Re: Advice about buying a 7904


Sean Turner
 

Reg,

As you may know from our prior conversations, I have both a 7104 and a 7904A. The 7904A is definitely my workhorse because, as you mention, I want to preserve and protect the mcp tube in the 7104. As Dave mentioned, the chassis is different between the 7904 and 7904A. The 7904A is going to be easier to work on from an access perspective. One thing the 7904 has that I wish the 7904A carried on is a current loop calibrator for current probes. Oh well. Another thing to keep in mind is that the 7904A uses the hypcon packaged hybrids like the 7104 in the vertical amp[1], while the 7904 does not.

As far as reliability, I would imagine both have tantalum capacitors. Since these scopes have a switch mode power supply, it's easy to tell when you have a short because you get the infamous clicking as the supply tries to turn off then shuts down. Finding the short is another matter, though fortunately for me the short my 7104 developed when I got it home from the auction house turned out to be super simple and not tant related at all.

As far as plugins go, the 7A26 is a perfect vertical option for general purpose work. There's a couple different revisions hanging about. Some have a 20 MHz bandwidth switch and some do not. I have examples of both. Honestly, the one that doesn't have it has a sharper trace all around in my experience. Use two of them and have a full on 4 trace scope. The 7A19 is a good match for the mainframe if you want a vertical with a dedicated 50 ohm input. Keep in mind that unlike the 7A29's circuit breaker arrangement, the 7A19 uses fuses for input overload protection. Still useful for specialty probes that expect 50 ohms, such as current probes. Another vertical plugin in find indispensable for low frequency work is the 7A22 differential amplifier. Even single ended with a 10X probe, you can get down into microvolts/div ranges and the adjustable bandpass filter is very useful for isolating signals in noise. I have a 7B15 and a 7B92A as timebases in mine; no complaints.

[1]: http://w140.com/tekwiki/wiki/7904

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