[volt-nuts] HP3458a available (was Re: hp 3458a advice)

Paul Fox pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us
Wed Feb 6 15:59:16 EST 2013

resurrecting a somewhat older thread --

it's now clear to me that i have little interest in (or time for)
resurrecting my 3458a.  several people on the list were interested in
it when i first brought it up, and you were all very helpful.  i'd
rather not go through the ebay hassle, and i'd rather make it
available to one of you folks first in any case.

i've put up a small set of pictures, along with a short video of
the startup sequence at http://www.foxharp.net/hp3458a .  re-reading
my original list message (below), i see that my startup video didn't
capture an error message i saw back in october.  so in addition to the
"110, Calibration required -- ACAL" message in the video, i guess we
should assume that it sometimes gives "204, "Hardware Failure -- Flatness
DAC Convergence:  198"

i haven't opened the unit, and wasn't really planning on it.  if
there's something that you'd like to know that will be clear from just
looking, and if it might appreciably change the unit's value for you,
let me know and i'll find a screwdriver and take some more pictures.

i have two original (i believe) copies of the manual.  no service manual.
firmware version is "REV 2,1".

so how about this:  best offer (by private mail) under $350 gets it,
shipping not included (it looks like shipping will be in the $40 to $80
range, once i find a box).  for obvious reasons, a local-to-boston
transaction will be given a lot of preference.

i'll wait until next wednesday evening (i.e., about a week -- feb 13)
before choosing a lucky recipient, since i hear some people don't read
their mail as continuously as i do.


i wrote:
 > thanks joe, and to the other couple of people who responded privately. 
 > i need to figure out how much of a project i want this to be, and how
 > it ranks against all the other projects that i also don't have time
 > for.  :-)
 > i have the full users manual (two copies!), but i don't have anything
 > else that speaks GPIB.  i'll play with some of the front panel
 > commands you've suggested, while i think about what to do.  thanks!
 > paul
 > j. l. trantham wrote:
 >  > Paul,
 >  > 
 >  > First, the meter is worth something if nothing other than parts.  It is
 >  > Good luck.
 >  > 
 >  > Joe
 >  > 
 >  > -----Original Message-----
 >  > From: volt-nuts-bounces at febo.com [mailto:volt-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On
 >  > Behalf Of Paul Fox
 >  > Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 9:50 AM
 >  > To: Discussion of precise voltage measurement
 >  > Subject: [volt-nuts] hp 3458a advice
 >  > 
 >  > hi --
 >  > 
 >  > i'm not a volt-nuts regular, and not even a precision measurement nut
 >  > at all, but given past discussion in the list archives, i think you
 >  > folks might be able to help.
 >  > 
 >  > i was recently given an HP 3458a multimeter.  the donor thought it
 >  > worked when he last used it, but that was quite a long time ago, and i
 >  > think it was stored in an attic for some time, so i'm not too
 >  > surprised that it now doesn't pass self tests. :-/  he mainly wanted
 >  > it out of his house, along with a bunch of other vintage (sadly mostly
 >  > non-working) equipment he'd accumulated over the years.
 >  > 
 >  > the self-test error is:
 >  >     ERRSTR 204, "Hardware Failure -- Flatness DAC Convergence: 198"
 >  > 
 >  > judging from past list traffic, repairs on these units are 
 >  > expensive, and it would still need recalibration to be useful, and
 >  > there are may be other parts (eeproms?) that may not be good
 >  > any more.  i'm not really interested in pursuing any of this
 >  > myself.
 >  > 
 >  > what's worse is that the unit doesn't have a serial number.  (i assume
 >  > the s/n would normally be obvious on the rear of the unit.)  it bears a
 >  > sticker on the back that says "MTG PROTO 27".  i think the unit came
 >  > from a place that themselves produced reference standards, and they
 >  > may have gotten a very early model from HP to work with.  that's
 >  > conjecture.  i haven't opened the unit, so i don't know if there are
 >  > other clues to its age inside.
 >  > 
 >  > so:  is this machine useful to anyone?  given the error message above,
 >  > are there any measurements at all that it might still get correct, in
 >  > it's current state?
 >  > 
 >  > paul
 >  > =---------------------
 >  >  paul fox, pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us (arlington, ma, where it's 63.1 degrees)
 >  > 

 paul fox, pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us (arlington, ma, where it's 30.0 degrees)

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