Shaun Merrigan's Information Pages



BK Precision 879B LCR Meter Repair

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Electronics, Test Equipment. Comments Off on BK Precision 879B LCR Meter Repair

3rd January

The BK Precision 879B is a good quality, dual display 40,000 count LCR (inductance, capacitance, resistance) meter with 0.1% basic accuracy. It was first manufactured in 2010 and is still available (2021) for around $420 Cdn. I purchased mine several years ago and find it very convenient and easy to use.

BK Precision 879B

Things I like about the 879B:

Open/short calibration completes very quickly as opposed to the DE 5000Decent quality Kelvin clips and smd tweezers40,000 counts for extra accuracyVery good accuracy when compared to my HP4263ALong battery lifeEasy to use menu system and quick setup

A common problem with these units is the lack of robust input protection. What this means is that if you forget to discharge a sufficiently large capacitor and attempt to test it, you will damage the front end of the meter which will … Read More »


RIFA Safety Capacitor Replacement in HP Gear

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Electronics, Restoration, Test Equipment. Comments Off on RIFA Safety Capacitor Replacement in HP Gear

3rd January

In a previous post, I had documented the condition of several RIFA Y Safety capacitors, showing clearly the cracked condition of the outer case. This condition is a precursor to the well documented failure of this style of RIFA capacitor. Reportedly, these problems have been solved since Kemet squired RIFA in 2007. Of course the equipment which contains these potentially failing capacitors is typically older than 2007.

For example, I recently replaced six (two from each instrument) of these capacitors from the following equipment:

HP 3245A (1992)HP3245A (1992)HP 3458A (1989)

HP 3245A (1992) Original RIFA Safety Capacitors. The line filter is on the bottom right.

HP 3458A (1989) Original RIFA Safety Capacitors. The line filter cutout is on the bottom right.

Each and every RIFA Safety Capacitor I removed from this equipment showed cracks in the case.

Cracked RIFA … Read More »


Hickok 209A VTVM Restoration Part 7

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Electronics, Restoration, Test Equipment. Comments Off on Hickok 209A VTVM Restoration Part 7

3rd January

I have completed the electrical restoration of one Hickok 209A VTVM. This included:

Replacing all the paper and electrolytic capacitorsReplacing all the carbon composition resistors (most were out of tolerance)Installing a polarized AC plug, line fuse and proper safety capacitorReplacing the meter movement (original was mechanically damaged)Rebuilding and restoring the battery holderBalancing the bridge tube resistorsGiving the unit a full check on all modes and ranges

With all of the above complete I can declare the unit ready to use. The cabinet still needs to be cleaned and refinished, but that will have to wait until warmer weather arrives and I can work outside.

The results of my testing were very interesting. I used my lab equipment (see below) to check the 209A on all of its ranges and modes (with the exception of the decibel range). … Read More »