HP 3390A Integrator


Anyone ever run into one of these gadgets? I saw one listed on eBay and it looks a bit like a lab calculator. From what I could find on google, it is used to integrate measurements from other equipment in a chemistry lab. My curiosity was triggered because I've been doing some reading on mechanical differential analyzers, the 1930s version of a scientific calculator.


I have a similar one, a HP 3392A, but without any documentation. It seems, you can do with the device alone not much, besides running the self test. There there are three multi pin connectors at the back for the connection of some other device and a HP-IL interface

The case is very difficult to open, it is probably impossible to do this without traces. Inside there are several microcontrollers (i8031, SCN8051, D8049), most of the circuits are LS-TTL. There is also at least one circuit made by HP. It has the "name" ILB3-0003 and may be a controller for the HP-IL interface.

The device for itself is not too exciting, but the parts may be handy someday. ;-)



Yes, the 1LB3-0003 is an HPIL controller/interface. It's the one used in just about all the HPIL peripherals...


I think, I still have one, I don´t need anymore...
It´s free but you have to catch it here in Switzerland



This device controls an HP Gas Chromatograph (GC), and I would imagine that it is usless without it. As you may know, GC is a technique for analyzing the components of chemical mixtures. For example, you can get the exact proof value of your beer or vodka to six digits because it measures the ratio of ethanol to the other components. It is also used for measuring drug levels in blood, the amount of greenhouse gases in air, and the components of crude oil. GC is a time-dependent process. The chemist enters a "program" into the integrator that instructs the chromatograph to change its temperature in different zones at different times. A program can last for seconds or for an hour depending on the nature of the mixture. This controls the resolution of each of the components in the mixture. The chromatograph returns a raw signal back to the integrator, a DC voltage that indicates the strength of the signal in the chromatograph's detector. Curves (chemists call them "peaks") are drawn, having the signal on the Y axis and the time on the X axis. The integration happens when it calculates the area under each of the curves. The area under each curve corresponds to the proportion of one of the substances in the mixture. Your integrator can be programmed (in a different sense) to print a tabulated report of all the components of interest and their proportions in the mixture. This model also controls an optional robot arm that pulls samples out of a tray. You can set up a hundred samples to run overnight and pick up a hundred printed reports in the morning.

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