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Old 20th Mar 2011, 12:40 pm   #1
Richard984
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Default Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Are you obsessed with oscilloscopes? I am, frankly playing with vintage scopes is much more fun than watching what passes for TV here in the USA!
What do you have? Here is my collection:
Very early (SN1116) "brown box" Tek 535 with CA plugin
Tek 535A with M4 plugin
Tek 547 with 1A2 plugin, the 50MHz+ "magic in a box" scope with the ability to alternate not only the Y channels but also the two timebases, so it can function as two scopes in one box as well as B delayed by A e.t.c. very fine instrument.
HP 150A, a failed attempt to compete with Tek, more complex and just one timebase, some historical value. Excellent sharp blue medium persistence display, the sharp blue reminds me of the Cossor 1035 MK111 I had as a kid. (That scope had the best focus I have ever seen, so good it is hard to imagine that the CRT was not gas focussed.)
Solartron CT436, really nice, well made fairly simple UK military dual beam scope, 6MHz with delay lines.
Telequipment S31, good scope for the intended use (servicing) but not a lab scope.
Two Tek 310A, similar to the S31 but at laboratory standard.
4 Tek 561A:
1/ with 3A6 two channel Y and 3B3 calibrated delay timebase
2/ with 2A63 differential Y and 3B3 calibrated delay timebase
3/ with 3A74 4 channel Y and 3B1 delay timebase
4/ with Nelson-Ross model 012 AF spectrum analyser and 2B67 timebase
HP AN/USM 281 (transistor) with 50MHz two channel Y and double (delay/mixed) timebase, short persistence CRT
HP AN/USM 281 (transistor) with 50MHz two channel Y and double (delay/mixed) timebase, medium persistence CRT
They all work except the early 535 which I found by the side of the road, the EHT needs re-capping, the X and Y systems work!
These fine old machines want to live and working with that is a lot of eccentric fun! Only two that are fully transistor based.
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 1:12 pm   #2
MichaelR
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Hi Richard,

A lot of TEK fans on the forum , from their advice I obtained a TEK 745 200Mhz scope and use it practically everyday. Obtained it from a fellow member and whenever it has gone wrong I have been able to repair it with the help for spares from again fellow members.

Looking forward to receiving a Tek 564B Storage Scope with 3A6 Dual Trace Amplifier and 3B3 Time base units tomorrow, this is a non worker which I hope to get back "on its feet".

Not a big fan of HP gear, obviously good but IMHO overrated.

TEK scope design and build quality unbeatable. I am also a big fan of the old Marconi test equipment especially the early spectrum analysers.

Regards
Mike

Last edited by MichaelR; 20th Mar 2011 at 1:13 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 1:24 pm   #3
Leon Crampin
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Another Tek fan here. Although I also admire most of the H-P products of the era (my H-P41 is a gem) they failed dismally with 'scopes and never got anywhere near the standards achieved by Tek, either in performance or reliability.

I've been reading a little about the story of H-P and I'm astonished that they carried on trying to make 'scopes when they were so obviously outclassed - people should stick to what they are good at.

It's a great shame the H-P consumer grade equipment sold now is such utter junk. Coupled with the sharp practices of the sale of consumables such as printer cartridges, they should be ashamed of themselves. The founders would not have approved - see the company objectives of the time:

"The success and prosperity of our company will be assured only if we offer our customers superior products that fill real needs and provide lasting value and that are supported by a wide variety of useful services, both before and after sale."

How very true.

For anyone wanting a base level Tek portable for repair work, the old Tek 453 takes a lot of beating and is fixable without special components. The Tek documentation is the very best in the business.

Leon.
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 1:59 pm   #4
Richard984
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Certainly, initially HP scopes were not close to Tek however, the two USM 281 scopes I have are excellent and are my workhorses. The documentation is also up to Tek standards. As I understand it, there was a period (70's) where the performance of HP scopes was a challenge to Tek. I have Marshall Lee's book on Tek "Winning with People", hard to find but worthwhile if, like me, you are as interested in the way companies (used to) interact with people as in the technology. Tek was interested in their people having great lives and as far as I can tell, that was true of HP also.
I also have the HP 339A AF distortion analyser and HP 3580A AF spectrum analyser and they are completely excellent.
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 2:06 pm   #5
Brian R Pateman
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Richard, welcome to the forum from a fellow 'scope fan.

I don't so much collect them as find that they collect me (rather like stray cats).

The day to day bench 'scope is a Tek 475 of which I am extremely fond. I have a couple of HPs including the 140A which was one of the best they produced.

I have the 1421A timebase and delay generator and the 1402A dual trace amplifier and 1404A four channel amplifier to go with it. All work extremely well and are used when the need arrives. Size and weight is the main problem with this - it's a beast.

I think that the Teks hold the medal for reliability. I did once drop a HP out of the back of a Landrover in the desert wastes of Saudi Arabia and was relieved to discover that it still worked despite having lost several knobs.

I'm not sure that many modern scopes would work after that sort of abuse.

I also have a fondness for Philips 'scopes although I don't have any at the moment. I like the trigger circuits in the Philips.

The thing I dislike with considerable vehemence is any instrument with menu settings. Call me an old has-been if you like but if it hasn't got a panel of knobs and pushbuttons I'm not really interested!
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 2:09 pm   #6
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Hi Richard,

This is quite topical for me as I do seem to be starting to have this little collection starting.

Solatron CT436
Telequipment D52
Telequipment D1011

and next week I will be picking up my first Tek, a Tektronix 2205 which I'm quite excited about.

Regards
Chris
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 3:03 pm   #7
MichaelR
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelR View Post
A lot of TEK fans on the forum, from their advice I obtained a TEK 745 200Mhz scope and use it practically everyday.
oops I meant to say TEK 475

Mike
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 3:31 pm   #8
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard984 View Post
Are you obsessed with oscilloscopes? I am, frankly playing with vintage scopes is much more fun than watching what passes for TV here in the USA!
I also run a retirement home for senior scopes, I have

2 Solartron CD1400s
1 Solartron CD1014.3
2 Telequipment D43s
1 Telequipment D33
1 Telequipment S31.
2 CT52 (small military scope from the 50s)
1 Tek 475
1 HP1744.

Plus a few CRTs, plugins, transformers etc from scopes that were too far gone to save.

Pete.
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 3:36 pm   #9
Richard984
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Hello Brian.

Thanks for the welcome! I used to live in Farnborough where at that time Solartron was a big employer.

"The thing I dislike with considerable vehemence is any instrument with menu settings." Me too! In fact, I find modern technology quite irritating with so many menus and options. It is a bit like being in the grocery store, faced by a wall of cereals. I know what I want and the "choices" don't excite me. Blimey, Victor Meldrew here!!

Richard
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Old 20th Mar 2011, 8:25 pm   #10
Ed_Dinning
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Hi Gents, there were also some very good home brew designs by WW and Electronic Engineering. The PW Purbek also gave a good account of itself.

The tube of choice initially was the VCR97, plentiful, large and cheap!

There were also a few designs for accessories published as well; beam switches, strobe timebases and differential amps. My collection has quite a few home builts including 2, I built myself for very fast pulse analysis.

Anyone else got homebuilts?

Ed
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 8:30 pm   #11
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

I love scopes, too, proper, analogue Teks; I've a particular soft spot for the 4X5 series.
I also like HP and Marconi, which I've got some of too. I couldn't be without my HP3312A (gold-plated PCBs!), although I've had to repair it a couple of times. HP was Rolls-Royce quality, and Tek was Apollo program quality.
It's quite stunning that my 485 (350MHz) is approx the same physical size as my Advance OS1000 (20MHz); they are of similar vintage.
Tek manuals are probably some of the finest ever written. Any Tek treatise on power supplies, tunnel diodes, etc. are essential reading, too.
And all people on other forums seem to talk about is the latest toy Rigol. Kids.

I'm off now, to hang-up my anorak.

Last edited by TuningIndicator; 21st Mar 2011 at 8:34 pm. Reason: more woffle
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 9:25 pm   #12
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Not obsessed but I need decent scopes for my work. All Tek for many years.

2465 (Faithful mainstay for many years but it has some annoying intermittents)
2465B (My main instrument these days)
2445A
TDS210 (Not marvellous but when you need a storage scope it's perfectly good enough for much work)
547 with 1A4 (rarely used)
5110 with differential plugins for delicate slow speed stuff. Can feed its outputs to the TDS210 if things are moving too slowly for comfort

Over the years I've owned an Advance OS3000, Tek 585, Cossor 2000(?) true dual beam, Marconi TF2000(?) monster with slideback voltage measurment and a Heathkit IO18
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 9:31 pm   #13
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

I have an SE Labs 100MHz monstrosity - Nice, compact, dual time base but hideously unreliable. Every time I came to use it something else went wrong, and it always takes me an eternity of fiddling with the huge multitude of trigger and timebase settings to get any kind of scan at all.
Also an Hameg HM1005 and another Hameg 20MHz storage scope, both of which are tremendously reliable.
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 9:46 pm   #14
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

The PW Purbeck was my second major project, (the first being the G4DMP 200MHz freqeuncy counter in 1976 Radcom, which I use to this day). The Purbeck wasn't cheap to build at the time, (1978) even though I made the case and all the PCBs myself. Watford Electronics sold all the bits separately, or as a kit. I waited a few months before I built it, for the inevitable corrections to appear, as invariably happened with complex projects, and sometimes with simple ones.

The Purbeck gave a good account of itself as a hobbyist scope, using a 3BP1 3" blue persistence tube. I started to build the dual trace unit by the same author (Ian Hickman) but then a Gould 300 dual beam scope thrown into a skip by the Communications Dept where I then worked simply because it was 'time expired' came my way, so the dual trace unit never got built. The Gould soldiers on, and I still have the Purbeck as a back-up if I need it.

I could buy just about anything I wanted within reason in the test gear line, but as a hobbyist, I don't lust after equipment of any kind which goes beyond the purposes to which I'll put it. I enjoy building test gear, and I try to observe the motto of the G-QRP Club (based on Occam's Razor) ' 'Tis vain to do with more, what can be done with less'.

Most of my test gear is home-built - GDO, waveform generators, ESR Meters, zener diode tester, wobbulator, two frequency counters, RF probes, signal injectors/tracers, etc. Still got the very first bit of test gear I built in 1957 using two red spot transistors - a signal injector built into a Woolworth's plastic icing syringe, and it still works too and looks good on the scope!

David.
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 11:53 pm   #15
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Nice to learn that I'm not alone and hence not completely bonkers.

Tek 'scopes of the era which ended with the 475 are without parallel imho.

I started with a 453 (portable) with TV trigger option. This 'scope has just two pressed aluminium covers (top/bottom) which are both released from the main die-cast chassis by undoing two thumb-nuts: no tools required!!! It is astonishing that oscilloscopes made in c. 1970 are still working and in spec. These cost $2000 when new. That was around the annual starting salary for technical guys at that time.

I've since acquired a second 453, a 454A (150MHz version of the 453) and a couple of HP 1740A's (one with TV trigger). The latter are lighter than the Tek's, have bigger screens, and don't have a fan. But no, not quite the same build quality.......
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Old 22nd Mar 2011, 10:03 am   #16
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

Welcome to another Tekkie...

My hoard includes:
Tek 2465A - day-to-day scope - analogue = good!
Tek 2430A - when I need to capture & store something
Tel 224 - other bench scope
Tek 7904A - Workshop heater - got the "tick of death" and has been re-homed...

Lot & lots of other Tek kit - mostly TMS5000 rackable (about 20 plug-ins) but things like Tek PSUs (PS2321G etc.), Tek AA501A with SG 505WR & SG 505WQ etc. etc. Quite of lot of HP & other stuff too...

Most of it on GBIP via an NI PCI GPIB card.
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Old 22nd Mar 2011, 10:34 am   #17
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

I'm a Tek enthusiast too - it's nice to see so many others on here!

My work depends on a 2465 analogue scope and 2430A digital. The analogue one spends a lot more time switched on except for particular jobs the digital scope is suited for. I like the 2430A as a digital scope because it has enough knobs and buttons, so the amount of menu-fiddling is minimised, and also because it's the first type of digital scope I used as an apprentice. Had to ask special permission from the manager then, so it's nice to own my own!

I also have a 7603 with 7L12 spectrum analyser plugin, which has an amazingly large screen.

At home I have another 2465 for general use (I ended up with a pair of them in an auction some years ago!), and a lovely 535A with 1A1 plugin which saw me through university . There's also a recently-acquired 549 analogue storage scope which is awaiting attention.

Delightful to behold, the lot of them.
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Old 22nd Mar 2011, 12:10 pm   #18
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

I love them...

2 x Gould DSO400 20MHz oscilloscopes.
1 x Gould DSO450 50MHz oscilloscope.
1 x Gould 1604 20MHz, 4 beam oscilloscope.
2 x HP 1704 100MHz oscilloscope.
1 x Beckman 9020 20MHz oscilloscope.
1 x Kikusui 5042 40MHz oscilloscope.
2 x Goldstar 9020A oscilloscopes.
2 x Gould OS250 oscilloscopes.
2 x Gould OS300 20MHz oscilloscope.
1 x Leader 300 LCD oscilloscope.
1 x Thandar SC110 portable oscilloscope.

Daniel.
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Old 22nd Mar 2011, 1:44 pm   #19
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

I have just two Tek 'scopes - a 545A and a 545B.

Like them VERY much - the 545A has a disappointing screen height of just 4cm vertical, the 545B tube is much better (despite being the same diameter screen).

Z-modulation on both - albeit AC coupled - is rarely used. But when I need it, it's indispensible. Likewise the timebase sawtooth output connector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian R Pateman View Post
The thing I dislike with considerable vehemence is any instrument with menu settings. Call me an old has-been if you like but if it hasn't got a panel of knobs and pushbuttons I'm not really interested!
Definitely! I have to learn how to drive our best Tek 'scope at work every time I use it.
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Old 22nd Mar 2011, 2:25 pm   #20
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Collection / Junky

'Scopes - can't live without them!
First one I had was a single trace Heathkit, bought new circa 1970, and haven't been without one or more ever since......
including various Tek, Dynamco, Telequipment, HP, Solartron ones over the years. Also I built a Dual trace 'scope in the early '80's based on the 50MHz design published in Wireless World using a then expensive dual trace DG(?) something CRT.

At present, for daily use, doing mostly 'Professional Audio' testing:
Tek 465
Tek 468 (used only as 3 trace Analog)
Tek 7623A (Analog Variable Persistence)
Might seem more than usual for a single test bench, but to avoid earth problems when high currents or multiple signal paths are present, I use different 'scopes to look at inputs, outputs and other test points at the same time.

A portable for occasional 'site' work:
Advance OS1000A (20MHz)

Rarely used:
Telequipment D52
Telequipment S54A
and waiting patiently for some TLC, a second Tek 468

At present, waiting delivery of:
2 x Tek R7603 rackmount mainframes and a second Tek 7623A

Possibly qualifies me as a "scope junky" though!

Some are from Members on here, others from diverse sources over a number of years.......

I find for Audio that Analog 'scopes win every time over Digital ones when trying to see small spikes or other anomalies in waveforms and you just can't beat a good Analog 'scope (Tek 465) for seeing things like this in the attached digital image of the current and voltage waveforms of an Amplifier output
Mik
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