Design Con 2015

Vintage test equipment: Not just for old engineers

-March 25, 2014

If you've worked as an engineer, you've surely used test equipment. You may even have a home lab, probably with equipment newer than Daniel Sheen's. A junior at the John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science in Boston, Daniel has a roomful of vintage test equipment. When a friend told me about Daniel's collection, I just had to see for myself.

The collection includes many oscilloscopes, meters, power supplies, RF signal generators, and audio oscillators. Where did Daniel get this equipment? Some he bought through eBay, but most comes from the Flea at MIT, a monthly swapfest held in the MIT campus from April through October. I've been there and can attest to having seen all kinds of equipment and parts. I'll return this year and provide a glimpse.

Daniel and a portion of his test-equipment collection. The room has three more walls.

Daniel's inspiration for engineering is is father, an engineer at Sonos. Being a junior, Daniel will soon apply to college—for electrical engineering, of course. He's planning to apply to MIT, Oiln, WPI, and perhaps others. I'm personally hoping he goes to WPI, but then, I'm biased. Let's all wish him well.

In addition to owning a large collection of test equipment, Daniel has become a sort of historian. He's even contributed a scanned manual for an HP 415B Standing Wave Indicator (circa 1955) to the HP Archive.

The video below gives you a tour of Daniel's equipment. For close-ups, go to the pages that follow.



Next: HP oscilloscopes


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