Category Archives: HP 3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer

HPAK 3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer

HP 3562A Signal Analyzer: a broken display and an easy fix

Recently, during some phase noise measurements, my 3562A failed. This instrument is an essential part of the noise test set, it is used for all frequency offsets up to 100 kHz, and as a signal/noise source (the 3562A has a fairly capable built-in noise source, signal source, etc.).
While the communication via GPIB went well and I could still complete the test job, the CRT went dark with no sign of life. I also have a second unit, with a LCD display, but the 3562A of the phase noise test set still has its original CRT. Let’s hope we can fix it because I don’t want to invest in a new LCD or anything for this purpose.

So I opened up the box (fortunately, it is accessible on top of the test set which is a stack of instruments, maybe 250 kgs of electronics), and did some checks. As it turns out, one of the rails of the CRT driver boards is down.

Some years back I had already replaced some tantalums, maybe some more of these have gone bad? So I cut some wires at suspicious capacitors – you can normally do this no problem, because the instrument will still function even with some buffer caps missing.

In fact, after the 3rd cut, the rail came back. The tantalum had a full short but no sign of smoke or heat, probably, because of various protection circuits of the power supply.

Replaced it with a similar electrolytic cap, probably this will do. It is a question of repair philosophy, should you replace all tantalums in such device, if you found two defective caps? I decided not to, because the fix every 5 years is easy enough, and there are just too many tantalums in it, moreover, I may break some contacts or cause issues with electrostatic discharge. For the current repair, I didn’t even remove the board, just cut the capacitor from the top and solder the spare back, from the top. As some old laser engineer told me once, the less you touch it, the better it will work. Sure enough, if the objective is to bring the unit back to the best state of reliability, it would be best just to replace the whole CRT by a new LCD assembly, or by a few 100 USD worth of KEMET high-rel tantalums and do a 5 hour solder and disassembly/assembly job…

HP 3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer: a blackened transistor, and a dead S-RAM

Here, Thanks to Michael from Zurich, Switzerland, and for the benefit of everyone with a 3562A showing similar signs of disrepair:

The 3562 A shows a fault code, is on the A2 (SYSTEM CPU/HPIB) error code 19, which means Monitor RAM Test Multiple Monitor RAM failures.
All voltages checked, and they are OK, the ripple is OK and the clocks are OK too. Everything was OK, no smoke, but I still had to solve two issues.

Issue (1)
Non-working Display Unit HP 1345A

First of all I guessed that this issue was coming from non-working A2 (CPU) but installing the test jumper to get the test screen did not work. Measured the voltages on top of the HP 1345A. These did not show any issues (no shortened tantalum capacitor) on +5V/+15V/-15V. Checked a few more voltages but not the +105V.
So I removed the HP 1345A unit to do a visual inspection and noticed the defect on the A3 board (Low Voltage Power Supply). Q1/Q2 did not look so good.


For sure without +105V we do not get any picture from the HP 1345A. I removed the faulty Q1/Q2 and solder some test cables for +5V/+15V/-15V/+105V to A3 to power the assembly from an external power supply. Lucky me, no other defect and the test picture came up.


I decide to order SG3524 (pulse-width-modulator), MJE180, and all capacitors of the A3 to replace them all. After the rework on A3 I carefully powered up the +15V supply which is used for the DC/DC converter to generate the +105V and measured the current.

See the re-worked A3 assy:


No issue seen anymore, the +105V is working. I added a 2.7k resistor to create a nominal load (approx. 37mA) on the +105V path to adjust the +105V. Just to know what was causing the burned Q1/Q2 I swapped the new SG3524 with the original one and I see that the current was increasing like hell when slowly increase the +15V voltage. So I guess the major problem was a defect SG3524 here.

Issue (2)
Faulty A2 board with hex error code 19

After installing the now working HP 1345A back into the HP 3562A I got a bit more detailed information about the A2 problem.


It says that there is a problem on the low byte SRAM on A2. To ensure that nothing else causing this problem (bus issues) I removed the A2 from the cabinet and it can be operated completely standalone. From the LED on A2 I still got the same error code as before (when A2 was installed) so at least there is no other
board causing this issue and I really can focus on the A2 board. First I checked all signals on the two 32kx8 SRAMS (U212/U211) with a scope but I did not see anything defect, everything looked so far good (no shorts, activity on all signals, etc).
So I attached my nice Philips logic analyzer.


Playing a bit with the logic analyzer, but did not get any more results so I believed what the monitor test logs said and replaced the low byte SRAM (U211) with a new one (ordered 70ns ones from Mouser).


After replace the SRAM the self test is passing on the A2 and it’s now time to install the A2 board back again in the
HP 3562A cabinet (and crossing fingers!!!!!).

With the changed SRAM, my HP3562A boots up without any other errors and issues and is ready to be used again!


3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer: LCD retrofit NewScope-5

Yet, another job related to the 3562A, same machine that also had the ROM board defect. This unit also has a weak display, and I have been asked to check replacement-repair options.

After a brief search, there aren’t any spare CRTs around, for the 1345A display used in the 3562A. The last good ones might have been purchased-stockpiled some years ago, by corporation that need to keep equipment going.

Well, fair enough. Luckily, failed CRTs and their limitations are a common feature of dated test equipment. So other have already invested time and effort to provide a solution: the LCD retrofit.

Why not just replace the whole instrument, with something new, up-tp-date, and more manageable? Several reasons:

(1) Many clients have proprietary-custom software running certain automated tests, using certain types and specs of test equipment. The final product specs have often been agreed upon with the OEM, in contracts that are a big hazzle to change. Some of these products, in fact, most, have long service life, so the test rig needs to be kept alive, more or less, at any cost.

(2) Cost – well, new test gear of the proper kind is outrageously expensive. Not taking about plain stuff here, but powerful equipment, network analyzers, spectrum analyzers.

(3) Servicabilty: talking about smaller businesses, not big corporation, often it is quite handy to stick with somewhat dated analyzers etc, because they are perfectly up for the task, the operators are trained, both in using and serviceing them, and often, spare units-parts units are around and can be procured at a fraction of the cost of repair of new equipment.

(4) Quality. Arguably, and except for new digital signal-fast scope stuff, the instruments build in the late 80s and early 90s might be the best ever build. Most of them have specs and typical performance far above what most regular quality can provide nowadays. The reason is simple, in the 80s, these rigs were build for the military and related agencies as the key target market. Nowadays, for consumer electronics, consumer communications… One exemple: the HP 8566B spectrum analyzer. Not sure about the price of such equipment nowadays, if build new – certainly 6 digits. On xbay, they go for about few cents per USD list 1985 list price… and be assured, no big deal to get them working in-spec.

The LCD replacement kits have come down in price considerably – earlier on, still USD 1000+, now, check this out:
NewScope-5 offer
USD 400. Not bad. This includes display. LVDS driver. And certainly, the controller board, to adapt the display to the 3562A.

Here, from the inside:
3652a lcd conversion newscope-5

The display: it’s a rather dated SHARP LCD DISPLAY, LQ057V3DG02, TFT 5.7″, 640×480. But rather then stockpiling CRTs, I now have a few of these in stock now – found them for about 15 EUR each surplus – this will allow service of the LCD-retrofit units, for years to come, without any need for modification to fit another type of LCD display…

I can tell you, such retrofit is worth every dollar. If you have any of the CRT analyzer with the screen gettin dimmer. Don’t hurt your eyes.

3562a lcd conversions newscope-5
A quick glance at it – it’s great to work with it – color display, rather than dim green display.
The color settings work fine for the most part – there are some little bugs in the NewScope-5, related to the text color, in some menues (first character has different color). However, this has really no impact on the great advantage of such LCD retrofit.

3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer: EROMS fixed, finally!

The last and only remaining item to get the 3562A with the defective A3 ROM Board (03562-66503) back into service, replacing the defective EPROM. Well, I thought this would be a 30 minute job, but it ended up taking a few hours longer. Why? Multiple reasons:

(1) A bug in the AVR eprom reader software, specifically written to read the 3562A rom board (and similar boards, or other instruments – software always needs some adaption). One of the address lines was not toggled-ended up with corrupted data read from the “good” rom board.
Learning for today: always check the EPROM data read for validity, by checking for repeat patters, and by reviewing all the byte values. There should be at least a few 0xff values, otherwise, one of the data bus lines may be broken.

(2) Turns out, there are two versions even of the Rev B rom board, same part number, but eproms U118 and U218 that have the checksums are different. So, needed to desolder these two as well, and replace with the updated version from the working board.

The good ones on the left, the bad guys on the right…
3562a re-programmable vs one-time-programmable eproms 27256

(3) With all this, my eprom programmer, the only one I have that can handle 27256 EPROM had a defective jumper! No contact on one of the address lines….

After all these efforts: that’s the board, after repair:
3562a rom board

The replaced EPROMs are now in sockets – just in case, should they ever fail again.

Just in case you have to do a similar job – here are the EPROM images. Keep in mind, Rev B, 36x 27256 EPROM (sure, you can also use 27C256).
hp 3562a A3 ROM BOARD rev B

And, finally, let’s switch the power on-
3562a rom repair - complete!

All tests passed!

Note – just discovered, someone is offering a spare 3562A ROM board for about USD 100 on xbay…. well, well, but in the end, better a thorough repair, with all EPROM images captured, than just switching some board!

HPAK (HP Agilent now Keysight) 3562A: power supply repair

Somehow, all 3562As in the Greater New York City Area seem to fail these days… This one arrived completely dead. Didn’t take a long time to find the issue – a defective A18 power supply assembly.

This power supply design can only be recommended to anyone interested in electronics. It is build with multiple controls, overcurrent, overvoltage protection, and build quality-robustness is not far from being able to power life support devices, or moon landing vehicles from from. Still, this one had failed.

A quick look at the board revealed two blown resistors. Framed red in this snipplet of the schematic.
3562a pwr supply schematic

However, these are the gate drive resistors – there must be a reason why they failed, and this reason was quickly found in the MOSFETs, Q400, Q401, HP part number 1855-0473. Looking around, no real equivalent found in the HP cross reference table. However, an IRF450 (500 V, 12 A, 150 W) appears suitable, and 4 pieces (2 spare, just in case) were easily sourced.

The resistors, R404 and R410, are of more concern. CMF60-64 type. These are 0.5 W resistor fuses (fusible resistors). In contrast to other resistors that can easily start a fire and develop a short when overloaded, these go open circuit, and are flameproof.
Unfortunately, a value of 3k9 seems impossible to source in any reasonable quantity – but 3k3 should work perfectly fine. Digikey offers the Vishay NFR25H series, also 0.5 Watts.

Spare parts
3562a pwr supply irf450 3k3 fusible

Note – why did HP use a fusible resistor? Why not replace with a regular resistor? Please, never even consider it, unless you it’s a client that doesn’t pay the bill… it’s a serious risk of fire, and it is not just a bodge but an unacceptable safety hazard.

That’s why… the red trace is 400 VDC at multiple Amps, and imagine the Q40x have a gate-drain short…
3562a pwr supply schematic detail

Didn’t take long to replace the IRF450s and the two resistors – and, to everyone’s full satisfaction, the 3562A powers up, no issue. Not sure what caused the defect in the first place – maybe some overvoltage in the power line? We might never find out.

3562A repair: 32 kbyte of bad EPROM data….

Using the little AVRmega32L board, and the various plugs and cables, the two ROM boards (one good, one bad) were read, and all images of the ROMs compared. And, finally, the 6th EPROM of the lower byte – U106, only reads 0x00. That’s not how it is supposed to be. Also, after leaving the board switched on, U106 is warming up, much more than the others. So it is definitely at fault.

3562a U106 BAD EPROM

After some careful desoldering, the culprit was extracted. Cross checked the analysis with a regular EPROM programmer, and in fact, it is not working at all. Well, well. Now, just need to get a 27256 or 27c256, and this will fix the 3562A, and it can go back into service (imagine, this unit is still commercially used). Fair enough.

3562A Dynamic Signal Analyzer: reading the ROMs

I happen to have a 3562A for repair, which had a defective power supply, and after fixing this, it still doesn’t work – traced the error to the ROM board. It is really a coincidence that I own a more or less identical unit, which is working. Therefore, after checking all the supply rails to make sure nothing is going to damage it, I swapped out the ROM board with the working unit, and, there we go, it does the trick.

Now, how to find the defect? – first, a quick check of all the address logic, to no avail.

So the defect must be located in one of the ROMs. Have a look, the board has 2×18 pcs, Intel P27256, 32 kByte each:
3562a rom board 03562-66503 rev b

These chips are representing 589814 words of data (16 bit bus): a massive 1.179648 Megabytes, holding the program for the 3562a.

To get it powered up, first surprise, the thing draws nearly 2 Amps, about 55 mA each. Checked with the datasheet – and in fact that’s what these little heaters need.

Checking with the schematic, seems that this is an earlier version of the board, Revision B. That’s a pitty, because Rev C is much more common, and ROM images would be available off the web. Judging from the datecodes, manufactured in 1986. Still, a great instrument, low noise, build in source, and easy to use.

The circit of the board is really nothing special, a few decoders, and the memory bank, with some bus drivers.
03562-66503 address decoder

The plan is as follows:

(1) Read out the bad board (reading data from this first, just in case I accidentially damage something).
(2) Read the working board.
(3) Compare the EPROM images from both boards.
(4) Replace any defective EPROM(s). The ones installed are single time programmable, plastic case, but not an issue at all to replace them with regular UV-erasable EPROMs, if needed.

Desoldering all the 36 EPROMs – absolutely no option with the tools I have around here. With a few wires, and a ATmega32L board (JY-MCU AVR minium board V 1.4, always handy to have a few of them around), it was just a matter on an hour to get everything set up, not the fastest way, but the data will be clocked out byte by byte…

reading from the 3562a rom board 03562-66503 rev b

Now it is just a matter of time, for the defective chip to show up.