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As described in the first period of this Quick Tour, one could says that oscilloscopes at HP were not an immediately successful product line. In the HP Way, making a contribution was an important concern when designing a new instrument. The A was the first HP oscilloscope to make a contribution to the waveform measurement limit of the time.
This was a good reason for Bill Hewlett to list this instrument in his book: "Inventions of Opportunity" edited in There was an ever-increasing demand for methods to measure high-speed waveshapes of periodic recurring signals.
Conventional techniques at the time were capable of producing oscilloscopes with a top frequency range of 50 to MHz. The technology described in this article permitted the development of an oscilloscope with a MHz upper limit. The capabilities of this scope depended upon a very old technique almost forgotten, that of waveform sampling. Early use of waveform sampling was in the power generation field, where the waveform of an alternator could be measured by means of a movable commutator that could sample the instantaneous voltage of an alternator at various positions of the rotor.
Actual measurement of this voltage was achieved with a condenser and a simple dc voltmeter. The technique had proven to be applicable to very high-speed signals, and the sampling scope described was the first practical application of this concept. The B mainframe with the B drawer combination, extended the equivalent bandwidth of the previous model HP A to the Gigahertz region. Thus giving the Journal the opportunity to title its article with the nickname "The Kilomegacycle Sampling Oscilloscope".
Brief specifications of the B when used with the B Dual trace Amplifier were: DC to mc passband with a rise time of less than 0. Input impedance K shunted by 2 pf, nominal. Courtesy of the Hewlett Packard company. Without question the oscilloscope is the instrument, which was submitted to the largest number of technology changes over two decades, to Except for the computer, no other product ever generated such a complete technology change over such a small time period.
During the period, more than seven different families of oscilloscope would succeed or complete each other to offer the largest choice to the various customer needs.
In the order of appearance, the different family names were: , , , , , and The oscilloscope was one of the very few product lines in which HP leadership was not an easy conquest. Permanent competition against Tektronix generated one of the biggest sales and marketing activities all through the periods.
Fortunately this has also generated a huge quantity of documents, in the form of short catalogues, dedicated datasheets and specific application notes. The short-form catalogues dedicated to specific families of oscilloscopes were the best source of information for a customer to make the right choice of the right product for its application.
Having had the chance to save a lot of these documents from the trash, we think they could be the best tools to make a recap today. The series of oscilloscopes had many versions during the beginning of the 60s. The series were not designed for high performance but rather to offer various solutions where and when an oscilloscope display had to be integrated into an electronic test system.
They are general-purpose oscilloscopes designed to fit the needs of the industry in the low frequency, audio and vibration analysis. The first oscilloscope of the series was the HP A mainframe, which appeared in the catalog.
The choice of the Mainframe-Drawer solution probably came from the competitive challenge with Tektronix. None of the many drawers developed for general purpose oscilloscopic measurements would be a significant technology advance compared to the oscilloscope market of the time.
But HP quickly included many new products in the series counting on their technology leadership The result would be that by the end of the 60s, a complete product line including a scope with 20 picosecond rise time and spectrum analyzers up to 18 GHz.
Time domain reflectometry is a relatively new impedance-measurement technique which gives accurate, quantitative, easy-to-interpret information about mismatching, loss, reflection coefficients, and other parameters of electrical transmission systems. The technique, analogous to the pulse-reflection principle used in radar, has been used for some time as a means of locating faults on long electric power and telephone transmission systems.
The extremely fine resolution available in the Model A, however, enables application of the pulse-reflection technique to systems with much smaller dimensions. The Model A plug-in with the Model A Oscilloscope displays cable discontinuities separated by only fractions of an inch.
For an in- depth understanding of Time Domain Reflectometry two important Application Notes were published. Copy of the originals of these two application notes have been added to the AN Page of this web site at the same time this Oscilloscope chapter was inserted.
At the beginning of the 70s, with its 5 different mainframes and 22 high-performance plug-ins, the oscilloscope system provided the largest measurement spectrum to choose from: Wideband, Sampling, High-Sensitivity, Time Domain Reflectometry and Swept Frequency. The performance of the various configurations would be progressively supplanted by the next generation of oscilloscopes growing all through the s.
But many of the most popular configurations, associating a T mainframe and X spectrum analyzer drawers are still alive today, and they offer low cost access to high performance Audio and Microwave spectrum analysis to many enthusiasts.
The link below gives access to a copy of the 30 page original short-form catalog. PDF format The series oscilloscopes were replaced progressively by the series by the end of the 60s. The main improvement was the full-transistorized design providing reliable, low maintenance operation with less frequent calibration requirements.
The series oscilloscopes are low frequency, all solid-state instruments matching the needs of production line testing, system applications and classroom or laboratory instruction.
Every oscilloscope of the series uses an HP rectangular CRT with parallax-free internal graticule. The link below gives access to a copy of the 8 page original short-form catalog. PDF format 4 Mb. All solid-state, low frequency series oscilloscopes offered advanced performance with operating features previously available only on much wider bandwidth, and more expensive instruments.
The HP A was the basic instrument in the series. It was a dual trace oscilloscope with a kHz bandwidth, and a very high sensitivity of microvolts per division on the lowest of its 17 input ranges. Other characteristics rarely found on oscilloscope of that era were a very low drift, and a very high common-mode rejection ratio of dB on the lowest deflection factor of 0.
The A, and five other members of the series were introduced at the same time in the HP general catalog. The very first members of the HP family were the A mainframe, the A dual-channel 50 MHz amplifier and the A time base.
A choice of mainframes, plug-ins, and accessories lets you "custom design" the scope system that best suits your needs, selecting bandwidth range, screen size, writing speed, sweep, sampling, TDR, and storage capabilities, as your requirements demand. And because all elements of the System are fully compatible with each other, you can expand your scope's capabilities as your needs change. The link below gives access to a copy of the 16 page original short-form catalog.
PDF format 6. It is still today a very low cost, good performance solution, frequently found in general purpose RF workshops. The HP B Spectrum Analyzer is a fully calibrated spectrum analyzer designed for simple operation. It is a plug-in which fits into any HP Series oscilloscope mainframe. The analyzer has a frequency range from kHz to MHz and a digital LED readout for more accurate frequency measurements.
Absolute Amplitude calibration enables accurate voltage and power measurements to be made. Through the use of coupled controls, the instrument can be made to operate using only three knobs.
A simple three-knob operation means the inexperienced user needs very little training. Reduced cost and portability opened the B to a very large diffusion as a bench and on site service instrument, mainly in the telecommunication and CATV applications. The A was the lastest evolution and the most sophisticated Time Domain Reflectometer of the series. The front panel controls provide accurate direct distance calibrated displays of up to meters.
Thus allowing to quickly determine the magnitude and nature of each resistive or reactive discontinuity in coaxial components such as attenuators, cables, connectors, and delay lines in microwave or pulse circuits. Faults such as shorts, opens, loose connectors, defective tap offs, splices, and mismatches can be located and identify with measurement resolution as close as 2.
The HP Series Oscilloscopes are lightweight, battery operated, portable instruments designed for both lab and field service applications. All models are dual channel and have either 35 or 75 MHz bandwidths. Models with a main time base only, or with both main and delayed time bases can be chosen from. The series also includes two models with variable persistence and storage CRT's.
The device shown in the pictures on the right, and below, is certainly not the most representative of the series of oscilloscopes. But it is nevertheless an interesting and symbolic example of the HP special production responding to military requirements.
It is a lightweight, portable oscilloscope specifically designed for the rugged requirements of military operations. Operation in dusty environments cause no problem due to the lack of ventilating holes, which allows the E to pass the Dust Test of Method In fact, the E can operate in chemical plants, refineries or many other locations where corrosive or adverse atmospheres may be present.
The environmentally designed construction makes it very difficult for any contaminants to get inside the oscilloscope. This unique ability to operate in an adverse environment is made possible by the extremely low power consumption of the standard Series oscilloscopes.
When operating on ac line power, these oscilloscopes consume less than 25 watts and when operating on dc line or optional internal battery pack, power dissipation is only 18 watts. This means that no vent holes are required and the oscilloscope can be tightly sealed with little concern for internal heat buildup. The majority of the internal components are designed to operate at only 10 to 20 per cent of their maximum rated power which assures high reliability. The lack of ventilation holes also increases measurement reliability by reducing short term dc drift caused by transient ambient temperature changes.
The other members of the portable family have a slightly less warrior look and feel, but they respond to the same criteria of performance and power consumption. The link below gives access to a copy of the 12 page original short-form catalog. The end of saw the birth of the general-purpose HP A dual-trace, MHz portable oscilloscope and the product line developed all through the second half of the seventies.
Following the many technological evolutions of this period, new models were added each time the state of the art permitted a serious performance improvement. But above all, the A integrated a crystal controlled time base allowing high resolution delta time measurement. This could be considered as the first sign of the slow transition from analog to digital waveform measurement.
The first member of the series was introduced in the catalog. It was a dual trace, DC to MHz bandwidth oscilloscope which could display the sweep trigger waveform as a third trace simultaneously. Although a completely new mechanical design was developed for the series, see article below, it was decided to retain some elements of earlier designs when they were of proven performance and reliability.
One of these was the cathode-ray tube. The CRT used in the series oscilloscopes had been improved over the years and in the course of building 40, or so. By the way it was re-used for this first unit of the family.
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By continuing to use the forum you conform your acceptance of these. If you are not happy to accept these you must stop using the forum and delete our cookies from your browser. I have an HPA oscilloscope that I was lucky to acquire recently, though it did need a good clean and a service. I have given the front panel and case a good clean and used a switch cleaner on the switches and pots. However, there seems to be a problem when the DELAY pot is turned as an intensified area cannot be set in the centre of the display. Turning the DELAY multi-turn pot moves the intensified area from the left side towards the right side of the trace, but the right side remains always intensified see first photo. Turning the outer DLY'D knob has no effect.
As described in the first period of this Quick Tour, one could says that oscilloscopes at HP were not an immediately successful product line. In the HP Way, making a contribution was an important concern when designing a new instrument. The A was the first HP oscilloscope to make a contribution to the waveform measurement limit of the time. This was a good reason for Bill Hewlett to list this instrument in his book: "Inventions of Opportunity" edited in There was an ever-increasing demand for methods to measure high-speed waveshapes of periodic recurring signals. Conventional techniques at the time were capable of producing oscilloscopes with a top frequency range of 50 to MHz. The technology described in this article permitted the development of an oscilloscope with a MHz upper limit.
HPA Osciliscope operating and service manual. Hi, Just purchased an operating and service manual for my HPA osciliscope, on receiving said manual I noticed on the first page of the manual a reference to the serial numbers the manual directly refers too. Number prefix A with a mention that the manual also with changes described in section VII applies to instruments with serial number prefixed A through A. So thought Id better check my osciliscope, my serial number prefix is A, so not not sure if this manual has an use with the osciliscope I have? Can anyone advise me on this please.