FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

If you have a question about this topic, the answer is probably in here!
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Richard Hull
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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by Richard Hull » Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:25 pm

6V in a bin is very rare! 6V bus wiring, output test jacks on front, etc. are common. Most 6V was generated by 6V power supply plugins (2 wide) and went onto the bin buss, thus enabling it. LRS (Lecroy Reserach Systems) modules regularly used the + and - 6v bus for their more complicated nim modules as did BNC (Berkley Nuclear Corp.).

For those with +/-6 Volt test pins on the front power panel, but with no +/-6 volts measured, here is the explanation. The 6 volt buss receives it power and transmits it on pins #10 and #11 to all modules. (see the origianl posting in this thread for the pinouts) NIM bins with the test pins have the 6 volt buss wiring. You will need to buy the nim modules that use the 120 volt line voltage into them to generate +/-6volts within them and output these voltages from their pins 10 and 11. Once plugged in and turned on, the +/-6 volt busses are now powered up.

Nim module makers worked almost exclusively in circuit design to avoid using any 6 volt power within their modules. The thinking was that if they did, it would involve extra expense for the purchaser of their module as they would be forced to power their buss with another module.

Why have 6 volts at all? Well, when the first NIM culture developed there were a lot of germanium transistors still in use and power consumption could be kept low by doing a lot of the electronics on a lower voltage buss. Silicon transitor technology was booming and was the future so 12 volt and 24 volt busses were also used in the main buss power. Very quickly the 6 volt buss fell into disuse. By the 1970's IC's, mainly DTL and especially TTL were the norm and the 6 volt buss came back into its own as the 5 volts needed for these systems fit the 6 volt, multiamp buss perfectly.

The upshot is that the earliest Nim modules might be found in need of 6 volts and a few of the last or latest might also need 6 volts. Still, most makers avoid the 6 volt buss like the plague.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by Starfire » Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:33 pm

Tks Richard - that explains why it was difficult to trace the 6v's in the regulators. Your experience is as always, valued and respected.

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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by JuanDosio » Thu May 26, 2016 5:39 am

Thanks again for a great FAQ ! don't wish to be a bother but would anyone be willing into going into more detail regarding specific nim modules. Would quite enjoy knowing what is of use and what is not.

Cheers,
Dosio

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Richard Hull
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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:54 pm

Again, virtually no NIM bin has +/- 6 volt supplies installed, internally!! The +/- 6 volt buss is fully wired to all slots and their plugs, however, in all bins.

The very earliest bins used these voltages sometimes. To effect the full +/-6 volt buss, you must purchase, both, a +6v and a -6v NIM plug-in module! These all power up off the 120vac buss and output onto the pre-wired +/-6 volt busses within the bin. I have both plug ins, and they are rated at 3 amps @6 volts!!

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by John Futter » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:10 am

There are also European NIM module makers
the first to come to mind is FAST
as we use their NIM ADCs on our accelerator

I started out in the 70,s as an aspiring tech / engineer fixing NIM modules at my first job at the local university physics dept
I recall giving the mnemonic for ORTEC as Optimised Real Tricky Electronic Circuitry

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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:27 pm

Yes, In the early days of no IC's, the systems used often up to 40 transistors in some of the more complex NIM modules with up to 100 passive components. Real electronic engineering was required to do what just a couple of IC's can do today with far better effect. Servicing the internal electronics of one of the complex NIM modules can require a good deal of electronic experience and troubleshooting. Such skills are dying with old guys like me fading from the scene. Any form of complex, discrete, classic troubleshooting is virtually no longer needed. Even the large numbers of 1970's medium scale integrated circuit based systems can't be effectively repaired today as the DIP IC's, what remain of their ilk, are only offered as surface mount items that will always require a good bit of adaptation.

Older surface mount systems are also almost unrepairable due to the lifting of the hair-fine PC board traces during removal of the defective soldered-in component. Most ultra complex circuitry in modern systems are just a "board exchange" replacement. In some cases, in single board systems, total replacement of the entire device is often less expensive considering a new warranty period is also thrown into the new purchase.

NIM and even CAMAC, is a very "long-in-the-tooth" way to do nuclear instrumentation. It is only the VW, (Volkswagen), mentality that keeps NIM going. That is, lots of different available modules doing the same thing that plug in, universally, to a common buss. The lower expense of obtaining older modules, used, in working condition, make for a proven value to those wanting to assemble something special. Like the little VW, NIM can be bullet proof, maintained and kept working' on the cheap.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by ChristofferBraestrup » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:34 pm

I've been keeping a list of manufacturers of NIM modules (for Ebay bookmarking) for a while. Some overlap with the existing, but many oddball/small manufacturers:


All sorts:

Ortec (Owned by EG&G)
Canberra
Tennelec
Nuclear Data (Bought by Canberra; big overlap in product ranges)
BNC (Berkeley Nucleonics) (mainly pulse gen's and delays)
Tracor (or Northern or both)
EG&G (non Ortec-branded NIM modules exist)
Lecroy / LRS (Many CAMAC modules, some NIM, some hybrid)

Only high voltage PSU's:

Bertan
Vern Kiebler

RARE:

Helgeson
Chronetics (Became Canberra?? Similar logo)
Harshaw
Nuclear Diodes
Kevex (X-ray diffraction/spectro specific)
Stanford Research (Mainly advanced analyzers)
Knürr Baugruppen (empty module enclosures)
Nuclear Enterprises (British, only one module known)
Hewlett Packard (at least 1 nim bin known)
SAIC
Emetron GMBH (German, one module known.)
Power designs Inc (BIN PSU's)
Ordela
Nuclear Chicargo
LASL (Modules dev'd by Los Alamos Nat'l Lab. Likely very low volume)
Hamner
Princeton Gamma-Tech (Relation to Princeton Applied Research unknown)
Oxford-Danfysik
Nucleus (the nucleus?)
Mech-Tronics
Nuclear Semiconductor
Sturrup
National Nuclear Corp. (NNC)

Hope this will be of use.

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Re: FAQ - NIM - SPECS - HISTORY ongoing and updated

Post by Richard Hull » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:58 pm

Thank you very much Christoffer! A great addition to this FAQ! This is a combo fact and historical posting I love the list of the the rarities...I have a few.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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