- 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
In the last blog, I introduced a February 2013 Scope Junction article that delivers the results of a survey on scope rentals. Readers were asked how often they had rented an oscilloscope. Of the 152 users who responded, more than 53% answered in the negative – they had never rented a scope.
Part One of this blog discussed a couple of points to consider if you are thinking about renting or leasing equipment instead of purchasing. Affordability was weighed against cost-effectiveness and the number of variables that can impact the ultimate cost of an instrument . As well, predicting the future of the industry was considered a factor in rental decisions.
Here are a couple more considerations.
Flexibility. You can rent state-of-the-art equipment that your budget does not allow you to purchase. For specific projects with stringent high-end specification requirements, a short-term rental lets you perform specialized tasks that you normally would not be able to run without the unique instrumentation features or specifications required for them. And – without breaking the bank. Although the flexibility of this type of short-term rental is attractive, it does demand more than a comfort level with the specs in order to match those required by the project with the capabilities of the instrument you intend to rent.
Test-drive an instrument. While renting, you can gauge an instrument’s performance strengths and weaknesses in your lab. Many instrument dealerships offer both rental and leasing terms. After leasing for a particular time period, you may be offered purchasing options at reduced terms. At this point, you should be able to clearly assess the suitability of the instrument as a permanent fixture in your lab.
And now for a little bonus tidbit. Or should I call that tipbit?
How to Find Dealers that Rent Out Equipment on Used-Line.com
The Used-Line Dealer Directory lists more than 900 dealers. How do you locate those that do offer rental equipment as one of their services?
- On the Used-Line.com home page, click DEALER DIRECTORY in the column on the right side of the page.
- In the Dealer Directory, use the filter on the left side of the page to choose the type of equipment you need: T&M, Lab, or Semi.
- Narrow your search further by Location and by product Specialization.
- Open the Services list, then select Rentals to view all the companies that offer rentals in the type of equipment you need.
In a February 2013 Scope Junction article, Michael Dunn delivers the results of a survey on scope rentals. Readers were asked how often they had rented an oscilloscope. Of the 152 users who responded, more than 53% answered in the negative – they had never rented a scope.
I’m wondering – why not?
Well, I know that there is that warm, fuzzy feeling one gets from owning one’s own stuff. There’s also the Guiltfree Factor. If you own something, you don’t get that oh-no-it’s-not-mine reaction when you spill your morning coffee on the bezel.
But, emotional issues aside, what’s on the plus side for renting a scope – or any piece of test or laboratory equipment? Here are just a few well-known, but worth repeating, advantages of renting equipment.
Affordability. Rental can be more affordable than purchasing, particularly for short-term periods and if support and maintenance are included in the terms. However, the cost of both renting or purchasing equipment needs to be carefully calculated. There are many variables, including natural depreciation of the instrument, usage, the condition of the instrument (new, used, refurbished, calibrated), specifications, configurations, need for support and repair, and yes, even size. The cost of a portable spectrum analyzer, for example, cannot be calculated using the same formula as one would use to cost a roto-molding independent-arm machine. Every company must, of course, use its own formulae for calculating the cost-effectiveness of renting or purchasing equipment.
No need to be an industry prophet. When you purchase, you need to factor in the future. When you rent, you can, well, not ignore, but somewhat downplay the effects of depreciation, usage, repairs, growth and changes in the industry, and internal turbulence within your company. You need not spend too much time wondering how much dust your instrument may be gathering at the end of the warranty period, or whether it will still be happily chugging along. A child’s “I need it now” philosophy very much suits the rental option. A year down the line is not really significant because you can swap the unit, or simply not renew the rental contract.
Stay tuned for part two, in which I’ll talk about a couple more rental considerations, and more.
Have you ever wondered why the ubiquitous toy telephone a toddler usually receives as a gift on his first birthday has a rotary dial and is shaped exactly like the communication device only his great-grandmother remembers using? Is there something about “ye olde” equipment that reminds us of the days when things consistently worked well?
The hardy rotary telephone rang bells in my mind recently when I read a reprinting of Benoit Leveille’s gripping 2009 tale about the effectiveness of state-of-the-art equipment versus the old tried-and-true, in EDN Network’s Tales from the Cube. In this story, the “ugly” sister, an old analog HP spectrum analyzer (could it have been the 8551A, which was introduced in 1964?) is the heroine of the story.
Leveille creates a tension-building saga that blends a repair technician’s worst nightmare—finding nothing wrong with the instrument—with a classic story-telling theme, the pauper’s triumph over the prince.
To discover how a $50,000 digital test set could not pick up a noise floor problem, which, while troubleshooting with the old “frequency-domain oscilloscope”, was found to be caused by a mere transistor gone wrong, visit the EDN Network and read “Hawk eyes, analog equipment trump expensive digital test set“.
Now I’m wondering why those toy telephones are usually painted in primary colors instead of black, but that’s a tale for another day.