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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
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Old 19th June 2018, 06:23 AM   #51
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
Quote:
Originally Posted by keithostertag View Post
I'm looking around for an inexpensive frequency counter to use for audio experiments, and hoping for some recommendations.
Keith, so if you are looking around for a simple thing to use you might try one of these.

I have the older version and for audio related stuff it is just fine. HP 3551A. The guy wants $29.95 LINK I got one for $20.00

Here is an overview of it from HP Journal: LINK

Either will work to get you started and it sends and receives signals too.I like old dial stuff it has a digital read out. It goes from 40Hz to 60kHz.

You can't beat it for the price, it is a real HP.

Do a search for a free manual to trouble shoot it.

I bought mine just for the knobs for my HP339a, but liked it. Heck these have battery power oscillator in it for low level signals too.

When you want something more save and buy it knowing you'll also have your HP3551A for back up and checking out your basic audio gear.

Cheers,
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Old 19th June 2018, 08:34 AM   #52
keithostertag is offline keithostertag
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Hey Sync- Thanks for the links! Hah! From the name I would never have guessed it could be used as a sig gen. I went ahead and bought it just from your recommendation... Keysight actually has the manual on their website. I figure if I can get it to work it will handily replace the old Beckman I have, and if it doesn't I'll have an inexpensive toy to work on for several hours of entertainment while I look around for something more appropriate. I'll let you know how it turns out...
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Old 19th June 2018, 11:29 PM   #53
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
That was fast, I was almost thinking about buying it after I mentioned it to you,
as I can use the knobs though I waited to see if you'd pick it up.
You can use your it with your Beckman for a cross
check and vice versa.


This should appeal to any of us that are frugal, cheapo, tightwads, etc. These
just work and they do a lot of things any of us audio aficionados want to do.
Signal tracing made easy with built in speaker on battery power.

Find the noisy part of the circuit. See how well that crossover is working.


The HP 3551A will get you more than half way there with just about anything you want to do.
For the other half, there is the more expensive good stuff that everyone here recommends.
I posted about this unit before and for $30 being a "transmission test set"
I think most thought I was going to use it for my automotive transmission.

If one were so inclined I'm sure the weighting filters could be modified for different use etc.

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Old 25th June 2018, 04:04 PM   #54
keithostertag is offline keithostertag
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Hey Sync and everyone- I bought that eBay HP3551A, $40 including shipping. When it arrived only the receive function worked, not the send. After some sleuthing, I discovered (with help) the problem was the freq vernier control wasn't working properly. It is a special dual stage pot which is used both for fine and coarse adjustment- unobtainable. Fortunately I was able to break it open with little damage in order to clean it up (de-oxit) and make certain the contacts were mating, and now it works like a charm! So now I can use it for accurately measuring and providing 40Hz to 60KHz signals for experimenting- much better than using that FG2A, and a lot less expensive than the nicer HP toys discussed above (which will wait until I can get more $$). As Sync sugggests, I will also be able to use it for signal tracing and other things ...
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Old 25th June 2018, 07:06 PM   #55
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
That is good to hear Keith.


When you feed your FG2A into your HP 3551A:
How low does it actually measure on the input/receive?
How high does it actually measure on the input/receive?
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Old 25th June 2018, 07:46 PM   #56
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
It could have been worse, this seems over priced to me.
HP3551A LINK
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:19 PM   #57
keithostertag is offline keithostertag
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The HP3551A is rated for an output between 40Hz and 60KHz, I can measure it being stable down to just below 30Hz, and slightly above 65KHz.

The Beckman FG2A is rated for 0.2Hz to 2MHz, but I have not tested it to those limits.

Mine came with original probe sets in like new condition and a power cord. That one in your last link ($400) doesn't come with a power cord, "may need calibration", being sold "as is".

@Chris- I haven't measured distortion, and probably wouldn't know how to do it properly (yet), but on the scope the HP3551A signals look good all through its range.
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:20 PM   #58
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
Do you have any way to measure the distortion of the two?

-Chris
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:31 PM   #59
keithostertag is offline keithostertag
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@Chris- Sorry, we seemed to have cross-posted. This is all the equipment I have, and I don't know how to measure distortion yet, just never needed to think about it yet. At my level, if it looks good on the scope then its good...
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Old 26th June 2018, 02:04 PM   #60
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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What are you using for an inexpensive  frequency counter?
Hi Keith,
Well, at some point, pick up a distortion analyser. I was curious if the HP unit had lower distortion than your function generator. Function generators typically have distortion measuring 1% to 0.5%, while other oscillators can be quite good. The HP probably has a little less distortion than that.

Looking at an oscilloscope will only show gross distortion well above 1%. For non-critical measurements and FM radio work, the old THD analysers from HP would do very well. Look at the 331A to 334A THD meters. The 331A and 332A are fully manual, the 333A and 334A have automatic nulling. You would use some sigal source with these meters. The matching oscillators were 652A and 654A, you would rather use the 652A. In case you see one of these cheap, HP made systems with both pieces in one (THD meter and audio oscillator together). These would be a 339A (which I use) and the 8903A or B (which I would like). The 8903A tend to be expensive, but they (339A and 8903A) are very, very good. There are other makes out there, but the Japanese brands like Leader and Kenwood aren't nearly as good as the HP branded stuff.

Best, Chris
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