Electronics > Metrology

Agilent 3458A VFD replacement-are the VFD from China any good?


I too am in the process pf resurrecting a poorly handled 3458A. This one need a replacement VFD, as it is physically broken. I can buy the display board from Keysight, but was wondering if anyone had any experience with the replacment VFD from one of the Chinese eBay vendors?

I replaced the ones in two separate 34401A's and they have been working perfectly for three years - but from all I have heard it ultimately depends on the "batch" you get one from.  Most are good, but a few will be duds - cheap enough compared to OEM replacements to take a chance, IMHO.


I replace one 3458A VFD display a number of years ago.  But I got it from H/A/K parts.  I unsoldered the old one  (68 pins?) and then got ready to install the new one.  The pin spacing from top to bottom was 1.5 inches while the old one and board was 1.3 inches spacing.  So obviously H/A/K had changed the spacing on the display board.  The new one from H/A/K was still marked Norataki but for some reason the newer production part was 0.2 inches wider.  So it took several hours of VERY carefully bending the new 1.5" down to 1.3" and then getting the 68 or so pins all to go into the display board at the same time was a LOT of fun.  But it did work and was brighter and didn't have the missing "dot" problem the old one had.  My guess is that this is why H/A/K won't sell you a new P/N 2080-0217 VFD anymore.  They want to sell you the PCB that has the holes that fit along with the new VFD.
Then martinr33, who lives near me, came up with a source from China for the VFD.  So several of us agreed to buy a few to fill our needs.  I took one and Randy took another.  BUT the replacement from China is 1.5" and the VFD assembly is also about 0.2" wider.  Randy replace a very dim VFD on one of his 3458As but it didn't work.  Turns out that a shield on his PCB was touching some of the pins of the new VFD.  Correcting this problem the new VFD worked fantastic and was brighter than another 3458A that he had.  I don't remember if he had the pin spacing problem to deal with also.  I still have my replacement just waiting for my other 3458A VFD to start going dim or having the missing "dot" problems.
The new VFD spare I bought from Martin has markings on the back "HNA-16MM63" at one end and "2080-0217" at one edge in the middle.  I don't know if the PCB in my other 3458A is 1.3" or 1.5" but I will deal with that a some time in the future.
If martinr33 sees your post I am sure he can add some details that I don't remember and he may have some of his own about replacing the VFD in his 3458As.

Thanks for the info! My VFD is the 1.3" wide style. Fitting a 1.5" display would indeed be a job, I will wait and hope that martinr33 has any further information.


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