Bench-o-tronic
Computer Batteries

Image by andrew pilling
My latest 2013 workbench incarnation. A tube mic waiting for components and two small amp chassis hangin’ around amongst my vintage hardware along with my computer testing and analysis equipment,

My Electronics Workstation includes computer Diagnostics and Analysis capabilities, which work alongside with my collection of Vintage 1950′s reconditioned testing and evaluation equipment. My so called obsolete equipment includes a (factory built) HeathKit Model # 0-12 Oscilloscope which is a bit antiquated, However this device has been modified and serves me well. I also use a Tektronix 465 scope and the computer scope for comparative purposes. My Hewlett Packard collection includes the 410B, 400D voltmeters, a 5512A electronic frequency counter and a 202C low frequency oscillator. I have three vacuum tube testers. My primary unit is a Sencore MU140, which has been painstakingly reconditioned. The unit was removed from it’s original briefcase enclosure and was mounted into a slide out drawer under my workbench. My secondary unit is a custom built computer assisted tube analyzer and the third unit is a B&K 747 for continuity and comparison, providing me with backup in the event of a failure. A note of possible interest: when I removed the Sencore’s control panel from it’s case, I found a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (NASA) Service Technician’s punch list sheet with notes, plus additional Sencore documents in a plastic envelope mounted on the inside bottom of the briefcase enclosure which was a fascinating find. I also have a few other interesting devices tucked away. Some other essential pieces of equipment I have besides a few extra multimeters is a handmade multi outlet isolated & regulated power supply, several variable DC power supplies and a variable metered autotransformer. This equipment is just a chain of readily available components on the power supply end of an electronics workstation, assuring an outcome that results in the best possible performance from your equipment and the tasks at hand. However a typical power supply and protection setup like this is not fool proof and can be vulnerable and unreliable under certain conditions, making it necessary at times to use battery operated (standalone) equipment in conjunction with your AC equipment while performing certain multi point tests to avoid misleading readings. All and all, I have enough confidence to use my vintage test equipment without computer assistance, weather it’s a checkup, test and repair job or even on a new build. Some of the devices mentioned but not seen in this photo are kept in an easily movable autonomous roll out equipment rack under my workbench.

Recent equipment includes an additional Sencore MU140 tube tester, a Hewlett Packard 339A Disortion Analyzer, DDS signal generator, Owon Handheld 60Mhz oscilloscope with advanced multi-functions and a Heath Zenith variable isolated AC Power Supply, plus some assorted specialty hand tools.

"Please don’t knock vintage testing and analysis equipment. It helped to put 12 Humans on the surface of the moon."


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