Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Where do you purchace your test equiptment these days?

H

Hawker

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm an independent consultant and am trying to upgrade my aging lab a
bit. My lab is mostly items I bought 15 years ago when I started out and
various pieces I got at random HAM Fests and Ebay or closing companies.

I could use a new high end VOM (the ones I am looking at are in the
$300-$500 range) and a better 'Oscope to replace my aging TDS 500 series
scope (and even older 2430A) as well as a few other pieces.

Contact East and Techi-Tools prices never used to be inline with others
and Future-Active is not in that business any more. E-bay has eliminated
any good used or new equipment from even showing at Ham Fests anymore.

Where do folks get higher end scopes, VOMS, LCR Meteres, Freq Counters,
Electronic Loads, Variacs etc at these days with good selection and price?

Also would love to hear a suggestion on a good VOM. Seems the $200 ones
can ALMOST do what I want and the $400 ones can 'almost' eliminate my
need for a new LCR Meeter but the devil is in the details.

I would like a 4 1/2 digit meeter with good precision (0.1%?).
It should be responsive, esp for continuity, have the normal complement
of sample and hold, bar graph, high low holding, auto calibration and
zeroing and other modern features.
It would be great if it has a usable LCR and Frequency counter as well
as HFE reading. I also wish it had a reset button rather than a fuse for
the current meeter.
The issue with the LCR meters in most I looked at is the range is not
adequate to not need a separate meeter so it seems that perhaps these
should be two different tools.

Thanx
Hawker
 
T

Tim Wescott

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hawker said:
I'm an independent consultant and am trying to upgrade my aging lab a
bit. My lab is mostly items I bought 15 years ago when I started out and
various pieces I got at random HAM Fests and Ebay or closing companies.

I could use a new high end VOM (the ones I am looking at are in the
$300-$500 range) and a better 'Oscope to replace my aging TDS 500 series
scope (and even older 2430A) as well as a few other pieces.

Contact East and Techi-Tools prices never used to be inline with others
and Future-Active is not in that business any more. E-bay has eliminated
any good used or new equipment from even showing at Ham Fests anymore.

Where do folks get higher end scopes, VOMS, LCR Meteres, Freq Counters,
Electronic Loads, Variacs etc at these days with good selection and price?

Also would love to hear a suggestion on a good VOM. Seems the $200 ones
can ALMOST do what I want and the $400 ones can 'almost' eliminate my
need for a new LCR Meeter but the devil is in the details.

I would like a 4 1/2 digit meeter with good precision (0.1%?).
It should be responsive, esp for continuity, have the normal complement
of sample and hold, bar graph, high low holding, auto calibration and
zeroing and other modern features.
It would be great if it has a usable LCR and Frequency counter as well
as HFE reading. I also wish it had a reset button rather than a fuse for
the current meeter.
The issue with the LCR meters in most I looked at is the range is not
adequate to not need a separate meeter so it seems that perhaps these
should be two different tools.

Thanx
Hawker

I generally buy from Tucker. They have a good selection, their prices
aren't too bad, their sales staff is knowledgeable, their customer
service has always been just right for me, and I can at least pretend
that I'm going to buy used and save $$ (I always drool over the top-end
used stuff then buy mid-range new, but that's me).

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
http://www.wescottdesign.com

Posting from Google? See http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/

"Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" came out in April.
See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
 
H

Hawker

Jan 1, 1970
0
I generally buy from Tucker. They have a good selection, their prices
aren't too bad,

Has something changed over at Tucker?
We used to laugh out loud at how over priced all there items used to be.
I often found used items there costing more than the same item cost new
from Contact east or some such. They have quite a reputation for being
over priced - or have had for years anyway. In general there used items
were 4-5x the going rate from other companies.
 
T

Tim Wescott

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hawker said:
Has something changed over at Tucker?
We used to laugh out loud at how over priced all there items used to be.
I often found used items there costing more than the same item cost new
from Contact east or some such. They have quite a reputation for being
over priced - or have had for years anyway. In general there used items
were 4-5x the going rate from other companies.
Maybe I've been buying from the wrong place! I generally don't buy
much, and I've certainly saved time going with Tucker. I'll have to
watch the other responses you get, and remember the answers for the next
time I buy.

It certainly seems these days that the way to go is to buy from eBay, at
least for used stuff.

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
http://www.wescottdesign.com

Posting from Google? See http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/

"Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" came out in April.
See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hawker said:
I'm an independent consultant and am trying to upgrade my aging lab a
bit. My lab is mostly items I bought 15 years ago when I started out and
various pieces I got at random HAM Fests and Ebay or closing companies.

I could use a new high end VOM (the ones I am looking at are in the
$300-$500 range) and a better 'Oscope to replace my aging TDS 500 series
scope (and even older 2430A) as well as a few other pieces.

Contact East and Techi-Tools prices never used to be inline with others
and Future-Active is not in that business any more. E-bay has ...
^^^^^

Maybe you gave yourself the answer already :)

Then there are the liquidators (whose names you can find from EBay
auctions. Also company sales etc. That's where I bought a lot of mine.
Remember, older equipment is sometimes better than the new stuff. See
the recent digital scope threads.
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
Has something changed over at Tucker?
We used to laugh out loud at how over priced all there items used to be.
I often found used items there costing more than the same item cost new
from Contact east or some such. They have quite a reputation for being
over priced - or have had for years anyway. In general there used items
were 4-5x the going rate from other companies.

You exaggerate. We always assumed that Tucker wanted 3x what something
was worth.

John
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm an independent consultant and am trying to upgrade my aging lab a
bit. My lab is mostly items I bought 15 years ago when I started out and
various pieces I got at random HAM Fests and Ebay or closing companies.

I could use a new high end VOM (the ones I am looking at are in the
$300-$500 range) and a better 'Oscope to replace my aging TDS 500 series
scope (and even older 2430A) as well as a few other pieces.

Contact East and Techi-Tools prices never used to be inline with others
and Future-Active is not in that business any more. E-bay has eliminated
any good used or new equipment from even showing at Ham Fests anymore.

Where do folks get higher end scopes, VOMS, LCR Meteres, Freq Counters,
Electronic Loads, Variacs etc at these days with good selection and price?

Also would love to hear a suggestion on a good VOM. Seems the $200 ones
can ALMOST do what I want and the $400 ones can 'almost' eliminate my
need for a new LCR Meeter but the devil is in the details.

I would like a 4 1/2 digit meeter with good precision (0.1%?).
It should be responsive, esp for continuity, have the normal complement
of sample and hold, bar graph, high low holding, auto calibration and
zeroing and other modern features.
It would be great if it has a usable LCR and Frequency counter as well
as HFE reading. I also wish it had a reset button rather than a fuse for
the current meeter.
The issue with the LCR meters in most I looked at is the range is not
adequate to not need a separate meeter so it seems that perhaps these
should be two different tools.

Thanx
Hawker


I'd go for a new Fluke dvm and a Tek color digital scope. But lots of
other stuff like power supplies and signal generators can be got cheap
on ebay. Look for a seller with a few years of history and high
feedback, and buy stuff declared to be working.

The Extech stuff looks fine too, so far.

Hfe meters are not necessary; I've never used one.

AADE's little LC meter is great, an amazing bargain. Be sure to get
the surface-mount adapter with the tiny plastic clothespin.

John
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
I'd go for a new Fluke dvm and a Tek color digital scope. But lots of
other stuff like power supplies and signal generators can be got cheap
on ebay. Look for a seller with a few years of history and high
feedback, and buy stuff declared to be working.

The Extech stuff looks fine too, so far.

Hfe meters are not necessary; I've never used one.

AADE's little LC meter is great, an amazing bargain. Be sure to get
the surface-mount adapter with the tiny plastic clothespin.

Which brings up another question: A client of mine is looking for a
spectrum analyzer. Anything new out there? Nothing fancy, just to be
able to measure noise and stuff up to 100MHz or so. Hameg makes a nice
and simple EMI analyzer for around $2k but even that would be overkill
here. The TenTec VNA is, unfortunately, more of an impedance analyzer.
Other than that it's truly amazing:

http://radio.tentec.com/cms-files/mcdermott.pdf
 
A

Anthony Fremont

Jan 1, 1970
0
Tim said:
Maybe I've been buying from the wrong place! I generally don't buy
much, and I've certainly saved time going with Tucker. I'll have to
watch the other responses you get, and remember the answers for the
next time I buy.

It certainly seems these days that the way to go is to buy from eBay,
at least for used stuff.

I just got a quote from them on a meter and scope. It was decent. It
wasn't the absolute cheapest price I could obtain, but it was ok.

Hawker:
I liked the Extech MM560 for a DMM, but the Meterman 38XR is pretty decent
too. I understand your pain when it comes to finding one that does exactly
what you want. It ain't happenin' ;-)
 
H

Hawker

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'd go for a new Fluke dvm and a Tek color digital scope. But lots of
other stuff like power supplies and signal generators can be got cheap
on ebay. Look for a seller with a few years of history and high
feedback, and buy stuff declared to be working.

The Extech stuff looks fine too, so far.

Hfe meters are not necessary; I've never used one.

AADE's little LC meter is great, an amazing bargain. Be sure to get
the surface-mount adapter with the tiny plastic clothespin.

Thanx for the advice. I'll look into that.
As for E-bay. I am with you. Power Supplies, VARIACs, Signal Generators
I try ham-fests first (because I like to touch, see and try first) and
E-bay second. A 20 y/o HP Power Supply at a ham fest for $100 is usually
a better quality supply than a new $1000 one one I can get anyway.

VOMS, LCRs and other things that I want accuracy on and are relatively
inexpensive I usually purchase new.

The big exception is Scopes. For lab scops (like Tex 2465/2445A analog
or 2440/2430A Digital or cheaper stuff even) I get them from a retired
Tektronix person I know who refirbs them and sells them for an amazing
price. They come calibrated and he gives me a 1 year warranty. 2465 for
example tend to be $500 or so. Perhaps 1/2 my lab is furnished from tis
person, when he truly retires half the engineers in North Carolina and
Georgia will be at a big loss (he is in his 70s now) Unfortunately he
does not get in to TDS and other nicer stuff.

My problem is I can't afford $30k for what I need. Right now I need
about a 2-4 mega sample 500Mhz 4 channel with active FET probes. I can
find something decent used on E-bay for $5k that meets my needs but new
is way out of my price range.
The problem is my TDS 500 series (forget the name) which is all that but
only 1 MS almost meets my needs, but on some things I just can't get
enough resolution - esp when I am looking at the output of a 54Mhz CCD
pixel. I'm not sure if I should get what I need now (2ms) or try to
spring for what I might need in a few years (4ms)

Oh well Charlotte ham fest is next week ;)

Hawker
 
J

JeffM

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hawker said:
I try ham-fests first (because I like to touch, see and try first)
Depending on your comfortable travel radius
and the span till the next fest, this might prove useful:
http://www.big-list.com/
[...]I get [scopes] from a retired Tektronix person I know
who refirbs them and sells them for an amazing price.
"Yes sir. This baby stayed in the R&D Lab
and never moved more than 6"
--just enough to clean around it." ;-)
[...]when he truly retires half the engineers in North Carolina
and Georgia will be at a big loss
We take these old farts for granted,
then one day they aren't around any more. 8-(
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
Thanx for the advice. I'll look into that.
As for E-bay. I am with you. Power Supplies, VARIACs, Signal Generators
I try ham-fests first (because I like to touch, see and try first) and
E-bay second. A 20 y/o HP Power Supply at a ham fest for $100 is usually
a better quality supply than a new $1000 one one I can get anyway.

VOMS, LCRs and other things that I want accuracy on and are relatively
inexpensive I usually purchase new.

The big exception is Scopes. For lab scops (like Tex 2465/2445A analog
or 2440/2430A Digital or cheaper stuff even) I get them from a retired
Tektronix person I know who refirbs them and sells them for an amazing
price. They come calibrated and he gives me a 1 year warranty. 2465 for
example tend to be $500 or so. Perhaps 1/2 my lab is furnished from tis
person, when he truly retires half the engineers in North Carolina and
Georgia will be at a big loss (he is in his 70s now) Unfortunately he
does not get in to TDS and other nicer stuff.

My problem is I can't afford $30k for what I need. Right now I need
about a 2-4 mega sample 500Mhz 4 channel with active FET probes. I can
find something decent used on E-bay for $5k that meets my needs but new
is way out of my price range.
The problem is my TDS 500 series (forget the name) which is all that but
only 1 MS almost meets my needs, but on some things I just can't get
enough resolution - esp when I am looking at the output of a 54Mhz CCD
pixel. I'm not sure if I should get what I need now (2ms) or try to
spring for what I might need in a few years (4ms)

Oh well Charlotte ham fest is next week ;)

Hawker

The Foothill College Electronic Flea Market used to be legendary
around here, but it seems like ebay has almost killed it off. It moved
to a smaller site, but it had already degraded to junky stuff.

John
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
Which brings up another question: A client of mine is looking for a
spectrum analyzer. Anything new out there? Nothing fancy, just to be
able to measure noise and stuff up to 100MHz or so. Hameg makes a nice
and simple EMI analyzer for around $2k but even that would be overkill
here. The TenTec VNA is, unfortunately, more of an impedance analyzer.
Other than that it's truly amazing:

http://radio.tentec.com/cms-files/mcdermott.pdf

I want a spectrum analyzer, but something we can do rough emi tests
on, so I was thinking one of those Anritsu or equivalent portable LCD
tablet things, most of which go to about 3 GHz. We have an old
bathroom we could hack into a small screen room, and there are some
nice emc-like log-periodic antennas around for $300 or so, enough to
arguably put together a CE emi file.

It sure seems like somebody could do a little LCD spectrum analyzer
for under $1k, or a usb laptop adapter for a lot less.

Hmmm, "usb spectrum analyzer" gets half a million hits.


John
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
The Foothill College Electronic Flea Market used to be legendary
around here, but it seems like ebay has almost killed it off. It moved
to a smaller site, but it had already degraded to junky stuff.

<rant_mode>

Probably not just EBay that killed it but also the utter lack of
hobbyist activity among the next generation(s). They fist-fight each
other over some Wii game console and then after graduating from college
they still don't have a clue how a transistor amplifier is built.

</rant_mode>
 
I'm an independent consultant and am trying to upgrade my aging lab a
bit. My lab is mostly items I bought 15 years ago when I started out and
various pieces I got at random HAM Fests and Ebay or closing companies.

I could use a new high end VOM (the ones I am looking at are in the
$300-$500 range) and a better 'Oscope to replace my aging TDS 500 series
scope (and even older 2430A) as well as a few other pieces.

Contact East and Techi-Tools prices never used to be inline with others
and Future-Active is not in that business any more. E-bay has eliminated
any good used or new equipment from even showing at Ham Fests anymore.

Where do folks get higher end scopes, VOMS, LCR Meteres, Freq Counters,
Electronic Loads, Variacs etc at these days with good selection and price?

Also would love to hear a suggestion on a good VOM. Seems the $200 ones
can ALMOST do what I want and the $400 ones can 'almost' eliminate my
need for a new LCR Meeter but the devil is in the details.

I would like a 4 1/2 digit meeter with good precision (0.1%?).
It should be responsive, esp for continuity, have the normal complement
of sample and hold, bar graph, high low holding, auto calibration and
zeroing and other modern features.
It would be great if it has a usable LCR and Frequency counter as well
as HFE reading. I also wish it had a reset button rather than a fuse for
the current meeter.
The issue with the LCR meters in most I looked at is the range is not
adequate to not need a separate meeter so it seems that perhaps these
should be two different tools.

Thanx
Hawker
We buy (rent more). I just google on a model, get like Continental,
Electro-rent, for uWave stuff:SMElectronics.
Google hits alot and the price differences can vary alot.
look out for ebay, you buy it, you own, might have to fix it.
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
I want a spectrum analyzer, but something we can do rough emi tests
on, so I was thinking one of those Anritsu or equivalent portable LCD
tablet things, most of which go to about 3 GHz. We have an old
bathroom we could hack into a small screen room, and there are some
nice emc-like log-periodic antennas around for $300 or so, enough to
arguably put together a CE emi file.

It sure seems like somebody could do a little LCD spectrum analyzer
for under $1k, or a usb laptop adapter for a lot less.

These guys do:
http://aaronia.de/

The web site is a bit, ahem, sub-optimal. Doesn't allow direct page
links but they do have an English option somewhere. One of the posters
in the German NG is on the design team and he is really smart.

BTW, I've had some real issues with a top notch Agilent unit once. The
source of the noise was its own LCD (!).

Hmmm, "usb spectrum analyzer" gets half a million hits.

Only 51 hits here and it's scopes with FFT function. That doesn't cut it.
 
D

Dr. Anton T. Squeegee

Jan 1, 1970
0
[email protected] (known to some as John
Larkin) scribed...

The Foothill College Electronic Flea Market used to be legendary
around here, but it seems like ebay has almost killed it off. It moved
to a smaller site, but it had already degraded to junky stuff.

I beg to differ. I've had excellent results, both buying and
selling, with the former Foothill swap (now dubbed DeAnza). My trip in
2006 netted a nice fluke 187 handheld meter, and some much-needed
crimping heads for one of my AMP IDC tools. 2005 got me some 7000 series
plug-ins and a decent TM5006 instrument frame, just to name a couple of
examples.

Any swap meet is going to be highly variable, year-to-year, month-
to-month, or however often they're held. You never know when someone's
going to show up that's going to have a great deal more than just "junky
stuff."

I would also point out that one person's "junky stuff" is often
another's gold. Besides the Fluke meter on last year's trip, I also got
hold of a Cisco Catalyst 5000 network switch. Doesn't have a lot to do
with ham radio or electronics tinkering, true, but it certainly solved a
big problem for me in terms of replacing a pair of ailing-and-ancient
Bay Networks switches in my LAN.

The only thing that I think would cause such events to truly die is
if some overzealous government regulators decide that such events don't
constitute "proper recycling," and subsequently try to legislate them
out of business. If they're going to do that, then they may as well
outlaw garage and yard sales as well.

Keep the peace(es).
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
It's so much cheaper to teach CS than real engineering. No labs, no
machinery, no test equipment, no skilled teachers. Just make each kid
buy his own laptop and aim a cheap C++droid TA at them.

Seems that EE is done in similar fashion. Many of the fresh grads I have
met over the last year were in essence SPICE jockeys. They could not
wield a solder iron, didn't know how to increase the bandwidth of a
one-transistor stage (one of my classic questions early in an interview)
and typically don't grok my module specs while older non-EEs understand
them perfectly well.
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
[email protected] (known to some as John
Larkin) scribed...




I beg to differ. I've had excellent results, both buying and
selling, with the former Foothill swap (now dubbed DeAnza). My trip in
2006 netted a nice fluke 187 handheld meter, and some much-needed
crimping heads for one of my AMP IDC tools. 2005 got me some 7000 series
plug-ins and a decent TM5006 instrument frame, just to name a couple of
examples.

I haven't been there since it moved, but it was already dumpy compared
to the good old days. The decent test gear had almost disappeared, and
there were tables covered with PC junk, CDs, rusty mechanical stuff,
and even homewares and laundry detergent. Gone are the days when some
old HP guy would die and his kids would show up with a pickup truck
full of his stuff.

Is it any better now?

We used to show up at 5:30, in the rain, with flashlights, to get a
good parking spot and nab the best gear. Ebay is better.

Of course, you don't meet Bob Pease or Jim Williams or Peter Alfke on
ebay.

John
 
P

Phil Hobbs

Jan 1, 1970
0
Tim said:
Maybe I've been buying from the wrong place! I generally don't buy
much, and I've certainly saved time going with Tucker. I'll have to
watch the other responses you get, and remember the answers for the next
time I buy.

It certainly seems these days that the way to go is to buy from eBay, at
least for used stuff.

I've bought things from Metric Test for work, but I usually stick with
eBay for home.

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs
 
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