how the future shift was massively prepared in the USSR
Electricians and electronics engineers remain in-demand specialists in many areas, from construction to manufacturing and repair of equipment. Despite the decreasing size of the element base with the integration of everything and everything into a single piece of silicon, we still use the technologies of the first half of the 20th century, and in some areas centuries-old inventions are relevant. Ohm’s law continues to operate, electricity still runs through the wires, and the main elements of the circuits remain unchanged: something glows, something slows down or passes current, and something switches the flow of electrons.
To acquaint children with electricity in the form of games and constructors began from the moment of its mass application. We can say that this is part of a physics course, and acquaintance already took place at school, but with the advent of battery-powered toys, it became possible to understand where electricity comes from and how to use it in your crafts. Taste it (even the author himself closed the contacts of a large square 4.5 volt battery on the tongue), disassemble the toy and get the contents out of it. Collect from this wealth unprepossessing, but lighting for a makeshift house, or attach a motor to a shoe brush, putting an eccentric eraser on the end of the shaft, and get a cool vibrator.
Specialized designers for young electricians helped streamline this desire.
Such sets began to be produced in the USSR at the end of the 50s and, with minor changes, survived until the end of the 80s. In them, young electricians were offered to wire the dollhouse: the kit included power buses, various lighting fixtures from chandeliers to sconces, switches, sockets, and even analogues of ceramic insulators for competent outdoor wiring (the child wouldn’t ditch the walls and then cover them up). There was even an entrance shield with a toggle switch that turned off the entire apartment.
In the modern toy world, electricians have been forgotten, and as a result, today few people can independently install an outlet or figure out why the lights went out in the apartment. Modern electrics have gone far ahead: now a separate cable is laid for each distribution point and for each consumer, and the automation of the first spacecraft will envy the switchboard in the apartment in terms of complexity, but the principles remain the same. Alas, children have lost the opportunity to electrify their play homes.
There are attempts to electrify LEGO blocks and various variations on the theme of lighting automation, but there is nothing to convey the spirit of the work of an electrician.
Young radio electronics
When the semiconductor element base became mass, inexpensive and accessible, it became possible to introduce the broad school masses to radio electronics. Before the release of the Znatok construction set (aka the Chinese clone of Elenco’s Snap Circuit) in 2000, your parents (and possibly their parents) could already assemble electronic circuits and devices. There were also “do-it-yourself radio, TV and even computer” designers, but we will talk about universal ones that introduced young electronics lovers to the basics and allowed them to assemble more and more complex devices.
You may have already heard about “Matskevich’s cubes” (they are also “Electronic cubes”, they are also the designer “Econ” in different variations). More exotic versions of the “cubes” were also sold in Soviet stores.
Since 1978, the modular designer “Radio-electronic mosaic” has been producing the Gorky plant of communication equipment named after. Popov, and later ANPO ZIP Nizhny-Novgorod. From the components of the kit, it was possible to quickly and without the use of soldering, tools and additional wires to sequentially assemble 40 different electronic devices.
Another option is the “Electronics in Cubes” constructor from 1986. In it, the fastening of blocks among themselves, the so-called, was originally decided. tulips, and unlike the “Matskevich’s cubes”, the scheme is not limited to a square field with a finite number of cells.
From this constructor it was possible to assemble many interesting electronic devices, including various options for sound generators and more. At the same time, the set was recommended for children from 10 years old, even for independent study of radio electronics.
A little later, on Avito, we came across a fuzzy image of an interesting constructor, which, according to the description of the seller, was released back in the USSR. The designer was not in a complete set, some of the details were missing, but … “This is the ancestor of the Connoisseur!” We exclaimed and continued our search.
Luck has smiled upon us. Meet not even dad, but grandfather “Znatoka”: radio designers Volna-I and Volna-II, which since 1970 have been produced by Petrovsky EMZ “Hammer”. A transparent plexiglass breadboard, radio components on special plastic stands with contact screws and copper conductor bars, which were pressed against the contacts with nuts.
The constructor was also known under the name “Start” (produced since 1970) and “Start-M” (in the late models of the 80s). The assembly principle, parts, and equipment are the same as those of the Wave, but from a different manufacturer. The breadboard is made of textolite instead of transparent plastic.
Unlike Znatoka, aimed at preschool and primary school age, these radio designers contained a fairly voluminous element base and were intended for older schoolchildren. They were asked to assemble various devices on transistors (and in the Start constructor, only radios were left like that).
In addition to cubes, there were other types of constructors: on springs, with screw clamps familiar to us from laboratory work in the physics classroom, there were even constructors where you had to solder circuits on breadboards, etc.
In the modern world, Znatok and various crafts based on easily programmable hardware platforms have almost replaced the connection of radio components into circuits and pushed the understanding of the principles of their operation into the background. Even assembling circuits on breadboards turns into a blunt sticking of elements and conductors according to a drawing without learning the basics of radio electronics. This is sad, because even the relatively simple task of finding a burned-out resistor on a circuit board, or understanding the power circuits of a laptop motherboard, looks like caveman magic to today’s children. It is believed that modern technologies relieve most specialists of the need to deeply study the subject, but this is not entirely true: for example, placement of servers at the data center site will require you to have knowledge of at least electrical, and troubleshooting in them – also in electronics.
Now you can design everything with a computer and even rely on artificial intelligence, but for this you still have to learn the basics. And it is desirable to join knowledge from an early age in order to choose the right future profession.
Did you or your parents have an electric or electronic kit?