Author Topic: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?  (Read 2081 times)

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Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 05:11:35 am »
Avoid the 16500a; you can't give them away in the US.  Shipping those boxes is expensive and they are floppy based.  The 16500b with the network option or a 16500c is a better choice.   The network connectivity makes them much more useful.   A much better choice would be one of the 16700 series

Good summary. The LIF-format floppy only 16500A is very limiting. No network connectivity makes getting data out of one difficult, and they don't support the 1M sample depth 16555A analyzer modules. I would avoid the 1660A as well as those also do not have network connectivity and only 4K sample depth. The later 1660-series and the 1670-series do have network connectivity, and deeper sample depths on the 1670-series.

There isn't too much practical difference between a 16500B and a 16500C if the 16500B has the optional network interface board. The main usability difference is that the 16500B still has HP-HIL ports for an optional keyboard and mouse while the 16500C moved to standard PS/2 ports.

With the network interface you can use FTP to copy saved data files from the analyzer to another system for post processing, you can easily capture screen shots just by copying one of the screen files, and you can edit a command script program to a text file and FTP copy that to the analyzer instead of using a GPIB or serial port interface for remote control.

These days a 16700-series would be the better option than a 16500-series. After taking shipping into account there probably isn't much cost difference between the two. A 16500-series will boot and be ready to use a lot faster, but once a 16700-series has finally finished booting and is ready to use it should be a lot quicker. I couple of days ago I was using a 1670E to capture a few 256K sample deep traces. It must have taken more than 10 minutes each to print list views of those traces to disk so that I could copy them to a PC for further analysis, feels painfully slow. I didn't check how long that would take to do the same on a 16700, I assume it would be significantly faster.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 06:52:06 am »
Floppy based as in they run entirely off a floppy? Or do you just mean they use a floppy to transfer files? I have a 1660C that has a floppy but I rarely use that, normally I just work off the internal hard drive. It's a boat anchor for sure but there are times when I'm working on vintage arcade hardware that being able to capture a zillion channels is handy.
The 16500A loads the OS from the floppy.  It does not have a Hard Drive.

That's weird, I wonder why they did that? Seems like a step backwards when the older(?) 1660C has a hard drive built in.
 

Offline TK

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 06:58:33 am »
Floppy based as in they run entirely off a floppy? Or do you just mean they use a floppy to transfer files? I have a 1660C that has a floppy but I rarely use that, normally I just work off the internal hard drive. It's a boat anchor for sure but there are times when I'm working on vintage arcade hardware that being able to capture a zillion channels is handy.
The 16500A loads the OS from the floppy.  It does not have a Hard Drive.

That's weird, I wonder why they did that? Seems like a step backwards when the older(?) 1660C has a hard drive built in.
The last updated documentation for 16500A is from around 1988... 1997 for 1660C.  I think the 16500A is much older...
 

Offline james_s

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 07:04:25 am »
Oh, I had no idea, the 16500A looks much more modern, has a color screen, touchscreen, the 1660C in comparison has a monochrome CRT without touch.

The monitor in the 16500A looks quite nice really, Trinitron? One of those could be handy for retro computer and game projects.
 

Offline TK

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2018, 07:14:21 am »
Yes, the 16500A has a trinitron CRT display and the touch screen is based on IR transmitter/receiver bars located in the front panel.  The CPU board is 68000 (DIP package!) and has lots of gold shiny ICs.  As other member said, the floppy only reads/writes LIF format and you need an old DOS PC to access this format.
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2018, 08:22:31 am »
Oh, I had no idea, the 16500A looks much more modern, has a color screen, touchscreen, the 1660C in comparison has a monochrome CRT without touch.

The monitor in the 16500A looks quite nice really, Trinitron? One of those could be handy for retro computer and game projects.

Think of a 1660A as a portable version of a 16500A mainframe with a 16550A analyzer module (or with and extra POD pair on the 16550A module). The specs are pretty much the same. The 1660A trades the color CRT of the 16500A for a monochrome CRT in a smaller and lighter package. The 16500A has two floppy drives as it needs to boot from one (typically the one in the back) leaving the other floppy drive free for user configuration and data files, while the 1660A boots from flash ROM and only has one floppy drive.

In a similar way the newer 1660C is a portable version of the newer 16500C mainframe with a 16550A analyzer module. Both are upgraded over the A models with hard drives, network interfaces, and PS/2 keyboard and mouse instead of HP-HIL.

The 1670-series are somewhat portable versions of a 16500C mainframe with two 16555A modules installed, or lower capability 16555A modules installed (less memory except the 030 option 1670D, or the 1670E, slower state speed on the 1670A). There were also 1670G options that added the equivalent of either a 16532A scope module or a 16522A pattern generator module.

The final 1660E and 1670E and 1670G models upgraded the monochrome CRT to a color LCD when they got to the point of being able to fit those in and maintain the same overall size and weight (or lighter). Still no touch screen.

The 16500A CPU boards used a 68000 CPU with either 1MB, 2.5MB, or 4MB of system memory. Not all modules are supported with the earlier lower memory CPU boards. The 16500B and 16500C CPU boards updated to a 68030 CPU and SIMM memory slots. Except for the 1660A series, the 1660 and 1670 series CPU boards must be similar in architecture to the 16500C CPU boards with different layouts, and without the SCSI interface for the 16505A.
 
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Offline coldfiremc

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2018, 09:34:13 am »
The problem with those is data access. Or it's a floppy, RS-232 or GPIB. Currently I have those three, but my USB floppy is about to get without support (also doesn't support direct motor and head access). RS-232 is pretty but slow, and this is just possible with a Rig. with a laptop, those shitty adapters are even slower., and GPIB is unjustifiedly expensive.

What about a TLA 720 or 715 mainframes? use the same probes?
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2018, 10:21:05 am »
The problem with those is data access. Or it's a floppy, RS-232 or GPIB. Currently I have those three, but my USB floppy is about to get without support (also doesn't support direct motor and head access). RS-232 is pretty but slow, and this is just possible with a Rig. with a laptop, those shitty adapters are even slower., and GPIB is unjustifiedly expensive.

Not sure what data access problem you mean. On the HP / Agilent side if you got a 16500C or 16700 series mainframe it would have built in network access available to another system to any data acquired by the analyzer. Some 16500B mainframes also have the network option.

On the Tektronix side a TLA720 or TLA715 doesn't have network access built in, but it can be added with a PCMCIA or CardBus network card.

What about a TLA 720 or 715 mainframes? use the same probes?

Same probes as what? The HP / Agilent and the Tektronix analyzer use completely different cables and probes. For the Tektronix analyzers it depends on what modules are installed in the mainframe. For example a 4M sample TLA7N4 module or 16M sample TLA7P4 module would use either one P6417 or one P6418 cable for each set of 16 channels if you want individual breakout connections. Those cables look to be around the $25-$30 range on eBay in the US currently. The TLA7AA4 and newer modules use different cables. If you want individual breakout connections the P6810 cables for those are crazy expensive.

I have some TLA7P4 modules and P6417 and P6418 cables but none of the newer style modules because I haven't wanted to deal with the cable issue there.
 

Offline coldfiremc

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2018, 01:06:09 pm »
 is  A just calibrated TLA 714 with one 134chan module at 346USD with shipping, a good deal?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 02:13:25 pm by coldfiremc »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2018, 04:01:04 pm »
Who can say? How much of that is shipping?

Calibrated? What is there to calibrate on a logic analyzer?
 

Online helius

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2018, 04:41:27 pm »
Most logic analyzers I am familiar with have self-calibration only. You click the button and wait, and the unit reports if it succeeded or failed. You can do this every session if you feel like it.
 

Offline TK

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2018, 08:27:22 pm »
is  A just calibrated TLA 714 with one 134chan module at 346USD with shipping, a good deal?
It all depends on what you are you going to do with the logic analyzer.  The old ones are not good with serial protocol decoding, so if you work a lot with modern microcontrollers, then it is a much better deal just to buy a cheap USB logic analyzer.  I like using my HP 1670D / 16702B with vintage 8-bit computers because they have lots of channels, which is expensive in modern logic analyzers.
 

Offline coldfiremc

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2018, 11:57:08 pm »
is  A just calibrated TLA 714 with one 134chan module at 346USD with shipping, a good deal?
It all depends on what you are you going to do with the logic analyzer.  The old ones are not good with serial protocol decoding, so if you work a lot with modern microcontrollers, then it is a much better deal just to buy a cheap USB logic analyzer.  I like using my HP 1670D / 16702B with vintage 8-bit computers because they have lots of channels, which is expensive in modern logic analyzers.
Is for parallel buses. at this moment ISA, but if is possible to use for PCI, even better.
 

Offline TK

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2018, 12:41:55 am »
I never used Tektronix Logic Analyzers.  It is difficult to find youtube videos and see how responsive the controls are or the zooming and scrolling operations.  On newer devices you will find these operations to be faster, but it also depends on how much information you capture and zoom in after.  I think HP / Agilent analyzers are "easier" to setup than Tek (that is what Agilent claims...) and I tried many HP / Agilent units and they are fairly easy to use.  I like the HP / Agilent UI.

HP / Agilent 16702B is HP-UX based, earlier models are custom OS, later ones are windows based, the same as the Tek TLA7XX.

I think the TLA714 shipped to Chile for around $400 is a good deal
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 12:44:12 am by TK »
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2018, 02:11:08 am »
is  A just calibrated TLA 714 with one 134chan module at 346USD with shipping, a good deal?

That is less than it would cost to ship any traditional style HP / Agilent or Tektronix portable or mainframe logic analyzer to Chile from the US so for your location and your needs that is probably an OK deal if that is within the price range that is comfortable for you.

What analyzer module is included in the TLA714? Of course deeper sample depth is always better to have when you need it.

TLA7L4 - 128K sample depth / channel
TLA7M4 - 512k sample depth / channel
TLA7N4 - 4M sample depth / channel
TLA7P4 - 16M sample depth / channel
TLA7Q4 - 64M sample depth / channel

The L, M, and N models seem to be the most commonly available ones. The P models are sometimes available for not too much more than the L, M, and N models. The Q models seem uncommon and very expensive.
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2018, 02:39:08 am »
Is for parallel buses. at this moment ISA, but if is possible to use for PCI, even better.

A TLA714 with a 134-channel analyzer module should be well suited for ISA and PCI bus analysis.

In the past in my real job years ago I used an HP 16500B mainframe with 16555A analyzer modules for PCI bus analysis. That was fully capable of performing the tasks I needed to debug the issues I was investigating. It was made slightly easier by using a PCI bus probe card which was designed specifically to break out into HP logic analyzer POD connections and included PCI bus transaction symbolic analysis software that ran on the analyzer. A Tektronix analyzer would have similar capabilities and should work equally well.

Someone probably made similar PCI bus probe cards specific for Tektronix analyzers. I haven't seen any of them myself. I do have an ISA bus probe card that is specific for Tektronix analyzers and it includes ISA bus transaction symbolic analysis software that runs on the analyzer. I have never gotten around to putting that into an ISA bus system and taking a look at it. I should do that sometime.

I have a Nexus Technology NEX-ISA bus probe card that looks similar to this card, except it is ISA, not EISA:
http://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/EISA_F.jpg

Looks like they also made a PCI bus probe card as well, plus other flavors:
http://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PCI32_F.jpg
http://www.nexustechnology.com/products/legacy/parallel/
 
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Online nctnico

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2018, 03:33:42 am »
If you cut the slot part off a PCI card then it is easy to make your own probe and creating a set of symbols to list the bus transaction also isn't that much work.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline coldfiremc

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2018, 04:10:29 am »
https://www.ebay.com/usr/surplus_disposals?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

well this is the guy of the 3001gpx and 16500A. The guy really needs to sell the stuff. so if someone needs it, just ask.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 04:19:24 am by coldfiremc »
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2018, 04:35:19 am »
I went looking for the Nexus Technology NEX-ISA bus probe card that I have and found that I also have some NEX-PCI32EXHD and NEX-PCI64EXHD cards that I completely forgot about.  :palm:

https://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PCI32EXHD-DS-XXX.pdf
https://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PCI64EXHD-DS-XXX.pdf

Those use Mictor connector cables such as the P6434 to connect to the analyzer module.

I have the analysis software floppies that came with those PCI bus probe cards. I assume that analysis software would also work with a logic analyzer connected to a generic PCI bus extender card if the same channel connections were made since there is no active logic between the bus and the probe connections on the NEX-PCI probe cards.
 
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Offline coldfiremc

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2018, 09:31:57 am »
Is for parallel buses. at this moment ISA, but if is possible to use for PCI, even better.

A TLA714 with a 134-channel analyzer module should be well suited for ISA and PCI bus analysis.

In the past in my real job years ago I used an HP 16500B mainframe with 16555A analyzer modules for PCI bus analysis. That was fully capable of performing the tasks I needed to debug the issues I was investigating. It was made slightly easier by using a PCI bus probe card which was designed specifically to break out into HP logic analyzer POD connections and included PCI bus transaction symbolic analysis software that ran on the analyzer. A Tektronix analyzer would have similar capabilities and should work equally well.

Someone probably made similar PCI bus probe cards specific for Tektronix analyzers. I haven't seen any of them myself. I do have an ISA bus probe card that is specific for Tektronix analyzers and it includes ISA bus transaction symbolic analysis software that runs on the analyzer. I have never gotten around to putting that into an ISA bus system and taking a look at it. I should do that sometime.

I have a Nexus Technology NEX-ISA bus probe card that looks similar to this card, except it is ISA, not EISA:
http://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/EISA_F.jpg

Looks like they also made a PCI bus probe card as well, plus other flavors:
http://www.nexustechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PCI32_F.jpg
http://www.nexustechnology.com/products/legacy/parallel/

Absolutely added to my buy list. And thanks. For ISA, I have an old Global Specialities ISA breadboard card, and has metal pins to get ISA signals. I planned to use that to sniff ISA, but i was quite worried for pci.
Now i'm squeezing my wallet to get the TLA 714  :-DD.
 One more question:
How are the oscilloscope modules for those mainframes? are real benchtop-like oscilloscopes, or are just repetitive signal samplers and loggers?
 

Offline RomDump

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2018, 03:09:08 pm »
How are the oscilloscope modules for those mainframes? are real benchtop-like oscilloscopes, or are just repetitive signal samplers and loggers?

Frio asked a similar question and I advise them to ask someone who has the module. He never posted the result.

To my knowledge the module does not behave like a typical Oscilloscope. I can't remember where I read this, (I think it was on the old Tektronix Support Forum but I can't find the message).
--
RomDump
 

Online nctnico

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2018, 07:34:24 pm »
I've looked into the oscilloscope modules myself but to me it is clear they are nowhere near a regular oscilloscope. More like acquisition units to capture a (short) amount of analogue signal which goes into an ADC (for example).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2018, 03:44:26 am »
Someone asked me offline about manuals for the Nexus Technology ISA and PCI bus probe boards. I couldn't easily find direct links to manuals for the NEX-ISA, NEX-PCI32EXHD, and NEX-PCI64EXHD bus probe boards on the current Nexus Technology website.

I found saved copies of these manuals on the Internet Archive:

https://web.archive.org/web/20070330003822/http://www.nexustechnology.com:80/lit/manuals/ISA-MN-XXX.pdf

https://web.archive.org/web/20070330003558/http://www.nexustechnology.com:80/lit/manuals/PCI32EXHD-MN-XXX.pdf

https://web.archive.org/web/20070330004723/http://www.nexustechnology.com:80/lit/manuals/PCI64EXHD-MN-XXX.pdf
 
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Offline c32

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2018, 02:41:54 am »
hello, if i have the cables, is it easy to make/get the little hook clips at the end for 16500c cards ?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 02:46:19 am by c32 »
 

Offline gslick

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Re: logic analyzer/mainframe bundle. worth it?
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2018, 04:36:32 am »
hello, if i have the cables, is it easy to make/get the little hook clips at the end for 16500c cards ?

For an HP / Agilent logic analyzer if you have a breakout lead set with the 16 individual data channel wires + clock wire the grabbers should be the easy part to find. For example search for "mini grabber" in the "Business & Industrial" section on eBay.
 


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