While I was testing the latest version of the recording preamp, I needed a simple audio amp. A good old LM386 would be fine. I’ve been making stuff on printed circuit boards and vector boards for quite a while, and have been using 386s for quite a while, so the box of old project boards seemed a like good place to look.
I found just what I needed – a 386 originally designed for a “light wave receiver”. Disconnecting the photo transistor and hooking on a couple of clip leads let me finish my testing. The amp worked fine.
Afterward, I looked at the amp’s grungy old PCB. As has been my custom for some time, I had put my initials and the date on the board: 10/81. Using a low tech digital decade counter (my fingers) I realized the board was just about 30 years old! (I guess I have been using 386s for a long time.)