Hewlett packard function generators: a comprehensive guide

Function generators are essential electronic test equipment used in various industries, including electrical engineering, telecommunications, and research laboratories. They are designed to generate different types of electrical waveforms over a wide range of frequencies. One of the leading manufacturers of function generators is Hewlett Packard (HP), known for its high-quality and reliable equipment. In this article, we will explore the features, applications, and specifications of Hewlett Packard function generators.

Content Index

What is a Function Generator?

A function generator is an electronic test equipment used to generate electrical waveforms. It can produce a variety of waveforms, including sine waves, square waves, triangular waves, and sawtooth waves. These waveforms can be either repetitive or single-shot, depending on the requirements of the application. Function generators are widely used in the development, testing, and repair of electronic equipment.

Principles of Operation

A function generator works by generating a triangular waveform, which serves as the basis for all other output waveforms. This triangular waveform is produced by charging and discharging a capacitor from a constant current source. As the voltage reaches upper or lower limits, the charging or discharging is reversed using a comparator, resulting in a linear triangle wave. By adjusting the current and capacitor size, different frequencies can be obtained.

In addition to triangular waveforms, function generators can also produce square waves with different duty cycles. Some function generators include a diode shaping circuit, which can convert the triangular wave into a reasonably accurate sine wave by rounding off the corners.

Hewlett Packard Function Generators

Hewlett Packard (HP) is a renowned manufacturer of electronic test equipment, including function generators. HP function generators are known for their accuracy, reliability, and wide range of features. They offer a comprehensive range of models to suit different applications and budgets.

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HP function generators typically offer the following specifications:

  • Produces sine, square, triangular, sawtooth, and pulse output. Some models can also generate arbitrary waveforms.
  • Wide frequency range, ranging from a few hertz to several megahertz.
  • Frequency stability of 0.1 percent per hour for analog generators or 500 ppm for digital generators.
  • Maximum sinewave distortion of about 1% for analog generators, while arbitrary waveform generators have distortion less than -55 dB below 50 kHz and less than -40 dB above 50 kHz.
  • Some models can be phase-locked to an external signal source or another function generator.
  • Output amplitude up to 10 V peak-to-peak, with adjustable amplitude and DC offset voltage.
  • Output impedance of 50 Ω, suitable for driving various loads.


HP function generators have a wide range of applications in the electronics industry. They are commonly used for:

  • Testing and troubleshooting electronic circuits.
  • Signal source for amplifier testing.
  • Introducing error signals into control loops.
  • Working with analog circuits.

Function generators are particularly useful in applications where low distortion or stable frequency signals are not required. For applications that require more precise signals, other signal generators may be more suitable.

Hewlett Packard function generators are widely recognized for their accuracy, reliability, and comprehensive range of features. They are essential tools in the development, testing, and repair of electronic equipment. Whether you are working in electrical engineering, telecommunications, or research, an HP function generator can provide the waveforms and frequencies you need for your applications. With their wide range of specifications and applications, HP function generators are a valuable asset in any electronic test environment.

Q: What is the difference between a function generator and a pulse generator?

A: A function generator is used to generate various types of waveforms, including sine waves, square waves, triangular waves, and sawtooth waves. It is primarily used for working with analog circuits. On the other hand, a pulse generator is used to generate rectangular pulses and is primarily used for working with digital circuits.

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Q: Can a function generator generate white or pink noise?

A: Some function generators have the capability to generate white or pink noise in addition to the standard waveforms. This feature can be useful in certain applications, such as audio testing or noise analysis.

hewlett packard function generator - What is the difference between a pulse generator and a function generator

Q: What is the frequency range of Hewlett Packard function generators?

A: The frequency range of HP function generators varies depending on the model. They can cover a wide range of frequencies, typically from a few hertz to several megahertz.

  • [1] Wikipedia. function generator. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_generator
  • [2] Wikipedia. hewlett-packard. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hewlett-Packard
  • [3] Keysight Technologies. function generators and arbitrary waveform generators. https://www.keysight.com/us/en/assets/7018-00324/application-notes/5992-0650.pdf

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. The information provided here does not constitute professional advice. Please consult the manufacturer's documentation and specifications for accurate information about Hewlett Packard function generators.

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