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HP Test Equipment: How can I "print" to a SD Card?


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I have a couple pieces of test gear that can print directly to a plotter/printer. However, this is not convenient since I want to import the printed images into my PC. That way I can convert the printer file into a JPG and use them in documents. Basically, I want to avoid printing to a hard copy, then scanning the waveform plots into my document scanner.

One device has a GPIB port on it, so I could install a USB<->GPIB interface on the PC. However, the adapters that work reliably with the test equipment are several hundred dollars. Plus, some special software is needed on the PC, which is another cost issue.

So, are there any low cost SD Card interface gadgets that I can attach to the test equipment's GPIB or LPT port to automatically capture the printer files? That way I could save the prints/plots to the SD Card, then easily move the raw files to my PC. Keep in mind that the test equipment is not PC based, so adapters for use in a PC are not going to help.

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but that would be a fun weekend project

Wow, you mean you will have it ready on Monday? :)

I recall you have a HP spectrum analyzer. Other than a digital camera, how are you importing its screen shots into your PC?

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Thanks for the link, I had looked at printcapture a few days ago it's one of my backup plans. But they don't have WIN7 support yet (no release date provided) and I would need to get the GPIB-to-USB gadget, which is a bit expensive.

But, for sure you nailed what I am trying to do! There are a lot of guys with older Tek and HP test devices that are in the same boat as me. I just need to find out how they solved the issue. I'm hoping that there is a low cost magic fix for this that is better than simply using a digital camera.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I ended up with the Prologix GPIB-USB adapter ($160 USD) and installed the freeware "KE5FX GPIB Toolkit" software (easy to setup using the nice Prologix configurator app it provides). Also added a 15-foot USB cable from the WIN-7 engineering PC to the lab work bench. Everything was installed/working in under 20 minutes!

Here's an example plot: It is with a HP spectrum analyzer checking out a 900MHz Low Pass Tx filter.


All I do is press the HP's front panel copy button and my PC displays the plot in about ten seconds. The plot can be saved to disk as a GIF or a variety of other formats. This sure beats using my digital camera!

Another happy ending. :)

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