Quinton Instrument Chart Recorder 

I worked at Quinton in the mid-80's. They were developing a new low cost cardiac stress test system and wanted to include the latest ECG chart recorder technology - a digital thermal printer. Previously, ECG recorders used a swinging arm that dragged a pen across the paper to record the ECG. The thermal recorders used "fax machine" printheads to create an image on high quality "fax paper". The image quality was much better than the old pen recorders, plus since the thermal printhead could image on blank paper, the system could print out nice tabular reports for the doctor.

The only problem with this idea was the available "OEM" chart recorders cost about five times what Quinton had available in their product cost budget. So, they decided to design their own from scratch. Since I had some printer design experience, I took the job as a very interesting challenge.

The recorder was very successful as was the Q3000 stress test system it went into. There were some initial production problems with the paper mistracking, but solved them quickly.

This is a photo of the chart recorder assembly. It uses 8-1/2" wide paper for reference. The printout you see is a test pattern we used to debug the unit. It uses a sheet metal enclosure with a sand cast aluminum main print chassis. A stepper motor is used to provide the paper motion.

Last updated: November 09, 1996