Products > Test Equipment

The worst products from HP and Tektronix.

(1/12) > >>

Horrible waste of time, but I need some entertainment.

I think we can agree that most of what HP and Tektronix sold was pretty good kit, but this is a place to talk and laugh about the things that should never have made it to market.

I think the 491 makes the list of Tek dogs, though I've never actually seen one in operational condition (I have seen a few dead ones though).

From the Tekwiki:
"Due to severe performance limitations, the 491 was replaced by the completely redesigned 492 in 1980."

Ouch. Double ouch if you spent the equivalent of $40,000 one one back in the late 70s.

I nominate my TDS460.... a 400Mhz analog Front end with a 100Ms/s Digital backend... but at least they have the "ET" mode.

HP 3458A, which is both the best and the worst high-end DMM that they made. When you get a good one it has outstanding performance but if you get a bad one it has really terrible drift in the ADC.

What is worse HP/Agilent apparently hadn't got round to fixing the problem in the design even after 25 years from the product's introduction. I am sure that state of affairs would not have been allowed to persist if Bill and Dave were still around.

I'll restrict my nominees to pre-1995 stuff because that is mostly what I have:

For HP, they had a period where they decided to compete in the low-end market.  For example, the 3435A, 3465A and 3466A are 3-1/2 or 4-1/2 digit DMMs that are cheaply built and not worthy of HP's state-of-the-art reputation.  Similarly, the 5300A and 5300B are "mainframes" that accept a variety of plug-ins, mostly counters.  Again, they are low-end stuff and if you want a counter, then buy a real one.  The HP (Germany) 811x pulse and function generators are very nice - when they work.  Almost everyone I see offered on eBay is throwing errors indicative of faulty HP-custom ICs that are, of course, unobtainable.  Finally, you would think when HP developed their 6-1/2 digit DMM HP 3457A, it would be better than the preceding 3455A and 3456A.  But I find the 3457A slow, noisy, hard to see the LCD display, and generally a "dog."

For Tektronix, their stuff seems electrically excellent.  But mechanically, that is another story.  Repair and maintenance of some of their earlier scopes (the 7000 series or the 22xx/24xx series) is a chore.  Cam switches, endless brackets and screws, stuff packed into the chassis like sardines, etc.  And I am not a big fan of the 500-series mainframe and plug-ins.  Although I suppose it is nice to have a 6-bay mainframe packed with a variety of plug-ins, I find the individual plug-ins to be somewhat lacking in performance and I would rather use a dedicated piece.

Just my opinion...


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

There was an error while thanking
Go to full version
Powered by SMFPacks Advanced Attachments Uploader Mod