Author Topic: Tektronix TDS500/600/700 NVRAM floppy backup and restore tool  (Read 140 times)

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Offline flyte

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Tektronix TDS500/600/700 NVRAM floppy backup and restore tool
« on: January 18, 2019, 04:48:31 am »
Hi all,

As many of these great Tektronix TDS scopes are ageing, they will have their NVRAMs sooner or later wiped due to battery failure and because AFAIK the only way to safely dump the NVRAMs contents is via a GPIB interface, which not every scope owner has, I've decided to write a small script which simply dumps the NVRAM contents to a floppy disk. As most TDS scopes, and certainly the higher spec'd ones, have a floppy disk option, taking a backup this way would be a quick win for anyone looking to do so or worrying about imminent battery doom.

The script is based on the JRE installer script and reads 0xA000 bytes from the base address 0x4000000 (contiguous 128K DS1486 and 512K DS1250Y), so it should work with the TDS700C/D and TDS600C series. It has been tested on TDS754D, TDS784D and TDS694C. Adapting it to TDS series with different NVRAM addresses should be easy.

Simply put the attachment's contents into an (old) FAT formatted floppy and start up the scope with the disk mounted. About 10s after boot, it will dump the NVRAMs to dump.bin on the floppy. Use an error-free floppy and preferably first format it on the scope itself using the normal file utilities for best compatibility.

Make sure you rename the dump.bin right away to include the scope model and serial number, as there is no way to derive that from the binary dump afterwards.

Have fun saving your equipment!   :)



If we can read this way, we can also write!   ;)

So I've made a second script which will load an NVRAM dump back into the scope via floppy. Works the same way as the dumper, but expects a file writedmp.bin on the disk. Tested on a TDS754D scope, works perfectly. Note that loading a dump from a different scope will mess up all calibration values, so please be honest when offering scopes "repaired" this way and mention it to your buyer.

BTW, if you are looking for a factory new genuine Dallas DS1486, I have some left from known distributor origins. It's likely to be one of the very last batches, as the production stopped years ago and worldwide stocks are now depleted, and what now remains are Ebay floods of Asian counterfeits with all sorts of issues.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 08:32:05 pm by flyte »
The following users thanked this post: tinhead, eKretz, fisafisa, chronos42, salvagedcircuitry, tsman, OH2LIY

Offline flyte

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Re: Tektronix TDS500/600/700 NVRAM floppy backup and restore tool
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 07:54:21 pm »
Please leave your comment including scope model number and firmware revision for other users to know whether it worked ok.
The following users thanked this post: fisafisa, chronos42

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