Author Topic: Tektronix TLA715  (Read 2740 times)

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Offline David Spicer

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Tektronix TLA715
« on: December 06, 2015, 01:16:56 pm »
I have a Tek TLA 715. It's worked flawlessly for several years and is still on Windows 2K as I see no reason to upgrade.
Recently I turned it on, it started to boot, the W2K splash screen came up and the progress bar worked its way all the way to the right hand end, as usual.

At that point the machine died.Only cycling mains power would restart,and with the same result.
Booting into safe mode, then running diagnostics sorta worked, but only in VGA (640 x 480 x 16 colours) The TLA app sorta worked too, but it's unusable in that video mode.

Everythng that follows was aimed at the 800 x 600 LCD native screen.

Next I dug out an old Ubuntu Karmic Koala CD and installed it on a new HDD. It installed and booted perfectly, and went into 800x 600 mode. 64K colours. It had to be an old and obsolete Ubuntu version because the optical drive is only a CD. Besides, Karmic Koala is about contemporary with the TLA., 32 bit etc etc.

I tried to install XP, but it proved difficult as the installer lost the CD on first boot. Googling told me that was a common problem, so I abandoned that idea.

Stripped machine, cleaned off 10 years dust and grime, reseated connectors, all that stuff. No change.

There is one (possible) clue, The Ubuntu video driver cannot see the external monitors. The TLA has the option of using two, to get max resolution. They used to work. I'm not sure how. The TLA uses the intel 815E chipset which supposedly supports both LCD and standard VGA interfaces. I think both at once, though it may need some extra RAM. Usually the Intel graphics, which is like Intel 740 uses a shared memory GART setup. There is a Lynx chip on the Radisys custom motherboard, which is unlike any motherboard I have seen. Not any familiar form factor. I don't know what the Lynx chip does. It is certainly something to do with graphics. So possibly W2K dies when it searches for external monitors. That's a wild guess, but Linux is usually a much more fault tolerant OS than any MS product.

Finally I ran memtest overnight, no errors at all.

This is really frustrating. My TLA is currently a $2000 Ubuntu Karmic Koala box. As the Tek software must have Windows of some kind, the box is effectively useless. Bummer! Why do these things happen at the most critical times?

Any one got any clues? Perhaps I should persue installing XP. I would be happy without external monitors. These were a great unit. A bit slow nowadays, but still workable and usable.

Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be
 
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Offline MadTux

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Re: Tektronix TLA715
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2015, 03:49:14 pm »
Maybe use an old laptop to install WinXP? Afaik, TLA714/715 HDDs are common 2.5'' IDE drives, so any old Pentium 3/4 laptop should work fine. Then put HDD back into TLA. Tek software for TLA LAs is available on TINs homepage (search here)
 

Offline David Spicer

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Re: Tektronix TLA715
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2015, 04:00:05 pm »
Thanks, I'll try that.
Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be
 


Offline nctnico

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Re: Tektronix TLA715
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2015, 11:37:09 pm »
I got a TLA715 last year. The problem with it was that it wouldn't boot from the hard drive either and installing Windows didn't work. It turned out the external drive bay makes poor contact. When I mounted the hard drive internally it worked like a charm and installing Windows XP went without problems. There is a bay for 2.5" drives behind the TFT panel so mounting the drive internally is easy.

Last week I installed a Kingston mSata SSD in my TLA715 using this mSata to 2.5" converter kit:
www.ebay.com/itm/201268830337

BTW: This wasn't the first time I have experienced issues with Tektronix equipment using removable drive bays or cabling!
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline David Spicer

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Re: Tektronix TLA715
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2015, 03:48:45 pm »
Hello Mad Tux.

Your idea worked I'm delighted to say. I went through twenty years of accumulated junk and found an old 815E board that worked. Installed XP (not without some difficulties) then moved the HDD into the TLA715. It had never occured to mke that you could move a whole HDD. MS are such A-holes about that sort of thing usually. I guessed they would take a signature of the target machine and refuse to go in another. In fact the only problem was that the CMOS had reset in the old PCB and so the MS demanded I register the install immediately. Easily fixed. Except that he battery was a) Dead and b) soldered in. Sigh! So it goes. Reset date etc, re installed XPand robert became my father's brother.

Theproblem seems to have been in the W2K driver for the Lynx chip which drives the LCD. I couldn't find anything useful on the internet, so Sod's law indicated that that would be to blame. How the Driver broke I have no idea, as I had a clone of the original drive made with Acronis a year or two ago. Anyway, XP seemed to know about the Lynx device, and installed its own driver, which worked.

After that it all went pretty straight forward. I had the new 5.1 TLA software install package, and off it went.
So touch wood thunderbirds are go, and largely thanks to your tip.

All the best.
Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be
 


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