Hello there, I am a freelance product beta tester. My background is in technology. I am very meticulous and methodical in product testing, whether it is following set testing patterns as per your guideline requirements, or, if I am testing by ‘freehand’.
Since a very young age I have been fascinated how things work. I remember going along to school jumble sales where my friends would head to the toy table and me making a beeline to the junk table. You know the table with the clapped out record player or reel to reel player. My first real purchase were a 1960’s Hacker mono record player that had a valve amp. That cost something like 10p (in new money and yes, a steal back then!). I lugged the heavy wooden (semi portable) player home. I managed to sneak it past my Mum and into my bedroom. The shear excitement of plugging the player in to see if it had any signs of life. Sadly it was a dud, not surprised really, after all it only cost 10p. Undeterred, I ventured out of my bedroom and headed for the washing machine cupboard. This is where my Dad kept the household tool box.
Once back in my bedroom and the bedroom door closed I began to dismantle this once loved player. Off with the lid, that was easy and onto the main turntable deck. This I recall was slightly more tricky. Eventually I managed to remove the deck and carefully disconnect the wiring to it. What I next saw was a work of art, the inner workings of the player. You guessed it, the valve amplifier. Seeing these glass tubes or bulbs as I thought they were fascinated me. I caressed the valves trying to imagine how these things actually worked. I simply hadn’t had a clue. My attention turned to the record deck. Now having grown up with a record player I understood how this kind of equipment worked. First select the speed for the record to play, 45 or 33 RPM (78 was for old timer music), lift the spindle up and across to the right, place the record onto the spindle, return the spindle arm and move the lever by the tone arm to automatic – what a faff! By chance the record would drop onto the platter, the tone arm would swing across and hopefully land on the record lead-in groove.
Deck in hand, I played with the turntable, moving the platter both directions, switching the lever to automatic and observing how the intricate parts seemed to engage and carryout their magic. The next task for me was to strip down the turntable. From what I can remember this was held on with a circlip. I spent a good 10 minutes or so trying to figure out how the hell this little clip came off. In the end a slotted screwdriver and plenty of stabbing and wiggling until it pinged off and shot across my bedroom floor. Eventually I had the deck in pieces, there were springs, screws and bits strewn over the floor. It was a right mess and there was no hope in hell of this lot going back together again that was for sure.
Lastly I decided to delve back in on the amplifier, my goal was to see these tubes light up at least. I had no fear or respect for the 240vac mains, which, looking back was fatal and sheer stupidity. How I never electrocuted myself only God knows. I found a rather blackened fuse on the rear of the player. Having no replacement I decided to make my own. I chopped off a piece of the interconnecting audio wire with my trusty paper scissors and bared back the outer wire. I then used a strand of wire as my fuse wire by wrapping the around the original fuse (don’t try this at home folks!). I plugged the remains of the player into the mains. I was half expecting a big bang, when I was greeted with a gentle thump from the speaker. These valves or tubes woke up and started glowing. How wonderful they looked. My enjoyment soon stopped with a bang at the front door. My Dad had returned home from work. Usually I would run to my Dad and greet him, well that evening I didn’t. I could hear my Dad walk up up the stairs and make his way across the landing, shikes my Dad is heading into my room. The bedroom door flung open and my Dad said “what an earth is all this mess son? I hope you are going to put whatever it is back together and clear up your room, does your mother know what you are up to?” Of course she doesn’t I said to myself.
So that was my first journey into to the world of mechanical and electronics at the age of 8 years old. I did improve and eventually manage to take apart, figure out how things worked and reassemble. Spent 5 years at college learning all aspects of radio, television transmission theory, fault finding to component level, Z80 machine code programming, digital circuits etc.
Today most things are driven with an electronic circuit that is controlled with software. We as consumers are really testers for manufacturers. Most products are rushed to market, either driven by competition or perceived consumer demand. Some manufacturers get it right and carryout intensive product testing before being sold, where others will test by the people who built it. The later is where bugs do not always show up. This is where my knowledge, experience and understanding adds extreme value to any potential product pre launch or beta testing. This can be finished product hardware, software or a combination of both. Put it simply, I will look for problems and report my detailed findings. You can use me like a tap and not some constant drain on a payroll.
Always happy to have a chat, so do reach out to me through the contact me page.