Re: Tek 576 Curve Tracer HV Replacement Transformer


Hi Ernesto,
I apologize for attacking you personally. Your "rant" struck a nerve. Based on you work experience in the Oil Exploration industry I can understand why you were expecting parts to be available long after a product was out of production. You are comparing oranges to apples. Tektronix is not in an industry where there is an expectation of 50 year lifetime support. The USA and European countries created the Electronics Test Equipment Industry but it is now disappearing because of China's low manufacturing costs and, in some cases, outright theft of our designs. When it is cheaper to buy a new instrument than to repair an existing one there is no reason to provide product support other than a 1 year Warranty.

I strive very hard to avoid commenting when someone complains about how something should be rather than how it is. The most common expectation seems to be that anything you buy on eBay will work even when the description clearly stated it was for parts or not working. The next most common eBay expectation is that eBay cares about you. Don't people read the description first? I have my own irrational expectation that people are smart. I can't seem to learn that this is simply not true even when I am shown evidence all day long that, as the comedian Steven Wright says, "Half the people I know are below average".

I agree with you that Schlumberger is exceptional to provide that level of service and customer support. I was hoping you could name a company in the electronics industry still supporting their products like Schlumberger does.
Of course there are other fields like the oil industry where this level of service and support are required. For instance an obvious one we all have experience with is flying. Each time I fly I am relying on an industry where parts are designed to last 30+ years and must be available 50+ years later. The military requires this in some cases for even longer. The B-52 Stratofortress first took flight in 1952. 68 years later it is still flying.

Your expectations are to be expected in the oil exploration industry where exceptional reliability and availability of parts are critical to avoid disastrous consequences. We are all familiar with what happened when the Deepwater Horizon was drilling at the Macondo Prospect and there was a blowout. 15 men died immediately, 5M Bbl. of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, and the financial cost may ultimately cost upwards of $20 Billion.

With the exception of instruments Tektronix makes under military contracts their instruments are used in laboratories to make measurements. This is an industry that has relentlessly improved the performance of its instruments at lower costs over the past 70+ years. Performance and cost are customer's main considerations not 50+ year product support. It would be prohibitively expensive for Tek to design their products to meet the kinds of reliability you are expecting and there would be few customers to pay for them.

I agree with you that the HV transformers are a point of failure in Tek instruments. In our archives you will find some of the reasons for this. There are many other components that are also problematic such as:
- Tantalum capacitors.
- Stuck pushbuttons on the 7000 series plugins.
- Plastic parts. Over time the plastic dries out and swells causing it to crack.
- The plastic corners on TM500 plugins. We have Jerry Shannon (now deceased) to thank for selecting the plastic for these front panels based on cost rather than durability.
- Noisy pots which are an industry wide problem.
- Electrolytic capacitors become ineffective when the electrolyte dries out.
- U800 fails due to excessive heat. Maxim reneged on their agreement to manufacture replacements.

Dennis Tillman W7pF

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Ernesto
Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2020 8:34 AM
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Tek 576 Curve Tracer HV Replacement Transformer


A couple of things.

1) I don't challenge Dennis's ownership of the group. I respect his directives as moderator of the group.
2) You cannot possibly know how old and wise I am, not by a long shot. And vice versa.

Before Dennis's post, I never felt attacked or challenged in this group.
I don't know why he got so upset over my critique of Tektronix.
He wanted to know which companies I consider comparable or superior to Tektronix, and I told him so.
Schlumberger was created by two incredible ingenious and smart brothers, and rose to fame like Tektronix did.
Their services are famous in their industry like Tektronix equipment is famous in the electronics industry.
Their excellence in service is backed by the excellence of their equipment.
It dedicates one of the largest segments of their income to research and development.
Schlumberger sells measurements (logs), and their product does not have an expiration date.
Oil wells don't have an expiration date either, there can be valid questions about them after 50 years.
If a client wants to know about some logs made in 1970, Schlumberger will help interpret them.
In my opinion, the service provided by Schlumberger is superior to the one of Tektronix.

I don't post here for chest trumping. I enjoy the exchange of knowledge in the topic of electronic design and oscilloscopes in particular.
I am not the only one here with plenty of experience who like to communicate it to others and help them with their problems.
And I respect and appreciate the experience of other members of this group, who have helped me on various occasions.
I believe that one important reason equipment gets rusty is because their owners have not yet found the way to fix them.
And our knowledge is a noble gift we should all be able to give.


Dennis Tillman W7PF
TekScopes Moderator

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