I always keep an eye on eBay for plug-ins for my HP 143 oscilloscope and even if they don’t turn up, it’s always interesting to see what else is in the category. Some of these are pretty interesting – there’s definitely a lot of project oscilloscopes, but you can get a bargain if you know what to look for. Some of these are definitely pretty rare and unusual, too. Here’s a few that I thought were worth sharing:
There’s an HP differential scope from just a couple years after my 143, the HP 175A oscilloscope. It has a built-in differential vertical input, optional x-y mode and delayed sweep capabilities. It’s priced a little high but some of that’s the vintage condition.
There’s an odd looking HP 1980B Oscilloscope Measurement System, loaded with two dual-channel plug-ins and a dual time base. It screams 1980s with the membrane keys instead of knobs – although I think it would be very annoying to actually use like that. Plug-in scopes are always a great choice but given I just have to assume plug-ins for this one would be very difficult to come by.
There’s an example of HP’s very first oscilloscope out there, too: the HP 120A. This one is in pretty good cosmetic condition although it’s missing a knob. Great for a collector of test gear, although priced a bit high in unknown condition in my opinion.
The HP 183B is a pretty intimidating looking piece of gear with a 4-channel, 200 MHz vertical amplifier. Looks like it has some functional issues, but it’s got a very cool looking front panel. (Test equipment user interfaces are surprisingly interesting!)
There are plenty of the older HP 141T storage mainframes that come fitted with plug-ins. For some reason they mostly seem to come configured as spectrum analyzers, but that’s also a useful thing to have for a shop. The most common ones are from 0.1-110 MHz and there are a few others. Often in good working condition. One that’s there currently comes with a tracking generator, too.
There were a lot of interesting plug-ins for that series. I’m looking for vertical amplifier plug-ins, but they made a variety of spectrum plug-ins, sampling plug-ins, and even a TDR. I can’t think of any use for that, but it might have some use if you’re designing antennas or transmission lines.
I am still looking for 1400-series vertical amplifier plug-ins, but hopefully someone finds something useful or interesting! I’ll continue posting more round-ups of cool, hard to find and unique test gear that pops up from time to time, too.
Bravo! It’s like looking at our collective brain as electronics evolved in it over the past ?55 years. well done, J.!