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skidave 19th September 2012 02:32 AM

Opinion about HP 8903a Analyzer
I would like some opinions about the HP 8903a analyzer. I don't have a distortion analyzer (realizing this does more than distortion) and there may be an opportunity to pick one up for under $300.00 that is in working condition. I also have the opportunity to check it out in person prior to purchase.


Samuel Groner 19th September 2012 09:33 AM


For under $300.00 in working condition.
I haven't followed their prices, but this sounds like a fair deal.

The 8903A is surely not a state-of-the-art analyzer, but a zillion times better than no THD analyzer!


SY 19th September 2012 10:39 AM

Distortion analyzers are nice as an adjunct to a good soundcard/interface. If you don't have the latter, I'd get that before the analyzer; the combo of a good soundcard/interface for spectrum analysis will allow reliable sub 0.001% measurement broken down by harmonic, as well as quantifying any anharmonic content. The distortion analyzer will then allow you to visually examine the residual as well as use the spectrum analyzer to further break it down. A useful combination of reasonably inexpensive instruments gives you a lot of measurement power.

Agree with SG, it's a good home lab grade unit and if it's in excellent shape, that's a good price.

skidave 19th September 2012 11:36 AM

I have ARTA and an OK USB interface. I like it, but I would like to have a physical device as well. For the price and what I would use it for...I think it would be a nice addition.

SY 19th September 2012 11:41 AM

You got my point- it's not an either/or, it's a "both." If you don't have a good interface for the sound card, check out Pete Millett's handy-dandy little unit.

skidave 19th September 2012 05:56 PM

Yep, Pete's interface is on the short list of test equipment to add to the collection. Thanks SY.

jackinnj 19th September 2012 08:43 PM

I have an 8903B -- 'cuz I collect distortion analyzers -- Pete has written some code to get graphs with the instrument -- HP 8903 Software

Participatnts in the yahoo user groups "hp_agilent_equipment" and "tekscopes" exhibit a very high degree of knowledge on programming via the HPIB and GPIB.

bear 19th September 2012 09:08 PM

Anyone have or have a source for a schematic or service manual for an HP3904A?



bear 19th September 2012 10:41 PM

I mean HP3903A.


tomchr 20th September 2012 05:21 AM

$300 for an 8903A in good working condition?! That's a steal! I've refurbished and sold a few of them for twice that. Buy it!
I also recommend getting an operation and service manual if it doesn't come with one.

Connect a coax cable from generator out to analyzer in and measure the THD of a 1 kHz, 1 V signal. You should get below 0.01 %. Mine sits at 0.002 % as I recall.


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