Throwing Away Oscilloscopes

Since I built an army of test racks a few months ago I’ve been psychologically altered. Scrounging for pieces of equipment and supplies consumed so much of my time during that project that I have become a permanent super scrounge at work. Nobody has tasked me with building any more test stations but no matter where I am in the buildings here I’m constantly on the lookout for unwanted anythings, whether they be attenuator switch drivers, signal generators, oscilloscopes, pulse generators, noise filters, I mean almost anything. If I can’t use a particular kind of instrument in my area someone else may have a need for it. So if I swipe a box and get it to a person who was desperate for it, I’m the cool guy. Plus I can trade for stuff with engineers as long as I have something they want.

Last week I was hot-footing it across the back lot between Building 3 and Building 2. As I was approaching the recycling center I spotted a whole mess of nice blue CRT vintage oscilloscopes stacked up on an old workbench. This happens all the time around here, employees don’t want perfectly good gear for whatever reason so they haul it outside to let it rot in the open air. I don’t see too many of those around anymore, generally 1970s era o-scopes like that only go up to 100Mhz which means they aren’t exactly useful. Our new model oscilloscopes go up to 500Mhz and have tons of built in features. Anyway the old blue screen models are kinda cool looking and I wanted to salvage one to tinker with at my desk. Instead of grabbing an oscilloscope from the pile outside I decided to play it safe and ask my boss for permission to snag one.

I went to my supervisor’s desk and mentioned I saw a pile of obsolete gear outside. I asked him, “Can I grab a ‘scope to mess around with at my cubicle? They’re being thrown out I think.”
He looked up at me from his chair and said “No.”
That wasn’t the response I expected.
“Uh, how come? None of those pieces of gear are useful just sitting out there in the sun. What’s the big deal?”
“Do you need an oscilloscope to do your job properly?”
I said no, I didn’t need a scope to do my job. I wanted one to fool around with in my spare time.
My boss said, “Then you can’t have one. Those boxes will probably be junked for a tax write off or sold as scrap. You would have to get permission from a department manager to salvage one of those units, and more than likely that ain’t gonna happen.”

I was bummed.

The next day a storm blew in from the coast, and it started to rain. It rained solid for the rest of the week. Every afternoon when I showed up at work I looked out the windows from Building 2 and saw all those perfectly usable pieces of gear getting ruined. Leaving electronics like that out in the elements for long periods of time doesn’t do them any good. It was such a waste. Ham radio geezers would probably kill to get their hands on equipment like that. Local schools could have used them in their science programs, but the longer they sit outside the more wrecked they become. That’s one of the most aggravating things about this company, the sheer scale of waste we generate. No other electronics company that I have worked for ruins and throws away as much useful equipment as we do on a daily basis.

Next time I’m not going to say anything and swipe the shit. Honesty doesn’t always pay…

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~ by factorypeasant on May 5, 2006.

8 Responses to “Throwing Away Oscilloscopes”

  1. Hay dont you have some cool screen shots of a blue oscope? Putum up bro!

    Devil T

  2. i put one shot up in here. you’ll have to skim the archives. it’s buried somewhere in the last few months.

  3. Crap! I have a JEDI 150 MHz scope that I got off the junk pile in the back. Works fine. YES! You should have just taken one.

  4. sup Batman!

    how you diggin your new found freedom? i dunno about you but i really like this not working anymore shit. we should organize a former employee day and each buy a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag then go as a group to the nearest park and kick out all the career bums. we can take over, pass out on the benches and wake up with the roofs of our mouths sunburned. yeah!

    those Jedi scopes aren’t bad. hang onto it and enjoy the warm Apple IIe monochrome green glow of coolness.

    stay ‘tarded buddie.

  5. You people are bumming me out. The oscopes did not belong to you. How could you feel good about taking them when they were not yours.

    Steal not from others:Charles 1.2

  6. is a company truly considered an ‘other’ (?)

    AND i heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and i heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps very harplike: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts of swing shift, and the voice said: help thyself to discarded test equipment or else.

    -Polyxena 14:3

    you sir, are an inept bible scholar.

  7. I think not, you are looking at the old testament, whereas the new testament clearly says, “Testies are clearly not accessable to employees”. All you have to do is read the sexual harassment policy to see this. See the adendum under Anita Hill.

    Clarence 69.

  8. I just love it when you guys quoteth scripture!

    Laughing, Crazy Red Head

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