[volt-nuts] What makes a HP3458A so expensive

Bill Gold wpgold3637 at att.net
Fri Jan 17 10:52:13 EST 2014


    It isn't just the materials in the 3458A meter and what they cost.  It
is the massive development time and effort, just trying to verify the
linearity of the ADC and stability of the reference and so on.  Then there
is the ongoing time that must be spent on insuring that the critical
components are with in specs, with incoming inspections.  My guess is that
HP had to check a bunch of LTZ1000As just to get some that would working
correctly.  I am sure that HP built many reference boards that failed long
term testing and needed to be trashed.  Read all of the articles on this

    I worked for a small company that made ATE for Discrete Semiconductors.
I was constantly working on incoming inspections to insure that critical
components were up to our standards to guarantee that the final product
would perform as advertised.  When you are generating 1600 volts DC and
switching that kind of voltage between leads on the semiconductor, the
breakdown voltage of the relays and reed switches become critical.  The
switching time of relays also is critical.  When you are trying to measure 1
pa in an ATE environment things get difficult if you are not careful with
the components.

    Our rule of thumb was to multiply the cost of the systems by 3 times
over the actual materials and assembly costs.  This was done just to insure
we could make a profit (sometimes) and cover engineering costs on both
existing products and new projects.

    So I don't think that what HP/AGILENT/KEYSIGHT is charging for the 3458A
is out of line.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Attila Kinali" <attila at kinali.ch>
To: <volt-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:34 AM
Subject: [volt-nuts] What makes a HP3458A so expensive

> Hi,
> I recently got my hands on a HP3458A (unfortunately, the NVRAM batteries
> are dead, but that's another story) and started digging around a bit.
> These beasts are sold for 3kUSD and up on ebay, while e.g. a Fluke 8845
> which seems comparable (beside being 6 1/2 digits) that sells for 1500CHF
> So, what makes the HP3458A so expensive?
> Attila Kinali
> -- 
> I pity people who can't find laughter or at least some bit of amusement in
> the little doings of the day. I believe I could find something ridiculous
> even in the saddest moment, if necessary. It has nothing to do with being
> superficial. It's a matter of joy in life.
> -- Sophie Scholl
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