[time-nuts] old freq standards
Lutwak at Alum.mit.edu
Sat Oct 15 06:59:35 EDT 2005
Symmetricom purchased (exactly) two products from Agilent: the 5071A cesium
beam frequency standard and the 5087B distribution amplifier. They have not
announced discontinuation or discontinuation of support of either of them.
As to the larger question of providing support for obsolete products, keep
in mind that obsoletion of components is the principal reason that products
go obsolete. These days, in the commercial electronics industry, typical
product cycle lifetimes are 1-2 years. The component manufacturers cater to
these high-volume applications, not to the low-volume long-life frequency
standard industry. Hobbyists may be able to keep things going for a few
years by scavenging components but probably not with the same level of
performance and reliability one expects from manufacturer service.
Try getting a 5-year-old DVD player repaired before you start demanding
support on a 35-year-old mercury ioin standard that never made it into
Note that I do not speak for Symmetricom management, nor am I privy to any
future plans for product obsolesence.
As TVB points out, that rack of Mg+ electronics was probably for a
prototype. Eventually, about a half-dozen pre-production units were built
at HP, about the size of a 5061. Most of them ended up at USNO. If one of
those ever shows up on Ebay, it might be worth the trouble to try and get it
working, but only if it comes with manuals and schematics. The biggest
issue will be the vacuum integrity of the physics package. If it's lost
vacuum or the ion pump won't fire, you're probably dead in the water.
Robert Lutwak, Senior Scientist
Symmetricom - Technology Realization Center
34 Tozer Rd.
Beverly, MA 01915
(978) 232-1461 Voice RLutwak at Symmetricom.com (Business)
(978) 927-4099 FAX Lutwak at Alum.MIT.edu (Personal)
(339) 927-7896 Mobile
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey Pawlan" <jpawlan at pawlan.com>
To: "Tom Van Baak" <tvb at leapsecond.com>; "Discussion of precise time and
frequency measurement" <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 7:30 PM
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] old freq standards
> Since Symmetricom has recently purchased the entire line of frequency and
> products from Agilent, Symmetricom has already announced that they will
> discontinue support of most of them. They are notoriously unhelpful even
> current products they manufacture. Other old manufacurers have already
> all documentation and spare parts. So my advice is to avoid buying all
> atomic standard units made by Varian, Trak, and HP unless you have more
> than one
> to use for parts.
> time-nuts mailing list
> time-nuts at febo.com
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