8645A Agile Signal Generator: when disaster strikes

For a long time I have been looking for a reasonably prices 8645A, and finally, I found one – with the note “doesn’t power up”. Well, most likely, a defective power supply. The 8645A and some related generators (not the 8643A) use linear supplies, because these are really low noise devices, and a switching supply just doesn’t seem to do the trick. Interesting, because for the very quiet 8662A/8663A signal generators, HP was relaying on switches supplies…. maybe they just could not fit anything else.

Back to the 8645A – this is no less than a miracle, a marvelous apparatus. No idea how many manhours (man-decades) of engineering went into it. It’s complexity, and subtle detail, nothing short of a moon landing vehicle, made for an electronic test lab. They way HP designed the shielding, and implemented a rigorous low leakage approach, this alone is worth special admiration.

Even better, the unit discussed here has option 1, which is an OCXO high stability reference, and it has a build-in doubler, extending the frequency range to above 2 GHz. About USD $50k in 1990, nowadays, nobody can afford such build quality anymore.

Well, all these are good reasons for looking forward to soon doing some repairs on such kind of unit, and make it “power up again”. Well, that was the thought.

This issue: while many hours of hard work went into fabricating this thing, not more than a few seconds were spent, to consider adequate packaging, to ship a box, 80 pounds.

8645a damage

8645a damage 2

8645a damage 3

8643a damage 4

Such kind of damage, not seen before. Except for the little bit of Instapak, no other protecting foam or anything – nothing to hold it in place in the box. The result – a badly damaged front panel, broken input connector, and even the front frame, damaged beyond repair.
Just the single front end connector (which has an internal airline, gold plated) – USD 200+; the machine, it seems beyond repair.

The only good news – the seller (who did not package it himself) seems to be a very resonable person, so we will work something out. To be continued.

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