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HP 5212A Electronic Counter
Kirt's Cogitations™ #302

HP 5212A Electronic Counter Front Panel - RF CafeHP 5212A Electronic Counter Rear Panel - RF CafeThis rare HP 5212A Electronic Counter was found in a second-hand shop sitting in with a bunch of random electronic gear. The "HP" on the front panel piqued my attention, so I carried it to the sales desk and asked the nice lady to plug it in, figuring if the front panel lit up and none of the smoke that makes electronics work leaked out, I'd buy it. It did, it didn't, and I did, respectively. The outside condition is pretty good, with most of the scratches being on the top and bottom. Some oxidation is present on the bare aluminum chassis components, but a little rubbing with a Scotch−Brite pad and some clear lacquer would take care of that. You can order matching paint from numerous suppliers if you want to completely restore the top and bottom covers. The front panel is in very nice condition and really does not need rework. It could easily be restored to museum quality.

If you are a vintage test equipment collector, you are welcome to purchase this HP5212A for a mere $350, and that includes packing and shipping to anywhere in the lower 48 states.

Hewlett-Packard 5212A Electronic Counter Functional Demonstration

The HP 5212A Electronic Counter uses all solid state circuitry - probably one of the first such products from Hewlett-Packard. Its vintage is sometime in the mid 1960's. According to documentation* found on the HPArchive.com website, the maximum calibrated operational frequency is 300 kHz, although my tests show it works up to 550 kHz with sine, square, and triangle waveforms. Both frequency and period can be measured, and there is a cycle counter as well, all of which appear to function properly. The internal reference oscillator was used in my tests, but there is a jack and switch on the rear panel for using an external reference if available. A parallel port plotter / recorder connector is provided on the rear panel, but I did not test it.

* Click here for excerpt I created of just the HP 5212A Electronic Counter portion of the document.

I removed the top, bottom , and side covers and carefully removed all the plug-in printed circuit boards for cleaning. The covers, frame, and front and rear panels were cleaned with Windex. A vacuum cleaner and compressed air got rid of most of the accumulated internal dust (of which there was amazingly very little). CRC QD Electronic Cleaner was sprayed on all the PCB edge contacts and the chassis connectors, and then the PCBs were re-installed. CRC cleaner was also used on the switch contacts and on the external connectors. A careful "sniff test" did not reveal any suspected overheated components. Both fuses were in good condition.

At first I started taking a bunch of photos with a signal generator sitting on top of the HP 5212A Electronic Counter to show good agreement between the modern instrument and the vintage instrument, but then decided that a short video would do a better job.

I have finally listed the HP 5212 Electronic Counter for sale on eBay. Please contact me if you would like to buy it. An extensive search has turned up zero instances of this piece anywhere, so it is likely extremely rare, and therefore valuable to a collector - especially for one in what seems to be excellent working order.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then there are more than 30,000 words worth of descriptions on this page. Enjoy.

 

HP 5212A internal top overview - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal top overview

HP 5212A internal top-front (PCB's removed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal top-front
(PCB's removed)

HP 5212A internal top-rear
(PCB's removed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal top-rear
(PCB's removed)

HP 5212A display PCB's - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A display PCB's 

HP 5212A PCB's - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A PCB's 

HP 5212A rear panel components - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A rear panel components 

HP 5212A power supply - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A power supply

HP 5212A test @ 0.5 Hz - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A test @ 0.5 Hz

HP 5212A test @ 3.4828 kHz - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A test @ 3.4828 kHz

HP 5212A internal top w/open cover - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A internal top
w/open cover

HP 5212A internal bottom-front
(PCB's removed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal bottom-front
(PCB's removed)

HP 5212A internal bottom-rear
(PCB's removed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal bottom-rear
(PCB's removed)

HP 5212A front view (open) - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A front view (open) 

HP 5212A cooling fan - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A cooling fan 

HP 5212A sensitivity PCB's - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A sensitivity PCB's 

HP 5212A function selector switch - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A function selector switch 

HP 5212A test @ 56.089 kHz - RF Cafe

HP 5212A test @ 56.089 kHz

HP 5212A test @ 55.074 kHz - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A test @ 55.074 kHz

HP 5212A test @ 550.46 Hz - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A test @ 550.46 Hz

HP 5212A internal bottom w/open cover - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A internal bottom
w/open cover 

HP 5212A external bottom w/cover - RF Cafe

HP 5212A external bottom w/cover

HP 5212A internal top left
(PCB's installed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal top left
(PCB's installed)

HP 5212A internal top right
(PCB's installed) - RF Cafe

HP 5212A internal top right
(PCB's installed)

HP 5212A left side
(cover off) - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A left side
(cover off)

HP 5212A right side
(cover off) - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A right side
(cover off)

HP 5212A gating neon light - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A gating neon light

HP 5212A test @ 550.53 kHz - RF Cafe

HP 5212A test @ 550.53 kHz

HP 5212A test @ 9.9984 kHz (100.02 μs) - RF Cafe 

HP 5212A test @ 9.9984 kHz
(100.02 μs)

 

 

Posted April 30, 2018

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A huge collection of my 'Factoids' can be accessed from my 'Kirt's Cogitations' table of contents.

Topical Smorgasbord, another manifestation of Factoids, are be found on these pages:

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All pertain to topics that are related to the general engineering and science theme of RF Cafe.

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About RF Cafe
Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster
Copyright: 1996 - 2018
Webmaster:
    Kirt Blattenberger,
    BSEE - KB3UON

RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

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