Who was PEDRO?


Anyone who's worked in a Motorola factory will be familiar with the name PEDRO. This was a known good, fully tested, assembled radio; board or assembly that was kept aside for reference purposes. The idea was that if you were testing or aligning something and started seeing unusual results, you could always go and get the PEDRO, test that and see how it compared with the current production lot. For repair technicians, you could probe the PEDRO, compare voltages; waveforms etc. and compare this with a difficult repair job.

The urban legend.

One story was that there was a worker in the ______ factory whose name was Pedro. He was in the habit of taking one or two samples from the first batch, checking them, labeling them and putting these into the cupboard. These would inevitably be labeled with his name. The idea was that if there was a measurement that didn't make sense on future products, he would have some "know good samples" to go back to. This is unfortunately not quite true.

Many years ago, I worked in a former Motorola factory, and this is the story we were told.

There are several iterations of the above story - with variations in the location of the factory. Pedro is a Spanish and Portuguese name, so these iterations included ethnicity.

The reality.

PEDRO was not a person!


It turns out the Motorola Heritage Archives Collection team have a number of vintage products stamped PEDRO. The  above tag was used to identify these and dates from around 1960. PEDRO stands for Production Engineering Department Release Order.  According to archival records, a PEDRO was a completely correct and detailed product model made for production and processing departments to reference. This ensured production consistency. The PEDRO was protected and design changes could be made only through a formal approval process.

With thanks to my colleagues who helped with the picture and (correct) information.

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