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'[EE]:: "Interesting" LED flasher circuit'
2012\03\14@060627 by RussellMc

face picon face
See circuit at

 http://www.gregsbasicelectronics.com/circuits/ledoscillator.htm

A screen shot of the rear of the board from the video shows that it is
built as hown in cct assuming that transistors read ebc left to right
with pins down and flat facing you.

The video shows construction but does not show (that  I noted when I
skimmed it) the flasher flashing, which one may well expect of such a
project. Any clues why?

NB also http://bit.ly/TransistorAstables




   Russel

2012\03\14@072304 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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face
Em 14/3/2012 07:05, RussellMc escreveu:
> See circuit at
>
>   http://www.gregsbasicelectronics.com/circuits/ledoscillator.htm
>
> A screen shot of the rear of the board from the video shows that it is
> built as hown in cct assuming that transistors read ebc left to right
> with pins down and flat facing you.
>
> The video shows construction but does not show (that  I noted when I
> skimmed it) the flasher flashing, which one may well expect of such a
> project. Any clues why?
>
> NB also http://bit.ly/TransistorAstables
>
>
>
>
>     Russell


It seems to be a version of an astable multivibrator slightly different
than the one I was taught.
It uses two extra diodes, and two resistors are connected in a different
way.

Other than that I don't see anything odd.


Isaac

2012\03\14@073516 by Antonio Benci

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face
part 1 935 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" (decoded quoted-printable)

Your right, the cct shown will not flash. I tried it in Simetrix as
shown, couldn't get it to flash. Attached is a modified cct, as
Russell indicated, which is shown to work. Relies on small differences
in component values to start correctly.

Nino.

On 14 March 2012 21:05, RussellMc <spam_OUTapptechnzTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2012\03\14@073932 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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face


> -----Original Message-----
> From: .....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu [piclist-bouncesspamKILLspammit.edu] On Behalf
> Of RussellMc
> Sent: 14 March 2012 10:06
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: [EE]:: "Interesting" LED flasher circuit
>
> See circuit at
>
>   www.gregsbasicelectronics.com/circuits/ledoscillator.htm
>
> A screen shot of the rear of the board from the video shows that it is
> built as hown in cct assuming that transistors read ebc left to right
> with pins down and flat facing you.
>
> The video shows construction but does not show (that  I noted when I
> skimmed it) the flasher flashing, which one may well expect of such a
> project. Any clues why?
>
It simply won't work with R3 and R4 base resistors grounded rather than connected to Vcc, since there is nothing to bias the transistors on when it's powered up.  
It's pretty poor publishing something so fundamentally broken which is clearly aimed at an electronics newbie.

Mike


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2012\03\14@085637 by alan.b.pearce

face picon face
> It seems to be a version of an astable multivibrator slightly different than the one
> I was taught.
> It uses two extra diodes, and two resistors are connected in a different way.
>
> Other than that I don't see anything odd.

I agree, although the diodes were quite common in the days of germanium transistors, as the reverse Vbe wasn't terribly good, and you needed the diodes to stop the transistors from popping. In this case one probably needs them because of the large capacitors used to get the low frequency for the flash.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2012\03\14@090009 by RussellMc
face picon face
>> See circuit at

>>   http://www.gregsbasicelectronics.com/circuits/ledoscillator.htm

>> A screen shot of the rear of the board from the video shows that it is
>> built as hown in cct assuming that transistors read ebc left to right
>> with pins down and flat facing you.
>>
>> The video shows construction but does not show (that  I noted when I
>> skimmed it) the flasher flashing, which one may well expect of such a
>> project. Any clues why?

> It simply won't work with R3 and R4 base resistors grounded rather than connected to Vcc, since there is nothing to bias the transistors on when it's powered up.
>
> It's pretty poor publishing something so fundamentally broken which is clearly aimed at an electronics newbie.
> Mike

It's worse than that, it's dead, Jim!.

I was astounded and appalled.
I don't normally manage both of those in the same glance :-)
The site is selling an instructional course in electronics.
The cost is ~$30 which would be OK enough if the content was good BUT
that circuit is also the over picture on their introductory book.

Somebody on Stack Exchange posted the circuit and the explanation of
how it worked.
The first glance showed the explanation seemed to have the right words
in it and I was tempted to lean towards the OL approach. Next glance
was at the circuit and the penny dropped.

How he can have something so fundamental staring him in the face from
the cover of his introductory book and not see it I can't imagine.

BUT, worse, the far less than nicely made prototype in the video
actually implements the circuit as shown !. It cannot have worked BUT
he has still posted the video and the circuit.
Words fail. Just as well.

Russell McMahon

2012\03\14@090149 by RussellMc

face picon face
>> It uses two extra diodes, and two resistors are connected in a different way.

Sure are.

>> Other than that I don't see anything odd.

That's enough.

How do the transistors get biased on?



         Russel

2012\03\14@090551 by alan.b.pearce

face picon face
> It simply won't work with R3 and R4 base resistors grounded rather than connected to
> Vcc, since there is nothing to bias the transistors on when it's powered up.
>
Not true, if the publisher of the circuit had a pair of 100uF caps that were at the end limits of tolerance in value this circuit would power up quite happily, as the charge current through the caps will turn the transistors on. With differences in cap values one transistor will get more base current than the other once the cap charging current is >60uA (to get 0.6V across 10k).

Any astable multivibrator relies on some component imbalance to start oscillating, as exactly balanced components will result in both transistors drawing equal current at the same time, to a point where the collector voltage on both transistors rises exactly equal, and eventually the caps will be exactly equally charged.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2012\03\14@093250 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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Em 14/3/2012 10:01, RussellMc escreveu:
>>> It uses two extra diodes, and two resistors are connected in a different way.
> Sure are.
>
>>> Other than that I don't see anything odd.
> That's enough.
>
> How do the transistors get biased on?
>
>
>
>           Russell


I really didn't think much, but my first thought was that base current
would flow through the 470 ohm resistor plus the (low) reactance of the
capacitor. The 10k pull down resistor is much larger than the combined
470 ohm plus Xc, allowing most of the current flow to the base.

Given asymmetries in the values of components and in the gain of the
transistors, one transistor would conduct first and keep the other's
base starved from current, until the capacitor to the base of the first
transistor charges and its base current stops.

Just perhaps it could work with careful choice of components values.


Isaac

2012\03\14@093919 by RussellMc

face picon face
> > How do the transistors get biased on?Given asymmetries in the values of components and in the gain of the
> transistors, one transistor would conduct first and keep the other's
> base starved from current, until the capacitor to the base of the first
> transistor charges and its base current stops.
>
> Just perhaps it could work with careful choice of components values.

Or careless ;-).

For either base to get to say 0.5V there needs to be 50uA leakage
through the caps.
(9V - 2V LED) = 7V.
7V divided 6.5V/ 0.5V. Cap/Resistor.
I = V/R = 0.5/10k = 50 uA.

Good quality 85 C std caps tend not to work.
Junk may.



      Russel

2012\03\14@094038 by RussellMc

face picon face
I sent this:



Greg

The flasher circuit shown on this webpage

              http://www.gregsbasicelectronics.com/circuits/ledoscillator.htm

and on the cover of your introductory book and elsewhere, cannot work
in any reliable or repeatable sort of way.

The two resistors from transistor bases to ground should be from bases
to V+. Without this arrangement the transistors will not have forward
bias and the circuit will not start. It may be able to be made to run
if certain actions are performed but it is NOT a proper astable
multibibrator as shown.

The attached images show a large number of 2 transistor astable
oscillators (google image search) and, as you will see, ALL these (or
all that I noted) use formal forward base bias.

If it DOES start it is because the leakage current through the
capacitors is very high by normal standards. eg to get the bases to
say 0.5V needs I = V/R = 0.5/ 10k = 50 uA.
Low quality caps may exceed that level, but standard caps from eg
Panasonic, Cornel-Dubilier and Kemet have lower or utterly marginal
leakages.

See also circuits here:

          http://bit.ly/TransistorAstables

_______________

SK - won't work
http://www.cde.com/catalogs/SK.pdf

Panasonic Type A series M - no
http://industrial.panasonic.com/www-cgi/jvcr13pz.cgi?E+PZ+3+ABA0012+ECA1CM101I+7+WW

Nichicon VR - just maybe
http://www.nichicon.co.jp/english/products/pdfs/e-vr.pdf

SMG may work :-)
http://www.chemi-con.co.jp/e/catalog/pdf/al-e/al-sepa-e/004-lead/al-smg-e-111201.pdf




     regards


                     Russell McMaho

2012\03\14@095535 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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Em 14/3/2012 10:38, RussellMc escreveu:
{Quote hidden}

I think you missed a point: discharged capacitors when connect across a
voltage difference will allow current to flow, larger at first and
diminishing with time as the capacitors charges.

The capacitor have a reactance (Xc) measured in Ohms that depends on the
frequency and can be calculated by Xc = 1/(2*pi*F*C).

There is no need for leakage through the capacitors for the circuit to work..

I know you know all that already, but as I said you could have missed
the point.


Isaac

2012\03\14@101026 by alan.b.pearce

face picon face
{Quote hidden}

I agree with Isaac on this one. The initial turn on bias is the capacitor charge current.

Where this circuit may fail is when an attempt is made to run it at a higher frequency, say with 10nF caps instead of 100uF. Then the resultant operation will be very dependent on the Ft of the transistors, and just how fast they switch in the circuit.


-- Scanned by iCritical.

2012\03\14@102819 by RussellMc

face picon face
So. Here is how it works with no cap leakage.
E&OE.
Normal time constants do not work here as will be seen.


OPERATION:

Assume no cap leakage.

All off.
C1! discharged,. C2 discharged.
Power on.
C1+, C2+ pulled high via LEDs by battery.
As C1 and C2 have no V across them the -ve sides will also be pulled high.

Bothe bases pulled high - boty transistors try to turn on.
One will win.
Say Q1 turning on faster:
C2 will have some charge as -ve side discharged via base (or left side
chgd via R1 D1).
QA Q1-c is driven to ground, C2- will be driven to BELOW ground.
Q2 driven hard off
If C2- driven more than about 0.6V below ground D4 conducts to clamp -ve
excursion.  Also provides a discharge path via Q1 - see below.
..
Now Q1 on Q2 off.
C1+ will charge via R2D2 (not a robot).
Usually R4 is to B+ and it charges C2 so Q2 turns on.
Q1 is on as above as C1 high but C1 is charging via R2 D2 C1 R3 so -ve end
falls until Q1 is not held on as Vb too low.
But now C2 is discharged due to path Ground-D4-C2-Q1. So when Q1 turns off
Collector of C1 rises and lifts C2+ and so C2- follows so Q2 turns on and
identical second half cycle happens

This is a much damaged version of the original as usually bases are driven
negative and do not conduct during timing part of cycle and resistor
charges capacitor via a normal time constant. Here the caps forward bias
the bases when the opposite collector rises and you get massive base
current pulse via eg R1 D1 C2 Q2_base. So time constant of RC is much
shortened so oscillator will run rather faster than usually. T = RC of
bases is notionally 10k x 100 uf = 1 second but because capacitors are
clamped and discharged directly into bases this will run much faster.

So it works after a fashion but is crippled.




                     Russel

2012\03\14@103825 by Ruben Jönsson

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face

> > > How do the transistors get biased on?Given asymmetries in the values of
> components and in the gain of the
> > transistors, one transistor would conduct first and keep the other's
> > base starved from current, until the capacitor to the base of the first
> > transistor charges and its base current stops.
> >
> > Just perhaps it could work with careful choice of components values.
>
> Or careless ;-).
>
> For either base to get to say 0.5V there needs to be 50uA leakage
> through the caps.
> (9V - 2V LED) = 7V.
> 7V divided 6.5V/ 0.5V. Cap/Resistor.
> I = V/R = 0.5/10k = 50 uA.
>
> Good quality 85 C std caps tend not to work.
> Junk may.
>
It's not leakage. Just how a capacitor works. When current goes into one leg it goes out of the other. When it does the voltage over the dielectric also rises more and more until it prohibits any more current flowing (causing the capacitor charge/discharge curve). No electrons are actually moved from one side to the other though (electrostatic repelling forces of charges of equal polarity).

You can compare a capacitor in an electric circuit with a barrel with a flexible water tight membrane in the center (dividing the barrel in two parts) in a water flowing circuit. When water pushes in on one side, the membrane flexes at the same time as water is pushed out on the other side. The membrane flexes as much as the water pressure allows. To high pressure and the membrane breakes causing a short. It is also the membrane that holds the energy in the barrel, allowing it to push back water when the pressure is lowered. Also, the more flexed the membrane is, the more work is needed to flex it even more.

At least, that's how I picture the inner workings of a capacitor.
===========================================
Ruben Jönsson
AB Liros Electronic
Box 9124
200 39 Malmö Sweden
http://www.liros.se
Tel +46 40142078
============================================

2012\03\14@104326 by Ruben Jönsson

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{Quote hidden}

Which is why the diodes are there to allow just as fast current flow in the other direction.

===========================================
Ruben Jönsson
AB Liros Electronic
Box 9124
200 39 Malmö Sweden
http://www.liros.se
Tel +46 40142078
============================================

2012\03\14@110125 by RussellMc

face picon face
> It's not leakage. Just how a capacitor works.

I was specifically referring to leakage as a "get it started" mechanism.

IF leakage was say 100 uA (about 0.06CV) then the circuit would start
and run in the "normal" manner and D3 and D4 could be removed and the
C1 x RLeakage_C1 and C2 x RLeakage_C2  would set the time constants.
At present R1 and R2 get into the timing act.


                Russel

2012\03\14@110327 by alan.b.pearce

face picon face
> > So it works after a fashion but is crippled.
> >
> >
>
> Which is why the diodes are there to allow just as fast current flow in the other
> direction.

But they remove the 10k resistor from the RC time constant while the diode is conducting. This would make the circuit oscillate at a much higher frequency than one would expect for a given RC. The 'conventional' circuit with the bias resistors to Vcc will give the full RC time constant provided the transistor does not have any significant reverse Vbe current flow.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2012\03\14@121924 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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face


{Quote hidden}

I tried to simulate this in LTSpice over lunch; nothing I have tried so far will make the circuit oscillate reliably in its original form, including make the capacitors significantly different values, adding some leakage, changing the collector resistors etc.  I get some chaotic behaviour at power on, but not really what you'd expect from an LED flasher.  Moving the base resistors up the Vcc immediately creates a perfectly operating astable.

That's obviously not to say it couldn't work in practice, but I very much doubt it will be reliable or repeatable between different builds.  I wonder how many people have thrown their soldering irons away in disgust after wasting hours with this?

Mike


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2012\03\14@123546 by RussellMc

face picon face
> I tried to simulate this in LTSpice over lunch;

Lonnnnng lunch :-)

> nothing I have tried so far will make the circuit oscillate reliably in its original form, including make the capacitors significantly different values, adding some leakage, changing the collector resistors etc.  I get some chaotic behaviour at power on, but not really what you'd expect from an LED flasher.  Moving the base resistors up the Vcc immediately creates a perfectly operating astable.

> That's obviously not to say it couldn't work in practice, but I very much doubt it will be reliable or repeatable between different builds.  I wonder how many people have thrown their soldering irons away in disgust after wasting hours with this?

The sample of one user that I am aware of who has built it says it
works well. Much to my chagrin :-).


   Russell

2012\03\14@131934 by Djula Djarmati

flavicon
On 14-Mar-12 17:35, RussellMc wrote:
>> I tried to simulate this in LTSpice over lunch;
>
> Lonnnnng lunch :-)
>
>> nothing I have tried so far will make the circuit oscillate reliably in its original form, including make the capacitors significantly different values, adding some leakage, changing the collector resistors etc.  I get some chaotic behaviour at power on, but not really what you'd expect from an LED flasher.  Moving the base resistors up the Vcc immediately creates a perfectly operating astable.
>
>> That's obviously not to say it couldn't work in practice, but I very much doubt it will be reliable or repeatable between different builds.  I wonder how many people have thrown their soldering irons away in disgust after wasting hours with this?
>
> The sample of one user that I am aware of who has built it says it
> works well. Much to my chagrin :-).
>
>
>      Russell
>

It works in LTSpice too. It is a bad design but it does work.

Djul

2012\03\14@135803 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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face


{Quote hidden}

Yep it works for me now after syncing the LTSpice release (it was quite old....).  The collector resistors or base resistors must be different to make it start (or using two different transistors works).  Making the two capacitor values different (even x2) does not make it start if the other components are equal however.  The period is also about doubled compared to having the base resistors in the correct location.

Mike

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2012\03\14@175536 by RussellMc

face picon face
> Yep it works for me now after syncing the LTSpice release (it was quite old...).  The collector resistors or base resistors must be different to make it start (or using two different transistors works).  Making the two capacitor values different (even x2) does not make it start if the other components are equal however.  The period is also about doubled compared to having the base resistors in the correct location.

I wonder how the real world frequency compares to the modelled one?
When LTSPICE has difficulty modelling reality and you have to do
clever hings to make it work there is often summat aglae. Sometimes
this is due to a component *needing* to be non-ideal (such as adding a
minute series R to an inductor, but 'needing different transistors BUT
having the standard version start OK'  is interesting.


        Russell

2012\03\14@195710 by Barry Gershenfeld

picon face
BTW, the original author pulled the page off his site.  Also BTW the one on
stackexchange is now the only remaining example :)

On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 2:54 PM, RussellMc <KILLspamapptechnzKILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:

> > When LTSPICE has difficulty modelling reality and you have to do
> clever hings to make it work there is often summat aglae.
>

I tried, for awhile, to find definition(s) for what looks like Latin there,
and have discovered that you are the only one using the  phrase on the
entire Web.  At least, that's what Google is trying to convince me of.  And
I have found several posts over the years, also featuring the word 'gang'
in various combinations, all from you.  I doubt this phrase is something
often heard in NZ :)  My best guess on the matter is something like,
"somethings awry".    History lesson, please

2012\03\14@233807 by RussellMc

face picon face
> BTW, the original author pulled the page off his site.  Also BTW the one
> on stackexchange is now the only remaining example :)

No reply to me though.

> >... summat aglae.

Intended: "Something amiss".

> I tried, for awhile, to find definition(s) for what looks like Latin
> there,
> and have discovered that you are the only one using the  phrase on the
> entire Web.  At least, that's what Google is trying to convince me of.
>  And
> I have found several posts over the years, also featuring the word 'gang'
> in various combinations, all from you.  I doubt this phrase is something
> often heard in NZ :)  My best guess on the matter is something like,
> "somethings awry".    History lesson, please.

Fantastiche! - a phrase all my own and multiple Gargoyle hits ! :-)

Mixed etymology is the problem here.

1. Summat is slang English from certain areas. My Cheshire born uncle
used it, but it may or may not have come from his area.

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=summat
Yorkshire slang for "something."
Can also, more specifically, mean "something like that."

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/summat
Etymology
Alteration of somewhat

2. Aglae

Scots. Properly "agley" but there are enough "aglae"s around to make
it not just a typo.
Has always felt more euphonic to me.

Most famously used by Robbie Burns
in "To a Mouse"  as "gang aft aglae"
= go often wrong.

7th verse.

_______________

"To a Mouse"


WEE, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
Source(s):
http://www.worldofquotes.com/author/Robe…





Russell McMahon

2012\03\14@234528 by Oli Glaser

flavicon
face
On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 11:57 PM, Barry Gershenfeld <RemoveMEgbarry42TakeThisOuTspamgmail.com>wrote:

> BTW, the original author pulled the page off his site.  Also BTW the one on
> stackexchange is now the only remaining example :)
>
> On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 2:54 PM, RussellMc <spamBeGoneapptechnzspamBeGonespamgmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > When LTSPICE has difficulty modelling reality and you have to do
> > clever hings to make it work there is often summat aglae.
> >
>
> I tried, for awhile, to find definition(s) for what looks like Latin there,
> and have discovered that you are the only one using the  phrase on the
> entire Web.  At least, that's what Google is trying to convince me of.  And
> I have found several posts over the years, also featuring the word 'gang'
> in various combinations, all from you.  I doubt this phrase is something
> often heard in NZ :)  My best guess on the matter is something like,
> "somethings awry".    History lesson, please.
>
>
I was born in Stirling, Scotland (near Glasgow) and I remember this word
being used often by the locals, meaning something similar to "awry".
I gogglied for "Scottish aglae" and this helpful site turned up:
http://www.glaswegian.info/Glaswegian-Words/Agley-or-Aglae-glaswegian-scottish-english-translate-words.htm

D' ye ken noo? ;-

2012\03\15@011020 by Oli Glaser

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On Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 3:37 AM, RussellMc <TakeThisOuTapptechnzEraseMEspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:

>
>
> Mixed etymology is the problem here.
>
> 1. Summat is slang English from certain areas. My Cheshire born uncle
> used it, but it may or may not have come from his area.
>
> www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=summat
> Yorkshire slang for "something."
> Can also, more specifically, mean "something like that."
>
> http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/summat
> Etymology
> Alteration of somewhat
>
>
Forgot about that one - "summat" is so common round here ("here" being on
the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire) that I assumed (quite
incorrectly of course) everyone would know what it meant :-) It probably
originated in Yorkshire as the link seems to suggest, but I'd say it's used
more often in common speech than "something" in both counties.
I wonder how long all these less common local dialects and languages will
last in the age of the Internet? Maybe one day we'll all speak Googlish

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