Vintage test equipment haul
A major clearout at work meant that much unused and stored test equipment was destined for the skip. I simply had to make some rescues. It would be tragic for this little lot to be scrapped, so instead, made it's way home to me. An awful lot of equipment did go to the skip, old 'scopes and knackered stuff that had clearly seen better day's, but I picked some of the better items.
I have spent the last few day's testing and cleaning the equipment and aside from a few noisy selector switches, it is all working perfectly. One item in particular was the Hewlett Packard RMS voltmeter. It is spot on with accuracy from 10Hz to 10MHz, a very useful true RMS meter indeed. Another is the Farnell power meter, handy for testing audio power amps with it's selectable resistive load. The Marconi LCR bridge (TF2700) uses a PP9 battery and amazingly the battery was still operational with some charge left in it.
All of the equipment used to belong to PYE/Philips in Cambridge and was aquired some 20 years ago by my employer. It simply sat in storage since then.
To understand the black art of electronics is to understand witchcraft.
Very nice! I wish my employer would have allowed us to take away stuff that was destined for scrap, we were told no because of some legal crap, because it might electrocute someone in the future and it might come back on them for not disposing of it responsibly... I did offer to sign a disclaimer, but they couldn’t be bothered with it, and instead spent thousands on disposal. Most of it was perfectly good, some bits only used a few times and then put into storage! A lot of us complained about it, but it came to nothing. I did manage to get a microscope out of them though, since it didn’t have any electrical parts in it!
A few useful items there, I remember using a Marconi Universal Bridge and the Wayne Kerr equivalent well into the nineties to measure capacitors. Also the RMS voltmeter with various attenuators lashed up to it. Its good to see once valued test equipment saved from the skip and even better if it can be put to use, rather than "up-cycled" into a hipster lamp... 🙂
When we were evaluating the possibility of adding teletext to the extensive Stock Exchange cable TV system, we bought a few Rank Arena teletext receivers. I swapped the varicap UHF tuner for a VHF one (we were only using one channel - in Band III - so band switching wasn't necessary) and fitted a page/error counter that I had designed to the Tifax teletext decoder.
After the tests, the original UHF tuners were refitted and the receivers placed in what was euphemistically described as 'Outer London Storage' ...!
Needless to say, they stayed in this 'storage' for the rest of their lives!
When all else fails, read the instructions
A very nice rescue and it all looks clean and not knocked about.
Of those items, I've got the TF2700 and the HP3400A. The TF2700 is a nice bridge, which I use occasionally. The HP3400A is a bit topical because I've just dusted my two off, along with the Solartron equivalent. One of the HP3400As is a bit poorly. It looks like a PSU problem. They can be a bit twitchy and used a photochopper with neons which get tired. There was an upgraded board based on an IC chopper amp fitted in later models. They are definitely a classic piece of test gear, but to be honest, I'm not much inclined to use them these days as I've got one of those new-fangled digital scopes which can very conveniently produce an RMS reading, presumably by doing an integration.
On the subject of things wickedly thrown away, years ago I was talking to a bloke who'd worked on an oscilloscope I think Bush were developing for the MoD in the 50s. The MoD had paid for thousands of pounds worth of stuff, valves, components, CRTs, test equipment. The project was cancelled and the MoD said they didn't want the stores. The manager at Bush said it wasn't their property and they had no right to it whatsoever and what's more, no one else had any right to it. So he had it all thrown down a disused coal mine.