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Azur Electronics

The HP 8170A Logic Pattern Generator is a real time test stimulus for functional checkout of multi-channel logic devices. Data output suitable for 8 or 16 bit data busses is generated from the 1024 x 8 bit programmable memory. Data rate is 20Hz to 2MHz.

The 8170A cost $6,700 in 1987. Option 001 is for Extended Memory 4096 x 8 bit (2048 x 16 bit). Option 002 provides 10 address lines which output the internally generated address.

Front view
Rear view
Top and bottom views with covers removed
February 2008

I bought this 'spares or repair' unit on eBay UK as I wanted it to re-use the push buttons to repair another unit. However on initial inspection it is generally in good condition with just a few bits of trim and the feet missing. Removing the various labels and a good clean up will sort the exterior out.

After taking the covers off, the interior looks complete and clean apart from some minor damage from 2 leaking Ni-Cd batteries. There are 6 removeable pcbs and access to the rest of the parts is very good. Apparently the unit powers up but is not working correctly. When I get time, I will power it up and see what is working. A data sheet is available on the internet but I have not been able to find a Manual. Without this there is not much hope of repairing the unit and testing it properly.

At this stage I'm not sure whether to scrap it for parts or not, much will depend on obtaining an Operating & Service Manual.

December 2009

I have now downloaded the Operating and Service Manual (thanks Mattia). Unfortunately the service information is incomplete.

There are 4 Pods, that can connect to the front panel, that I do not have so testing may be a problem. These are: 15453A Address Input Pod; 15454A Control Pod; 15455A Data Output D7-D0 Pod; 15456A Data Output D15-D8 Pod. In addition, Kits Snap On (11 wires) 15453-68701, (11Wires) 15454-68701 and (10 wires) 15455-68701 are required for the various Pods. Option 002 is supplied with 15452A Address Driver (Output) Pod. These Pods are probably unobtanium!

15455A Data Output Pods
April 2011

Managed to buy on eBay 2 x Pods 15455A and 2 x Kits Snap On, but with only 9 wires for D0 to D7 and GND. These look correct for the 15455A Eight Bit Data Driver Pods. The connection to the 8170A is by 19 way D connectors!

August 2015

Removed all the stickers and cleaned up the panels. Started testing but intermittent contacts between the PCB and Motherboards means some of the edge connectors need replacing due to the batteries leaking, as well as 2 new RAM backup batteries.

Decided to dismantle the 8170A for spare parts as not economic to repair, plus the 8170A was superseded by the 8175A which I have. For details see HP 8170A Parts.