high above your house, it will not have more pressure because it is higher, but because the down pipe will be a longer column of water.  


The above means that the water pressure in your faucet is not related to the tank size, but to the height of the water column (down pipe).  So, you can see that the water tank size is just a way to have water for a greater length of time, with the same pressure.
 Thinking this way, you can say that the water-tank is just a reservoir.  Also, you can say that the water column height is just pressure, or potential, and that the diameter of the down pipes will regulate the quantity of water which can flow by at any instant in time, so, you can call it flow, or current.  Anything which interferes with the water flow, in the middle of the pipes, would create a resistance to that flow, and would, of course, reduce the flow capacity.  So, the reservoir capacity depends on the size of the tank, potential means how high up the reservoir is, and current means the capacity of the pipes to supply different amounts of water in a given unit of time, depending on the resistance offered by other elements which might affect the flow of water, such as connections, reducing valves and other blocking factors.  

Well, water runs in pipes since it is physical and needs some guidance. In this case, it uses pipes.   Electric current is composed by electric charges moving from one place to another, so they need a path in which to travel. Something that can allow the electrons to go from one point to another. Most metals are good electric conductors, because they can share easily electrons between atoms. Then, we can say a piece of metal is for electricity as a pipe is for water.  Some metals are better electric conductors  then others. Copper is a good conductor, gold is the best.  

You can also name things in relation to water. Lets say the top of the water column is "TOP" and the ground will be "BOTTOM".  So the water flows from the TOP to the BOTTOM.   In electricity we can say that electrons flow from from one point to another, in an attempt to find the metal electric charge leveled, as water levels itself on a flat surface.

Whenever a metal wire or plate is electric stable, it means no electric current on it.  By the same way, water poured over a flat horizontal glass will flow for a while until it gets stable, no more water movement will be noticeable.   When electrons are pulled by some way to one edge of the metalic plate, the atoms on that edge will have excess of electrons, so we say they are negative charged. You can think as of that side of the metalic plate to be in blue color.  The other edge of the plate, where the electrons were ripped from, have all its atoms with less electrons, so it is positive charged, think about being red colored.

When the force that pulled the electrons from one side to another subsides, those electrons accumulated in the blue edge will pretty quickly find their path to the red edge and neutralize the difference in charge.  At light speed the metalic plate will have all its atoms with the same quantity of electrons, well, pretty close.   The electrons movement from BLUE to RED edge created something we know as

A single AA batery has accumulated internaly a bunch of electrons at the negative pole, while the positive pole is missing that bunch of electrons.  Connecting a lamp between two poles, will allow electrons to flow from the negative to positive poles of the battery, creating an
ELECTRIC CURRENT, that will heat the lamp filament and it will produce light.  As "more" electrical conductor the lamp filament is, more current will flow, more light the filament will generate.  If the filament is made of a poor electric conductor materials, less current will flow, less light generated.  So, the lamp filament is what controls the electric current, so we can say it offers RESISTANCE to the current flow, and it is some kind of "blocking element".

OK, now you have just learned the four basic elements of electricity.  

Power Capacity in Watts   (reservoir height and volume)  
Potential in Volts        (reservoir height =  pressure)  
Current in Amperes        (water flow, depends on pressure and resistance)  
Resistance in Ohms        (blocking elements)  



Ok, ok, now, 
how can I use 
that energy 
in some 
productive work?
Well, the same way you can make the water pressure generate movement in weels, and move things, you can do with the electical current, using different weels and devices, but it works the same way. 

In the water system, it moves something that tries to offer a resistance to the flow, so, the pressure will try to get out by some way, and if the weel moves, it offers a way to the pressure gets out, so it will be moved by the water getting out. 

In electrical system, the analogy is valid, the electrical current will be pressing into the wires by the Power Capacity + Volts Potential to get out the wire and reach the ground (example), so anything in the middle that can allow it with resistance, will convert that electrical current in some other form of energy.  Light, Heat, Movement or other way. 

So, as in the water system, the water carries whatever is in the way that can be moved, until the water gets leveled.  A river is an example of how water find a way to try to get leveled, and it goes via the easier way. 

In the electrical world, an electrical bolt between a chargeable cloud and the ground is a way the electrical charges find to get leveled in a thuderstorm, and as in the river, here it also goes via the easier way, and this is why it is common to see bolts striking trees and high grounds, it is the shortest and easiest way. 

Now you just learned you better be protected in thunderstorms and why. 

In this world, every kind of imense energy is somehow dangerous for our life, think about hurricanes, storms, tornados, heartquackes, all of them represent a convertion form of energy, that when released in those forms, it is pretty dangerous for us.   The nuclear power is one of them, but we control it in a form that it can be useful for the human being. 

Imense energy depends in how long you have it available.  If you take the whole energy of a single AA battery cell and imagine you could consume it all in a fraction of a second, you could have enough energy to explode your house in pieces. This is the main effect of a bomb, release lots of energy in a very narrow slice of time. 

We can say it it related to "energy surge" or "peak current". 

Like an explosion?
Yes, some devices are designed to use the energy surge effect, some others consume energy in a so lazy way you almost can not say it is turned on. 

A very interesting example is your photographic camera flash unit.  The maximum brightness you can get with a 6Volts lamp drainning current from 4 x AA cells, is something around 4 Watts, something that you need to concentrate to mean "some" light, this is the way they use in those flashlights, a light concentrator kind of mirror to focus all possible generated light in one spot, so you have it brighter.  Well, your camera flash, just accumulate the same energy energy for 5 seconds or more, and them release all of it in a fraction of a second, something around 1/60 of a second. 

The effect is a high multiplication, 5 seconds of light compressed in 1/60 of a second, it means something equivalent to 5 x 60 =  300 times brighter. 

It works for its intention, it brights the picture for a time enough to mark the film. 

Now imagine if you could concentrate the same energy for not only 5 seconds, but for a full hour and then release it in a flash... how big it would be. 

Your wrist watch quartz clock consumes energy in so small quantity that a small battery cell can supply energy to it during years.  Sometimes the internal battery energy leaking is bigger than what the clock consumes. 

This is why 
a lightning 
can burn 
my TV, 
Yes, a lightning that strikes the energy distribution system or phone lines, carries a very powerful energy, even in a fraction of a second it can burns everything that is connected to any power outlet or phone lines in your home. 

Sometimes a lightning happened to strike the phone lines, far away from your home and it just fries everything in the way, or part of it, in some cases it happens to burn the input circuits of your modem card, connected to your computer.  I already saw several fax/modem cards that suddently stopped to work, without any reason. After some investigation it was found to be the input transformer or something like that, and the most probable cause... a high energy surge over the phone lines. 

In a low humidity environment it is very common to collect and "store" high voltages in our clothes, hair, sintetic materials and so on.  Due the high resistance to the electrons "voyage", they accumulate in some places, and it can happens with billons of them, so after some time you were transformed in a enormous collector of electrons, or the lack of them.  So, this is why when you touch something electrically grounded you just feel, see and hear a electric discharge, somethings very annoying.  There is no much power on it, but lots and lots of voltage.  As a rule you can think that for each millimeter of spike it can correspond to a thousand volts. 

You can think that while you are walking, moving, touching other resistive things, also loaded of electric charge, you are acquiring more and more, as if you are pumping water in that 1/8 inch plastic tube a little bit higher and higher. With the pressure increasing dramatically it can explode the bottom part of the tube, as a birthday party baloon.  It is the spike that you release from your fingers. 

can we
Well, as you saw in the previous section, electric current is just electrons that are traveling from one point to another, trying to create an equal distribution of electric charge all over the place.  Electrons can travel in a electrical conductive material, like copper, iron, silver, iron, zinc, aluminum and other metals.  Metals in general have lots of electrons available to jump around, like big cities where people change job from one company to another all the time.  Other kind of materials as wood, plastics and rubber (polymers), glass, ceramic and others are not good conductors of electricity. 

So, to allow electrons to flow from one point to another, first we need to have a difference in potential (remember the high water tank), and we need to have a conductive material to connect both points (remember the pvc pipe).   If we block this way, we are interrupting the current flow, and this is how works our home lamp switches, closing or opening the circuit.  Electrons can not see the format of the conductor, it can be a wire, can be a different shape material, as we can find inside those home lamp switches, including the screws that hold the wires to the switch.  It doesn't matter so much what kind of metals we put together and its shapes, what matter is that from one point to another there is a continuous metal connection.  Doesn't matter where you interrupt the current, or cut the wire, the flow will stop. 

There are several ways to interrupt or cut the flow, but basically every one just "open" the circuit.  In some cases, for better control, we use two or more different points where we can open the circuit.  In our homes we can have a main "circuit breaker", a big switch, then several smaller ones distributing energy all over the home, then individual switches, even smaller, to control the lamps and some outlets, and then even in the devices as VCR, TV, Radio, Can Opener, and so on, we have another individual switch.  All switches from the power source until the device must be "on" or "connected" to allow the energy to reach the motor, heater element, electric circuit or lamp of the final device to operate. 


is a matter 
of switch
or switch
Not really, there are some special interrupting devices (switches) that allow us not to interrupt the current flow completely, but to reduce it, as if we strangle the pvc pipe allowing less water to flow.  Those control devices are not a simple open-close piece of metal, but a resistive or an electronic device. 

A Resistive device, or a RESISTOR, is made of special kind of metals or a special combination of carbon.  Some of those metals or prepared carbon are not a good electricity conductor, but they conducts electricity much better than for example, glass.  So, if we interrupts a wire and insert there a RESISTANCE, that resistance will control the current flow.  As in a water pipe, the more strangled pipe, or reduction, will control the flow of the entire pipe. 

Probably you already heard a faucet making internal noises while pouring water, it is because the small water passage inside, it creates a turbulence and noise.  In the electrical current is the same. When electrons reach a resistive device, they kind of "suffer" to cross through that not so easy place, like if you try to cross a crowded subway, you will have difficult to move, compressed between people, rubbing people, creating what? heat!!!, well, and something else, but electrons do the same, they create heat while travelling in a resistive material. 

Some temperature we can feel, if above some limits we can even see it, starts with red color and goes up to a bright yellow for thousands of degrees of temperature, or even almost white when reaching temperatures very high.   There is a color table listing colors and temperature equivalency to help some technicians in some plants. 

Why  electric
burns out?
The electrical incandescent lamp is made with a piece of a resistive wire inside the bulb, it is the bigger resistance in all the circuit, so it heats, and heats at a point of burn, get red, yellow, almost white.  It doesn't burn because there is no combustion gas (oxygen) inside.  Older lamps had the internal air extracted, just vacuum inside the bulb, so the filament (resistance) could not burn itself.  This created a problem, since the lamp gets very fragile and often implodes because the vacuum.  Later on, manufacturers begin to use some special neutral gases to keep the same pressure as outside. This special gas doesn't burn the filament. For sure, applying much more current than the specified, any filament will burn out for excessive heating, with or without oxygen to help it. 

Incandescent lamps generate heat, lots of it, this heat is irradiated all around through the glass, socket, etc. Because the heat sometimes a lamp cracks the glass (mostly in connection with the base), part of that gas gets out, and part of common air enters the bulb, so oxygen gets close to the filament.  The next time you turn on the lamp, the electrical current flows through the filament, heats it and it burns in a small burst.  It happens so fast, you can actually see and ehar flash of a burning filament.  It happens because the oxygen helps to heat more the filament, much more than the normal temperature, so the filament turns so hot that it melts and open the circuit.  It is similar when you make a camp fire, or a charcoal barbecue fire, if you blow air over the fire it increases the temperature and burns hotter.

Many "viccious" places in the house use to burn out lamps more often than others.  This is caused by vibration and cool air flow.  Vibration helps to crack the bulb, air enters and you know the rest.   Cool air flow cools faster the bulb glass than the socket, so a mechanical stretch happens and generates the bulb crack.  Also dirty sockets can generate more heat the expected, it cracks the glass.  Clean sockets and lamps, protected somehow from cool air flow and vibration can leads a lamp to works longer. 

there are 
and Non
materials only?
As we said before, a resistive element is something that creates a strangle to the flow.  Even a good conductor can be considered a resistive element, it will depends on the dimension of the flow. 

For example, a 1 inch pvc pipe can drive water to your home nicely, without offering any flow resistance.  But what about use the same pipe to supply water for all your neighborhood?  people will start to complain since water will arrive without pressure. 

Resuming;  to be a resistance or not, it is imperative to know the current flow and then install the right conductor, if small in diameter (electric wire or water pipe) it will be a resistance, as much bigger the diameter it turns to be more and more flow conductive.  There is a point of reason that doesn't matter increase the diameter, it will be conducting the flow in the same way, so, there is a point of economy, where you can install the correct wire or pipe size and get the most economic and safe installation.  To do that, you need to use formulas and calculate the maximum possible flow, consult tables and choose the right conductor.

 How turn Electric Current in useful things
Energy Transportability Energy transportability was always a great problem for humanity.  For centuries humans knew that a river carries a great energy, so they used it in moving weels, rotors and other mechanic solutions, but all of them should be installed right over or aside of the river, since that energy could not be transported long distances.

Rivers were also used mostly for food and goods transportations, so it was normal to see cities close to or around rivers. Food processing in mills moved by river water were common, and also some small factories used this hydro-energy.

Cities far from rivers had the tendency to not grow as fast as the ones close to rivers, so they should create a way to produce mechanical energy for their industries.  After the invention of the steem machines, it was easy, but in any way they needed to supply wood or coal to produce steem.  Even that wood or coal could be produced easily, it demanded hand labor, and transportation, not talking about polution and forest desmantling for wood.

The discovery of electricity changed it dramatically.  Cheap copper lines could transport big amounts of energy long enough to install cities far from rivers, in places where factories will not worry people in the cities anymore, not polution would be a problem for the citizens.

Several ways to produce electricity were found, steem generators (still in use northeast of USA), as well hydro-electric plants (the most powerfull, clean and cheap), and latelly the atomic energy.  In USA is very common to use atomic energy, since the US topography does not produce many powerfull rivers and waterfalls enough to feed hydro-electric plants, so atomic is one of the best solutions, even over the coal or oil plants.

So, energy could be transportable now, but not easy to store for tomorrow.  One of the easier way to store energy is in batteries, but there is no big enough battery to store energy needed by a city power consume in 24 hours.  One of the common way to store energy in hydro-electric plants is storing water. This is why every hydro-electric plant uses a large and tall lake before the turbines. That stored water could still feed the plant even with weeks of no rain at the rivers that feed the lake.

for the
It was found that electric energy can be transformed in mechanical energy by means of a magnet.  A magnet is a coil of a electric current conductive material, in this case an electric wire made of copper, iron, steel, aluminum or other metal.  Read later on about magnetism and electromagnetic field to understand how a magnet and motors works.

If supplying electric current to a magnet we can move mechanically something, then we can transform electricity in mechanical effort, so industries, commerce and residences could benefit of this.

It was also found that electricity could generate light, so clean and bright light could allow factories and business to work in dark places, or at night, so again, everybody benefit of this.

It was also found that electricity could generate heat, so good bye to coal and wood thermal heaters in factories, commerce and residencial.

This main three uses rules our world today. 

We have basically lots of good machines that use the electricity power to turn their motors, refrigerators, washing and dryers machines, kitchen blenders and coffee grinders, food processing and bread maker machines, freezers, fans, electric knifes, and lots more.

Using light there are much more, starting with the old lamps, TV and projectors, computer monitors, photographic flashes and indicators, displays, meters and fiber optics.

Using heat we can see stoves, ovens, microwaves, food processing, chemical plants process conditioners, air and water heaters for commerce, industry and residences.

Each one of this machines has its own way to convert electricity into the useful thing, from resistances that heat upon the electricity flow, to magnets that move and rotate things, to lamps that use several different techniques to create light.

The Invention of the Relay

Relay Image...wait loading


Upon the discovery of electricity and its uses, it was also invented a switch, something that could allow the turn things ON and OFF, so the switch is nothing more than a simple interruption at the wire, something that easily allow us to connect and disconnect the device to the electricity without dealing with the wires itself, we just flip a plastic handle and it mechanically close the electric contact inside of the housing.

In the exemple at left, when the blue battery is disconnected from the electric coil, no current flows, no magnetic attraction exist over the small metal "coin" (we call it armature), the relay contacts at the left still open, no current flows from the yellow battery.

When the blue battery is connected, current flows though the coil and based on some electromagnetic rules you will see forward, a magnetic field develops around the coil metal nucleus. This magnetic field attracts the armature, it is pulled against the nucleus, closing the relay contacts at the left, it completes the electric circuit and the yellow battery current flows through the lamp, lightning it.  When the blue battery current is interrupted, the coil stops to generate the magnetic field, the armature is free and the spring effect of the contact arm pushes it up, opening the contact, turning off the blue battery current and the lamp.

In this example, there is no electric connection between the circuits of the yellow and blue batteries, they are completely electrically isolated.  Large currents could be controlled at the relay contacts using a small current over the relay coil.

It was easy to produce switches, just an electric contact, two pieces of metal, that could be put in touch or not by a mechanical way, controlled by our hands.

But in some times we needed to control things without human intervention, as timers, or temperature control, or certain machinery that should be turned on or off under special conditions, rain, wind, etc.

Some of those timers or sensors has no enough capacity to switch heavy motors and engines, so the relay was invented. A relay uses the electromagnetic electricity conversion to mechanically close two metals, two electrical contacts. So, by applying a low current into a coil, it was possible to close big contacts that could turn on heavy engines and motors.

Later on, relays were used in communication, like telephone etc. They were used mainly to route the connections correctly from one point to another, in the middle of thousands of possible other routes.

The relay, was one of the first automation device created to use electricity in inteligent ways.  The first electric computers were made based on a bunch of relays interconnected to produce a smart answer, as a simple add or subtract math calculation. 

Today's computers still using relays, but in microchip fashion.  Even a super brand new computers in true using  millions of microscopic relays in form of silicon gates, just routing signals from one place to another inside the chip.

As relays use bare metal conductors as the contacts, in time it tends to get dirty along with corrosion.  Also by some technical details of electricity (you will see later on), some electric sparks can jump between the contacts when the current is interrupted, those sparks literally burn and dig little pieces of the contact metals.  This problem causes the contacts to go bad in time, generate heat and cause more problems.

The use of Solid States Relays (read more ahead) solved this problems, since no sparks jump from one contact to another, with no mechanical parts to give problems or bad contacts, now the switching can be done with better performance.

Actual automobiles starting system use a strong relay and electromagnet. When you turn the starting key, it not only relays a large contact to run the starting electric motor, as well it pushes this motor gears to attracts mechanically to the car's engine, rotating it.

The Invention of Electronic Tube - The Valve
Glass Tube

Electronic Curent from the bottom battery flows through the resistive element, heat is formed, clowd of electrons form around it. The strong polarization formed by the two batteries helps them to jump through the vaccum to the positive polarized metal plate. 

Now, the extra battery inserting a negative cold grid of electrons, kind of isolate the electronic cloud at the bottom from the top positive polarized plate,less electrons jump through the negative grid. Changing the polarization of the grid, we could control a large flow of electrons from the catode to the top plate. The tube audio amplifier was invented.

The relay invention (above) was great, but it could only do two things, turn electricity ON or OFF.  In some machines it was needed to control electrical current, in some mid point, or 20% of its full capacity.  For example, controlling some motor speed, or turning a lamp with 40% of its full bright capacity.

It was found that when a metal is hot, its atoms pushes the electrons from the external rings up, so they are somehow free to travel around. This happens because the heat creates vibration, vibration is a form of energy and it kind of expulses the far electrons from their orbits.  If the hot metal is polarized with a negative side of a battery, the free electrons will be forming some kind of electronic cloud around it..

Negative charges are attracted by positive charges, so, if approaching another metal plate polarized with positive charges (lacking of electrons), the electronic cloud would be attracted and possibly jumping from the hot metal to the positive charged metal.  It was known that electrons can easily jump in vacuum better than in air. 

Somebody just took a glass bottle,  installed inside a resistive wire at one side, and another wire at the other side. Removed the air from the bottle using a vaccum pump.  Applied an electric current to the resistive wire, it heated and created the electrons cloud around it, then he applied a battery cell, negative to the resistive wire, positive to the other wire inside the bottle.  After some experiments, he found that electrical current were flowing free from the resistive wire's cloud to the positive wire.

He found that the distance between the two wires were critical, so it was a good point, since he could control the electrical flow by controlling distance between wires.

It was great, but not so much easy to operate.

Then somebody thought about control the eletrons flow with electricity.  Like using fire to control fire, he installed a third wire in the middle of two other wires, right into the electrons path.  Now, applying a negative charge to that third wire, he could block the electrons flow from the cloud, controlling the amount of the negative charge at the third wire, he could control finally the large current flow between the other two wires... the invention of the electronic tube was done.

It was possible to control electric currents in a proportional way, not only ON or OFF.

You can think of an electronic tube as the kitchen water faucet, with an easy handler control, you can allow large volumes of water flow.

As in the faucet, where water can only flow from one direction to another, in the electronic tube electrons can also just go from the heat negative charged element to the positive charged second element, what we call electronic current. 

This function was pretty useful since it could be used to convert alternate current (that changes current directions several times per second) into a continuous direction flow, what is called Direct Current, or D.C.  This was done because the tube allows only current from the heat element to the other element.  The reversed polarization produces no electric current into the tube, so it is a natural filter for a specific electric current direction.

Hundreds of different tubes were invented for different applications. High signal amplification, high power controls, high frequency, and several other applications, such as Audio Amplifier, Sensors, Radio Transmitter and Receiver, Television, Radar, and many, many other applications.

The most used electronic glass tubes used 6 to 12Volts to "heat" the catode, while higher voltages from 90 to 400 Vdc or more used at the plate.  It required high voltage transformers, high voltage capacitors and resistors. It was not so rare to have capacitors blowing up inside those devices.  

Glass tubes resistive catode also had a short life, like an incandescent lamp it wears out (or even burns out), and the tube got weak, the electronic cloud was smaller, less electrons jump to the plate. The glass tube required to be changed by a new one. At that time, it was not so rare for the Radio or TV owner to have few tubes in the drawer... used and new ones.  

As the resistive "filament" lits like a lamp, it was somehow easy to identify a working tube because it should be lit. A dark tube means trouble, filament open, the tube should be replaced.

Without any discussion, glass tube audio amplifiers sound quality was never be beatten by the new technology as transistors and integrated circuits.  There are technical characteristics about interference and noise, as well harmonics of the audio that are complete different from glass tubes to transistors, what makes it the best ever audio amplifiers.

Try to hear Jass Sax using a glass tube amplifier, and then a transistor amplifier, you can use the same loudspeakers, you don't need to be an audio expert to point which one gave you better and smooth audio, for sure it would be always the glass tube amplifier, no matter how expensive is the transistor amplifier.







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