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OT: Oscilloscope Purchase

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  • #91
    Can't agree about the complicated user interface - on any Tek CRO.
    For support, all I wanted from Tek was some circuit diagrams so I could work on it myself. Never mind.

    Cheers
    Roger

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    • #92
      The TDS scopes are a little complicated, but you're going to have that with the depth of settings and options available. I have gotten pretty well adjusted to my TDS754s, I can set them up and find the options I might need to change pretty fast these days.

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      • #93
        Not every customer can afford to buy a new scope every few years. The reasoning behind stocking repair parts for a long time is it encourages the customers to purchase your products when they are ready to buy a new one.

        There is a fine balance involved here. Some parts are only used on one model from one manufacturer. I have seen this in Tektronix scopes. There literally is no other place to go to to get those parts. When a company like Tektronix tells you that your multi-thousand dollar scope can not be repaired, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you may (perhaps will) go elsewhere. Of course some of those parts were purchased/made as part of the original manufacturing run for a scope. They estimated the number of failures and added that to the number needed for production. If they run out early that indicates there will be a strong demand so another batch may be made. But when their life time prediction is about right, when they run out they are too expensive to consider another, small batch. So they are just gone.

        I suspect that the import scope that I just purchased relies a lot on that type of part. But it cost only hundreds, not thousands.

        Perhaps you or your company are not one of those buyers/companies. Perhaps you or the people you work for can afford new scopes every year or two. I and most of the companies I worked for are not. I have purchased many Tektronix products. The Tektronix rep would visit me when he was in town and bring gifts - I still have one of their coffee cups. But I did have to consider how long each purchase would be in service and they knew it. And I have seen such products in service for over 20 years. In fact, most of the ones that I and others in my companies purchased did stay in service for 20 and even 30 years.

        And that is the rational for long term support. And YES, from a company like Tektronix I DO expect such support. I may not have always gotten it, but I did expect it.

        That 465 mentioned a few posts ago was a real popular model which, by now is probably at least 40 years since it was introduced. I would bet that many of the parts in it are still available.



        Originally posted by genea View Post

        Why would anyone expect support for a 25 year old oscilloscope design that's been out of production for at least a decade?

        Paul A.
        SE Texas

        And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
        You will find that it has discrete steps.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by genea View Post

          Why would anyone expect support for a 25 year old oscilloscope design that's been out of production for at least a decade?
          These days, they should not. Companies like General Radio (And Drill Doctor) threw out all the parts for many models a few years after the last sale, they did not want the liability, nor the costs of stocking old parts.

          Why would folk be surprised? Because lot of us are still around from the days when those parts were a normal item for service. And available. When repair was expected, and supported.

          This all changed from two causes.

          1) "Increasing shareholder value"..... supporting old stuff does not pay as much as selling new. It is regarded as a cost and not a business model.

          2) With companies being dependent on others for parts, and cramming many functions into ICs and hybrid circuits, as Paul says, those parts were ordered, and when they run out, that is all she wrote. In many cases, one literally could not buy another such part even from the manufacturer of that part.

          Companies that MADE their parts, or used less specialized ones, can generally supply parts, and may have them, or a good substitute, in stock.

          Some companies do not "cut products loose". If you want parts for an Onan generator set from the 1960s, you can still get a lot of them now. I know, a friend of mine has two, and both are supported, even with overbore pistons etc. So far we have not needed anything he could not get.
          2730

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

          Everything not impossible is compulsory

          Comment


          • #95
            Originally posted by rcaffin View Post
            Can't agree about the complicated user interface - on any Tek CRO.
            For support, all I wanted from Tek was some circuit diagrams so I could work on it myself. Never mind.

            Cheers
            Roger
            Roger,

            I know Facebook gets it's share of (somewhat deserved) hate around here, but if you want info on old Tek scopes there is an "Old Tek Scopes" group on there that has a large number of very dedicated Tektronix fas and collectors along with some former employees. There is a wealth of information there and some guys who have huge collections of Tek equipment that they have restored and use. Lots of links to service data, manuals, etc.

            You may want to take a look if you are still looking for that info.

            https://www.facebook.com/groups/oldtekscopes

            Comment


            • #96
              My 1955 Tek mainframe scope still works fine. (Dual Trace! Dual timebase!) I can get every single part in it, if need be. And service it myself it need be. Dunno about those ceramic parts tho -- with all the notches that the components were soldered into. And certainly most of the selector switches were custom made. I do have a spare CRT from an older 445 that *should* fit if need be, and the transformers are still on eBay

              Being able to service my own stuff makes that stuff more valuable to me. I am really insulted by modern business models that treat my money as disposable, because it isn't. I will never get back the time it takes to earn X dollars.

              Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
              Not every customer can afford to buy a new scope every few years.
              That 465 mentioned a few posts ago was a real popular model which, by now is probably at least 40 years since it was introduced. I would bet that many of the parts in it are still available.

              25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

              Comment


              • #97
                Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

                1) "Increasing shareholder value"..... supporting old stuff does not pay as much as selling new. It is regarded as a cost and not a business model.
                Changing business model.

                I saw an interview with an old time HP (Agilent/Keysight) manager a while ago. In it he said, and I'm paraphrasing, one of dumbest things HP ever did was to include schematics and service manuals with their instruments, and it's still hurting them to this day. Another big drag was that profits from the instrument division were used to prop up the medical devices group and they weren't able to put those dollars into R&D. As Keysight they're free of that burden.

                Two major changes to their business model.


                Not every customer can afford to buy a new scope every few years. The reasoning behind stocking repair parts for a long time is it encourages the customers to purchase your products when they are ready to buy a new one.
                Paul, ha ha, good one, but it seems a bit over the top to me. Maybe I should have said realistically expect support.

                Hypothetically, I'd bet that many people here that bought a used 465 recently, say the last 5 or 10 years, would be complaining that the factory new replacement part, if it was available, cost nearly as much as they paid for the scope. The people that bought one 30 - 50 years ago are dead or retired. Either way I don't think it's as much of a factor in the purchase decision as you seem think it is.

                You just bought a new scope. Was your selection influenced buy a past purchase from the same company or by good support from that company?

                Equipment I buy is based on features, specifications, price, familiarity, availability, reputation, and a few other things. In the corporate world the supplier would, most likely, need to be on an approved vendors list and offer a large discount.

                One of the most satisfying customer service experiences I ever had was with Dremel. I blew out the commutator on one of their model 260 grinders (absolutely my fault) and sent it to them for a repair estimate. Instead of an estimate they sent a new tool, an assortment of bits, and an apology. I love Dremel because of that experience and sometimes put in a good word for them here or there when I see something disparaging. I've bought a number of grinders since then, but I've never purchased another of their tools (the replacement still works fine many years later). They bought some good will but not another sale.






                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by genea View Post
                  .....................

                  You just bought a new scope. Was your selection influenced buy a past purchase from the same company or by good support from that company?

                  Equipment I buy is based on features, specifications, price, familiarity, availability, reputation, and a few other things. In the corporate world the supplier would, most likely, need to be on an approved vendors list and offer a large discount....................
                  So few of the companies now selling 'scopes and other test equipment are ones that existed back a while, that the question, and any answer, has little meaning. Even those companies which do exist, often have only a tenuous relation to the past version of the company. And the manufacturing of the products has changed and moved between shadowy outside vendors enough that the name attached to the product is relatively unimportant.

                  Case in point is Fluke. Made all over the world, by varying suppliers. The one place that Fluke is no longer made is its place of origin. Instead, there are chinese vendors, whose products seem often to not work when delivered (those 4 out of a dozen assorted meters that had faults or did not work). And there have been products made in varying places in europe, Netherlands for my Scopemeter, someone mentioned Romania as the origin of their device.

                  Tek is another. Again, made anywhere but its place of origin, and BY anyone other than Tek. Much made in china, by someone, but with somewhat better success than Fluke.

                  When products are made by subcontractors, the issue of service is moot. There IS no service. As with Harbor freight, there are complete products, but no parts. The ostensible "manufacturer" has no involvement with parts. The "brand owner" is merely the "seller", selling products which they may not even have designed. Stocks of "parts" must be ordered, at the same time with the shipment of complete units, but often are not. If not made then, they are too expensive to have made later, even if the actual manufacturer will accept the order.

                  When the product is made by the seller, the parts are well known, they are available as long as the manufacturer feels like making them. The difficulty comes with specialty ICs, that roll together many functions. Those cannot be made by the seller, and are vended-in. There is no second source. But there, it is fairly easy to have extra quantities available, in any on-going product line.

                  If, however, the manufacturer has the assembly, and perhaps the design, done to general specs by "someone in china" (or wherever), the old problem of complete dependence and no service returns. The "manufacturer" may not even have service documents for that subassembly. It may be a "black box" that is replaced as a unit, for as long as the limited supply lasts.

                  The entire concept of a manufacturer has changed. The "manufacturer" may make nothing, buying everything for resale. If there is a problem with supply, they are in big trouble. Look at the auto makers. They are totally dependent on another country ( and not always a friendly one) for computer chips. Their company can be bankrupted at the whim of the supplier, or the government of the supplier's country.

                  This does not end well.

                  Remember VCRs? They were made in the USA once. Then a Japanese industrial and banking conglomerate looked at the VCR and found that the record/play head was the key to the product.

                  What they did was build a dedicated plant to make those heads. Sold them cheaper than anyone else. US makers of heads got out of the business. Then, the price went UP for US VCR companies, and DOWN for Japanese makers. The US makers had to quit manufacturing, they turned into mere warehousing operations, simply buying Japanese VCRs for resale under their brand names.

                  This is very well known. The Japanese called it "hollowing out" the target company. It is always successful, utilizing forced economic decisions to destroy the company and effectively own it. And it is now the case for almost every single US company.

                  Feeling happy now? You should not. I did not intend you to.

                  2730

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Everything not impossible is compulsory

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    By way of example:
                    The heater element in my Weller soldering iron (with the magnetic tips) burnt out. OK, it was 30+ years old (40+?). Sigh.
                    But you can still buy replacement heater elements for it! Big win.

                    But the replacements cost $50 - $100 each. Um ... not so good?

                    I can now buy a new temperature-controlled soldering iron for under $10. Full temperature control, not just 600 F, 700 F or 800 F.

                    What do I do? And remember, if the new Chinese one only lasts 5 years, figure out the balance of payments between now and when I die.

                    (In the event, I had a replacement heater and a replacement switch unit in the cupboard, from 25 years ago. Planning.)

                    Cheers
                    Roger

                    Comment


                    • Buy a used iron. I have two. One is an Ersa i-Con (150W, interchangeable tips) with fully adjustable temp and sleep mode (good for conserving tips), the other is a Metcal with the curie style tips. I also have a desoldering gun for the Metcal.

                      I got all of them for under $300 total. Pays to watch eBay. And I like to use the good stuff. I'd rather have what I've got than some questionable Chinese thing for $10. Any day of the week.

                      Comment


                      • This is actually how I built my entire shop over the years. And everything else I have, too, not just the shop. I really don't believe in the modern business models that JTiers outlined so eloquently above.

                        They are an unscrupulous ripoff nowadays as far as I'm concerned. Literally everything I buy is used, and usually made in USA except for toilet paper (bog roll) and food. (Those I buy new).The reason why I think the new ways are a ripoff is because they treat my money as if it were disposable, or worthless. As if I should buy a new object as often as possible and not try to repair an old model.

                        My money is not disposable or worthless because it takes time to make money -- and you can't get that time back once it is spent. And yet the Masters of the Universe who direct these companies would have you believe that *their* time is worth many millions per year. I refuse to deal with such or even acknowledge them.

                        * -- I take that back -- I DO have some very nice Swiss indicators, and some Swiss files, and some German hand tools. All of which cost well over a weeks pay. And worth every penny.

                        Originally posted by eKretz View Post
                        Buy a used iron. I have two. One is an Ersa i-Con (150W, interchangeable tips) with fully adjustable temp and sleep mode (good for conserving tips), the other is a Metcal with the curie style tips. I also have a desoldering gun for the Metcal.

                        I got all of them for under $300 total. Pays to watch eBay. And I like to use the good stuff. I'd rather have what I've got than some questionable Chinese thing for $10. Any day of the week.
                        Last edited by nickel-city-fab; 07-20-2021, 09:23 AM.
                        25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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