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Old 19th September 2012, 01:32 AM   #1
skidave is offline skidave  United States
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Default 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.

Thanks.
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Old 19th September 2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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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!

Samuel
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Old 19th September 2012, 09:39 AM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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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.
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Old 19th September 2012, 10:36 AM   #4
skidave is offline skidave  United States
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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.
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Old 19th September 2012, 10:41 AM   #5
SY is offline SY  United States
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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.
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Old 19th September 2012, 04:56 PM   #6
skidave is offline skidave  United States
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Yep, Pete's interface is on the short list of test equipment to add to the collection. Thanks SY.
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Old 19th September 2012, 07:43 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 19th September 2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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Anyone have or have a source for a schematic or service manual for an HP3904A?

Thanks

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Old 19th September 2012, 09:41 PM   #9
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I mean HP3903A.

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Old 20th September 2012, 04:21 AM   #10
tomchr is online now tomchr  United States
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$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.

~Tom
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