What’s New IN ELECTRONICS (Mar, 1980)



Coded alarm

Walk within 50 feet of Radio Shack’s RF intrusion-alarm system and you’d better know the four-digit code to silence it. Not even a power failure will stop it from standing sentry in your home—it has a built-in battery backup. The Safehouse Alarm is $179.95.

Mobile computer

Route Commander is a totally portable computer system designed for on-the-road sales and delivery persons. It balances the books and keeps track of inventory, tolls, and parking; comes with keyboard, display, and printer. Norand, 550 Second St. S.E., Cedar Rapids, la. 52401.

A light touch

A record is never perfectly flat or round. So, to track it properly, you need the lightest mass possible—this Onkyo CP-1030F does it by using a straight-line carbon-fiber tone arm that accepts high-compliance cartridges. Result: Even warped records can be played. Price: $315.

Computer kit

Heath doesn’t combine a 24-line-by-80-character “smart” terminal with a 514-inch disk, Z-80 microprocessor, and 16K or memory to come up with this all-in-one desktop computer—you do. It’s a kit for $1595 (or $2295 fully assembled) from Heath Co., Benton Harbor, Mich. 49022.

24-hour tape

Got lots to say? The XLP4 cassette tape recorder is the only one that can record up to 24 hours of voice on one C-180 cassette. It runs at V4 the normal speed and uses four tracks to do it. Made by Norwood (3828 S. Main St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84115), it’s $129.95.

Temp reader

Aim it at any surface, pull the trigger, and the digital display on this noncontact thermometer shows the temperature. It works from several hundred feet away and measures from -20 degrees F to 2000 degrees F. Raynger II is made by Raytek, 325 E. Middlefield Rd., Mountain View, Calif. 94043. $1595.

Digital portables

Two new portable radios from Toshiba are totally digital: AM model at left ($60) holds six preset stations in its memory; LED’s show frequency. AM/FM clock radio at right ($160) uses an LCD display to show frequency, time, and alarm time. A buzzer wakes you; six memories hold your station.

  1. M.S.W. says: April 25, 20118:56 am

    That Raytek IR themp gun was quite the pricy little thing back then $1,595 (or $4,150 in todays dollars ) They now sell same thing for as little as $31 and half the size. 🙂

  2. Charlene says: April 25, 20119:59 am

    Do they go below 20 below these days, M.S.W.? Because that sounds like a bizarrely high cut-off point.

    Or maybe it only does if you live in Winnipeg.

  3. John says: April 25, 201110:05 am

    Charlene: This one goes to just -4 F
    this one, however goes to -27F
    http://www.harborfreigh… and just costs 23 bucks American.

  4. JMyint says: April 25, 201110:09 am

    The Heath H89 brings back fond memories. I wrote my first computer programs on one of those when I was in college.

  5. Toronto says: April 25, 201110:43 am

    John/Charlene: The second HF one isn’t all that useful for BBQs or mechanical debugging, which are likely the most common uses of them.

  6. Charlene says: April 25, 201110:47 am

    Thanks, John. I asked because outbuildings here are sometimes fitted up with thermometers so unexpected temperature rises can be investigated. Having a temperature gun would make things easier – no need to run expensive wires out to the buildings, and less chance of a wiring fault too – but in the winter it’s often well below -27F in the country.

  7. M.S.W. says: April 25, 201112:33 pm

    Charlene/John the “MT-6″ listed on Raytek site temp range is ” -20º to 932 ºF ”

    Link: http://www.raytek.com/R…

  8. Jari says: April 25, 201112:36 pm

    Charlene: How about a cheap weather station with radio transmitting remote sensor placed in the outbuilding?

  9. M.S.W. says: April 25, 201112:38 pm

    Charlene/John The “Fluke-63” temp range goes to -25ºF
    Link http://www.fluke.com/Fl…

  10. M.S.W. says: April 25, 201112:42 pm

    Charlene/John If you think it’s worth the expense they have one that goes down to -40ºF

    Link: http://www.raytek.com/R…

  11. John says: April 25, 201112:53 pm

    M.S.W.: I already have the first one I linked to. I mainly use it to check skillet temperature.

  12. Charlie says: April 25, 20111:08 pm

    The guns work by using IR detectors and I think the radiation gets harder to detect the colder the target is, because they are just emitting less heat. Also, I think it would get harder to detect the target through heat of the intervening air and the heat of the gun itself. When you want to detect REALLY cold stuff you need to isolate the sensor from thermal noise by cooling it with liquid nitrogen, or for rediculously cold stuff like the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (2.725K) and other distant astronomical sources, liquid helium. In fact the WISE telescope used liquid helium to make solid hydrogen to act as a heat sink. http://wise.ssl.berkele…

    BTW, before reading that page I didn’t think COULD make solid hydrogen but it turns out I was confusing it with metallic hydrogen which is a form of degenerate matter. As it turns out, James Dewar first made solid hydrogen in 1899, which explains why cold flasks are called dewars.

  13. Mcubstead says: April 27, 20113:44 pm

    The route commander….My how things have srunk

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