[time-nuts] HP5328A & HP5328B option 040

Bob Albert bob91343 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 23 18:18:30 EDT 2015


>From your comments, it seems that finding a voltmeter board to add to my 5328A isn't worth the trouble.  I have been looking for one even though I have plenty of voltmeters.  I assume the option allows measurement of the signal inputs but still probably isn't worth all the agony of changing the panel, etc.

Am I making sense?
Bob K6DDX 


     On Thursday, April 23, 2015 12:48 PM, Richard (Rick) Karlquist <richard at karlquist.com> wrote:
   

 On 4/23/2015 12:20 AM, VK2DAP wrote:
> Dear time-nuts,
>
> I have a question about the HP5328A and HP5328B universal counters.
>
> 1) Generally speaking, would it be correct to say that when a product model number changes from A to B, that represents an improvement or major update to a product?
>
> 2) I am interested in the "delay" option that is mentioned in the user manual for the HP5328A (option 040). My question is simple. Why does this option not feature in the HP5328B, but only as option 040 on the HP5328A?
>


Now you have asked a very interesting question.  Since you
are new to time-nuts, you probably don't know I worked
for HP/Agilent/Keysight for 35 years.  It would be
a gross oversimplification to assume that an A/B change
is an improvement, although in some cases that may
be true.  Often it has more to do with certain parts
becoming unavailable.  You should also know that there
is typically a 5 year support life after the product
goes out of production.  It is very common that they
will increment the suffix to get the 5 year clock
running so they no longer have to support very old
instruments.  This was certainly the case with the
5061B cesium standard.  The nixie displays were
unobtainium and we couldn't support the 5061A because
of this.  I don't know specifically about the 5328A
vs B.  However, I was the project manager for the
5334B counter.  The way that came about was that I
just happened to notice that there were various design
aspects of the 5334A that wasted a lot of money.  I
didn't work in the counters section at the time, but
nevertheless I annoyed the R&D manager by pointing
out these money leaks.  I guess he got tired of hearing
me complain and one day he offered my the job of project
manager on a 5334B model.  We needed to reduce cost
because we were losing military contracts to Racal-Dana.
I changed certain design details in the B model where
I could save money.  The idea was to simply keep the
performance the same and not add features.  There were
many things I inherited from the A model that I left
alone if I couldn't reduce the cost.  We were also on
a very tight schedule.  This prevented me from replacing
the 4 separate microprocessors in the 34A with a single
one.  (Very long story as to why this was)

Now to get to your question about why a feature in the
A version would not carry through to the B version.
The 5334A had an option of a digital voltmeter, which was
put in essentially "because we could", but then justified
after the fact by claiming that customers wanted it
because some of them ordered the option.  I never thought
this made sense and used my authority as 5334B project manager
to get rid of it in the 5334B.  Since HP also sold
voltmeters, they could always buy a voltmeter from
our voltmeter division.  There are a bunch of reasons
why the 5328B would lose a feature that the 5328A had,
but the point is that this doesn't break any "rule".

Rick Karlquist N6RK
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