A large part of the curator's professional life was dedicated to service and repair of HP instruments. Before the Memory project, the original idea was just to acquire, in view of an exciting retired life, the HP lab that was a dream 20 years before. The idea has somewhat overflowed its original intents, but the overall objective remains the same: Keep at their best condition and performance all those fine instruments which were designed and manufactured with the state of the art technologies of the moment.
Almost 95% of the devices that build up the collection are now out of support. The only way to keep everything alive is "Do it Yourself". The great advantage is that the most recent instruments are used for the repair and calibration of the oldest. In two or three years they will be replaced by youngers and will enrich the collection, and so on...
Service - Repair
A general electronic service station is setup as required by the type of equipment to be serviced.
Original service manuals are available for more than 90% of the instruments in the collection. Full sets of service microfiches are available for instruments built before 1970.
Many service kits are available. Service Kits were supplied by the HP factories to help localized service shops in servicing the most complicated equipment.
Component testing is a daily concern in repairing old equipment. It is also frequently easier to rebuild components no longer available than trying to find them in the market.
A lot of fine component test equipment have been produced by the Yokogawa Hewlett Packard Japanese division and are readily used to save old instrument parts.
Rather a pleasure than an absolute necessity for a museum, performance test of HP instruments is mainly a source of satisfaction and a highway to learn or refresh your knowledge about electronic fundamentals.
Time Frequency Calibration
Time Frequency calibration, frequency standard distribution and Frequency comparison tools of the various benchs consist of:
- HP 5061A - Cesium Primary Standard
- HP 105B - Spare Secondary Quartz Crystal Standard
- HP 5087 - Distribution Amplifier
- HP 5370B - High Resolution Frequency Counter
- HP 3575A - Digital Phase Comparator
- HP 53310A - Modulation Domain Analyzer
A Z3801 Symmetricon GPS receiver and a PRS10 Stanford Research rubidium standard have been recently added to this set because the 5061A cesium tube work time is far above its maximum limit...
Buying a brand new 5071 is not forecasted soon, and anyway now impossible because the 5071 is no longer an HP Product :(
HP-UX servers are used for the project intranet and central database. 3 series C Visualize workstations are used for various technical purposes, mainly for test and calibration automation with HP VEE software and specific homemade development (One of our preferred hobby-horse).
A number of older hardware / software configurations are preserved to recreate original operation of some exemplary automated test systems like 8409B for example.
The Web Site development is done on various recent PCs networked on a HP-UX evaluation server running the irreplaceable APACHE http engine. More details on The Web Site charateristics in this chapter.