[volt-nuts] HP 3456A AC cal

Richard Moore richiem5683 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 13 23:04:00 EDT 2014

Thanks guys for the comments -- I dug into the manual, and all of the AC 
gains are set by laser-trimmed resistors in ?think-film? packs which HP 
called "fineline" resistors -- the AC tweaks appear to adjust the 
low-end of range linearity by adjusting amp offsets. The RMS converter 
is a log amp, an averager, and an anti-log amp. This circuit actually 
works very well. I'm going to open the 3456 up and check test points 4 
and 8 and see where the gain differences actually are.

I may have to actually measure the resistances of the packaged resistors 
and see how they compare to one another -- I may be able to get better 
full-scale accuracy by adjusting just one resistor... Those fineline 
resistors are supposed to be 0.01% or better -- which means that HP 
never expected the 3456 to be really good at AC. Yet it is a very 
excellent 6-1/2 digit meter for DC and ohms, holding very close readings 
when compared to my 3458A, so the AC performance is a little disappointing.

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