compilerbitch: That's me, that is! (Default)

The TLA 624 logic analyzer I found on eBay arrived this morning.


Yes, it kind of really is a bit of a death star. I am earworming the Imperial March right now.

It’s shown here centre left, complete with wiggly lines. It has not yet gone ping. This is not necessarily disappointing.

It runs Windows 2000. Not very quickly. On a Celeron with 256MB of RAM! Oh how retro. But hey, that 2GHz resolution is for-real, and I’ve already had it hooked up to a real piece of hardware. It is a little disconcerting having a piece of test gear suddenly decide to do the old OpenGL pipes screensaver. But wow, yes, this was a serious find. It looks basically brand new — it came with all of the probes, nothing missing as best I can tell, and it looked like only one of the probes had ever been used. Even all the manuals and software were still present. Actually, the manuals, software and cables could be resold on eBay for more than I paid for the whole thing. I am such a cheapass.

I’ll probably do a video showing it doing something interesting at some point, but for now, feel free to bask in its Imperial glory. :-)

Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Electronics, #MoMBlog, #TestGear
compilerbitch: That's me, that is! (Default)

I’m kind of in the middle of a migraine right now. It came on last night and is now simmering gently. I should probably be in a quiet room with the lights out and definitely not writing something here, but migraines are just so BORING.

Anyway, as some of you know I had a contract changeover dropped on me last Friday. For anyone who has never worked as a government contractor, this probably doesn’t mean a lot, but for the rest, I see your sage nodding and involuntary twitches as evidence that you’ve been there. Basically, what it means is that you get fired and rehired by another company whilst still doing exactly the same job. Usually they are fairly uneventful. This one was stressful as all hell, because until last night it was looking like I probably wasn’t being rehired. It all got sorted out, so I end one contract on Tuesday and begin another on Wednesday. Big relief, but stressy as all hell, so hello stress migraine, my old and not terribly welcome friend.

So I have a couple of bits of hardware turning up for the lab this week:

Keithley 171 Multimeter with Nixie Tube display Keithley 171 Multimeter with Nixie Tube display

This beauty is a Keithley 171 multimeter. It looks old and crusty, and for sure, it’s old and crusty. However, it does have one really interesting feature: a Nixie tube display! Do I need yet another multimeter? Somewhere between probably and definitely not. Do I need this particular multimeter? Nope. Do I want this particular multimeter? OH HELL YES! Did I click Buy it now the instant I saw it? You bet I did.

Nixie. Tube. Multimeter.

I mean, seriously!

Very awesome.

Tektronix TLA 624 Logic Analyzer Tektronix TLA 624 Logic Analyzer

I ran into a snag on a project recently because I either had enough channels to see what was going on, or enough timing resolution to see what was going on. Unfortunately, fixing the problem needed both.

Consequently, the lab required an extra Death Star. (For reference, I have a habit of calling any piece of uber-equipment a Death Star that is such ridiculous overkill that problems they are intended to solve all wish they hadn’t just moved to Alderaan). Basically the TLA 624 is an early noughties era piece of test gear that makes it possible to monitor and record what is happening on up to 136 channels at once, with 500 picosecond resolution. This is overkill on number of channels, but about right on timing resolution for what I need. Oh, yeah baby.

The observant among you might spot that it runs Windows 2000.

Nobody is perfect…

I’m intending that both of these pieces of kit will be featured on my video blog once it gets going. If this headache from hell goes away, I may do some shooting later today.

As is my current wont, I am posting this from my own blog, so please comment there if you definitely want to be sure I see your comment. :-)

Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#Electronics, #MoMBlog, #Musings, #TestGear


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