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Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


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 World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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Simpson Electric Company Vacuum Tube Volt-Ohmmeter
November 1949 Radio-Electronics Article

November 1949 Radio-Electronics

November 1949 Radio-Electronics Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Electronics, published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Those of us old enough to remember the classic Simpson volt-ohmmeter (VOM) from the 1970s will look at this 1949 model appearing in Radio-Electronics magazine and probably not notice much if any difference. The basic case design is similar and it appears to be about the same physical size. The selector switches and potentiometer knobs look familiar as well. The primary difference is what is inside - a vacuum tube rather than a field-effect transistor (FET). The Simpson Model 303 is a vacuum tube voltmeter (VTVM - actually a VTVOH). Prior to the availability of FETs with their very high input impedance characteristic (10 MΩ or greater), a vacuum tube input stage was needed to isolate the device (or circuit) under test (DUT) from the relatively low impedance of the resistor-based volt-ohm meter (VOM - as with the Simpson Model 260) meter circuitry. The problem is that a low VOM impedance relative to the DUT results in erroneously low meter movement displays due to the voltage divider effect. For instance if a DUT has an output potential of 1 V and an output impedance of 10 kΩ, and the internal resistance of the meter on the selected voltage scale is also 10 kΩ, then what would otherwise be shown on the VOM as 1 V would appear as 0.5 V instead. If you read some of the vintage magazine articles posted on RF Cafe, the authors admonish against discounting test equipment internal resistance lest measurements be skewed and the wrong result is assumed.

Simpson Electric Company Vacuum Tube Volt-Ohmmeter Ad

Simpson Electric Company Vacuum Tube Volt-Ohmmeter, November 1949 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeSimpson

Instruments That Stay Accurate

Presents the New! Model 303

Vacuum Tube Volt-Ohmmeter

... A Worthy Companion of the 260


Smaller and Handier for Greater Portability

A worthy companion of the world-famous Model 260 is this brand new addition to the Simpson line - the Model 303!

Skilled Simpson engineers spent months of painstaking research in the laboratory to produce the Model 303, which is one of the most versatile instruments ever made for TV servicing. This ruggedly constructed instrument offers the maximum in portability because it is approximately 60% smaller than other vacuum tube volt-ohmmeters. However, no sacrifice has been made in read-ability. The 303 has a large 4 1/2" meter, despite its handy compactness.

One of the many features of the 303 is its low current consumption. The AC voltage range is wider than on any other similar instrument - from 1.2 volts minimum to 1,200 maximum. Like all other instruments bearing the Simpson name, the Model 303 is an instrument of highest quality at an amazingly low price.

Simpson Electric Company

5200-5218 West Kinzie Street; Chicago 44, Illinois

In Canada: Bach-Simpson, Ltd., London, Ontario



Posted December 1, 2021

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