Hp 54503a

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Sparky49, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Hi everyone.

    I have the chance to buy a HP 54503A for quiet a reasonable price. At the moment, I only have an analogue scope, which can't capture sudden 'bursts' of signal, so I can't really use it for much other than signals which keep repeating themselves.

    As such, I don't have much experience with digital scopes (or the terminology!) and was wondering if you could help me out? I'm not sure if the HP 54503A has the ability to 'capture' a waveform when it is triggered. Say if I wanted it to capture a signal that only lasts for a 1/100th of a second, would I be able to do that? I think I found a manual online, but I can't download it for some reason. :(


    Hopefully, that will work.

    thanks for your time chaps.

  2. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    HP 54503 Getting Started Guide

    More info.

    Besides the basics (vertical bandwidth etc) you want to look at sampling speed (20M samples/sec here), record length (1K points) etc. The single shot bandwidth tells the main tale (2MHz) which represents how fast a one shot signal it can acquire a one shot signal. A peak-detect function is useful to capture spikes beyond the normal effective bandwidth. The 500MHz is achieved only for repetitive signals where samples are taken over many cycles and added to the waveform.

    You should be able to capture the 10ms signal OK for most cases. Not so much for faster signals. Look at the waveforms on page 34 of the GSG. At a horizontal rate of 200uS/div, only one dot is present on the edges of the signal. This dot is the one sample the scope was able to take during the edge transition at that speed. For these faster signals, you'll miss some things. For slower signals, the scope will take more samples on the edge and do a better job of depicting the true signal. Note that a peak-detect function (I don't know if this one has it) would show the peak of the signal (overshoot/undershoot) on the sampled signal even if it came 'between' sample acquisitions.

    All of that aside, you'll love the measurement functions and post-trigger capabilities that a DSO offers.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
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  3. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    The 54503A will capture single-shot waveforms (one screen trace length) but the bandwidth for that is only 2MHz and it stores only 501 samples (one trace). Also be aware that, to capture digital signals accurately, the digital signal should be no more than about 400kHz. If you can live within those limits, then that scope should work for you.
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  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I am not completely sure of the model number but I believe I once worked with a 54502. One thing I was disappointing in was it did not capture all 4 waveform during the same trigger trace: it did 1&4, then 2&3. However, I stole one for my bench as digital scopes are incredibly good at capturing single events.

    I absolutely love the Tektronic digital scopes. The newer ones take full advantage of cheap memory so they can display data from way before the trigger occurs.
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  5. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Thanks guys!

    I think I'll go ahead and get this, it will certainly be put to good use, and if it turns out that it doesn't perform as well as I need it to , I can always sell it on and buy another. ;-)

    Thanks again.