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SmartStream 410 and HP Prime training program

During the last days of August, there will be a meeting in Geneva, organized by HP for the European network, so that professors and educators can be trained in the use of the SmartStream 410 and the Fourier Probes with the HP Prime.

As I have said several times before, this combination is the current equivalent of what we had at the beginning of the eighties with the HP41c and its HP-IL interface. The only thing is that while the interface was extremely slow, the instruments it could connect with were totally professional. I still have before myself a HP 3468A multimeter, a portable device that can be used standalone, but that can be connected through HP-IL to automate readings. I have not used it that way - as I have a similar HP 3478A machine with HP-IB interface, I prefer to connect it with my HP-85A, which has a much friendlier interface, a proper keyboard and a very simple BASIC language. I can even plot graphs of the variable evolutions, which would require yet another device - and give much lower quality.

(When I was at Engineering college I managed to get an HP7225A plotter to be used with the HP85. While it is now regarded as an inferior device compared with the ubiquitous HP7470 (of which I have a unit pending refurbishment), it is the one that stays in my memory. I remember looking at it, mesmerized, while it was plotting the labels with its ugly fonts, at handwriting speed, much noisier than a dot-matrix ribbon printer. I managed to create a small lab in HP-IB, and wish I had kept the plotter too)

The devices associated with the Prime are intended to prepare experiments to be shown in class. I can’t picture a field engineer using these devices in professional use - you can buy hand multimeters and oscilloscopes with much better precision than these. However, for the DIY that needs to do some automated readings, it can be of help, and at a much lower cost than professional alternatives.

My main gripe with the specs is the low sampling rate. We’re not talking megahertz, we’re talking (low) kilohertz, around 5. This precludes it being used as an oscilloscope.

But, as a tool for school teachers to show maths and physics to their kids. I have not received my test samples yet…

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