What’s New IN ELECTRONICS (Jun, 1973)


Fire fighter Mounted near the carburetor of an inboard or I/O engine, the Firemaster discharges one pound of liquefied fire-fighting gas automatically if the temperature reaches 230 degrees F. $14.95 with mounting bracket. John E. Martin Sales, Penllyn Pike, Spring House, Pa. 19477.

Automatic plug Countless boats have sunk right at the dock because the drain plug was left out. Drain Check prevents this. When the water level rises above the drain, a check ball floats into position to keep the water from entering the drain tube. It’s $8.45 from DePersia, Grand Haven, Mich. 49417.

Underwater PA Hang the new Scuba Jr. system on your belt and you can talk underwater. Designed for swimming and scuba instructors, the amplifier and speaker can instruct an entire class without need for individual receivers. Complete, it’s $250 from Lubell Labs, 21 No. Stan-wood Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43209.

Answer machine Strictly business, the HP-80 pocket calculator solves virtually all financial calculations involving relationships between time and money: compound interest, depreciation, truth-in-lending, bond yield, and much more. The Hewlett-Packard instrument is $395.

A hang-on stereo system You can’t get much more portable than this stereo receiver system. The Headhugger is a complete FM-stereo radio that you just hang over your ears. Battery-operated, the unit receives all standard FM broadcasts from 88-108mHz, and a built-in multiplex adaptor channels the stereo transmissions to each ear. Side-mounted dials control station tuning, volume, and left-to-right earphone balance. A nine-volt battery powers the IC receiver and two 2-1/2-in. dynamic speakers reproduce sound. Heavy padding and a flexible headband keep it all comfy. Headhugger sells for $59.95. Maker: Triumph Electronics, 599 S. Wheeling Rd., Wheeling, III. 60090.

Digital timer Don’t want to miss your favorite TV show? Plug the set (or any standard appliance up to 1200 watts) into this digital timer, and it will come on at just the right time. The 707, by Triumph Electronics, sells for $29.95.

Mini TV camera The next sporting event you watch on TV may be coming live from one of these new color cameras from Norelco. The PCP-72 camera head weighs just 19 pounds, and the “mini-hip-pack”—the size of a cigar box—just six.

  1. Hirudinea says: September 6, 20118:38 am

    “Hey, check out my new camcorder!”

  2. Toronto says: September 6, 20118:46 am

    An HP 30B financial calculator is $24 today on Amazon. The HP 17BII+ (the current full zoot Financial Calc) is $70 or so. Quite a change from a $400 price.

  3. Charlene says: September 6, 20119:28 am

    That’s over $2,000 in 2011 dollars.

  4. Toronto says: September 6, 201110:30 am

    Charlene: Yup. I bought an HP-67 in ’77 and it cost me a month’s wages. Mind you, I wasn’t making much. Sold it and bought a TI52, then a TI59, as I preferred their programming style. I still have the ’59.

  5. Mike says: September 6, 201111:46 am

    Hirduniea, I don’t think it is a camcorder, I think it is just a camera head and lens to send an image back to the truck. Only 25lbs total… plus the weight and awkwardness of the cables, and headset.

  6. jayessell says: September 6, 201112:17 pm

    “I’ve got you babe!”

    Clever to set the time to read the name of the timer.

  7. Toronto says: September 6, 20111:27 pm

    Jay: “Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today. “

  8. Mike says: September 6, 20112:21 pm

    What about that timer makes it a digital timer? As far as I can see, they are saying it is digital because it has digits on the display?

  9. Richard says: September 6, 20113:18 pm

    Mike, in the early ’70s, there were many “digital” clocks, timers, and clock radios that were “digital” in the same sense as an old fashioned auto odometer. That is, they had a digital display that was mechanically driven, with no digital electronics inside the box. Maybe that was a marketing lie, but it was a very common one.

    The practice pretty much went away when the prices of LCD and LED displays, along with the circuitry to drive them, dropped to the point that they were cheaper than the gears and mechanical parts in that style of mechanical “pseudo digital” display.

  10. Toronto says: September 6, 20117:29 pm

    Richard: true ’nuff, but despite building several LED digital clocks from scratch in the 70s, I used a 1980 vintage Radio Shack (“Realistic”) flip-digit electric clock for about 20 years, until a cat killed it one day It was fund to watch time flip by.

  11. G. L. Tyrebyter says: September 7, 20111:14 am

    Many people seem to misunderstand the word digital. It has nothing to do with electronics. It is an adjective that describes that something uses numerals or digits. Digital electronics store and manipulate information numerically. A digital clock is only such because it displays the time in a numerical fashion. It will display a time, such as 8:30, as “8:30”. This is opposed to a regular clock that has rotating hands. It will display the time as the big hand on 6 and the small hand between 8 and 9. Also, “Flipping the bird” is truly sending someone a digital communication.

  12. George says: September 7, 20114:56 am

    An analog mechanism is, well, an analog of what is represents. If it’s representing time, then it will move smoothly at an unchanging rate. A digital device represents whatever it’s doing in discrete steps — if you want a more accurate device, then add more digits after the decimal point. So the pictured clock has a smoothly turning AC powered analog motor driving a flip-card or odometer drum based digital readout. Thinking about it, a wind-up “analog watch” really has a digital mechanism — it counts time in 1/4 second intervals as it ticks.

  13. Sean says: September 7, 20115:38 am

    My dad is in banking and still uses the HP financial calculator that he got in 84 or 85 when he was just out of college. We got him a new one for his birthday a couple years back and it sits proudly on a corner of his desk while he keeps using that same relic from the 80’s.

  14. Jari says: September 7, 201110:15 am

    George: Same can be said about that timer. Most likely there’s a synchronous motor driving it at 60 steps per second.

    I want that headhugger. 🙂

  15. George says: September 7, 201111:48 am

    The hang-on has a balance control, what ever happened to them? No longer needed because of better component tolerances, or eliminated to save a couple bucks?

  16. M.S.W. says: September 7, 20111:30 pm

    The “Underwater PA” would be fun to convert to work in reverse. Listen to the student complain about the instructor. 😉

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