Category Archives: Equipment

Specifications and Features Now Showing in Used-Line Listings

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You’ve seen our T&M Specifications page, haven’t you? Well, it just got smarter. We added behind-the-scenes instruments that don’t necessarily fit into the T&M Specifications categories, but that do show up under ads in Used-Line listing categories.

Ok, we can hear you saying now: What are they talking about?

So, let’s explain.

Here’s how it usually works.

If you visit our Specs page, you’ll find 31 Test & Measurement Categories in which you can perform two tasks:

  • Check and compare product specs.
  • Find a particular model’s listings on Used-Line.

Let’s choose Signal Generators, for example. You view a table of (currently) 426 models and their specs, such as frequency ranges and output power.

Signal Generator Specifications

Signal Generators Specs on Used-Line T&M Specs page.

So, let’s pick one. We’ll select the Spanawave (formerly Giga-tronics) 2550B. When we click through we land on a page showing the specifications and a description of the 2550B. (Scroll up to view the 2550B product listings.)

That is the usual case.

Now, what happens if you want to view the specs of an item that we have not showcased on our T&M Specifications page?

What about a resistor, for example?

A pile of old resistors

Resistor, anyone?

A resistor?! You’re right. We do not have a special category for resistors in our T&M Specifications, but we do have the following categories in Used-Line’s listings of resistors ads:

Now, let’s go to Used-Line and search for a Guildline Instruments 9330, a standard resistor whose design meets the need to reduce the typical sources of errors found in older designs – that is:

  • Temperature coefficients
  • Thermal and electrical time constraints
  • Thermal EMF’s
  • Voltage and power coefficients

Scroll to the bottom of the 9330 listing results and what do you see?! A paragraph discussing the  specifications and features of the 9330 based on the manufacturer’s description!

Now you’re not going to find descriptions of every single product that is advertised for sale on Used-Line.

Yet!

But we’re working on it!

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Used-Line Has Chosen its First Dealer of the Month: Congratulations MATsolutions!

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The Used-Line Test Community Has Chosen!

MATsolutions is the Dealer of the Month.

DoftheM

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Used-Line’s Test Community voted for you because of your customer service, honesty, and reliability!

Since 1992, MATsolutions has delivered the assurance our clients need when acquiring, maintaining, and managing high quality reconditioned test and measurement equipment. MATsolutions purchases, sells, rents, and leases equipment from over 50 manufacturers and specializes in Agilent (Keysight), Tektronix, Rohde & Schwarz, Anritsu, and Fluke products. We also provide expert test equipment calibration and repair services in our state-of-the-art ISO 17025 Accredited Laboratory. MATsolutions can provide a repair solution to maintain older test platforms beyond the OEM end of service period.

MATsolutions Products

on Used-Line.com

Fluke 5720A

Fluke 5720A

Agilent/Keysight N9010A

Agilent/Keysight N9010A

Agilent/HP E8257D

Agilent/HP E8257D

More Products from MATsolutions

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New Feature: Only Show Listings With Images

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When you browse Used-Line.com for equipment, you can now choose to view only those listings that include images.

Click the image below to view the highlighted “Only show ads with images” icon and the different results that you’ll get when you click it. Note also the change in the number of the results shown.

The default is to show all ads.

Choose to view all listings, or only those that include images.

Choose to view all listings, or only those that include images.

 

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Used-Line Statistics: Most Requested Equipment in November 2014

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  • E5071C ENA ⇒ Agilent (Keysight) ⇒ Network Analyzer
  • CMA3000 ⇒ Anritsu ⇒ All-In-One Field Tester
  • E4440A ⇒ Agilent (Keysight) ⇒ Spectrum Analyzer
  • N9010A EXA ⇒ Agilent (Keysight) ⇒ Signal Analyzer
  • 805C ⇒ Agilent HP ⇒ Slotted Line
  • TDS1012B ⇒ Tektronix ⇒ Digital Storage Oscilloscope
  • 85052B ⇒ Agilent (Keysight) ⇒ Standard Mechanical Calibration Kit
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Handheld Spectrum Analyzer Competes with Benchtops

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Frequency coverage from the Anritsu MS2720T gets as good as 9 kHz to 43 GHz in model MS2720T-0743, the high end of this series of spectrum analyzers, which starts at its lower end (in terms of frequency) with a model that boasts a continuous frequency range of 9 kHz to 9 GHz. Not too shabby. Launched in December, 2012, this almost two-years-on-the-market handheld could well compete with today’s benchtop analyzers (without external mixers) in the frequency specification department.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the other specs associated with this instrument:

  • Resolution Bandwidth from 1 Hz to 10 MHz
  • Sweep mode speeds: Allow a resolution bandwidth of 30 kHz to 10 MHz with almost no impact on sweep speed
  • Dynamic range is >106 dB in 1 Hz bandwidth at 2.4 GHz
  • DANL is -160 dBm in 1 Hz bandwidth at 1 GHz (preamp on)
  • Phase noise is -104 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset at 1 GHz
  • Option of tracking generators from 100 kHz to 20 GHz (full-band)

Read more in the Used-Line T&M Specs pages as well as in the Related Articles below. Do check out the many capabilities available as options for the MS2720T. Not only all the signal analysis packages that a wireless engineer may need for the various data rates of carriers, but a vast selection of analyzers, such as power meter, channel scanner, GPS Receiver, and Interference Analyzer are available as options.

Used Anritsu MS2720T | used-line.comThe Spectrum Master™ MS2720T series provides field technicians and engineers with performance that rivals a benchtop spectrum analyzer. The MS2720T features a touchscreen, full-band tracking generators to 20 GHz, and best-in-class performance for dynamic range, DANL, phase noise, and sweep speed, providing unprecedented levels of spectrum monitoring, hidden signal detection, RF/microwave measurements, and testing of microwave backhauls and cellular signals.

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Anritsu suggests that this spectrum analyzer, at 8 pounds “fully loaded” is light enough to take up a tower. Well, you’re not going to get me up any tower, thank you very much, with or without a handheld spectrum analyzer.

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: P.Naumann)

I do have quite a bit of trouble picturing an RF engineer making his way up the CN Tower, for example, with a benchtop instrument, so there must be some brave engineers who scale the heights – with their handhelds!

If it was I who had the responsibility of handling this instrument, I would be very much inclined to avail myself of the Anritsu Remote Access Tool, which lets the user sit in the comfort of his lab or office while controlling the spectrum analyzer over a LAN connection, and analyze data with the Anritsu Master Software Tools – in-between his sips of coffee.

But then some folks are made for reaching for the sky, and others are not.

Anritsu webpage for Spectrum Master MS2720T

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Chickens and the Unbroken Chain of Calibration

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A recent discussion in the LinkedIn group, Metrology & Test Measurement, on the “unbroken chain of calibration” has driven me to hone in on my personal understanding of measurement uncertainty. I am ashamed to say that I know virtually nothing (0 ±0.0031415929) about calibration despite having worked as an electronics technician in the ’90’s. My excuse is that ISO 9xxx only hit the repair floor in the ’90’s. (Well, that’s why it was called ISO 9000.)  But the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), which predates the National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.) by 87 years, has been around since 1901.

logo of National Institute of Standards and Te...

Logo of National Institute of Standards and Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the NBS was predated by the International Bureau of Weight and Measures (BIPM in French). In any case, I’m not quite sure how to connect ISO 9xxx with calibration. It must come into it somewhere. All I remember was what kind of shoes to wear and grounding rules. I guess you could say that my uncertainty around these topics is not measurable or traceable!

How do we arrive at an unbroken chain when it comes to metrology? Let’s go to the start of the chain. We will use N.I.S.T. for discussion purposes but really it applies to any of the international organizations that set standards for metrology.

  1. We start with a reference point. This is a universally known measurement value of a particular measurable event. For example, the melting point of ice. (N.I.S.T uses a thermometer as an example on their website.)
  2. This reference is used as a standard by N.I.S.T. I assume that means that a correctly calibrated thermometer will measure – well, I’m not sure exactly what it will measure. It is close to 0 degrees Centigrade. There are various factors that can determine the temperature, such as atmospheric pressure and the purity of the actual water that the ice is composed of. The point is – a standard is set that will be used to begin the chain. This standard is the reference that all other measurements down the chain are going to be traced back to.
  3. Going down the chain, we compare the measurements of the next instrument to be checked against the N.I.S.T. measurement , then document the differences in the results. Depending on the conditions of the measurement, we can make the necessary adjustments needed to arrive at the most accurate measurement but can never be absolutely certain of a true value. Like much of life, we do our best. The “best” is a range of values that approximates the value of the N.I.S.T standard. This range of values is the range of uncertainty. You know that somewhere in this range, lies the true value and if you calibrate an instrument to show results within this range, you should be able to certify your instrument as calibrated according to the standard. If along the way, you lose the reference, your instrument cannot be considered to be calibrated according to the N.I.S.T. standard.

I know! This is a rather crude, simplistic explanation of the process. I “did my best”!

I got further confused after my visit to the supermarket today. They had fresh whole chickens on sale with a limit of 6 Kg per customer. For the customer’s convenience, a scale was placed near the chickens, allowing the customer to verify the total weight of his selection. The trick was to see whether you could get four chickens for 6 Kg, despite the average weight of 1.55 Kg per chicken. You do the math now. It seemed a shame to buy only three chickens and thus not take full advantage of this special sale. Four chickens were over 6 Kg and three were under by quite a bit.

Chicken

Photo credit: P. Naumann

Well, I came pretty close. I managed to find two smaller looking birds and my total weight on the scale (when last was it calibrated, I wonder?) was 6.14 Kg. I went over to the poultry supervisor and told him that I was a little over the maximum weight allowed, and with a smile on his face, he said, “That’s fine.”

<!–Here’s the moral of my little story–>: The more accurate our measurements are, the more honest we can be in our relationships with customers, clients, and other businesses. However, sometimes in life a little uncertainty goes a long way when it comes to give-and-take with others. <!–End of moralizing–>

Of interest:

 

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Three Ways to View Power Analyzers on Used-Line.com

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Do you know that there are at least three ways (maybe there are more) to view Power Analyzers on Used-LIne.com? Of course, the same applies to many of the other categories on Used-LIne. But today we are going to focus on just one instrument category – power analyzers – for illustrative purposes.

These three paths all serve different purposes. Used-Line has so much to offers its visitors!

1. View Power Analyzer Listings

Let’s talk about listings first because this is why a potential buyer of a power analyzer will visit Used-Line.com.

How do you find power analyzer listings on Used-LIne?
Well, I could send you the Used-Line Help manual. No. Let’s be honest. Which of our users really need help finding equipment listings on our website?

You probably fit into one of the following four user profiles:

  1. You are a frequent visitor to Used-Line and have been for years, and could probably give a class on how to navigate our website.
  2. You’ve been keeping up with our blog (you have, haven’t you?), and have learned all the tips and tricks for browsing equipment on Used-LIne.
  3. This is your first visit to the Used-Line website. You are in the market for a power analyzer and your favorite search engine brought you here.
  4. You have no interest in power analyzers or in test equipment in general. You simply enjoy reading this blog!

Profile 1: You know what you’re doing.
Profile 2: You’ve learned what to do.
Profile 3: Used-Line developers have made searching on Used-LIne such a cinch, there is no need for instruction.
Profile 4: Keep on reading!

So, no instructions needed – only a link: Used-Line Power Analyzer Ads.

Now that you’ve seen the listings, how about some descriptions of the various power analyzers that are listed?

Which takes us to Used-Line’s specifications pages for test and measurement equipment.

2. View Power Analyzer Specifications

If you followed the link to the power analyzer listings on Used-Line, you will have noted that there are 871 listings (as of today’s date)! Of course, you may have already decided which model you want, or you are a dealer looking for a specific manufacturer’s analyzer for one of your customers. But, what if you’d like to know a little more about a particular model? Or you want to check specs and features of a number of models before making your purchasing decision? What kind of power analyzer operation modes are essential to your work environment? Is harmonics measurement a must-have feature?

In other words, you would like to learn more about what types of analyzers are available and drill down into some specific characteristics about the various models in the market.

Here’s what you can do:

    1. Visit Used-Line’s T&M Specifications pages.
    2. Choose Power Analyzers.
    3. Browse the analyzers if you wish, then select one that you are interested in, for example, the discontinued Fluke 435. And here it is.
      Used Fluke 435 | used-line.comFind your used Fluke 435 Power Analyzer at used-line.com, the Online Marketplace for used Test and Measurement equipment.

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And here’s the best part! After studying the specs and features of the Fluke 435, you may decide this is just what you have been looking for. Scroll up the very page you landed on to view the Fluke 435 features description and you will find all the current Fluke 435 listings on Used-Line.

3. View the Power Analyzer Glossary

Yes, Used-Line actually provides a glossary of terms. Most, but not all the terms, are key specifications organized by instrument. Figuring that most of our users are familiar with the specs of the instruments they are interested in, we’ve hidden the glossary in the small fine print that can be found at the bottom of each page. Go ahead and see if you can find it. You just never know when you may need to look up a spec description while browsing our listings. Let our glossary get you started on your search for specification definitions. In case you don’t have a magnifying glass on hand, here’s the link. Of course, you want the Power Analyzer glossary, so that in case you were losing sleep wondering what Total Interharmonic Distortion really is, click below to find your answer.

Power Analyzer Glossary Terms | used-line.comA power analyzer, also known as an energy analyzer, is an electronic device that measures single-phase or three-phase electrical energy as it flows through a circuit or is distributed through electronic or motorized equipment. Electrical measurements commonly taken with a power analyzer include volts, amps, watts, frequency, reactive power hours, maximum power, phase angles and harmonic distortion.

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And you thought that Used-Line is just a market place for pre-owned hi-tech and scientific equipment?! Of course, it’s that! And much, much more.

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Used-Line Tip: Searching for a Specific Model

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Do you ever find that because some equipment model numbers are so ubiquitous, when you search for them on your favorite search-engine or on Used-Line, they will return way too many results, most of them will not be connected to what you had in mind, and the model you were trying to find will only show up on page 7 of the results?

Of course, if you search for model Z3RA29-56L3 (not a real model number as far as I know), you are very likely to find what you are searching for on page 1 of 1. However if you search for model 123  (this is a real model number) on Used-Line, 300+ results could be returned, with a very low relevancy in terms of your personal search. The reason: Many manufacturers name their equipment models using numbers that include 123 in this exact sequence. Examples: 123, 12338, 1232A, 1230T, 123R, SPS-1230, 102-123, and so on.

As you must realize, searching for a model number made up of numbers exclusively – no letters – makes matters worse. The descriptions and synopses that accompany your results may contain your model number in a price tag or even in a specification. Take a look at this Used-Line listing for a Tektronix 492 spectrum analyzer, which showed up in the results of my search for a 123 Fluke ScopeMeter.

Search result based on specs in listing description.

Search result based on specs in listing description.

Do you see why my search pulled in this listing? The amplitude range is –123 dBm to +40 dBm.

So, what to do about this?

Well, you can code some new search algorithms and send them along with your resume to the recruiting department of your favorite search-engine.

Or, you can fiddle with various settings in your search engine to train it to guess what you are looking for. And, of course, in some search engines, you can use an advanced search function to search for an exact term. But this all takes a few steps.

So, take a look at what our developers at Used-Line have done to make searching a cinch.

Used-Line has reduced the number of steps typically required to narrow down a search –  to a single click. Here is how it works. We will use model 123 as an example.

Used-Line drop-down list for model #123 search

Drop-down list for model #123 search

  1. In the menu bar near the top of any page on Used-Line, start typing 123 in the text box that is prefilled with the words, Find Category or Model#.
  2. Wait for a second or less to view a drop-down list of all the models on Used-Line that contain the number 123, such as SEM123D, 1123A, 212359, and 011-0123-00.
  3. Select model number 123 from the list.

What we have actually done here is to select a specific model. When we previously searched for a 123 and simply waited for the results to come in, the system returned the 300+ models on Used-Line that contain the number, 123. Now, after picking the specific model number, 123, from a selection of suggested model numbers, the system returned 20 models – all exactly what we were searching for. Not only has our search been narrowed down – it has zoomed right into what we were looking for.

No more clicking back and forth between pages and pages of irrelevant search results.

Now you give it a try!

 

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What to Consider when Purchasing a Digital Multimeter

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The Digital Multimeter (DMM) is the most fundamental test and measurement instrument in the electronic technician kit or engineer’s lab bench. It provides a number of functions, the most common being resistance, voltage and current. Secondary functions can include temperature, induced current, low frequency measurement, and other routine tests needed to troubleshoot circuits.

DMM types

Many technicians use more than one digital multimeter, as they tend to be designed to suit a particular purpose in various environments. A DMM used in a clean room or laboratory is totally unsuitable for use in an outdoor environment or under harsh or hazardous conditions. In practical use, the DMM may need to be operated while wearing gloves during an ice storm, or may need to be handheld, extremely compact, and lightweight for portability. They can be rack mounted in a semi-permanent installation to be in close proximity to equipment that needs to be constantly monitored.

Here is an example of a DMM that can operate in temperatures below -40°C: The Agilent U1273AX.

U1273AX Specifications and FeaturesLearn more about the various features and specifications for the U1273AX.

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DMM accuracy standards

Some DMMs are functional and practical, even without routine regular calibration certification. When the tolerance of a resistor may be 10% or 20%, a DMM accurate within 3% is generally sufficient. In the days of analog D’Arsonval meters, parallax distortion and the vagaries of electromechanical movement could result in erroneous readings near 2 to 3%. DMMS are far more stable and immune to misinterpretation of the readout.

 DMM longevity

DMMs have a relatively high attrition rate. This is the result of multiple meters required by each technician in the field and not so much a failure of an instrument. DMMs are designed to be used hundreds of times a day, both in laboratory and field conditions. Field equipment is often subject to abuse from impact of a dropped instrument to total immersion in water and similar environmental hazards. Laboratory equipment needs to be replaced as technologies advance and evolve.

DMM features

DMMs are basically the same instrument, regardless of the make or model. What distinguishes one from another are cosmetic appearance and the user interactive interfaces. Each of these differences are highlighted as features. Not every meter can have every feature; it is up to the technician to know which configuration on a DMM is optimal for any given situation.

DMM advanced or enhanced features

Some typical enhancements include dual displays, RS-232, USB or IEEE computer interfaces, audible alarms or tone feedback, which enables the technician to keep his eyes on the device under test rather than on the meter. High-priced options include very tight measurement tolerances. Some enhancements can include backlit LCD displays, as opposed to LED displays. Induced current “clamp meters” and similar exterior measurement accessories are usually optional, but may be included as a part of a package. Some features include hold and store min/max readings, auto-ranging or auto-sensing circuitry and similar hands-free operation. If multiple and various readings are necessary, these features can offer a vast improvement over manual ranging and repeated button-pushing to change DMM settings.

Here is a DMM with a USB host port on the front panel: The Tektronix DMM4040.

DMM4040 Specifications and FeaturesLearn more about the various features and specifications for the DMM4040.

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 Advantages of used DMMs

Of course, this is where Used-Line comes into the story. Leasing companies, larger companies employing scores of technicians, or smaller small- to medium-sized businesses seeking to stay within tight budgets can be well-served by considering procurement of used and re-certified, discontinued models or factory-refurbished DMMs. This is a cost-effective solution that will serve the company now and into the future. All technicians have particular makes and models of test instruments that they have high-confidence with using every day. In field applications, many techs prefer Fluke and Simpson meters for their ruggedness, durability and useful features without resorting to gimmicks or unnecessary bells-and-whistles. Given that some DMMs can cost over $10,000, depending on the degree of precision and accuracy required, buying used or as-new discontinued instruments can make or break a budget.

 Selecting the right DMM

Choose the best quality instrument that meets your need. With higher-priced test equipment it is a wise idea to lease an instrument to ensure its suitability to the task. Realize that equipment turn-over for many of the top leasing companies is due to deprecating features or advancing technology. Leasing companies frequently sell their equipment to used-line.com clients in sufficient quantities to make offering them at steep discounts possible, with no sacrifice to name-brand quality, dependability and service.

We can’t exit this blog post without showing a Fluke. If you’re looking for 365-day stability, have a look at the Fluke 8508A reference multimeter.

8508A Specifications and FeaturesLearn more about the various features and specifications for the 8508A.

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Where Can I Find a Clintec Automix 3+3 Compounder?

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Probably not at a Walmart store.

And why would I want a Clintec Automix Compounder?

Well, personally, I don’t actually need one – but – according to the stats on Used-Line, quite a few of our users do.

Before we look at the statistics, let’s try to describe what a Clintec Automix Compounder is. It is not a gas chromotograph, which was discussed in our most recent blog about the Agilent 5975. After doing your compounding thing with the Clintec Automix, you could then use the Agilent 5975 to separate and analyze what you compounded, but why would you want do to that? You would be reversing the process, wouldn’t you?

The Clintec Automix Compounder is a parenteral nutrient compounding system. If I understand this correctly, parenteral nutrient compounds are compounds that are administered by circumventing the digestive system. The compound is often fed intravenously.

Saline solution for IV

Saline solution for IV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us are familiar with IV (intravenous) lines, but are less familiar with the processing of the mixtures that are inserted into the IV lines. This is where  compounding systems come into the picture. The Clintec Automix 3+3 Compounder is one such system. It is an automated system, and it can handle the processing of large volume ingredients, such as water and glucose.

Now let’s move on to the statistics.

Last month, July 2013, the terms, “clintec automix” were used in Used-Line searches 199 times. These two terms used together took up position number three in the top 100 search terms entered by visitors. Similarly, Google Analytics revealed that “clintex automix” was used in 72 Unique Searches on Used-Line, placing the terms in position number one for the month of July.

July 2013 Stats for search term, "Clintec + Automix"

AnalyticsCountUnique SearchPosition
Google 721
Used-Line1993

So where can you find a Clintec Automix 3+3 Compounder? On Used-Line, of course!

If you are in the market for a Clintex Automix compounder (you may be one of the 72 unique searchers who contributed to our July statistics), Toronto Surplus & Scientific has listed a Clintec 2M8286 Automix pump module on Used-Line. Toronto Surplus & Scientific Inc. has provided the following specifications on their own website:

  • Delivery Volume Range: 10 – 5000 ml
  • Specific Gravity Range: 0.50 – 3.00
  • Dimensions: 20.5″ W x 12.5″ D x 21.5″ H

If the pump module is not specifically what you want, you can post your own want list in the Used-Line Wanted System, which sends out a daily list of wanted items to all registered dealers. We will be talking about the ULWS soon! Watch for it!

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