|A Visit to the Leak Factory
Simon Leak (son of Harold) recalls his time at the factory:
"I knew absolutely nothing at all about the way electronics functioned, but an experiment was established to see if a non-technical person could cope with the testing of Stereo 30s and Troughlines. The reason was that due to huge demand and a lack of qualified staff, the Ealing factory was piled high (literally) with untested goods.
"I'd just left school with no idea as to what to do with life and so my father dragged me into the factory where, within a few weeks, I was churning out more tested sets than anyone else (with a lot of help from Ray Whitcombe's easy to follow written instructions). Then, if there was a fault that could not be detected, the rule was to 1) Drop the piece of equipment from six inches high on to the rubber mat to see if it would shake the problem loose, 2) Call in an expert!
"Within a couple of months the backlog was cleared! Regarding the soldering irons - there was nowhere to hang them and I was always burning myself plus getting 'belts' from the equipment that would send your arm in to a temporary spasm!
- Simon Leak, 2003..
"The alignment of the Trough-Line Stereo was very critical. It was found that the stereo
performance was very dependent on the linearity of the discriminators's "S-curve".
Initially the Lab did a final "tweak" using a distortion factor meter, having first obtained
the best visual alignment with a sweep generator. This method was unacceptable for production
units, so Bob Skegg and I were given permission to build some special test gear for use on
the production line. The design was based on frequency modulating a radio-frequency carrier
with a 1kHz sine wave that had been mixed with a three-position staircase waveform. This was f
ed to the tuner under test, and the tuner's audio output measured through a 2kHz band-pass
filter. The output from this filter was the second-harmonic distortion at three different
deviations of the radio frequency carrier. Displayed on an oscilloscope, the objective was
to align the tuner so that the centre burst (at nominal carrier frequency) was as
small as possible, consistent with the outer bursts being equal."
-- Ray Whitcombe, Design Engineer, H.J.Leak & Co. Ltd