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Repairman
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
Repairman   2/15/2012 4:48:30 PM
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Got to agree with this. What I really miss is the schematics and troubleshooting guides that only a few companies now publish. Maybe the resurrection of Heathkit will help.

ThermalHunter
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
ThermalHunter   2/15/2012 3:01:37 PM
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I bought an HP45 in January 1974 during 3rd year EE. It cost $495 CAD and thanks to the polar\rectangular conversion function it quickly paid for itself doing 3-phase and RLC analysis. I still have it and it runs (mostly) The battery pack is long gone (although it will run off the original wall wart) the zero key occasionally bounces and the battery door no longer latches. It got so much use that to this day my muscle memory has me going for the wrong keys on my HP32Sii!

Rangerdog
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
Rangerdog   2/14/2012 1:53:50 PM
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Hewlett Packard quality was also legendary in the medical equipment they used to make. I started my career as a Biomedical Equipment Tech in 1973. The hospital that hired me had just purchased HP monitors for a newly built ICU/CCU. At one time HP owned over 80% of the medical monitoring business in the US. Then they split the medical and the test equiment divisions into the Agilent era and after a couple of years they sold the medical part to Philips. In our ER we have some monitors that have the Hewlett Packard name, some that have Agilent and some that have Philips. Same model same quality. Two clinical engineers came to work us because we had Hewlett Packard monitors house-wide. They knew they were not going to get a lot of middle of the night call-ins. We never had to get new equipment because the old was failing. HP always tried to make their new models backwards compatible too. A great company that in my opinion made some very unwise decisions.

sudo
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
sudo   2/14/2012 2:37:11 AM
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I was thinking about the exact same story! HP actually used the story as a full page ad in the 90's. I may still have the old EE magazine with it or at least that one page. It's been a while ago but the sory went something like this. The box was stolen and the equipment was probably too specialized for the thief to easily sell, so the gear ended up dumped in a lake or river. An angler hooked it and snagged his line on it a couple of years later - that's how it was found. The box went back to the HP calibration lab and the guy there dried it out. He was thinking of cleaning it out but then thought, what the heck, let's see first if it works at all. He powered the box up and it not only worked but it was operating fully within specs. I don't much like advertisements but I loved that ad! I was totally dumbfounded when the HP name went to the computer company and T&M became "Agilent". It should've been the other way round.

kalpak
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
kalpak   2/13/2012 9:45:44 AM
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I remember vaguely that HP long ago used advertise about one of their Fiber Optic test instrument with a story "one that got away". It was about an instrument that was stolen off a truck and submerged in a North US lake for 3 years and worked fine are it was accidently found. Anybody recollect the details?

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/10/2012 10:59:00 PM
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And since you're retired now Bob, I'm sure you would have time to give us a couple more stories? Please??

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/10/2012 10:56:23 PM
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On the quality issue I'd agree, but you cannot equate the HP computer stuff with the older test gear. Bill and Dave must be turning in their graves at what's been done to the HP name now.

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/10/2012 10:54:01 PM
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I had a problem once - I got a design for a sine wave generator using an 8-bit shift register that has inverted feedback - ie it fills up with 1's then fills up with 0's. You dimension the resistors off the outputs so that at each point the resistors divide the 1's and 0's to the right voltage at that point on the sine wave. Only problem was, I wanted a 10-bit shift register. So had to redimension all the resistors. I worked out a program to do it on my 33E. It involved quadratic equations but with RPL and the stack they are easy. I was sorting thru some old articles the other day and came across my original hand written notes on this. The program only just fitted into memory (think it was max 50 steps?) but it worked just fine.

antedeluvian
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
antedeluvian   2/10/2012 10:44:38 PM
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Like David I have a Zimbabwean accent. My favourite story was back in 1992 I phoned someone in California to mail me some data (no email, web sites and fax wasn't really clear). I gave my name and address and finished off with "Ontario, Canada". The voice on the other side countered with "well, that explains the accent"!

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/10/2012 10:41:50 PM
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@"...dating from the mid-1050s" Goodness - I didn't know they'd been going THAT long... ;-) Typos aside, another good story illustrating the quality of the old HP stuff. Sorry, I'm not clear, which one did you sell, the HP or the 465? I have fond memories of the 465...the first scope I ever used...as a radio tech in the Rhodesian police. Our comms were 40 MHz AM, so you could look at the TX output directly on a sniffer port of our dummy load. Damn good scopes, Tektronix is a close second to HP in my opinion, but they only really made scopes in those days, unlike HP who made pretty much everything.

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