[time-nuts] hp 54600a and rs-232

Collins, Graham CollinG at navcanada.ca
Tue Apr 22 11:21:22 UTC 2014

While only related to time nuttery in the sense of the hp 54600a being an instrument (oscilloscope) which we nuts might use make some meaningful measurements, I am hoping that members of this list vast knowledge of many such instruments may be able to help or at least point me in the right direction.

I recently obtained a hp 54600a digital oscilloscope in very good condition and while not a modern whiz bang high bandwidth and high speed instrument it is quite capable and compliments my old Tektronix 5440 scope quite nicely.

My 54600a has the basic RS-232 interface module which seems to work OK. I am able to select "print screen" and send data from the scope to an HP plotter or printer - computer actually which collects the data stream and converts the hgl data into a png file using a simple script.

However, my attempts at getting the scope to respond to commands via the RS-232 serial interface are for naught. I am using a USB to RS-232 converter and an appropriate null modem cable. I don't have a proper serial port to try however.

When I send commands to the scope it will display "framing error" or "overrun" or "rs-232 error (113)" or "rs-232 error (118)" (I can't find either error code listed in the hp documents).

Being able to capture a "screen dump" is my primary concern and I am able to do so, controlling the scope via rs-232 as I might using a gpib/hpib interface is only secondary  but still, it would be nice to know why my limited attempts have so far not worked.

Ideas? Comments? Suggestions?

Cheers, Graham ve3gtc

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