Cloning Tektronix Application Modules

Tektronix’s MSO2000 line of oscilloscopes are great tools, and with the addition of a few ‘application modules’, can do some pretty interesting tasks: decoding serial protocols, embedded protocols like I2C and SPI, and automotive protocols like CAN and LIN. While testing out his MSO2012B, [jm] really liked the (limited time) demo of the I2C decoder, but figured it wasn’t worth the $500 price the application module sells for. No matter, because it’s just some data on a cheap 24c08 EEPROM, and with a little bit of PCB design <<removed because of DMCA takedown>>

The application module Tektronix are selling is simply just a small EEPROM loaded up with an <<removed because of DMCA takedown>>. By writing this value to a $0.25 EEPROM, [jm] can enable two applications. The only problem was getting his scope to read the EEPROM: a problem easily solved with a custom board.

The board [jm] designed <<removed because of DMCA takedown>>, with the only additional components needed being an EEPROM, a set of contacts for reading a SIM card, and a little bit of plastic glued onto the back of the board for proper spacing.

UPDATE: Learn about the DMCA Takedown Notice that prompted this post to be altered:

169 thoughts on “Cloning Tektronix Application Modules

  1. DCMA needs a rework, contact your congressmen(persons?) and whine louder than they guys with the big bucks that are paying them. Have your representatives, represent you. If they don’t represent you, kick them out and find one (or be one yourself) that will. — They are public servants that to often just serve themselves not their constituents.

  2. I finally got around to building one for my TDS3012 after being motivated by the DCMA takedown notice. Using four 24C02 eeproms (scavanged from some Li-Ion battery packs) in one module as according to the original German post.

    Turns out it can be built with just one 24C02 with the name “TDS3ENG” which enables all the features. (should have researched more before building it). Perhaps a similar universal name exits for the MSO2000 line aswell?

  3. ok as i have not seen anyone mention this. GOOGLE CACHE! I mean come on did they really think it was going to be hard for anyone ANYONE to find this info?
    a link to the orgnal artical if you want to see it

    and a link to the pages redacted because its rediculous to hide this stuff.

  4. I just bought one of these scopes… AND I used to work for Tek.

    I feel strongly both ways! Of course, The hacker in me wants to control everything. Because I can. At the same time, I just paid $750 for a 24C02 EEPROM I could make myself. I did NOT pay for the serial protocols other than the free I2C I was allowed to select from a huge list.

    Tek has been doing this for years. It is a margin stretcher. It does NOT increase their total costs, but it does form a support for their business model. I want more good equipment. The crap made by the FOSS world is just that compared to real hardware. I measure something on a Tek scope, I can count on it. Using a measurement I get from some Arduino based A2D or a sound card is ok for playing, it’s not ok for science.

    The scope I bought was not paid for by Toxic Megacorp ,Inc. I paid for it out of my checking account. Real personal money. I want to part with as little of it as I can, but I also want Tek to be around in 50 years, making gloriously wonderful tools.

    Will I hack the other serial modules? Maybe, for fun. Never for sale. And if/when I need another scope… Tek. They have been great for years… putting their old docs into the public domain, providing a complete engineering package for their products, including full schematics and theories of operation and bills of material…. high quality documentation. Life isn’t all about money. If it were, I’d use old junk or toys and hope for the best, but $500-1000 isn’t going to make/break my project. It MAY help me save that much money on the very first problem I solve using it.

    Folks who get mad or feel entitled just because something is ‘in there’ that they can’t get at have to ask themselves if they’d like to work for free? If so, I’ve got some projects I need done.

  5. I tried this recently. It worked back in 2015 for me. But now I get an error that says ‘Apllication Module Requires a Firmware Upgrade’ and the transfer license module is grayed out. Have any others found this to be true?

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