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 Post subject: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Dec Wed 23, 2015 3:03 am
Posts: 223
Location: Northwest Indiana
Someone mentioned this in a prior thread and it got me thinking. I got into the hobby seriously about 5 or 6 years ago. Started with my Marantz Model 27 that I got from my Aunt when I was a teenager some 40+ years ago. Fiddled with various Marantz stuff but besides an ohm meter, no test equipment. Started accumulating test gear, first, a Tek 465 scope, got working thanks to this site. Anyway, I seem to be more intrigued by test gear now. Haven't bought any audio stuff in over a year, just equipment. Seems I am learning far more troubleshooting test gear than audio stuff. My test bench is growing exponentially! Oddly enough, I started college wanting to be an electrical engineer. I liked it but advanced calculus just kicked my butt so switched majors after the first semester...


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Sun 10, 2019 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1455
Location: Cambridge MN USA
It takes all kinds, so don't think you're that odd. The 465 is a nice scope. I've got an ancient 305D plus a 561 that needs fresh nuvistors. I'm sure at some point someone here will need your expertise on repairing their test gear so settle in with the rest of the crew here!

Scott Todd


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Sun 10, 2019 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 3424
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
If you think accumulating test gear is odd, well, around here it ain’t. :-D. Check out my website. Or Steve Johnson’s........to name but a very few

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Sun 10, 2019 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Dec Tue 01, 2015 5:31 am
Posts: 2013
Location: Columbus Ohio
prepare early, if you see a deal on shelving, buy it !

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Mon 11, 2019 3:25 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 10900
Location: Powell River BC Canada
Vintage audio gear never required much to test the amplifier side. Your scope is
a great first step. Read through all 11 pages of the IHFM standards from 60s I posted
in the Vintage Audio section.

Tuners, on the other hand need at least two good signal generators.

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Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Mon 11, 2019 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1311
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Welcome to the test equipment collecting sickness! It can
be highly addictive. Once you start getting a lot of it begin
thinking of going vertical in the form of rack mounted
equipment.

This is the perfect time to jump in as there is a lot of high
quality equipment available at give away prices IF you are
willing to learn how to fix/calibrate it yourself.

My suggestion is to stick with the highest quality equipment
from the start. HP, Tek and General Radio are at the top of
the heap but many others are very good like Wavetek, Fluke
and Rhode & Schwarz.

Ham radio swaps are an excellent source locally. These usually
start up in the spring. While at these, bag as many service manuals
as possible as they can be worth their weight in gold and are
often free.
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Mon 11, 2019 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 12, 2016 1:49 am
Posts: 703
Location: Houston, TX
zarco wrote:
This is the perfect time to jump in as there is a lot of high quality equipment available at give away prices IF you are willing to learn how to fix/calibrate it yourself.

We have vastly different definitions of "give away prices", if you include eBay and many online test equipment sites.
I am continually amazed at the ridiculously high prices most of the quality, known-defective and/or "parts or not working" gear is listed for.
I would have to be absolutely desperate for a certain unobtainium part out of most of those to even consider paying those prices. Of course, buying the first unit and discovering you need an unobtainium part — probably the reason they're selling it in the first place — means buying the exact same thing again just to hopefully obtain said unobtainium part. And if the second unit, the third, etc., don't have the good part you're looking for, rinse and repeat until your wallet bleeds or simply give up and try to unload that junk you just bought to the next desperate person in line.

Welcome to the wonderful world of buying busted gear and finding out it's practically unserviceable. :|

The best deals I've ever gotten on used gear, some of it in working order, was on OfferUp. There are some good deals on CL sometimes. Locals want to actually SELL things and get rid of it ASAP.

Quote:
Ham radio swaps are an excellent source locally. These usually start up in the spring. While at these, bag as many service manuals as possible as they can be worth their weight in gold and are often free.

I don't go to hamfests, so maybe that's the venue and type of gear you were referring to exclusively. I never got into ham radio, but maybe will when I'm retirement age and get bored, I dunno. I have various SW/MW/CB/scanner receivers, but just never bothered with the TX side of radio. I have some Morse/telegraph keys and studied it many years ago, having forgotten most of it by now. It was interesting, but I just never went further to get a license.

Anyway, my [perhaps totally wrong] understanding is that the majority of "specialized" gear at hamfests relates to ham, SW/MW and the like. I'm sure there are plenty of general items such as multimeters, counters, waveform generators, SA's, coms analyzers and grid dip meters to go around, but I'm guessing there would be an extreme lack of the more esoteric (interesting) items outside the realm of ham/SW/CB.
If ham is what you're into, then I guess it might be worthwhile, if that's where the "give away prices" are to be found.

I might have considered checking out the upcoming Houston hamfest in March, if entry was free. I'm not gonna pay $8 just to walk around and find out there's nothing there I'm interested in — just like I very rarely have paid to get into the "Pick Your Part" type auto salvage yards, because I found they rarely have parts I need. Oh sure, they may have an inventory of vehicles online, but the part's not actually there in the yard. Total ripoff.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Mon 11, 2019 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1311
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Yes Vin, I was specifically suggesting hamfests. Gave up on
e-pay years ago. If the crazy prices from dishonest sellers don't
bite you shipping and lousy handling will.

You need to go out and find good stuff. Sitting on the couch poking
on a keyboard isn't the way to get good equipment for good prices.

Hamfests are THE best place to find great stuff cheap. All kinds of
electronic goodies show up from test equipment to parts and manuals.
Quite often truck loads of estate items show up and sellers want
it all to go away. Sure, its hit or miss but at the very least you'll
get to see a wide variety of equipment and meet interesting people.

One example; at a recent local swap I found a Tek TM500 mainframe
full of modules (three tripple output supplies, function generator
and a DVM) for $5. Of course nothing worked and at that price
didn't expect it to. But some quality time on the bench with
free downloadable manuals and I have a wonderful addition to my shop.

I find deals like this all the time! Usually because people are too
lazy (or intimidated) to fix their own stuff.
Steve

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'cell phones and the internet are tools, not a lifestyle'


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Tue 12, 2019 2:44 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5949
Location: Ebridge NY, USA
I've seen the interest in collecting vintage test equipment grow considerably over the last ten to fifteen years. Before that I think the majority of interest was mostly acquiring equipment for everyone's workbenches.

For me it was radios vs. test equipment. Went from 300 or so radios down to about 20. Vintage test equipment went in the opposite direction.
Natural progression for me. Radios all do pretty much the same thing and I got board with them. I used test equipment all my life and there are a lot more variations so I find it more interesting.

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https://stevenjohnson.com - Steve's Antique Technology


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Tue 12, 2019 6:12 am 
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Joined: Jun Fri 05, 2015 4:59 am
Posts: 294
Location: Southeastern Litchfield County, CT
Welcome to the rabbit hole. It is very, very deep. But a great deal of fun, too.

-Pat

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Tue 12, 2019 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3573
Location: Monterey California USA
I agree that eBay and on-line test equipment dealer prices are rarely bargains.

But as Steve above can relate, the Silicon Valley area electronics flea markets turn up some very good deals. These are electronics flea markets, not hamfests per se, although they are sponsored by ham clubs. I think test gear actually outnumbers ham and SW gear there by a wide margin.

In the last two years I bought a Fluke 6060B signal generator in unused condition with service manual pack for $ 125 and an HP 8657A signal generator for $ 100 in as-new condition. Both work flawlessly and are in calibration, and have the precision timebase option. A military Tek 2400 series scope in as new condition for $ 50 sat there for an hour before I snagged it. Yes, it would be an effort to repair these, except they don't need repair. The needing repair examples are in the $ 10-20 range. This means getting there at dawn, naturally.

On the other hand, I hear the southern California flea markets are rather bleak these days, and the ones in other states something less than spectacular. Dayton/Xenia gets a lot of stuff but seems to be a seller's market with eBay level prices, per reports.

I have also gotten astounding deals on Craigslist from locals. Worth a look. Same with Offer Up and LetGo.

Yes, as a test gear junkie I have my share of malfunctioning gear where the manual is nearly impossible to find, usually oddball makes. Some have taken 10-15 years to find the documentation. Separate topics would be the fun of eventually discovering the manual has errors or that you have some revision that doesn't match the manual at all and should have been given a separate model number, or house marked components apparently fabricated in the Crab Nebula and never to be found...

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Tue 12, 2019 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 23, 2013 9:03 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Canandaigua, NY
He who dies with the most test equipment, wins! IMO, hamfests aren't what they used to be. You can still find a good scope and other things at a good one, and the prices will usually be rock bottom. eBay will get you obscure stuff. I do mostly audio, plus tuner alignments, plus fixing all the darn test equipment. Lots of weird stuff on my site too.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Tue 12, 2019 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8507
Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
I'm still using an HP 206 audio generator that is almost as old as me, and it keeps going and going. Built like a tank! I did recap it many years ago, and the oil-filled power supply capacitors got replaced a couple of years ago, when they started shorting out.

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 12:57 am 
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Joined: Aug Mon 17, 2009 4:11 pm
Posts: 3304
Location: DFW Texas
hamfests GENERALLY are not limited to Ham stuff. I try to get to 2-3 each year and while I don't usually find many am or fm radios there are always lots of parts the I find that I can use and tons of test equipment. Almost anything electronic might be there.

I found the Heath Iso power supply the I still use at one for $20. And a working SG-165 for $5. At the time I didn't know what it was but bought it anyway and they sell for 200 -300 now.

If they charge a fee it's because the club running it has to pay for the venue. Even if the venue is free there are still costs involved. I've never felt that 6 or 8 dollars to get in was not worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: Audio vs Test Equipment
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 1:32 am 
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Joined: Sep Tue 30, 2014 6:08 am
Posts: 3776
Location: The Old Dominion VA 23518
+1 on Hamfests - ours had inside sales limited to vendors, but the outside parking lot sales had lots of equipment. I got an Eico Cap Bridge, and a bunch of HP scope probes at the last one I went to.

A warning to anyone buying test equipment from Govt Liquidation: Many of the instruments they sell are just fine - but if you see any red or green bordered tag, walk. Also, if there are calibration stickers attached, look for currency within the last two or three years. Before that, and you can assume it was a "hangar queen," a parts unit, or sat in a warehouse without care. Been there, done that - we used to pallet up the junque and send to the warehouse, so I know first hand. Consumables (knobs, fuses, holders, handles, socketed chips and transistors) are often harvested first - and missing items are unseen by the bidder(s).

Several years ago, the F-14 fiasco plagued Govt Liquidation sales. Folks bought nice HP, Wavetek, Tek and other gear, only to have it broadly source coded as being tied to F-14 Tomcat support. Purchasers had to surrender the gear. Many got less than what they paid in return. That's about gone now.

My absolute favorite source is still Public Surplus (publicsurplus.com)- many tech schools and Vocational Schools auction their stuff off via Public Surplus. Back in 2008, I got a ton of stuff from one school system - mostly service grade stuff, but it included a B&K 747, a B&K 467, a Sencore SG165, two beyond-repair Tek scopes, one Tek TM503 with three plug-ins, 16 Hitachi 20 MHZ scopes in mostly working condition (broken trace rotation pots, mostly....) and several dozen Heath units - mostly pulse gens and frequency counters. I also won a lot of bench lamps from the same school system. I got all of the above for $202. <<EDIT-correction >> I had a full van, and had no room for the bench lamps!! I forfeited them to the school to sell again.

Anyone need a neutron monitor???? https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/all,v ... uc=2278795

Older appliance and TV shops are also a good source of test equipment. I got a Tek 576 (without the base unit and sockets) free from one shop - it was a gimme to them too, and they wanted it gone.

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"Capacitor Cosmetologist since 1979"
USN Retired 1984-2006 (Avionics/Cal)


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