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I have been soldering since I was 7 years old.  I was fortunate enough that my hometown's local Radio Shack crew were also long time family friends on my Dad's side of the family.  On weekends I would spend with my Grandmother I would jet down to Radio Shack (a few blocks away) were they taught me how to solder and work on electronics.  They trained my eyes and ears to spot things.  It was not uncommon for me to spend about two hours there and a few times Grandma had to work on Saturdays they kept me there with them.  A few times they would send me home with PPG electronic kits and one Christmas they gifted me an all-in-one electronic station, the best one they had in store.  They also gave me my first soldering iron, solder, and desoldering iron identical to what I used in training.  I'm not sure if it was pay for helping when they couldn't figure out problematic products or what but I enjoyed doing it and those memories are still with me to this day.  A skill set I still use everyday.  I have built on those skills over the years and made up my own tricks for stubborn solder that refuses to be removed.  I guess losing my father at 3 years old when the whole town knew and loved him did have some advantages...I just wish he could have been here to see what I had accomplished at a young age.


Because of those skills I was always the one my Dad's family turned to when their electronics were giving them problems.  Every two months I was having to fix RCA CED Players (the SJT models) which 90% of the time was caused by dirt built up around the stylus.  Other times it was a faulty belt for the loading mechanism.  One model dropped the height of the turntable which took me a while to figure out but eventually realized what that big nut on the bottom of the machines were for.  I never used or needed technical manuals.  I looked, popped the tops, plugged in and tried to power on any device I was working on.  Then I would try to operate the machines as intended while I watched and listened.  It's a skill that is great to have but it is also a skill that is not needed much any more.  It's generally cheaper just to replace with new electronics but things like game machines, computers, and movie players still around still need someone around with these skills.


I still laugh at how they taught me the resistor code so it would stick.  Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly.  Basically Black Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Grey, and White.  It's not nice now that I think about it but made it easy for me to remember the color codes.  Good times I would relive again if I could.

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