I have been renting ever since graduating college and have never had enough space to set up a proper workspace for myself. Last year I bought my first house and finally have a dedicated space for a work bench, albeit still quite small. Unfortunately, now that I have the space to work, I just put most of my savings into the house and am not in a place to purchase any new test gear. I’m still using the equipment I purchased for my undergrad EE courses, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

Now that I have a space to my own I’d love to dig into a significant project. I’ve always admired nixie tube clocks but was never interested in the kits available and wanted something a little different for myself. Years ago an old employer let me have an HP 5340A frequency counter, under the assumption it no longer works. I have now hauled that piece into four different apartments/houses and would love to actually get it working again. My real goal is to turn it into a unique nixie clock. Professionally I am an RF engineer and I can’t bring myself to disable the functionality of the frequency counter. I want to build a sweeping frequency source that can turn the frequency counter into a clock!

My first step will be to diagnose and repair the HP 5340A. The benchtop DMM, oscilloscope, and function generator will be essential. Once I get it up and running I’d spend some time with the function generator, trying out different sweep settings and frequencies until I find something that works well. The remote interface to a computer will be extremely helpful for that. Then I’d design and build a swept frequency source to generate the tone I optimized with the function generator. The triple output supply will shine for that task. Most DDS chips need multiple voltage rails.

Please help me upgrade my lab! I think we can all agree it wouldn’t be right to restore vintage HP gear with anything other than Keysight test equipment.


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