Need info on Fowler digital indicator
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  1. #1
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    Default Need info on Fowler digital indicator

    I picked up this digital indicator recently and am wondering if any of you guys knows anything about it. I took the back off and see no provision for a battery. The "print" button on the front suggests that this was used with am external unit of some sort, which I presume would supply power.


    The black cap on the side covers up this connector:



    I tried calling Fowler, they have no info on this model to offer. Googling showed that the "John Bull" logo on the front to be a manufacturer in England, presumably the one that Fowler had make these for them. But no other info.

    I'd like to at least power this up to see if it works. I got it for free, so am not above experimenting, if I kill it I'm not out anything really. But I don't killing stuff if it can be avoided. A pin out of the connector would be most useful, at least I could power the thing up and use it.
    Thanks for any thoughts.
    -Al A

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    I think your flogging a dead horse, Went through the exact same scenario a few yrs ago. There's two boards inside the ind. with the battery sandwiched between them.
    The battery is not replaceable,. at least without major solder work; resembling brain surgery. I do have the external battery charger, But that doesn't do much good if your battery's dead. Fowler was absolutely no help, Haven't bought anything Fowler since
    dave [acme thread]
    That indicator is at least 20 yrs old

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by acme thread View Post
    I think your flogging a dead horse, Went through the exact same scenario a few yrs ago. There's two boards inside the ind. with the battery sandwiched between them.
    Dave,
    Thanks for the reply.

    I sort of thought that might be the case, but figured it was worth asking.I sort of hoped it could be run off of a power supply or something.

    I had the same experience with Fowler. The guy I spoke to there seemed to be pretty dismissive when we spoke on the phone. He told me it was not their part number, likely not their instrument, etc. When I pointed out that it said "Fowler" in big letters on the front, he just said "Um, well, we don't support those any more and have no information on them....." and seemed in a hurry to get off the phone. I sort of felt the same way, I figured I would not be buying anything from there any time soon.

    I do understand that a company may choose to drop support for a product after enough years, but it would be nice if they could at least keep a bit of info around, or at the very least not deny that it is theirs. Pretty disappointing, in my view.

    I guess it may be fun to dissect, just to see what is inside before it hit the scrap pile. I guess that is why I got it for free, I suppose.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

    -Al

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    That's a standard Amphenol connector. If you were just looking for something to putter around with over the Christmas break you could play around and get it working. Depends on what it's worth to you.

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    You can borrow my charger

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    You will get a similar reaction from Starrett about their older electronic tools too. They might a bit more sympathetic, but that really does nothing to resolve the issue.

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    Thanks again for the replies. I did recognize that as a standard connector but had not gotten as far as looking up the mate for it.

    I took it apart a bit further, and from the looks of the guts, I'm pretty sure it is not worth bothering with. The build quality of the electronics is really pretty poor. Much of it looks almost like prototype type style construction, and is almost impossible to disassemble (boards and connector fastened in with epoxy) without hacking/breaking stuff.

    I found circuit pads marked + and - on the board that I traced to two opamps, so I was able to verify that they were power supply points. I soldered a couple of wire to them and tried to power it up with a bench supply. No luck, acted dead.

    Oh well. Win some, lose some. Always fun to try and did not really lose anything on this one.

    Thanks for chiming in.

    -Al

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    Lightbulb depends on the definition of "standard"

    Quote Originally Posted by Holescreek View Post
    That's a standard Amphenol connector.
    Don't be too quick to dub that "standard".

    There are an infinite number of polarization configurations available.

    It's common practice for OEMs to spec unusual configs to force their customers to buy their accessories and repair parts.

    - Leigh

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    Yeah, you're right. I just spent the day before searching the Amphenol page in the Digikey catalog looking for a connector to fix a GSE 229E transducer calibrator. -Mike

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    Default Fowler Digital Indicator

    I got several of these a few years ago and wired them to run
    off of an ac wall wart. I clipped the battery leads off of
    the pc boards and soldered the power supply wires to the pc
    board at one of the chips. I drilled a hole in the housing for
    the wires. I used the power pins of an OP amp. These are
    located at opposite corners of the chip. Pin 1 is marked
    by a dimple or notch. The ground is the last pin on the
    same side as pin 1, the positive lead is on the opposite
    corner. (Straight across from pin one.) This approach bypasses
    the battery and charging circuit and finding the connector.
    The AC adapter was 5Vdc. You need to remove the battery to prevent
    shorted cells from keeping the unit from powering up.


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