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Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by John Larkin, Oct 6, 2004.

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  1. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    From this week's EE Times:

    "Scopes were HP's, and now Agilent's, legacy. Industry lore tells how
    Bill and Dave emerged from a Palo Alto garage in 1938 with an audio
    scope and sold an early version to Walt Disney for the film Fantasia.
    Their work laid the foundation for Silicon Valley, for
    entrepreneurialism, for the rise of technology. But first and
    foremost, they were scope guys."

    So these guys, totally ignorant of what Bill and Dave actually did,
    are still eager to claim their legacy.

  2. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    Oscilloscope, oscillator -- eh, what's the difference? If I were
    Hewlett or Packard I'd probably be rolling over in my grave at the
    thought of my name being attached to the cheesy computers instead of the
    good instruments.

    IIRC it was Tektronix that made the first "modern" o-scope with a real
    trigger circuit, courtesy of Howard Vollum's radar experience in WWII --
    but I'm going from memory and I'm probably biased seeing as I'm from the
    Portland area.
  3. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  4. Main Entry: scope
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Italian scopo purpose, goal, from Greek skopos; akin to Greek
    skeptesthai to watch, look at -- more at SPY
    2 : space or opportunity for unhampered motion, activity, or thought
    3 : extent of treatment, activity, or influence
    4 : range of operation: as a : the range of a logical operator : a string in
    predicate calculus that is governed by a quantifier b : a grammatical
    constituent that determines the interpretation of a predicate or quantifier
  5. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Tek was founded in 1946, but I'm not sure when they made their first
    scope; my Tek history book is at home. I do have a 1955 HP catalog
    here, and there are no scopes in it.

  6. According to this web page, the 501 was Tek's first (unsuccessful)
    product, and the 511 was the one that flew. There's a copy of an Ad
    from _Electronics_ in April 1948 that has the 511.

    And from September 1948.

    Almost 800 1948 dollars. I imagine the surplus availability and
    post-WWII manufacturing capacity for 5CP1 etc. was pretty substantial.

    P.S. They call it "portable"- it's only 65lbs, after all.

    From the article above, it sounds like there was plenty of competition
    for Tek in 1947-48 time period.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  7. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    I looks like they are abandoning the calculator market to TI... :(
  8. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    Yup. And newbie EEs have been trying to use the same circuit
    with various solid-state devices replacing the bulb ever since.
  9. I still have one that I built at school about 25 years ago. Even now I think
    it's ingenious.

  10. And leaving the rest of the circuit vacuum tubes?
  11. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    If you find the right bulb it works very well -- I can imagine this as
    being hell on purchasing department/engineering department relations,

    The bulb doesn't get warm enough to actually light; I suspect that to
    _really_ do it right you'd use nichrome in an inert atmosphere rather
    than Tungsten (but I'd have to do some serious testing and consultation
    before I signed off on that).
  12. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    Making new transistorized products that have the same basic circuit
    topology (with sertain stanbdard changes) is something that any EE
    used to be able to do. When they got to the classic HP Osc., they
    found that getting rid of the monode (light bulb) was a *lot* harder
    than getting rid of the other vacuum tubes.
  13. Ratch

    Ratch Guest

  14. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Years ago, I worked at a company with a buyer who would only buy HP
    equipment. He insisted on buying HP scopes, even though they couldn't
    trigger. On anything. Even line voltage was too much for them. They were

    Over the years, I had to use various HP scopes, and they all shared that
    common trait. The trigger circuit seemed to be nonexistent. The controls
    were little more than placebo knobs: if you believed hard enough, you'd
    think they worked. Otherwise, not.

    I bought my first HP scope in 1995 - the first HP scope I ever tried that
    could actually trigger on anything less than lightning. It was a pretty
    good scope, and I'm pretty sure it was the first competent scope HP ever
    made. Anything prior to that was just a catalog filler, and I'm sure nobody
    who ever had a job to do actually bought them.

    At least, I sure hope not.

    -- Mike --
  15. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    One of my favorite footnotes:

    Note 5: What else should be expected when trying to replace a
    single light bulb with a bunch of electronic components? I can
    hear Figure 39's #327 lamp laughing.

    I've had some good luck with CdS photocells driven by LED's. Clarex
    sells these as "Audiohm" devices, although they work fine for RF into
    at least the few MHz region.

    Of course that note came a few pages after this one:

    Note 4: History records that Hewlett and his friend David Packard
    made a number of these type oscillators. Then they built some other
    kinds of instruments.

  16. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I can beat that one. When I was in the USAF, at one base some genius had
    decided to buy a waterproof military HP scope. It not only didn't trigger,
    but the knobs were not only not placebos - they had these resilient rubber
    seals around the shafts, to keep water out. Of course, there's some friction
    between the rubber and metal, so you'd have to turn the knob past the point
    you wanted, and hope that you got the right distance that it's going to
    spring back.

    I quipped to somebody, "It wouldn't even make a boat anchor - the SOB would

  17. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Guest

    Hmm.. I used to use a customer's HP scope - 100 MHZ dual trace a 1740A?
    It seemed to trigger pretty well - course you had to know where to kick it

  18. I've used HP's analog scopes (1740, 1741 and 1725) and never had any complaints
    about their triggering.
  19. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    Frayed knot...

    Nichome (Nichrome V) has a tempco of 0.00013, while tungsten's is
    0.004403, so you'd suffer a loss of sensitivity of some 97% if you

    Check this out:
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