I was told by the ultrasound manager that our ATL 3500 (purchased 4/02) has always had poorer image quality then our ATL 5000 (purchased 7/00). Specifically, the complaint is poor penetration—using the 5-12MHz linear probe. Anything I can do about this?

Initially, be sure your power supplies have the correct outputs—ATLs are not forgiving when it comes to the analog power supply outputs. Next, I would try the built-in user diagnostics. Boot up the system. Press setups. The “directory of setup options” is displayed. Use the trackball to move the cursor to “diagnostics” in the lower left corner of the display. Press “select.” This will bring up the user diagnostics window. The top most selection should be “comprehensive test.” Highlight this test and press start. This will run a test suite on you system. It is designed to be accessed by the end user and is basically a confidence test. It will also give you a report on errors that it may have found on boot.

Have a look at all you probes on a phantom to ascertain if the problem may be your L12-5. Ultimately, you will probably find that the difference is in the capability of your systems. Most notably the 3500 has 256 channels in the front end and the 5000 has 512.

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