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David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/10/2012 10:35:23 PM
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Thanks for that. Let's hope it will save me some time when I get around to opening it up (it's up to about #15 on the list currently.....

BobGroh
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
BobGroh   2/10/2012 10:00:52 PM
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Oh, goodness, too many HP test equipment stories to tell but here is just one. I am now retired and I have a number of old'ish HP test equipment around. A couple of months ago, I pulled an HP-120B oscilloscope off the shelf where it had been languishing for 20+ years. I had a two fold objective: get it working so I could use it to fix my Tektronix 465 o'scope and then to be able to sell it. The HP120B is a (mostly) vacuum tube beast dating from the mid-1050s. I put it on the bench and used a variac to bring it up over a 12 hour period. I rotated the controls and spritzed them with suitable cleaner. As the variac reached 90V, the old HP120 started to come to life and, after more than 20 years, it was soon working much it did '..back in the day..' After using it to find my problem, I then sold it to another electronics guy down south. Fantastic but not totally unexpected. They build them good!

Dave-sir
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
Dave-sir   2/10/2012 9:39:00 PM
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Re the calculators: When I was in Jr. High, I wanted an HP-35. In High school, I wanted the 45, and when it came out, the 55. When I was a freshman in college, I actually bought a 29C from an ad in Scientific American. I really loved that calculator, but I had difficulty (several failed attempts) replacing the battery, and eventually sold it to a collector on eBay for about 50% more than I paid for it in the first place. Today I have a 48G on my desk. Unlike the 29C, which I knew backwards and forwards, I can only use about 10% of the capabilities of this amazing machine. I just wish the build quality matched the 29C... Anyone who has an interest in HP calculators might enjoy a trip to www.hpmuseum.org. There's even sections on slide rules and the Curta "pepper grinder".

wayne_nct
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
wayne_nct   2/10/2012 8:24:28 PM
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I have several pieces of late 60's through end of 1970's HP equipment. I call them "infinitely repairable" instruments because they generally used discrete transistors, or at most complex, very basic op amps and TTL chips. I guarantee you this fact alone accounts for their longevity and reliability. Any problem I have ever found in these instruments concerns the silver coloured electrolytic capacitors they used, which short. Sprague was the manufacturer in most cases. And David, there is likely nothing wrong with your 8640B except a blown fuse on the generator output. A picofuse most likely, they fused the output on many instruments to protect the output stage. W.

antedeluvian
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
antedeluvian   2/10/2012 8:17:01 PM
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I attribute my engineering degree to the HP-35. While everyone else was pushing their slide rules around, I managed to find an extra 20 minutes in the exam. I still have it and some of the books that described the algorithms to resolve complex (not imaginary) calculations. When they released the HP35S about 3 years ago, I just had to buy one. It is much closer to the HP61 because of the programmability and key functionality. Sort of resembles the 35 as much as the new Mini car resembles the old one. I must say though, after my recent acquisitions of HP printers and scanners I don't think the HP quality is still there. See my thoughts here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1367&doc_id=231153

RICARDO.MOTTA
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
RICARDO.MOTTA   2/10/2012 1:12:38 PM
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And nowadays, where is the garage, where is HP, where is the invention? Cheers

jackOfManyTrades
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
jackOfManyTrades   2/9/2012 8:02:26 AM
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How I wish HP (Agilent) made the test I we use, then we wouldn't have to use other test gear companies.

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/9/2012 7:39:42 AM
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Sounds great, thanks for that. You should think about expanding this into a "How it was: Working at HP" article for Max's series -I'm sure it would be fascinating reading.

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/9/2012 7:34:42 AM
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You're right....does smell bad. A bit of fossicking around on the net leads me to suspect that this is an HP 16500B. I found a user guide and a service manual on Agilent's site (as an aside, Agilent do seem very good about keeping a lot of HP manuals available) but nothing in them confirms how the touch screen works. It's a pretty low res touch screen so I wouldn't think anything more than IR leds and detectors would be needed. However I did note that this equipment does have a colour CRT display and those are know to produce X-rays, maybe this is what the warning was about, but I couldn't find any reference to that in the HP docs either. Sorry, my bad, should have researched this a bit better. (And not believed everything I read in one of Max's posts ;-)

David Ashton
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re: Nostalgic about HP test equipment
David Ashton   2/9/2012 7:05:38 AM
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Hi Bert. Accents...right... My Aussie friends say I'll never sound like an Aussie, but my mom says I do sound like one. The Zimbabwean and South African accents are similar, but if you've lived in either you'll know the difference...like USA and Canada, or Australia and NZ. I could never pick the difference between Aussie and NZ till I came here, now I can do it straight away. The South African accent sounds a bit like NZ in some respects. I can still probably put on a better SA accent than an Aussie one. When I have to introduce myself at functions or training courses, I always say "I'm from Zimbabwe, which is why all you guys talk funny" - Aussies have a good enough sense of humour not to take offence. I once phoned a guy here that I didn't know from a bar of soap, and within 10 seconds I said "You're Zimbabwean, right?" and I was. I guess I learned something in the 43 years I was there.... Was wondering where you'd heard me...but it would have been Max's geiger counter video, right?

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