1973 , Volume , Issue June-1973

1973 , Volume , Issue June-1973
JUNE 1973
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Schottky- Barrier Diodes Structured for
Better High-Frequency Performance
Connecting discrete components into thin-film
hybrid circuits becomes increasingly difficult
as the demand for higher frequencies gives
rise to smaller components. Described here is
a way of fabricating diodes to gain high fre
quency performance without imposing severe
mechanical limitations.
by Jack H. Lepoff and Raymond A. Morris
AS THE USE OF THIN-FILM HYBRID MICROCIRCUIT techniques rapidly expands, the mi
croscope and vacuum pickup become as common
in the production department as the soldering iron.
Handling the discrete components used in these cir
cuits becomes more and more of a problem as the
quest for higher frequency performance shrinks the
size of the components.
One of the major problems involves the attach
ment of wire leads to a semiconductor chip: not
only is it a very delicate task to position a lead, but
the heat and pressure needed to attach the lead
could affect the characteristics of the device. The
circuit assembler thus steers a narrow course be
tween defective bonds from insufficient heat and
pressure, and defective devices from too much heat
and pressure.
Hence the growing popularity of beam-lead de
vices1. These may be supported by their own leads
and can thus be installed by thermo-compression
bonding of the leads alone to the substrate conduc
tors. No heat or pressure is applied to the semicon
ductor chip itself.
But, as efforts to gain even higher frequency per
formance trims dimensions, it becomes increasingly
difficult for the component manufacturer to find
ways of providing a firm anchor for the beam leads.
This problem has been overcome at HewlettPackard by the prudent use of glass, resulting in
new beam lead diodes that perform exceptionally
well in mixer service at microwave frequencies but
that can be installed with little likelihood of damage
to the semiconductor. These diodes also perform
advantageously in digital hybrid integrated circuits.
Diode Construction
Structural details of the new diodes are shown in
the cross-sectional view of Fig. 1. Construction
starts with a highly doped n* silicon wafer on
which an n-doped layer is grown epitaxially. The
doping density and thickness of this epitaxial layer
largely determine the electrical properties of the
Mesas about 25 microns high are etched on the
wafer surface by conventional photoresist tech
niques and a silicon dioxide (SiO-j) layer is then de
posited. Next, a connection point for the cathode is
Cover: The tweezers hold
a new monolithic silicon-onglass diode quad - - four
Schottky-barrier diodes ar
ranged in a ring configura
tion (shown prior to encap
sulation) for double-bal
anced mixer service. This
construction achieves better
matching and lower parasitics than has been possible
with discrete components. For a description of
this and another interesting diode development,
see the article beginning on this page.
In this Issue:
Schottky-Barrier Diodes Structured
for Better High-Frequency Perform
ance, by Jack H. Lepoff and Raymond
A. Morris
page 2
DMM and DAC Modules Expand LowCost Measuring System, by James F.
Homer, Lewis W. Masters, and P.
T h o m a s M i n g l e
p a g e
Laser/Calculator System Improves
Encoder Plate Measurements, by
Glenn O. Herreman .
page 16
Instrument Basics Without Pain, a
book review .
page 19
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
27±1 mils
(0.68±0.02 mm)
SK>2 Metallization
N+ Silicon
Schottky Barrier
Fig. 3. Silicon wafer before final separation of diodes.
Each wafer has about 5000 diodes.
N-Doped Silicon
Fig. 1. New Schottky-barrier diodes have leads that can
support the diode when thermocompression bonded into
a thin-film, hybrid microcircuit. Although leads are tissuepaper thin, they are relatively rugged in relation to size.
Cross-section shows details ot diode construction.
exposed by etching away part of the mesa, and over
lying SiOj layer, to the n* substrate.
This is followed by deposition of a layer of glass
dielectric around the mesas. Then the anode window
is etched through the oxide layer, as shown in Fig.
2. The hole for the anode may be as small as 8
microns in diameter for very high frequency appli
Next, metallization is vacuum deposited over the
Fig. 2. Microphoto ot part of a si/icon wafer after the
anode windows have been formed. The dark shadow
around each device results from the sloping sides ot the
mesa. The area between mesas is tilled in with low-dielec
tric glass.
entire wafer, forming in one step the Schottkybarrier anode, the ohmic cathode contact, and a
glass-to-metal bond for lead attachment. Using a
photoresist mask as a pattern, beam leads are
formed by electroplating high-purity gold on the
metallization. Excess metallization is then etched
from the wafer surface, leaving the diode structure
as shown in Fig. 3.
Finally, the wafer is mechanically and chemically
thinned and then masked and etched to form the
silicon chips, to separate the devices, and to clear
the beam leads. Enough glass remains around each
chip to provide an anchor for the leads without add
ing significantly to parasitic capacitance.
These diodes are very small, less than 0.03 inch
(0.7 mm) from head to tail. Fig. 4 gives an idea of
their minuteness. Lead inductance is thus only 0.1
nH, actually less than that obtained with a wire lead
bonded between thin-film conductor and semicon
ductor chip. With lead capacitance of only 0.02 pF,
this low inductance assures good performance in
microwave circuits. The low parasitic reactances
also simplify the design of matching elements for
broadband applications.
The very small size of the metal-semiconductor
junction results in a junction capacitance of 0.11
pF in the type 5082-2709 diode, useful up to 12.4
GHz, and only 0.09 pF in the type 5082-2716 which
is useful up to 18 GHz. Typical admittance charac
teristics are shown in Fig. 5.
Typical noise figure, nominally 6 dB, is shown in
Fig. 6. This is close to the state of the art for silicon
diodes in microwave mixer service. For detector
applications, typical tangential sensitivity is —54
dBm. Minimum breakdown voltage is 3V.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
7 0
3 f «
b O
1 2
Fig. 4. Small size ot new diodes is depicted by this microphoto ol diodes alongside human hair that has 3 mil
(75 iim) diameter.
Evaluating the performance of devices this small
poses additional problems. Because of the close
similarities between diodes fabricated on the same
wafer, it is usually sufficient to bond sample quanti
ties into circuits for determining impedance charac
teristics and a noise figure representative of the
whole batch.
In some applications, however, it may be neces
sary to test every diode. Contact to the diode must
then be made without damaging the leads. The
small size of the leads on these diodes makes it im
practical to use dielectric rods to hold the leads on
microstrip conductors, a technique commonly used
with other devices. Instead a small hole drilled in
the microcircuit substrate allows a vacuum to hold
the diode. The test circuit is shown in Fig. 7.
Diode Quad
The same construction steps are used to fabricate
1 0
Frequency (GHz)
Fig. 6. Noise figure ot HP type 5082-2709 diode as a
function ot frequency.
a silicon-on-glass, four-diode array for doublebalanced mixer service. In this case, the metalliza
tion pattern is altered to make the diode intercon
nections, the length of each interdiode conductor
then being only 20 mils. The final separation step
leaves four interconnected diodes on a single glass
For convenience in mixer applications, the diode
quad is mounted in a lead-frame package that can
be soldered into a circuit without a microscope,
using conventional techniques. The leads can with
stand a temperature of 235°C for five seconds (ac
cording to MIL-STD-202, method 208), and they can
be bent, permitting a variety of mounting arrange
During diode assembly, the lead frame is held in
a fixture that also holds a ceramic wafer. The leads
of the diode quad are welded to the lead frame, as
shown in Fig. 8, and the assembly is then covered
with epoxy resin. The resulting package is shown
in Fig. 9.
This package passes the 85% relative humidity/
3mA (2mW)
Fig. representative diode. charts show typical admittance characteristics ot representative diode.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Fig. 7. Thin-film test circuit lor evaluating diode perform
ance. Vacuum applied through the small opening holds
the diode in place. Impedance matching is provided by
the open-ended shunt transmission lines and open-ended
line to the right of the opening.
85°C moisture resistance test of MIL-STD-202,
Method 106, yet it is inexpensive and lends itself
well to automated high-volume production.
Quad Performance
The low parasitic inductance and capacitance of
the diode quad allows broadband performance up
to 2 GHz and tuned performance to 12.4 GHz. The
diodes are inherently well matched — capacitances
of the individual diodes differ by less than 0.1 pF
and voltage drops between pairs of adjacent leads
differ by less than 20 mV with 5 mA current flowing,
assuring low distortion. Furthermore, temperature
gradients are small — temperature tracking is far
better than that achievable with discrete diodes.
Fig. 9. Completed diode quad can be installed in circuits
by conventional soldering techniques.
Conversion Loss Test Fixture
The basic double-balanced mixer circuit shown
in Fig. 10 has been realized at microwave fre
quencies in a number of configurations. For ex
ample, commercially available 180° hybrids can be
substituted for the transformers. Such an arrange
ment is used in the test circuit for evaluating con
version loss.
Mike Hu designed the lead-frame package for the
diode quad. We also wish to acknowledge the con
tributions of Neil Corpron and Frank Lee, who de
signed the test circuits. S
1. M. P. Lepselter, "Beam-Lead Technology," Bell Sys
tem Technical Journal, February 1966.
Fig. 8. Diode quad is thermocompression bonded to lead
frame then covered with epoxy resin.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Fig. 10. Prototypical double-balanced mixer circuit using
HP type 5082-2276 diode quad. Conversion loss test fix
ture uses commercially available 180° hybrids in place
of the transformers with tuning elements to eliminate
reflections and bias tees to separate the IF output from
the input.
HP Types 5082-2709, -2716, -2768, and -2769
Schottky-Barrier Diodes (@ TA = 25° C)
Jack H. Lepoff
Typical Circuit Parameters
@LO pwr=1mW,
dc load resist
ance <10!i
on 10 mil
On earning a BS degree in Physics from the University of
New Hampshire (1943), Jack Lepoff received his
commission in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to
microwave component and antenna development at the
Naval Research Laboratory. Then it was Columbia
University and an MA in Physics, 1948, and work on
microwave devices for several industrial and government
Jack joined HP in 1965. Initially he developed
techniques for characterizing microwave mixer diodes,
then he designed integrated Coaxial Mixers and Limiter/
Detectors in the 33800 series. He now is a diode
applications engineer.
With both daughters now grown and on their own, Jack
finds time to devote to amateur theatricals with the
Sunnyvale Unitarian Fellowship's theater group.
HP Types 5082-2276, -2277, -2830
Schottky-Diode Quads (@ TA = 25° C)
Raymond A. Morris
IN U.S.A.:
5082-2709-, $ 5.75 5082-2276. $18
5082-2716, $ 9.50 5082-2277, $34.50
5082-2768, $ 9.50 5082-2830, $ 6.50
5082-2769, $12.50
•Minimum order tor 5082-2709: 10 units
620 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, California 94304
Wood carving is only one of Ray Morris's spare time
activities. A determined jogger, he enters the annual
8-mile San Francisco Bay-to-Breakers foot race,
supposedly the world's largest (2500 entrants). In
between times he skin-dives with his son, who is pursuing
a PhD in marine biology.
Ray has been a semiconductor process engineer ever
since he left college in 1 950 (BS and MS degrees in
Chemical Engineering, University of Washington). He
started on selenium rectifiers, moved on to fast switching
diodes, then joined HP's fledgling voltmeter detector diode
operation in 1958. He also worked on voltage-reference
and step-recovery diodes before going on to
Schottky-barrier diodes.
Ray has a daughter who also works at HP and
his wife, a holder of a BS in Physics, is a senior
reliability engineer at Lockheed.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
DMM and DAC Modules Expand Low-Cost
Measuring System
A five-digit multimeter/ counter module and a
three-digit digital-to-analog converter module
are new members of the 5300 Measuring System
joining the mainframe, battery pack, and four
timer/counter modules previously available.
by James F. Horner, Lewis W. Masters, and P. Thomas Mingle
TEM, the 5300 Measuring System, as its name
implies, isn't limited to counter measurements. The
5300A mainframe, with its six-digit 10 MHz counter,
counts a signal presented to it by the snap-on func
tional module, which contains circuits for function
selection and signal shaping. Therefore, any quan
tity that can be converted to an appropriate fre
quency by a snap-on module can be measured by
the mainframe.
The first four snap-on modules were designed
for counter-timer measurements. The newest, Model
5306A Multimeter/Counter (Fig. 1), is the first to
apply the inherent flexibility of the mainframe to
other types of measurements. It offers functions of
dc volts, ac volts, ohms, and frequency, all the
functions usually found in digital multimeters plus
an extra one, frequency.
Another new module, Model 5311A Digital-toAnalog Converter, fits between the mainframe and
the snap-on functional module. It converts any three
digits of the 5300A display to a proportional analog
voltage output. It can be used with any snap-on
module, and with or without the 5310A Battery
Pack, which is also an "in-between" module. The
design of Model 5311A is described on page 11.
Fig. 1. Two new modules tor the 5300 Measuring System
are Model 5306 A Multimeter/ Counter (bottom module of
instrument in foreground) and Model 5377/4 Digital-toAnalog Converter (center module). The Multimeter/Counter
measures dc voltage, ac voltage, resistance, and fre
quency. Other elements of the system are the mainframe
(top module), four counter/timer modules and a battery
Four-Digit Accuracy, Five-Digit Resolution
Model 5306A Multimeter/Counter measures dc
voltage in three ranges: ±10 V, ±100 V, and ±1000 V
full scale. Ac voltage is measured in ranges of 10 V,
100 V, and 1000 V, and resistance-measurement
ranges are 10 kO, 100 kO, and 10 MO full scale.
Accuracy specifications are essentially those of
a four-digit multimeter. However, for reasons to be
explained later, Model 5306A's fifth digit is a full
digit, not just an overrange digit, so measurement
resolution and dynamic range are those of a five-
digit instrument. The effect is to make every range
on the 5306A equivalent to two ranges on a typical
four-digit meter. For example, in the 100 V range
the resolution is 1 mV, so measurements can be
made from millivolts to 100 V without changing
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
sign in place of the most significant digit. The 5306A
uses the minus sign for dc voltage measurements.
The next most significant digit could have been
used as an overrange digit, like the */2 digit of a 4Vz
digit multimeter. But this would have been wasteful
because a full digit (that is, 0 through 9 instead of
just 0 or 1) could be displayed in that position. It
was suggested that the 5306A might be designed
with five-digit accuracy. However, the extra cost
wasn't compatible with the concept of the 5300
Measuring System as a low-cost laboratory and
field instrument. The accuracy specification was
finally fixed at 0.03%, or ±3 counts error in the
fourth significant digit.
Error Limits
(1) 4-Digit = 0.03% of Reading
+ 0.01% of Range
(2) 5306A = 0.03% of Reading
+ 0.003% of Range
(3) 5-Digit = 0.003% of Reading
+ 0.003% of Range
Percent of Reading versus Percent of Range
Reference Accuracy (4-Digit) 0.03%
Errors in a digital voltmeter fall into two cate
gories: errors that must be specified as a percent
of the actual reading and errors that must be speci
fied as a percent of the range or full-scale reading.
Attenuator coefficient uncertainty and reference
drift cause percent of reading errors. Input ampli
fier zero drift causes percent of range errors.
The user, of course, is interested in the total error
as a percent of his reading. Shown in Fig. 2 is a
plot of reading versus percent error for a four-digit
measurement. The limiting errors are the zero error
and the resolution. If the resolution of the measure
ment could be extended and the zero error reduced,
then while the reference accuracy (the accuracy of
a full-scale reading] would remain the same, the
dynamic range and the accuracy of smaller readings
would be improved.
Improved resolution requires extra digits, of
course, but for the 5306A an extra digit was already
there. The decision, therefore, was to use a volt
age-to-frequency converter with five-digit dynamic
range and resolution, and to develop an auto-zero
system for it that would reduce zero drift caused
by time or temperature effects to a level compatible
with a five-digit instrument.
The result is shown in Fig. 2, which compares the
error limit for the 5306A with that of typical fourdigit and five-digit voltmeters. The 5306A has fourdigit accuracy as a percent of reading, but its per
cent of range errors are considerably reduced from
the four-digit case. Thus the fifth digit is a full digit.
The 5306A is a five-digit voltmeter with four-digit
reference accuracy.
The design of the 5306A indicates that in some
cases eliminating mechanical attenuators — that is,
ranges — in favor of extra digital readouts may be
justified from a cost/performance viewpoint.
Reference Accuracy (5-Digit) = 0.003%
0.00001FS 0.0001FS 0.001FS 0.01FS
0.1FS Full Scale
Fig. 2. Error limit versus reading tor typical tour-digit and
five-digit voltmeters. Percent-of-range errors (i.e., zero
drift and resolution) dominate the percent-ot-reading er
rors or reference accuracy (caused by attenuator inaccu
racy or reference drift). In Model 5306/4 an extra digit of
resolution and an auto-zero system greatly reduce percent-ot-range errors. Reference accuracy remains that of a
tour-digit instrument, but in other respects it is a lull fivedigit meter. Each range is equivalent to two ranges on the
usual four-digit voltmeter.
When maximum resolution isn't needed and more
than two measurements per second are desirable —
for example, when displaying the results of a coarse
adjustment — a FAST sample mode can be selected.
Measurements are then ten times faster. Accuracy
and resolution are both four digits.
In frequency measurements, the 5306A has the
full six-digit accuracy and resolution built into the
5300A mainframe. Frequency range is 40 Hz to
10 MHz. The FAST sample mode can also be used
for frequency measurements, again with one less
digit of resolution.
Design Philosophy
In designing a four-digit multimeter snap-on func
tional module for a six-digit counter mainframe,
many questions had to be answered. The most ob
vious was what to do with the extra two digits in
the mainframe.
One digit was easy to dispose of. The designers
of the mainframe had foreseen that some future
module might require a polarity indication in the
display, and had made it easy to generate a minus
Voltage-to-Frequency Converter
Fig. 3 is a block diagram of the 5306A Multimeter/
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
DC, AC, Ã-!
Fig. 3. 5306/4 is floating and iso
lated from the grounded main
frame. For frequency measure
ments, the input signal is shaped
by the 5306A and measured by
the mainframe with six-digit ac
curacy and resolution.
Which Multimeter?
The Model 5306A Multimeter/Counter module now makes
available multimeter capability in two apparently similar
though actually different snap-together systems. The other
system is the 3470 Measurement System, described in re
cent issues of the HP Journal.*
The modules for one system do not work with the display
sections of the other. This is because the 5300-series mod
ules convert all input quantities into frequencies for con
version to a digital number by the 5300A Mainframe. The
3470 modules convert input quantities into a dc voltage for
measurement by the 34740A (41/2 digit) or 34750A (51/a
digit) Display Sections.
With the wide range of capabilities that these two systems
make available, chances are that most requirements can be
filled exactly at reasonable cost. The decision of which mul
timeter to purchase will depend on what capabilities are
presently owned, what capabilities are desired for present
applications, and how the system may be expanded.
Present owners of 5300 Measuring Systems can add
multimeter capability with the 5306A. Those not owning a
5300 or 3470 System currently should review the data sheets
of both systems, considering their future needs as well as
their present needs.
The 3470 Measurement System offers a selection of mul
timeter snap-on modules, a BCD-output in-between module,
a battery pack, and two separate display units, one with 41/2
digits and one with 51/2 . The 5300 Measuring System offers a
5-digit multimeter with frequency capability (Model 5306A),
as well as a selection of frequency snap-ons, universal
counter snap-ons, an analog-output in-between module, a
battery pack, and a display module that includes BCD
Data sheets that give complete descriptions of both sys
tems are available.
•A. Gookin, "Compactness and Versatility in a New Plug-Together Digital
Voltmeter." Hewlett-Packard Journal, August 1972.
R. Gardner, A. Dumont, S. Venzke, "A Greater Range of Capabilities
for the Compact, Plug-on Digital Multimeter," Hewlett-Packard Journal.
March 1973.
Counter. The voltage-to-frequency converter is es
sentially the same as that used in the 5326B/5327B
Timer/Counter/DVM1. Fig. 4 is its circuit diagram.
The converter is actually two essentially identical
converters, one for positive input voltages and one
for negative, sharing the same integrator. For clar
ity, only the positive converter is shown completely
in Fig. 4.
Operation of the converter for a positive input
voltage Vin is as follows. Vin goes to the integrator,
and the integrator output is compared with a thresh
old voltage Vth. If the integrator output is more nega
tive than Vth, then when the next clock pulse occurs
(there's a clock pulse every five microseconds) the
Q output of the flip-flop goes to its high state,
routing the reference current IR, which previously
flowed through CR2, now through CRl into the
summing node of the integrator.
When the Q output of the flip-flop is in its high
state, clock pulses are gated to the output. Thus the
output signal consists of bursts of clock pulses at
the frequency fin, which is the counter time-base
frequency of 10 MHz divided by 50, or 200 KHz. The
ratio of the average converter output frequency,
fout, to the frequency f¡,, is the proportion of time
that the Q output is in its high state. This duty cycle,
8, is proportional to Vin, as the following equations
= 0
Ã2 = -IR8
Therefore, Vin = IRRiS = lRRi fout/fu.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
icdt -> 0
Am pi ¡f
Fig. 4. Voltage-to-frequency con
verter generates a frequency
proportional to a positive or neg
ative dc input voltage. (Omitted
for clarity are comparator, flipflop, and switch for negative in
puts.) The auto-zero system de
rives a zero-correction voltage
while the previous measurement
is being displayed, then applies
this voltage to the integrator in
put during the next measurement
The reference for the measurement is the refer
ence current IR. This current is derived in a straight
forward resistor-amplifier circuit from a stable volt
age generated by a pair of feedback-stabilized zener
diodes. It is stable within about 10 ppm per degree
C. Thus its stability is consistent with the overall
reference accuracy specification of ±0.03%.
The V-F converter has five-digit resolution and
range. However, zero drift from various sources
would normally limit it to four-digit use. The autozero system reduces this drift to a level consistent
with five-digit accuracy.
switch disconnects the short on the input amplifier
and reconnects the input voltage. A sample-andhold circuit on the output of the auto-zero circuit
holds the correction voltage derived during the dis
play phase to compensate the measurement system
for any zero error (Fig. 5).
The critical part of the auto-zero circuit is the
detection of any residual slope on the output of the
integrator. A simple differentiator could accomplish
this except that the average slope on the output of
the integrator is zero. The reason it is zero is that
once the output of the integrator has reached the
designated voltage reference, the reference current
is switched on, rapidly driving the voltage back in
the opposite direction. As a result, the average out
put of a standard differentiator would also be zero.
This situation is illustrated in Fig. 5.
To operate effectively, the auto-zero circuit needs
to reject the high spikes caused by the switching
on of the reference current. The standard differen
tiator was modified into a clipping differentiator
(Fig. 5), which limits the differentiation excursion
The resulting output contains a dc component
proportional to the residual zero error. This output
is filtered and applied to the integrator through the
sample-and-hold circuit to zero the system.
Auto-Zero System
The 5306A auto-zero system operates in two
phases. During the display phase an electronic
switch, represented by Si and S2 in Fig. 4, dis
connects the input voltage from the input amplifier
and shorts the input amplifier to ground.
Any zero offset in the system causes a non-zero
slope on the output of the integrator. The auto-zero
circuit detects this slope and generates a correction
voltage that is applied to the integrator to drive the
integrator slope to zero. The closed loop residual
error is less than 20 /tV.
During the measurement phase the electronic
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Floating Measurements and Isolated Output
Output During
Display Phase
Differentiator OV
Average Slope =
Another problem in adapting a multimeter to the
5300A mainframe was how to provide floating
measurements. The 5300A mainframe is firmly
grounded, and even if future versions could be
made floating, potential users of the 5306A who al
ready have a mainframe would have to undertake
some kind of retrofit to achieve a floating system.
The alternative chosen was to float just the 5306A
portion of the instrument. It meant that a separate
power supply had to be built into the 5306A module.
Furthermore, to obtain the output data, couplers
had to be included in the 5306A to isolate the output
channel. The secondary benefit of having isolated
ground-referenced BCD output as standard rather
than as an expensive option helped justify the extra
cost of the couplers.
r ~
Average = 0
Differentiator OV
Average <0
Ac Voltage Measurements
In the ac volts mode, the input signal is routed
through the same input attenuator and buffer am
plifier as in the dc volts mode. The signal is then
half-wave rectified, and the resulting dc voltage
applied to the V-to-F converter. This very common
technique produces an average responding volt
meter, calibrated to read rms volts.
The ac-to-dc converter is simply a precision halfwave rectifier followed by a gain-filter stage. The
gain is needed so a 10 V rms input will yield 10 V
dc output. The filter reduces the amount of ripple
voltage applied to the master integrator.
Fig. 5. Integrator output is ditterentiated to detect non
zero slope and derive the zero-correction voltage. Because
the average output of a standard differentiator would be
zero, a clipping differentiator is used.
Resistance Measurements
To make resistance measurements the precision
current source used to measure negative voltages
A Compact, Three-Digit Digital-to- Analog Converter Module
Model 5311 A is a three-digit Digital-to-Analog Converter
(DAC) designed for use with the 5300A Measurement Sys
tem. It is packaged as an "in-between" module like the
531 OA Battery Pack. The 531 1 A can be used with or without
the battery pack and with any lower module. It converts the
digital information from any three digits of the 5300A display
to an analog output that can be recorded or used for other
purposes. An expanded output for very small numbers can
be obtained by selecting only the last two display digits for
Compared to separate digital-to-analog converters, Model
5311 A is smaller, less expensive, and doesn't require a
cable between it and the digital source; the required digital
information is taken from the internal connector between
module and mainframe.
The 5311 A has three operating modes. In the normal
mode, it works like other three-digit DACs: the analog out
put is directly proportional to the digital input. Thus an input
of 000 produces zero output, and 999 produces full-scale
In plus/minus mode, the 5311 A produces half of fullscale output for a 000 input, and goes up or down to full
scale or zero for +999 and —999, respectively. This mode
is useful for recording dc voltages that cross through zero.
The sign information is derived from the most significant
digit of the display. With the 5306A Multimeter module, for
example, this digit is a blank for a positive number and a
minus sign for a negative number.
In the offset mode, the 5311 A effectively adds 500 to the
digital input before converting it. Thus 500 produces zero
output, 000 produces half of full-scale, 999 produces a little
less than half of full-scale, and 499 produces full-scale
output. Having 999 and 000 adjacent at half of full scale is
useful for recording signals that drift slowly in this region,
because it eliminates the full-scale jumps that would other
wise occur. Such signals occur, for example, in measuring
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
of the cycle flip-flop. The Q output of the cycle flip-flop is
set high by the overflow from the three-decade counter and
is cleared by the output of the 12-bit comparator. Thus it
goes high at a count of 000 and low at some later time when
the count in the three-decade counter equals the digital
The oscillator frequency isn't important because the duty
cycle is independent of it. However, some short-term sta
bility is required to avoid excessive jitter in the pulse width.
Therefore a simple one-transistor LC oscillator is used.
The ± flip-flop disables the comparator output every other
cycle in the ± mode so the output of the cycle flip-flop is
a square wave for a 000 digital input. Then either Q or Q
is selected in the combinational logic depending on the
sign information in the most significant digit.
For the offset mode, a signal that tells whether the counter
state is <500 and another signal that tells whether the
three-digit number is <500 are ANDed with the cycle flipflop output to perform the adding function. A BCD adder
could have been used, and the addition performed on the
BCD data, but this would have been more expensive.
The output of the combinational logic drives a saturating
switch, which in turn drives a CMOS gate used as a series
shunt switch. The gate switches the input of the low-pass
filter between ground and a 10 V reference supply. The
output of the three-pole low-pass filter is a dc voltage rang
ing from zero to 10V. This is divided to give three ranges
for different potentiometric (voltage sensing) recorders or
converted to current for a galvanometric (current sensing)
temperature or time stabilities of crystal oscillators, which
are often nominally at some frequency ending in 000.
How It Works
Most DACs use precision resistors and transistor switches
to generate currents related to the digital information. These
currents are then summed to produce the analog output.
The 531 1A uses instead a pulse width modulation scheme.
It generates a pulse train whose frequency and amplitude
are constant but whose duty cycle is proportional to the
digital information. This pulse train is low-pass filtered and
the resulting dc signal is the analog output.
This method has some advantages and some disadvan
tages. Two disadvantages are that it takes many digital cir
cuits and it is relatively slow. (The pulse frequency is low
to give good resolution in the width modulation and the
resultant has to be filtered well; as a result, the 5311 A takes
several milliseconds to slew full scale.) However, digital
ICs are relatively inexpensive and the 5311A's speed is
limited in any case by the scanning speed of the 5300A
display (~2 ms) and the dead time between measurements
(—40 ms).
The biggest advantage, in addition to low cost, is that the
method is inherently monotonic and very linear, because it
depends on digital logic and not on resistor matching.
As shown in the block diagram, the serial-to-parallel con
verter extracts the selected three digits of information from
the 5300A's scanned display. Selection is by means of the
pushbutton switches on the front panel.
The width-modulated pulse is first visible at the output
Recorder Galvanometer
O u t p u t O u t p u t
Serial-to-Parallel Converter
TUTtinm?-»Three- Decade Counter
3 . 5 M H z
M o d e
S w i t c h
( H i g h
i n
M o d e )
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
To V-to-F
rushes through the lamp, heating it and increasing
its resistance until the current is effectively limited.
If a high enough voltage is applied the lamp will
act like a fuse and burn out. The protection scheme
is effective for input voltages as high as 240 V.
As a secondary benefit of the lamp system, the
lamp's glow is visible through a red insert on the
front panel, thus warning the user that a dangerous
voltage is present.
Frequency Measurements
Fig. 6. Lamp acts as a variable resistance to protect the
precision current source from damage and warn the user
in case a high voltage is applied to the input during a
resistance measurement.
in the V-to-F converter is diverted to the input ter
minals. It passes through the unknown resistor
producing a positive voltage proportional to the re
sistance. This is then measured by the other preci
sion current source working with the V-to-F con
verter. This technique saves the cost of a separate
current source for resistance measurements.
For protection against external voltages the 5306A
uses an interesting scheme. The precision current
flows through an incandescent lamp before arriving
at the input terminals (see Fig. 6). When a resistor
is present at the input the low value of reference
current (1 mA or less) fails to light the lamp and
thus the lamp resistance stays low and doesn't dis
turb the measurement. Should a large voltage ap
pear by mistake across the input terminals, current
Although a few voltmeters now have frequency
as a standard function, these voltmeters generally
convert each incoming count into a unit charge and
inject this charge into an integrating circuit. They
then measure the resulting voltage using a voltmeter
technique and display the answer with appropriate
frequency units. The resulting frequency measure
ment has no more accuracy than the accuracy of
the voltmeter, which at best is usually 0.01%.
A dedicated frequency meter, on the other hand,
counts each pulse using as its standard a crystal
oscillator, which is usually accurate to parts in 10G
or 0.0001%. This is the case with the frequencycounting 10-MHz 5300A mainframe. Therefore, to
count frequency, the 5306A completely bypasses
the voltmeter portions of the circuit and goes di
rectly to the counting circuits of the mainframe,
thereby achieving an accuracy commensurate with
a dedicated counting instrument (Fig. 7).
To maximize user convenience the frequency
counter input is common with the volts/ohms input.
This arrangement, for instance, allows the user to
Hi O
Fig. 7. Frequency input is com
mon with volts/ohms input.
Floating input allows frequency
measurements in the presence
of large common-mode voltages.
Signal conditioning is done au
tomatically rather than by frontpanel controls.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
measure both the amplitude and the frequency of
a signal with no change of test leads or switching
of connectors, merely the push of a button. Also,
since the frequency input and amplifier are fully
floating, the 5306A provides measurement capa
bility in the presence of large common-mode volt
ages. This useful feature is rarely found in generalpurpose counters.
Good frequency counters usually give the user
input signal conditioning controls so that noise re
jection may be optimized. To eliminate user adjust
ments and yet provide reliable operation over a
wide range of input signals, this optimization is
done automatically in the 5306A. Noise rejection
is generally provided by the deadband, or hyster
esis, of the trigger circuit used to convert the input
into a pulse train compatible with the digital count
ing logic. No noise signal can cause miscounting if
its peak amplitude is less than the deadband of the
trigger (the signal, of course, must be larger than the
deadband). For optimum noise rejection we would
like the deadband smaller than the signal but larger
than the noise.
In general, there are two ways to adjust the noise
immunity: vary the actual hysteresis of the trigger,
or vary the amplitude of the signal fed to the trigger.
The latter method is used in the 5306A and is ac
complished with an automatic gain control (AGC)
amplifier. The output of the AGC amplifier is ap
proximately constant for input voltages between
lOOmV rms and 10V rms, and drives a trigger cir
cuit whose deadband is about 30% of the peak-topeak output signal swing. Over that range of input
voltages, the noise rejection varies from about 60mV
to about 6V, adequate for most applications.
Most ac-coupled frequency counters need offset
controls or switches when they are used to count
pulses or other low-duty-cycle signals. The 5306A
can accept either positive pulses or 50% duty cycle
signals like sine or square waves. Ordinarily, this
would preclude the counting of negative pulses.
However, the floating input will often allow the
user to reverse the input connector, and thus re
verse the apparent polarity.
The 5300A mainframe will accept count rates up
to 10MHz. While it was easy to design an AGC
amplifier and trigger for this range, it proved diffi
cult to transfer the high-frequency signal from the
floating input to the nonfloating counter. The so
lution to this problem is a coupling scheme which
uses two closely spaced molded RF chokes as a
pulse transformer. The speed was improved by
using very low-inductance "windings" and driving
the primary with high currents.
5306A Noise Rejection Characteristics
The normal mode noise rejection characteristic of the 5306A voltmeter
is similar to that of an Integrating voltmeter. However, the integrating
characteristic comes not from the RC integrator shown in Fig. 4, but
from the frequency counter In the 5300A mainframe. The 5306A merely
converts the incoming voltage V(t). into a directly proportional frequency
f(t). The number displayed by the 5300A mainframe, i.e., the measured
voltage, is the integral of the frequency generated by the V-to-F converter
(within the specified accuracy of the 5306A).
to + G
N(U) = I -R- V(t) dt
where V(t) is the instantaneous input voltage, to is the time the measure
ment starts. G is the counter gate time, and N(t) is the displayed voltage
for a measurement beginning at time t.
To determine the normal mode rejection characteristic of the system,
we would like to find F(s) in the equation
V(s) F(s)
where V(s) is the Fourier transform of V(t), N(s) is the Fourier transform
of N(t), and 1/F(s) is, by definition, the rejection characteristic of the
We begin by noting that the gating of a counter is equivalent to multi
plying at measured function V(t) by 1 during the gate time and zero at
all other times, i.e.. multiplying by the rectangle function r[(t-to)/G-1/2],
r(t, ' ° "' < 1/2
> 1/2
Rewriting equation 1. we have
1 C'f-
N (W = — | V(t)r[(t-to)/G-1/2]dt
= - G " V Â °
J - -K
which is in the form of a convolution of V(t) with n(t) = r(-1/2 — t/G).
Therefore (ref. 2, p. 110)
N(s) = V(s)R,(s)
We would like to thank Ian Band, who provided
technical advice, moral support, and overall guid
ance for the project. We would also like to thank
Bruce Corya for the mechanical design, Steve
Combs for the ac-to-dc converter design, and Larry
Forman, Don Larke, Jim Feagin, and Rey Canio for
successfully bringing the projects into production. S
where Ri(s) is the Fourier transform of n(t). Thus Ri(s) is our F(s) in
equation 2.
To find Ri(s) we start with (ref. 2, p. 128)
R(s) = sin ITS/ITS.
By the similarity theorem (ref. 2, p. 122),
- -
s i n ' - ' r G ps )
s i n ; r G s
and by the shift theorem (ref. 2, p. 122),
r[ - -¿-(t - G/2)] = r(-1/2 - t/G) = n(t)
Thus F(s) =
1. K. ]. Jochim and R. Schmidhauser, "Timer/Counter/
DVM: A Synergistic Prodigy?", Hewlett-Packard Jour
nal, April 1970.
2. R. M. Bracewell, "The Fourier Transform and Its Ap
plications," McGraw-Hill, 1965.
e i 7 T S l .
When charac this yields the familiar cusp-shaped rejection charac
teristic of the integrating voltmeter.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
10V AND 100V RANGE: ±( 003% of range/*C)
1000V RANGE: *( 5% of reading/aC)
INPUT IMPEDANCE: 10 M '..'II <75 pF maximum
COUPLING: ac; max. dc blocking of ±:1000V
HIGH TO LOW: 1000V except on 10V range: on 10V range, 5 x 10
VHz limit with minimum protection of 50V, max 1000V
LOW TO GUARD ±200V dc or peak ac
GUARD TO GROUND *500V dc or 230V at 60 Hz
dc: >80 dB
50 Hz or 60 Hz ±0.1%: >50dB
HP 5306A Multimeter Counter
de Vol tag*
RANGES: ±10V. 2100V. =±1000V
*( 002% of reading/°C + 0002% o' range/'Ci
SAMPLE TIMES: Normal. 0 5 sec; Fast, 0 05 sec
INPUT TERMINALS: Floating pair
INPUT RESISTANCE: 10 M'..', all ranges
ZERO ADJUST: Automatic
dc: >80 dB
50 Hz or 60 Hz ±.1%: >BOdB
NORMAL MODE REJECTION: 50 Hz or 60 Hz r±.1%: >50 dB
HIGH TO LOW: 1 100V dc all ranges
LOW TO GUARD: ±=200V dc or peak ac
GUARD TO GROUND :±500V dc or 240V rms at 50 or 60 Hz
RANGES: 10 kC, 100 «I. 10 M'.:
OVERLOAD PROTECTION: 1000V rms except 10V range. On 10V
range 240V rms limit from 40 Hz to 400 kHz, 10* VHz limit from
400 kHz lo 10 MHz.
NORMAL: 1 sec (1 Hz resolution)
FAST: .1 sec (10 Hz resolution)
ACCURACY: r I count ~ time base accuracy
PRICE IN U.S.A.: $45000
HP 5311 A Digital-to-Analog Converter
Manual pushbuttons to select an/ three consecutive digits or the
last two digits of the 5300A Mainframe display.
Potent i omet ric recorder output: 01V, 10V. or 10V full scale Into
>20 k'..>. Dual banana pluga.
Galvanometer Recorder Output: 1 mA full scale into <1.5 kO.
Phone jack.
 ± 0 2 5 %
CURRENT THROUGH UNKNOWN: 1 mA on 10 kïÃ- range: 100 »* on
o f
r a n g e
 ± 5 0
 « V / * C
o n
p o t e n t l o m e t r l c
o u t p u t ,
 ± 2 0
CALIBRATION: zero and (ull scale calibration switch end adjustments
on rear panel
OPERATING MODES: three modes selectable by switch on rear panel.
•c Voltage
RANGES: 10V, 100V, 1000V
10 k!J RANGE: 240V rms tor 1 mm. 140V rms conlmui
lamp indicates over-voltage condition)
100 k'..', 10M'..' RANGES: 240V rms continuous
ol range)
of reading
Of range)
RANGE: 40 Hz to 10 MHz
40 Hz TO 1 MHz: 50 mV rms Sine wave
1 MHZ to 10 MHz: 125 mV rms sine wave
IMPEDANCE: 1 M'.: on 10V range, 10 M'.J on other ranges
COUPLING: ac; man dc blocking, rtlOOOV
latically adjusted to 40% (nominal) of positive peak
PRICE IN U.S.A.: $295 00
•60 days. 23'C ± 5*C. ^80% RH "Sensitivity lor normal sample time.
5301 Stevens Creek Boulevard
Santa Clara, California 95050
Lewis W. Masters (LEFT)
Lew Masters began his career as a mechanical engineer,
but only worked in that field for a year before switching to
electrical engineering. He received his BS degree in
mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland
in 1 966, then attended the University of California at
Santa Barbara and received his MS in electrical
engineering in 1969. At HP since 1970, Lew has been
involved with the 5300 Measuring System, designing all
or part of three functional modules, including the 5306A
Multimeter/Counter. Lew also designs and builds his own
hi-fi equipment and enjoys making fine furniture for
his home.
P. Thomas Mingle (CENTER)
Tom Mingle, designer of the 5311 A Digital-to-Analog
Converter, received his BS degree in electrical engineering
from Oregon State University in 1968 and his MSEE degree
from Stanford University in 1 969. His HP career dates from
the summer of 1 968 and includes circuit design for the
5326/27 Counters and the 5300A Mainframe, and design
of two functional modules for the 5300 Measuring System
in addition to the 531 1 A. In his spare time Tom serves as
a consultant for a small laser company. His major
non-electronic interests are bridge, snfthall. and
automobiles (he edits the newsletter of the Mazda Owners
Club of America).
James F. Homer (RIGHT)
Jim Horner received his BSEE and MSEE degrees from
Stanford University in 1966 and 1968, then spent two years
in the U.S. Army before joining HP in 1970. After designing
several circuits for the 5326/27 Counters, he took on the
5306A Multimeter/Counter as project leader. As for
hobbies and interests, Jim says he has "many . . . which
take up about 10% of my available non-work time. The
other 90% of this time is spent in the enjoyable activity
of helping my wife raise our two daughters."
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Laser/Calculator System Improves
Encoder Plate Measurements
This in-house system is a good example of
what the right combination of instruments and
calculator can do for measurements. Developed
for acceptance testing of the optical positionencoder plates used in HP moving-head disc drives,
its speed and accuracy have helped improve yields
from the original 20% to the present 90%.
by Glenn O. Herreman
IN AN HP 7900-SERIES Moving Head Disc Drive,
the position feedback needed by the servo system
for rapid, accurate positioning of the flying heads
is provided by an optical position encoder'. The en
coder consists of a glass encoder plate, a reticle, a
light source and a pair of photodetectors. Encoder
accuracy is crucial to the performance of the disc
drive, so every encoder plate must be checked for
accuracy before being installed.
The encoder plate is a glass scale that has a series
of 0.005 inch windows separated by 0.005 inch
spaces (Fig. 1). There are 253 windows and 506 line
edges. The location of every line edge relative to the
centerline average must be accurate within ±tl30
microinches, and the measuring system that checks
this accuracy must be accurate within ±10 microinches.
The system being used to measure the encoder
plates is shown in Fig. 2. It consists of a large tool-
maker's microscope, a photoelectric microscope
tube, an air-motor drive, an HP 5526A Laser Inter
ferometer, an HP 9820A Calculator, and an HP
9862A Plotter. An HP 1205A Oscilloscope monitors
the microscope output. Fig. 3 is a diagram of the
The plate to be measured is mounted on the pre
cision microscope stage. The air motor pushes the
precision stage at a constant speed of 0.007 inch
per second (checked with the velocity mode of the
laser interferometer). The encoder plate passes
under the photoelectric microscope and as each
edge passes the photodetector a pulse is sent to the
laser display. The laser displays the position at that
point and transfers the number to the 9820A Cal
culator, which compares the measured position with
the corresponding nominal position. The deviation
from nominal is then plotted on the 9862A Plotter.
To determine a reference zero, or centerline aver
age, the calculator is programmed to count each
line and take the average of the deviations of lines
#222 through #261. After the last line is inspected
the calculator instructs the plotter to go to this cen
terline average and draw a line back to the begin
ning and then, starting from this reference line, to
draw the upper and lower limit lines. The final in
struction from the calculator is to have the plotter
write the average relative to the starting zero and
the maximum and minimum points relative to the
centerline average.
Fig. 4 shows typical plots for acceptable and un
acceptable plates. Any point falling beyond the
limit lines signals a reject plate.
The entire operation takes about 6Va minutes per
plate and the plot shows at a glance the magnitude
of window-opening deviations as well as the pattern
geometry. HP can easily communicate with the sup
plier simply by sending him the plots so he can see
Fig. 1. Encoder plate has 506 line edges that must be ac
curate within ± 130 pin. The measuring system that checks
the plates must be accurate within ± 10 fiin.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Fig. 2. Measuring system con
sists of too/maker's microscope,
photoelectric microscope tube,
air motor drive, laser interterometer, calculator and plotter. The
oscilloscope is used to monitor
the photoelectric microscope
the problem and make corrections if necessary.
Using this measuring system and working with
the supplier has improved encoder-plate yield from
approximately 20% accept to approximately 90%
How the System Evolved
Originally, encoder plates were checked by a mi
croscope and micrometer measurement. Because of
accuracy and reliability problems the laser inter
ferometer soon replaced the micrometer head for
positional readout. The laser interferometer re
vealed that an operator couldn't reliably and accu
rately set the microscope to a line edge, so the
photoelectric microscope was added. Now a line
edge could be set by nulling a center-zero meter.
At this point the operator manually positioned the
stage with a large micrometer head until he nulled
the meter. The laser display was then manually
printed with a remote switch. It took about 2a/2
hours to manually inspect each line edge and more
time to check the printed tapes.
To speed up the system, an air motor was added
to replace the micrometer head. This made it possi
ble to move at a constant rate of speed and auto
matically print each position, but there still was the
tedious job of interpreting the printed tapes. The
tapes only gave numbers, which weren't easily
translated into a picture of what was happening.
We wanted to know whether the windows were
wide or narrow and we also wanted to know the
shape of the curve — a falling curve indicates a short
(Slide Base)
HP 1205A
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
HP 9862A
Fig. 3. Photoelectric microscope
detects line edge and signals inÃ-c'iC'cmcÃ-c' Ã-c mcssiii's iOcat i on. C alc ul at or c om pa res ac t ual
and nominal locations and plots
+ 130
. 000;
300 I 02
RVRE . 000 I 05
M I N - . 000 I S3
Fig. plate. indicates plots for acceptable plate (top) and reject plate. Rising curve indicates long
pattern and vice versa.
pattern and, conversely, a rising curve indicates a
long pattern. Therefore, the final stage of the evolu
tion was to interface the 9820A Calculator and the
9862A Plotter to the laser interferometer.
Future plans call for replacing the toolmaker's
microscope with an air bearing stage. The system
would then be dedicated to encoder plates and semi
conductor masks.
1. J. E. Herlinger and W. J. Lloyd, "Inside the 7900 Disc
Drive," Hewlett-Packard Journal, May 1972.
Ed Duzowski helped design the system. Dave
Handbury wrote the Calculator/Plotter program,
and Tom Logue has contributed several refinements
to it.5
Calculator with Metrology
Programs Now a Laser Option
Glenn O. Herreman
When Glenn Herreman joined HP as a tool engineer in
1 951 , he already had nine years experience in that field.
With seven more years under his belt, he became a quality
assurance engineer in 1 958, and two years later, gage lab
supervisor. Since 1962 he's been manager of dimensional
metrology. A member of the American Society for Quality
Control, Glenn has taught quality control at a community
college and has authored several articles and papers on
various aspects of metrology. In his spare time he's
worked with many local youth groups, he's an amateur
photographer, and he enjoys auto/trailer travel and fishing.
The Model 9820A Calculator and its peripherals are now
available as options to the Model 5526A Laser Measure
ment System along with a number of specially developed
metrology applications programs. In addition to saving a
significant amount of data reduction time in such applica
tions as surface plate certification and machine tool and
measuring machine calibration, the ability to directly inter
face the Laser Display to the Calculator makes possible
Laser/ Calculator installations on multi-axis coordinate
measuring machines for readout and/or control.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Instrument Basics Without Pain
Engineers and non-engineers in science and
technology have one thing in common: they
need to understand electronic instruments.
Hewlett-Packard's Clyde Coombs has assembled
a book that answers the need.
VANCED, the technology of making mea
surements has increasingly relied on electrical and
electronic methods. This comes about for two rea
sons. First, once information is transformed into
electrical form, it can readily be processed in ways
that will meet the needs of a great variety of indi
vidual situations. Second, most phenomena, such as
temperature, speed, distance, light, sound and pres
sure can be readily transformed into electrical in
dications for processing and interpretation."
The quote is from Frederick E. Terman's "Mea
surement and the Growth of Knowledge," Chapter 1
of the new "Basic Electronic Instrument Handbook"
which has been assembled by Hewlett-Packard's
Clyde F. Coombs, Jr., and published by McGrawHill.
Although the book will be immediately useful
to the electronic engineer as a quick refresher on
any instrument he has not recently used, it will be
invaluable to non-engineers in science and tech
nology to help match needs with instrument capa
bilities. Indeed its greatest usefulness to engineers
may be in improving the quality of their communi
cation with non-engineering colleagues!
With no sacrifice of precision or accuracy [the
distinction between them being drawn by NBS
spokesman Thomas L. Zapf in Chapter 4), the book
dispenses with mathematical exposition beyond al
gebra, and concentrates on the principles upon
which instruments operate and the relations that
exist between them and the subjects they measure.
With these understood, instrument use becomes a
part of the solution rather than a part of the prob
lem before the technologist.
Not that the authors expect to make these matters
plain to those with no knowledge of electronic
fundamentals: the fundamentals are there in the
text. For example, in their chapter on impedance
considerations, K. D. Baker and D. A. Burt of Utah
State University inform the reader, with a casualness that makes the learning easy, that impedance
(Z) is the ratio of the voltage (V) across a circuit to
the current (I) flowing in the circuit. Only two pages
later the reader has learned that ¡Z| = VX2 + R2
and that if impedance is stated in polar form
(¡Z|Z</>), the inverse operation to resistive and re
active components is:
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
R == !Zj cos<¿>
X =: |Z| sin <t>,
where </> is the angle whose tangent is X/R.
Similarly, Eugene L. Mleczko, telling how prob
lems may be solved by instruments in systems,
takes the time to make some nice distinctions be
tween the analog domain and the digital domain:
". . . an analog value cannot be measured exactly,
but only with some degree of precision, because it
is a continuous function. On the other hand, a digi
tal value is discrete or exact, even though it may be
an inexact representation of an analog value of
Of course the 836-page text does not remain at
this fundamental level. Most of it is on the specifics
of instrument capabilities, so the reader can choose
the measuring array that will best serve his needs,
present and future, and use it in such a way that he
can rely on the validity of his findings. How many
times have readings been taken as Total Truth, sim
ply because the instrument-maker is of fine repute,
when there may have been impedance mismatches,
pulse rise-times too fast, or common-mode inter
ference in the set-up? Coombs will have made a
lasting contribution, not only to the peace of mind
of engineers who aid researchers, but perhaps to
science itself if his text prevents many such errors.
All these and many other sources of potential error
are covered by one or another of the twenty-three
authorities Coombs has brought into collaboration.
The National Bureau of Standards' Wilbert F.
Snyder contributes an introduction to the standards
upon which all measurements, electrical and other
wise, are based. Prof. Edwin C. Jones of Iowa State
early in the book establishes what one can expect
of transducers. His colleague, Dr. Donald H. Schus
ter, makes known the principles of signal genera
tion. The mysteries are removed from the art of
measuring current and voltage by HP's Larry Carl
son and Lee Thompson (who design meters for the
purpose) and by Jack Day, once of Tektronix, now
development officer for the Oregon Museum of
Science and Industry. Electronic counters, fre
quency-standard, and timekeeping instruments are
made clear by HP's Marv Willrodt, who has made
a successful life's work of knowing, and answering,
just about every question ever asked about these
Atherton Noyes, variously of Harvard's Cruft
Laboratory, General Radio Company, Aircraft Radio
Corporation, and now of his own consultant firm,
tells how and why frequency synthesizers of the
various types do what they do. Recorders of the
several types are dealt with; X-Y recorders are ex
plained by no one less than a principal inventor in
the field, Francis L. Moseley. Microwave instru
ments are included, authors being HP Microwave
Division project manager Harley L. Halverson and
the distinguished consultant and author, Gershon J.
"This is a book about electronic instruments . . .
not a 'measurements' book," editor Coombs says
in his Preface. ". . . specific measurements are dis
cussed only as examples of applications of the in
struments. It is felt that with a clear understanding
of the instruments themselves and how they work
together, the reader is in the best position to define
his own solution to a measurement problem."
"Basic Electronic Instrument Handbook" is the
title; Clyde F. Coombs, Jr. is editor-in-chief. The
publisher is McGraw-Hill Book Company, New
York, and the price is $28.50. - floss Snyder
Hewlett-Packard Company. 1501 Page Mill
. Road, Palo Alto, California 94304
Bulk Rate
U.S. Postage
JUNE 1973 Volume 24 • Number 10
Technical Information from the Laboratories of
Hewlett-Packard Company
Hewlett-Packard S A CH-1217 Meyrm 2
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