Author Topic: PCI-433 Scope - looking for software (BenchTop Lite or BenchTop Plus)  (Read 455 times)

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Offline tomaszlob5

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Hello guys,

Today i spotted PCI-433 ISA card scope with nice price so i bought it. Unfornately company which produced this piece of tech called "PC instruments" no longer exists so now i am in dead spot. Maybe someone have this piece of software?

I know that the same program was used with other PC card form factor devices such as waveform generators etc.

Best wishes
Tomasz

Here's specs of this card/scope for those who like playing alone at home :)
https://www.brltest.com/pdf/pdf_oscilloscopes/1190.pdf
 

Offline tomaszlob5

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Maybe someone have any information about this piece of tech?
These cards are now sold for low price - I paid 40 EUR and it have pretty decent specs, especially for such a low price.

Any info or thoughts are highly appreciated.
 

Offline Fraser

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Have you tried the Wayback Machine internet archive ? Many companies provide software downloads and the Wayback machine sometimes captures them, allowing you to download what you need. You will need to find a brochure or similar to find out the defunct companies web site details.
Cogito, ergo sum
 

Offline Fraser

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Brochure with original web address is here……

https://www.brltest.com/pdf/pdf_oscilloscopes/1190.pdf
Cogito, ergo sum
 

Offline Fraser

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Looking at the specs, it appears to use a 12.5 MS/S real time sampling rate.…… that is not much but is as I would expect of this cards era and the 286/386 or 486 host CPU requirement. Do not be mislead by the bandwidth or repetitive signal specifications. In a real world scenario, where 10 samples per waveform cycle is pretty much the minimum, you effectively have only 1.25MHz capability on a complex or non repetitive waveform. Pretty much an Audio frequency DSO.

Sadly these cards are no longer very competitive when compared to more modern USB, portable or desktop DSO’s and their competitive prices. Think carefully before spending any money to get it going. You will need a very old PC and OS to drive that card and that will likely be a very bulky solution.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 05:49:06 pm by Fraser »
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Offline Fraser

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The Wayback machine appears to have captured the software…..

https://web.archive.org/web/19970501193847/http://www.pcinstruments.com/software.htm

Fraser
Cogito, ergo sum
 

Offline tomaszlob5

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I never though about wayback machine as program archive, as it turns out snapshot from 26 oct 2000 contains download section!

I know that this solution compared to modern oscilloscopes is not great, but i am interested in retro computing and it will be good reason to use backplane ISA industrial PC laying around. For general measurement i have my trusty tek 2225 but sometimes it is very helpful to have single shot mode which analog scope cannot provide.

I am aware about limitations of such old digital scope but it also have some advantages like big screen and snapshots of waveforms.

When i get it in my hands i will post detailed pictures of it, one of my main reason was curiosity about leading-edge ADC technology at this time, according to google search these cards were used in well known scientific research labs.

 

Offline Fraser

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I just looked through the Wayback machine archive for you and sadly only the Windows NT software seems to have been captured. I found copies of the NT software in 1997 and 1999. I then did a search to reveal the .exe files on the web site over the years. Run this URL and then select ".exe" in the filter box to show just the executable programs that will be the various software downloads. There are plenty of leads to chase down :)

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http:/pcinstruments.com//*

Best of luck with this project :) I also like to resurrect old equipment from the 'grave' and breath new life int them. I spend a lot of time hunting for old, obsolete manuals and software via the Wayback machine and Google searches.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 06:27:29 pm by Fraser »
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Offline Fraser

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I think we got unlucky :(  The NT programs I downloaded are only a few K in size.... not what they should be.

The search goes on but do not give up too easily  ;)

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 06:25:10 pm by Fraser »
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Offline Fraser

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Hmmm I looked in my download pile from the site and found two copies of the software that are a more sensibel size ! I attach them here. The software is the full and lite versions but no idea if it needs a licence to use it.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 06:26:13 pm by Fraser »
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Offline tomaszlob5

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Re: PCI-433 Scope - looking for software (BenchTop Lite or BenchTop Plus)
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2021, 06:34:22 pm »
So it looks like their search engine is not 100% reliable, here is snapshot from 2000 where download of executables for W95/98 works, on search listing there is not even single entry of exe file from 2000.
https://web.archive.org/web/20001026124454/http://www.pcinstruments.com:80/
Or maybe in year 2000 link is redirecting to newest found file in whole site archive?

Files from link listed by me have appropriate size, every about 2MB

License can be tough to workaround, i have to prepare old setup to check if these files will even properly install.

 

Offline Fraser

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Re: PCI-433 Scope - looking for software (BenchTop Lite or BenchTop Plus)
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021, 08:44:10 pm »
Pleased that your got what you needed  :-+

Fraser
Cogito, ergo sum
 

Offline tomaszlob5

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Re: PCI-433 Scope - looking for software (BenchTop Lite or BenchTop Plus)
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2021, 10:30:01 am »
Unfornately seller sent card via unregistered economy deutsche post packet, now month passed and package didn't arrived, tracking is impossible because of type of package. I've got refund but card is lost, i think that somebody though that this is some badass graphics card and stole it.

Thank a lot for your help, its awesome to know that there are more nerds like me in web, but its hard to win with murphy.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2021, 10:31:47 am by tomaszlob5 »
 


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