USB Meets Core Memory In A Vintage ‘Scope

It’s normal today for even relatively modest instruments to have some form of computer control capability over Ethernet or USB. But five decades ago this was by no means a given, and when Tektronix shipped their P7001 digitiser module for their high-end oscilloscopes in 1971, they were initially designed to interface with a minicomputer. Not everybody has a PDP/11 lying around in 2023, but [Holger Lübben] wasn’t fazed by this. He set about creating a USB interface for this ancient piece of test equipment.

At its heart is a Teensy 4.1 which does the job of interfacing with the Tektronix 16-bit bus through a level shifting transceiver. The software for the Teensy comes with some demos, but sadly not the Tek BASIC of the original. We’re particularly impressed with the care to make the card frame for the module resemble as closely as possible an original Tektronix product.

We’re guessing very few of you will have this ancient test module on your bench, but the depth into which he goes over its internal design and programming makes this very much worth a read. If you fancy more vintage Tek goodness, take a look at this current probe.

5 thoughts on “USB Meets Core Memory In A Vintage ‘Scope

  1. Well done! I love these kinds of projects in which modern technology (e.g. Teensy 4.1) lets a single person implement something that probably took an entire team of people to do originally. As Marvin says above, hats off to Holger for creating such a polished solution.

  2. Well done. I love that modern technology, in this case the Teensy, allows a single person to do what probably took an entire team back in the day. As Marvin says, hats off to Holger for such a polished solution.

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