Topics

In Defense of the 7A19

 

In a recent post the 7A29 was recommended as a much better plugin that the 7A19 which apparently has a poor reputation among members of TekScopes.
I don't disagree with that assessment. But if you know a few of the details behind its remarkable development and its strategic importance to Tek you might appreciate it more.

Tek was always known for how much attention they paid to the "Human Factors" of their products. Howard Vollum's goals for the 7000 series forced the "Human Factors" engineers to get much more creative. The result was a totally new look in scopes. In 1969 Tek introduced their brand new 7000 series lab scopes at the 1969 WESCON industry trade show in San Francisco. Tek's new top of the line 150MHz 7704 was 3 times faster than their current 547 lab scope. Tek was justifiably proud of the 7000 series. Here are a few examples of the new features Tek was so proud of:
* The new triggering control (one of Howard's requirements) combined the level and slope into one knob can turn through 360 degrees. This made it possible to trigger anywhere on a waveform while the knob showed the corresponding level and slope of the trigger point.
* The Tek 7704 had 4 plugin slots for much greater flexibility. It could display up to 4 signals simultaneously at two different sweep speeds.
* The new scopes had lighted push buttons to make them easier to use.
At the same show HP introduced their new line of lab scopes. But it quickly became apparent that the new HP scopes were superior in many ways. Here are two features that proved to HP that they had the superior products:
* The new HP scopes had much better specifications and they cost much less than the 7000 scopes.
* When you applied an AC signal that went from low frequency up to the limit of the scopes triggering capability the HP scope triggered perfectly across the entire frequency range without ever missing a trigger point. By comparison the 7000 trigger setting had to be constantly adjusted to get it to trigger. HPs triggering capability was so good it left Tek embarrassed by their trigger circuits.

HP wasted no time touting the superior performance and lower cost of their new lab scopes with an industry wide advertisement. Within Tek this became known as the HP "Foxtail" ad. It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
I uploaded this ad to TekScopes at
https://groups.io/g/TekScopes/files/Infamous%20HP%20%22Foxtail%22%20advertisement

Internally the WESCON show was described as a big success to the Tek employees. But Howard Vollum and the rest of management knew they were in trouble. The 7K introduction was a flop. What Tek did next would cement their reputation as the industry leader in oscilloscopes for decades to come.
The ultimate goal of the 7000 series was never meant to be the 150 MHz 7704 that was introduced at WESCON. The 7000 series was designed from the beginning to have the capability to go much faster. But faster scopes could not be done with discrete parts. Tek would have to develop their own 1GHz+ analog IC process to make faster scopes. That would be extremely difficult. Meanwhile the 7000 design team was working on the next mainframe scope and plugins to leapfrog HP. The 7704 was 3X faster than the previous 547 50MHz lab scope. The next scope was going to be 10X faster if they could do it.

Thor Hallen, an excellent vertical amplifier designer was given the task of creating a vertical amplifier with 500MHz performance in the 7904. That meant his design had to have a standalone bandwidth in excess of 700MHz. The amplifier was required to use the new ICs Tek was making. Thor had less than 2 1/2 years to do this. When the date was decided for the announcement Tek still couldn't make the ICs Thor was supposed to use to achieve the unheard of specs the 7A19 had to meet. The ICs were nowhere to be seen. At the last minute Thor had to substitute discrete transistors for the ICs and still make it work at 500MHz in the 7904 it would be announced with. I have that 7A19 plugin in my collection that Thor made, with the transistors Thor used, for the announcement. As if that wasn't enough, all by himself, Thor designed the 7A19 Option 4 plugin which has variable delay so two extremely fast signals can be displayed at the same point in time on the CRT. The 7A19/7A19 Opt 4/7B90/7934 combination was the fastest lab scope ever made and it was ahead of its time in 1972.

In spite of the inferior performance of the 7000 products Tek announced at WESCON 3 years earlier, engineers liked what they saw and wanted features like on-screen readout. Ironically the bells and whistles HP mocked in the Fox Tail" ad were a strong selling point for the new 7000 series. By the time Tek introduced the 7904, HP was no longer crowing about their superiority in scopes. The development of the 7A19 and 7A19 Opt 4 by Thor Hallen is an astounding achievement for 1972. Its 500MHz performance in the also astounding 7904 lab scope was so much faster than anything else at the time that Tek reclaimed the crown as the undisputed leader in oscilloscopes. They kept the crown for over 20 years after that.

Dennis Tillman W7pF



--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator

Keith
 

Thanks Dennis,
I just love this kind of background stuff! This helps us all understand how technology, design, business and marketing intertwine.

Great stuff!

Keith
Coolblueglow


Sent from the planet Zarnok

On May 29, 2020, at 3:23 PM, Dennis Tillman W7pF <@Dennis_Tillman_W7pF> wrote:

In a recent post the 7A29 was recommended as a much better plugin that the 7A19 which apparently has a poor reputation among members of TekScopes.
I don't disagree with that assessment. But if you know a few of the details behind its remarkable development and its strategic importance to Tek you might appreciate it more.

Tek was always known for how much attention they paid to the "Human Factors" of their products. Howard Vollum's goals for the 7000 series forced the "Human Factors" engineers to get much more creative. The result was a totally new look in scopes. In 1969 Tek introduced their brand new 7000 series lab scopes at the 1969 WESCON industry trade show in San Francisco. Tek's new top of the line 150MHz 7704 was 3 times faster than their current 547 lab scope. Tek was justifiably proud of the 7000 series. Here are a few examples of the new features Tek was so proud of:
* The new triggering control (one of Howard's requirements) combined the level and slope into one knob can turn through 360 degrees. This made it possible to trigger anywhere on a waveform while the knob showed the corresponding level and slope of the trigger point.
* The Tek 7704 had 4 plugin slots for much greater flexibility. It could display up to 4 signals simultaneously at two different sweep speeds.
* The new scopes had lighted push buttons to make them easier to use.
At the same show HP introduced their new line of lab scopes. But it quickly became apparent that the new HP scopes were superior in many ways. Here are two features that proved to HP that they had the superior products:
* The new HP scopes had much better specifications and they cost much less than the 7000 scopes.
* When you applied an AC signal that went from low frequency up to the limit of the scopes triggering capability the HP scope triggered perfectly across the entire frequency range without ever missing a trigger point. By comparison the 7000 trigger setting had to be constantly adjusted to get it to trigger. HPs triggering capability was so good it left Tek embarrassed by their trigger circuits.

HP wasted no time touting the superior performance and lower cost of their new lab scopes with an industry wide advertisement. Within Tek this became known as the HP "Foxtail" ad. It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
I uploaded this ad to TekScopes at
https://groups.io/g/TekScopes/files/Infamous%20HP%20%22Foxtail%22%20advertisement

Internally the WESCON show was described as a big success to the Tek employees. But Howard Vollum and the rest of management knew they were in trouble. The 7K introduction was a flop. What Tek did next would cement their reputation as the industry leader in oscilloscopes for decades to come.
The ultimate goal of the 7000 series was never meant to be the 150 MHz 7704 that was introduced at WESCON. The 7000 series was designed from the beginning to have the capability to go much faster. But faster scopes could not be done with discrete parts. Tek would have to develop their own 1GHz+ analog IC process to make faster scopes. That would be extremely difficult. Meanwhile the 7000 design team was working on the next mainframe scope and plugins to leapfrog HP. The 7704 was 3X faster than the previous 547 50MHz lab scope. The next scope was going to be 10X faster if they could do it.

Thor Hallen, an excellent vertical amplifier designer was given the task of creating a vertical amplifier with 500MHz performance in the 7904. That meant his design had to have a standalone bandwidth in excess of 700MHz. The amplifier was required to use the new ICs Tek was making. Thor had less than 2 1/2 years to do this. When the date was decided for the announcement Tek still couldn't make the ICs Thor was supposed to use to achieve the unheard of specs the 7A19 had to meet. The ICs were nowhere to be seen. At the last minute Thor had to substitute discrete transistors for the ICs and still make it work at 500MHz in the 7904 it would be announced with. I have that 7A19 plugin in my collection that Thor made, with the transistors Thor used, for the announcement. As if that wasn't enough, all by himself, Thor designed the 7A19 Option 4 plugin which has variable delay so two extremely fast signals can be displayed at the same point in time on the CRT. The 7A19/7A19 Opt 4/7B90/7934 combination was the fastest lab scope ever made and it was ahead of its time in 1972.

In spite of the inferior performance of the 7000 products Tek announced at WESCON 3 years earlier, engineers liked what they saw and wanted features like on-screen readout. Ironically the bells and whistles HP mocked in the Fox Tail" ad were a strong selling point for the new 7000 series. By the time Tek introduced the 7904, HP was no longer crowing about their superiority in scopes. The development of the 7A19 and 7A19 Opt 4 by Thor Hallen is an astounding achievement for 1972. Its 500MHz performance in the also astounding 7904 lab scope was so much faster than anything else at the time that Tek reclaimed the crown as the undisputed leader in oscilloscopes. They kept the crown for over 20 years after that.

Dennis Tillman W7pF



--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator


 

Thanks for that information, Dennis!
BTW, your link didn't work for me but this one did:

https://groups.io/g/TekScopes/files/HP183A%20Foxtail%20Ad%20vs%207KSeries.pdf

Raymond

John Miles
 

Thanks for that information, Dennis!
BTW, your link didn't work for me but this one did:

https://groups.io/g/TekScopes/files/HP183A%20Foxtail%20Ad%20vs%207KS
eries.pdf
Ouch. That was a low-class piece of work by HP standards.

-- john, KE5FX

 

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 10:23 PM, Dennis Tillman W7pF wrote:


The 7A19/7A19 Opt 4/7B90/7934 combination was the fastest lab scope ever made
and it was ahead of its time in 1972.
I guess that should be the 7A19/7A19 Opt 4/7B90/7904 combination

Raymond

Mlynch001
 

Dennis,

This is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy this group so much. The history and technical details are priceless!

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, AR

 

LOL! I like HP's screwdriver with bells and whistles! And yes, that add was something very cheap, unbecoming of HP.
Thank you Dennis for the piece of Tektronix history. It keeps raising my appreciation for the brand.

I have always found the Hewlett Packard oscilloscopes odious. I hate the way the 180 looked, starting with its knobs
and continuing with its ridiculous bezel. Maybe that style appealed to girls, and Tektronix style is for men?

I LOVE the look of the 7000 series. And its readout adds a strong touch of elegance
I don't get tired of glancing at the 7704A full of plugins in one corner of my office,
and seeing at its side the 547, the most aesthetic oscilloscope ever (in my humble opinion).

Ernesto

tek_547
 

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 10:23 PM, Dennis Tillman W7pF wrote:


HP wasted no time touting the superior performance and lower cost of their new
lab scopes with an industry wide advertisement. Within Tek this became known
as the HP "Foxtail" ad. It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features
of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and
whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
Interesting story Dennis, thanx for that.
René

Michael W. Lynch <mlynch003@...>
 

On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:


It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features
of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and
whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
All:

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game". HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan. Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology". Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs". You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff. TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time. HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time. After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics. No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion. I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design. In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time. Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again
--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

magnustoelle
 

Good Day,
thank you for this great write-up and insights! , Dennus!The key take-aways from this are still absolutely relevant today.Think of the ongoing overkill of announcements of useless or irrelevant features in the Smartphone industry today or 8k-resolution TVs with a screen size simply too big for the average EU house... And then a competitor comes up with an online store that simply works. 
Cheers,
Magnus 


On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:


It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features
of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and
whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
All:

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game".  HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan.  Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology".  Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs".    You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff.  TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time.  HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time.  After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics.  No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion.  I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design.  In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time.  Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again     
--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

 

Hi Michael,
Your insights about the sales game explains a great deal about the motivation within the marketing department that produced this ad.
I think the marketing team that created it deserve an award for this ad for several reasons:
* The written copy in the ad follows all of the well understood advertising principles by describing the features and benefits of their scopes that should be at the top of your mind when you purchase your next scope.
* The ad never mentions the competition - there is only one company you should consider for your next scope and that is HP.
* What they deserve an award for is the picture of the contraption with bells and whistles. Nobody would have stopped to read the copy in this ad if it wasn't for the picture. When the typical engineer turned the page and saw that thing he probably would have laughed and read the ad to see what it was about.
* Another reason to reward the team that produced the ad is something else they did that is so subtle 99% of the people that saw the ad had no idea the headline and the picture were also intended as an insult to another company - Tektronix. Tek's success is due to their engineering excellence. Stable triggering is critically important for any scope. HP triggering was far superior to Tek's triggering. On-screen readout wasn't any good if you couldn't trigger at the right point on a signal. The hidden message in the ad, aimed squarely at Tek, was we have brilliant engineers and here is proof that we can design a better scope at a lower price than you can.

HP was famous for its very broad line of instruments that all had excellent specifications. Oscilloscopes are another instrument HP would also like to be known for. Unlike HP, Tek had a very narrow line of instruments and all of them were scopes of one kind or another. If HP could build a better scope at a lower price than Tek they were a very real threat. Even worse, HPs laboratory scope outdid the newest and broadest laboratory scope product line that the best minds at Tek could conceive. This was a huge accomplishment for HP. Companies spend a lot of money annually for oscilloscopes and HP was now a serious contender for Tek's most lucrative product line - their laboratory scopes The headline and photo in the ad was intended to send a message specifically to the management at Tek that HP intended to compete against them with a provably better scope at a lower price that Tek's newest and best lab scopes.

Dennis Tillman W7pF

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of Michael W. Lynch via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2020 8:57 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:


It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features of the 7K scopes
as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and whistles
was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
All:

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game". HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan. Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology". Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs". You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff. TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time. HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time. After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics. No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion. I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design. In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time. Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again
--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas





--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator

 

Well Hello Magnus!
You have been very quiet for a long time.
It is nice to hear from you.
I hope all is well.
Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of magnustoelle via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:28 PM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

Good Day,
thank you for this great write-up and insights! , Dennus!The key take-aways from this are still absolutely relevant today.Think of the ongoing overkill of announcements of useless or irrelevant features in the Smartphone industry today or 8k-resolution TVs with a screen size simply too big for the average EU house... And then a competitor comes up with an online store that simply works. Cheers, Magnus


On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:


It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features
of the 7K scopes as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and
whistles was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
All:

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game". HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan. Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology". Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs". You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff. TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time. HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time. After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics. No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion. I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design. In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time. Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again
--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas










--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator

Michael W. Lynch <mlynch003@...>
 

Dennis,

I should also say that I have great respect for HP. No intention to insinuate that HP products were not good or not many times better than those of Tektronix. As you said, they make a huge range of excellent instruments. HP spectrum analyzers, frequency counters and test meters are superb. Your point that Tektronix has a much more narrow focus is spot on. This may have been one of the things that dragged TEK down in later years as they attempted to compete with HP and their wide range of products, instead of focusing on their strength, which was oscilloscopes, similar types of instruments (curve tracers) and graphic display terminals. I need to sit down and look at some of the points that you raised, this discussion has provided a larger window into this subject.

Michael Lynch

From My I-Phone

@mlynch002

479-477-1115

On May 31, 2020, at 11:23 AM, Dennis Tillman W7pF <@Dennis_Tillman_W7pF> wrote:

Hi Michael,
Your insights about the sales game explains a great deal about the motivation within the marketing department that produced this ad.
I think the marketing team that created it deserve an award for this ad for several reasons:
* The written copy in the ad follows all of the well understood advertising principles by describing the features and benefits of their scopes that should be at the top of your mind when you purchase your next scope.
* The ad never mentions the competition - there is only one company you should consider for your next scope and that is HP.
* What they deserve an award for is the picture of the contraption with bells and whistles. Nobody would have stopped to read the copy in this ad if it wasn't for the picture. When the typical engineer turned the page and saw that thing he probably would have laughed and read the ad to see what it was about.
* Another reason to reward the team that produced the ad is something else they did that is so subtle 99% of the people that saw the ad had no idea the headline and the picture were also intended as an insult to another company - Tektronix. Tek's success is due to their engineering excellence. Stable triggering is critically important for any scope. HP triggering was far superior to Tek's triggering. On-screen readout wasn't any good if you couldn't trigger at the right point on a signal. The hidden message in the ad, aimed squarely at Tek, was we have brilliant engineers and here is proof that we can design a better scope at a lower price than you can.

HP was famous for its very broad line of instruments that all had excellent specifications. Oscilloscopes are another instrument HP would also like to be known for. Unlike HP, Tek had a very narrow line of instruments and all of them were scopes of one kind or another. If HP could build a better scope at a lower price than Tek they were a very real threat. Even worse, HPs laboratory scope outdid the newest and broadest laboratory scope product line that the best minds at Tek could conceive. This was a huge accomplishment for HP. Companies spend a lot of money annually for oscilloscopes and HP was now a serious contender for Tek's most lucrative product line - their laboratory scopes The headline and photo in the ad was intended to send a message specifically to the management at Tek that HP intended to compete against them with a provably better scope at a lower price that Tek's newest and best lab scopes.

Dennis Tillman W7pF


-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of Michael W. Lynch via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2020 8:57 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

On Sat, May 30, 2020 at 01:18 AM, tek_547 wrote:


It didn't mention Tek but it mocked the new features of the 7K scopes
as irrelevant "bells and whistles". One of those bells and whistles
was Barrie Gilbert's revolutionary on-screen readout.
All:

I may not be a Electronics Genius, but I do know the "sales game". HP mocked TEK's "bells and whistles" because those were the most visible and attractive features, the ones that the engineering community (plus others) wanted and usually needed.. Competitive company's "Marketing Departments" almost always mock features that they really have no answer for, deflect and distract is the plan. Sales and Marketing are 90% BS and 10% knowledge.

It would appear to me that TEK established the on screen readout first, probably because it was the most difficult to implement as it was "new technology". Bells and whistles sell products, generally much quicker than "technical specs". You can always "fix" bandwidth, triggers and all that other stuff. TEK laid the cornerstone for the 7K series and built from there, they were playing the "long" game; however they certainly knew they were behind at the time. HP had a technically superior product, but only for that instant in time. After that, as Dennis stated, HP played catch up or just stopped playing.

For me personally, the HP scopes are just not attractive in their esthetics. No offense to those who like them, just my personal preference and opinion. I find that the earlier TEK scopes almost always had a more intuitive layout on their scopes and a more attractive panel design. In the categories of Esthetics and ergonomics, the devil is definitely in the details, TEK got it right most of the time. Either brand of scope is likely much more capable of performing than my poor old brain is in understanding.

Great piece of information and history from Dennis, Thanks Again
--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas





--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator


--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

 

Hi John,
I'm sure Tek's 7904/7A19/7B90 introduction was sweet revenge.
HP switched to battling for the crown in Portables next but Tek was on solid ground starting with the first 1nSec risetime 485 portable. Tek was continuous stream of newer products with continuously improving specs at steadily lower prices and that held HP off there as well.
Tek's lead in portable spectrum analyzers (the 490 series) was considerable but HP kept nipping at Tek's heels in that market.
Even today what is left of Tek is still battling with HP to see who has the best scope. In the end the marketplace wins because this kind of healthy competition results in breakthroughs and instruments with more capability for the customers.
Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of John Miles
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2020 3:51 PM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

Thanks for that information, Dennis!
BTW, your link didn't work for me but this one did:

https://groups.io/g/TekScopes/files/HP183A%20Foxtail%20Ad%20vs%207KS
eries.pdf
Ouch. That was a low-class piece of work by HP standards.

-- john, KE5FX






--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator

 

On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 09:23 AM, Dennis Tillman W7pF wrote:


Hi Michael,
----
HP triggering was far
superior to Tek's triggering. On-screen readout wasn't any good if you
couldn't trigger at the right point on a signal. The hidden message in the ad,
aimed squarely at Tek, was we have brilliant engineers and here is proof that
we can design a better scope at a lower price than you can.
Dennis Tillman W7pF
Hi Dennis,

What was in HP scope's triggering that made it far superior to Tektronix's?
I always consider triggering as something very simple in principle, the comparison of the measured signal with a reference, which results in the event that may start a sweep.
Were theirs a faster comparison, with less noise, less affected by prior sweeps (more logic in the hold-off), more selective with complex waveforms ?
Something superior to the tunnel diodes already used in the 500 scopes?

Ernesto

Mlynch001
 

Competition made both companies better.

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, AR

Michael W. Lynch <mlynch003@...>
 

Ernesto wrote:
Hi Dennis,
What was in HP scope's triggering that made it far superior to TEKTRONIX?
Dennis,

I would like to learn more about this subject, if Dennis (or anyone else) cares to expand and such an explanation would not require a thesis length document. I have a basic understanding what triggering is and how I use it, but that is the extent of it. I am like Ernesto, I assumed this was a simple process, set the level and the slope and it just happened. From what I understand through Dennis' comment, there is a lot more to the process than meets the eye. Are ALL HP scopes superior in their trigger performance? Is it possible to somehow refine or tune the existing TEK Trigger circuits for significant performance gains.

Thanks!

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas

Dave Daniel
 

One of the Tektronix “Concepts” books is “Oscilloscope Trigger Circuits” by Harold Magee. If you want to learn more about triggering, that book would be a good resource.

DaveD

On Jun 1, 2020, at 11:06, Michael W. Lynch via groups.io <mlynch003=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Ernesto wrote:
Hi Dennis,
What was in HP scope's triggering that made it far superior to TEKTRONIX?
Dennis,

I would like to learn more about this subject, if Dennis (or anyone else) cares to expand and such an explanation would not require a thesis length document. I have a basic understanding what triggering is and how I use it, but that is the extent of it. I am like Ernesto, I assumed this was a simple process, set the level and the slope and it just happened. From what I understand through Dennis' comment, there is a lot more to the process than meets the eye. Are ALL HP scopes superior in their trigger performance? Is it possible to somehow refine or tune the existing TEK Trigger circuits for significant performance gains.

Thanks!

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas


n4buq
 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Daniel" <kc0wjn@...>
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Sent: Monday, June 1, 2020 10:20:56 AM
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

One of the Tektronix “Concepts” books is “Oscilloscope Trigger Circuits” by
Harold Magee. If you want to learn more about triggering, that book would be
a good resource.

DaveD

On Jun 1, 2020, at 11:06, Michael W. Lynch via groups.io
<mlynch003=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Ernesto wrote:
Hi Dennis,
What was in HP scope's triggering that made it far superior to TEKTRONIX?
Dennis,

I would like to learn more about this subject, if Dennis (or anyone else)
cares to expand and such an explanation would not require a thesis length
document. I have a basic understanding what triggering is and how I use
it, but that is the extent of it. I am like Ernesto, I assumed this was a
simple process, set the level and the slope and it just happened. From
what I understand through Dennis' comment, there is a lot more to the
process than meets the eye. Are ALL HP scopes superior in their trigger
performance? Is it possible to somehow refine or tune the existing TEK
Trigger circuits for significant performance gains.

Thanks!

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas




 

I do not know how HP was able to make a better trigger circuit. It may have been that Tek was lazy and didn't think they had to make a better trigger circuit.
It may have something to do with triggering at the higher frequencies which is always harder because stray coupling, tiny capacitances start to look like shorts, semiconductors start to run out of bandwidth, lead inductance, etc .
I think the trigger circuit they used was the creation of an HP engineer who was highly regarded by Tek as an exceptional circuit designer.
Maybe it was because the Tek trigger circuit had to use the combined slope/trigger level knob that could turn through 360 degrees that Howard Vollum wanted.
Maybe HP tweaked their trigger circuit so it could always trigger with the demonstration they came up with of the swept oscillator.

The bottom line was Tek's triggering did poorly on the same test at the show.

Why doesn't someone try this on an early serial number 7B70 time base using a swept signal up to 200MHz and see how it does.

Dennis Tillman W7pF

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of Michael W. Lynch via groups.io
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2020 8:06 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] In Defense of the 7A19

Ernesto wrote:
Hi Dennis,
What was in HP scope's triggering that made it far superior to TEKTRONIX?
Dennis,

I would like to learn more about this subject, if Dennis (or anyone else) cares to expand and such an explanation would not require a thesis length document. I have a basic understanding what triggering is and how I use it, but that is the extent of it. I am like Ernesto, I assumed this was a simple process, set the level and the slope and it just happened. From what I understand through Dennis' comment, there is a lot more to the process than meets the eye. Are ALL HP scopes superior in their trigger performance? Is it possible to somehow refine or tune the existing TEK Trigger circuits for significant performance gains.

Thanks!

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, Arkansas





--
Dennis Tillman W7pF
TekScopes Moderator