54501A Oscilloscope

© Brooke Clarke 2002 -2007

HP 54501A digital scope Front
HP 54501A digital scope Rear
The scope  is in a stack of equipment.  The On-Off switch is in the back so it's not as easy to power up.


This was part of the first generation of digital oscilloscopes.  The following quote is from an Agilent (formerly the Test & Measurement division of HP) paper on the use of microprocessors in instruments.
"Oscilloscopes have had a "bumpy ride" as microprocessors have been incorporated into their design. The first generation of programmable oscilloscopes had a bland front panel with several pushbuttons and one control knob. This was an excellent design concept if the instrument was only ever going to be operated using a computer, but if it was to be operated manually the multilayer menus were so different from the traditional analogue instrument that few engineers were able to operate them efficiently."
This quote applies to all of the 54500 series HP scopes.
54501A   10 MSa/s   4-Channel
54502A 400 MSa/s 2-Channel
54503A   20 MSa/s
54520A 500 MSa/s 2-Channel
54522A 500 MSa/s 2-Channel
54540A 500 MSa/s 4-Channel
54542A 500 MSa/s 4-Channel
54505B 300 MHz 2-Channel
54506B 300 MHz 2-Channel
54510B 300 MHz 2-Channel
54512B 300 MHz 2-Channel

Computer Control

The scope does have an IEEE-488.0 interface to allow computer control.  It also has the ability to so a screen dump to a printer using the IEEE-488 buss, but this type of printer was obsoleted by the PC style printers that run from a parallel port, and later also a serial port.  There are National Instruments has instrument drivers available for use with LabVIEW.


54501-90901 Operation
54501-90907 Programming
54501-90910 Service
54501-90903 Supplement to Service
9320-5776  Feeling Comftorable with Digitizing Oscilloscopes guide
5958/-0351 Getting Started Guide
Main Board 54501-69501 exchange, 54501-66501 new, photo -
military cabinet  54503-60002 - Parts for -
cabnet standard 54503-60003 - parts for -

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