Author Topic: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks  (Read 2299 times)

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Offline jasonbrent

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Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« on: February 28, 2018, 05:21:48 pm »

TL;DR: TLA5202 upgrade from Win2K/TLA4.4/State speed 235Mhz/2Mb memory depth to XP/TLA6.1/State speed 450Mhz/32Mbit memory depth

I wanted to collate some information I've acquired over the last 24 hours working with the Tektronix series LAs in hopes of helping someone else in the future. Information is out there in part, but some leaps of faith must be taken to actually upgrade these things.

I picked up a TLA5202 from fleabay for a prize of $150 in pretty darned good condition (no probes, meh.) that was described as "screen flashes for a moment upon boot, then goes blank. External monitor seems to work, as-is"... I took the plunge... (TL;DR: simple fix, it works and was a great find at the price point, the rest of this is about updating TLA and the OS, etc.)

It came with Windows 2000 and TLA 4.4, State Speed of 235Mhz, optioned for 2Mb memory depth and listed 8Mbit memory depth for samples as an upgrade option according to "TLA PowerFlex".

First, the computer portion of this unit:

  • These have an Intel D865GLC microATX motherboard in them with a P17 BIOS that has an embedded Tektronix logo.
  • This BIOS defaults to the AGP video card which disables the internal LCD. The fix is to change the BIOS primary display to PCI.
  • This "feature" is apparently fixed in BIOS P25 from Intel according to the errata where the default is changed. I haven't tried updating the BIOS yet... I don't think Tektronix really did any customization to the BIOS on this except the logo.
This is important if the CMOS battery is dead, because every time you remove power, it resets to the external monitor and appears to not work. This *IS* documented in the TLA5000 support documentation, although as secondary attributes of other potential problems.

I wanted to update to the latest TLA version 6.1.127 which says it supports WindowsXP, Windows7, and Windows Server 2008... so Windows2K had to go.
  • Install Windows XP (mine I pulled from MSDN)
  • Install drivers from Intel: Chipset, PRO Network, Graphics for 865, Active Monitor, ADI 1985 Audo drivers
  • That's it...
At this point you should end up with the device manager showing ~4 unknown hardware items. 3 of these are related to the ATI AGP card (I didn't bother with the AGP drivers so far), and 1 related to the TLA itself that will be resolved in the next section.

As an aside, Windows XP is end of support/end of life, and getting a functioning IE on it is a pain in the rear... which means whatever windows updates are out there past SP3 (if any?) are unobtanium. According to Tektronix support, Windows 7 is the latest OS that is supported by 6.1.127 and Microsoft(for now...). Their current LAs also appear to ship with Windows7, and the statement from Tektronix support is that they don't believe more development is on-going with their LAs.

I will be reinstalling with Windows7 (which may be a challenge as there doesnt appear to be chipset drivers for win7 for this specific motherboard, but perhaps other 865 chipset drivers will work) when a small SSD for this arrives and will update this post accordingly.. but for now, we'll continue down the story with Windows XP SP3.

*EDIT* Windows 7 definitely isn't currently thrilled to be in 512MB of RAM on this spinning rust of a hard drive. XP may be a good stopping point for upgrades on the TLA5K series unless one wants to upgrade memory and add an SSD.
*EDIT2* Windows 7 is proving to be more of a challenge than I'd have expected. Officially the motherboard in the 5000 series isn't supported in Win7, but drivers can be installed in XP compatibility mode, however something isn't right as attempts to install TLA_V61 result in the error "This TLA software release is not compatible with TLA704/TLA711/TLA714/TLA720/TLA721 and TLA600 series mainframes." which suggests to me that some type of check for the hardware is being performed that isn't passing. Manually installing the PCI bridge on win7 only partially works. Ah well... XP is likely the end of the road for the TLA5000s unless I have an epiphany.

Second, the TLA portion of this unit:

TLA Software:

This couldn't be any easier...
  • Most information I found suggests the need to install the "PCI to TLA Bridge" driver that can be found on xdev as a precursor to installing TLA. Don't.
  • Install TLA6.1 which can be easily acquired by creating an account at Tektronix or from xdev
  • Use the TLA Firmware updater to update your device with the latest firmware (5.7.001 in the case of the TLA5000 series).
  • Verify that TLA works and can talk to the LA, and continue on to the fun part below.

Adding TLA "features" / hack:
After installing TLA6.1, "TLA PowerFlex" now listed 8Mbit and 32Mbit sample depth as an option, ooh!... On to the hacking! A bit of searching and I ran across a post on "TLA7xxx hacks" and decided to give it a whirl...

TL;DR: I now have 32Mbit sample depth *AND* Apparently a *450Mhz* State speed now. The specifications state 235 is max...
TL;DR2: TLA5k series can be "hacked" as well... I would venture to guess that most of them might be hackable...

Using TekVISA OpenChoice Talker/Listener:
  • Query: *IDN? and record the firmware version... if you've followed along, it should be 5.7.001
  • Query: SYST:CONF:MAX:SPEED? and SYST:CONF:MAX:DEPTH? and record the values. I also sent SYS:CONF:SPEED? and SYS:CONF:DEPTH? to get the current values first.
  • Write: SYS:PASS:INST:PASS "PitBull5.7.001"
  • Write: SYS:CONF:DEPTH ${Value from MAX:DEPTH}
  • Write: SYS:CONF:SPEED ${Value from MAX:SPEED}
  • Write: SYS:PASS:INST:UPD ${current-ish unix epoch timestamp} -- simply search for "unix timestamp" via google and grab the current one.
As soon as I did this, TLA reported 450/32M without needing to reboot.

However, when retesting these commands to write this post, my LA wouldn't respond and kept timing out. A soft reboot didn't resolve it and loading TLA showed no logic analyzer... a hard power cycle resolved it. My best guess is it is just possible to upset the LA enough with TekVISA to get the LA in a state where it just doesn't want to respond until all power is removed.

I don't know if this state speed is usable or not; I may have to set it back to 235 once I gain some more clue.. but for now, I'm going to keep working with it.

Links of Interest:
What's next?
It's getting a new 120GB SSD to replace the 80GB drive, memory is being bumped from 512MB to 4GB, I may look at the highest CPU supported by this platform and swap it out, I want to try flashing the BIOS, but I'd like a backup of the current one first, and I'd like to replace the *CDROM* with a DVD capable slimline as I had to jump through some stupid hoops to get XP installed since I only had spare blank DVDs to burn ISOs to. It's also going to get a good cleaning because engineers are apparently dirty.

I hope this helps someone in the future... now I need to go figure out how to actually use this thing. =)

« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 12:39:15 am by jasonbrent »

Offline icbwhy

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2018, 03:28:07 am »
I did an upgrade a couple of months ago to Windows XP, P4 3 GHz (reports as 1.5 and 3 oddly enough), 2 GB RAM, and a SSD with a SATA/PATA converter.  You can add a cheap, new DVD drive from Amazon ( )or Ebay without any problems. 
I will agree that Windows 7, even with 2 GB, isn't happy to install.  You can get a recent version of Mozilla Firefox and use it to get the last version of IE or if you turn on automatic updates and after days of updates you will have it also.

Everything was running pretty well until recently.  In the last week, the front panel USB interface driver isn't working anymore.  If anyone has a disk set with the drivers, etc.  I would appreciate it.

Offline MindBender

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 03:04:46 pm »
I'm in the same boat, for the second time. Years ago, I was able to buy a TLA704 with a TLA7D1 and a TLA7L3 module installed cheaply from my customer. It came with the cart, probes and everything, so I was very happy with it. I updated it as best I could and installed all software cleanly. The latest  I could get it to run was Windows 2000. Unfortunately I didn't have much use for this machine, because already at that time debugging a CPU through an LA was cumbersome due to pipe lining. Different story.

Two weeks ago I was able to acquire a TLA7012, with a TLA7AA2 module installed for €700. I thought it was a good deal, so even though I didn't use the TLA704 much, I took it. Especially because the TLA7D1 and TLA7L3 modules would work with it.

Now I'm in the process of installing it and I stumbled on this topic here. I was planning to install Windows 7 on my machine, but have decided to stick with Windows XP instead. The 6.1.x TLA application supports Windows 7. I don't know if it can be run under XP as well. However, I will stick with 5.8.x, over the newer one: Version 6.1.x has dropped support for the following modules: TLA7Lx/Mx/Nx/Px/Qx, TLA7Dx/Ex and the following frames: TLA704/714/715/711/720/721. See also
The TLA7PG2 seems still supported, but the accompanying PatternGenerator application is not compatible with Windows 7, so not very useful, and I still have one on my wish list, if I can get my hands on one cheaply.
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Offline Zigortxu

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 09:15:29 pm »
I have a TLA715 with TLA7AA2 with 450mhz state and 128kb depth, after the hack os this topic: I have 32mb depth. I have a TLA5204B with windowsXP and after upgrade TLA to version 6.1 I made of the previous topic for hack TLA5204B and works fine, before, It had 235mhz state and 2mb depth, after has 450mhz state and 32mb depth
Sorry for my english
Best regards
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Offline Daxxin

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2020, 04:06:06 am »
Hello , just yesterday i tried to mod my tla5202  installing modern mb thats an ECS G31T 775 socket , and add ssd hd , all went ok all drivers loaded except
for the VXI-PCI bridge that even wont appear in the System->Management HWlist , just tried to disable PnP OS set with the bios but no differences
wich the best bios settings to try ?

Offline Daxxin

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2020, 07:22:17 pm »

Mobo ASUS P5GL-MX (front panel doesn't match with FP connector need to adapt) , P4 3.0 GHZ 2M CACHE , XP SP3 , HD SSD CRUCIAL BX500 , 6GB MEMORY

installed 5.8.112 apps and upgraded to 5.7.001 firmware , looks running very stable  2 days working no troubles at all.

Offline pcwrangler

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Re: Tektronix TLA5202 / 5202 Series / Posterity Information / hacks
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2020, 03:57:51 pm »
Has anyone ran 6.1 on a 7012 with a TLA7N4? I know 6.1 dropped support for TLA7Lx/Mx/Nx/Px/Qx as MindBender stated but I'm wondering if it's even possible or if I'm wasting my time. I've tried everything I can with what I have but the modules aren't recognized beyond 5.8. It just shows asterisks for Product/Serial/Current Firmware under the firmware loader.

I was trying to check doc.xdevs for different firmware versions and some unrelated projects but it appears they are down. Does anyone know anything about this? Any alternative?

Thanks! I've learned a bunch from these TLA discussions and really appreciate everyone's contribution.

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