Re: What's the best manual?

Stan & Patricia Griffiths <w7ni@...>

Tektronix put a LOT of data on microfiche in many different databases. Each
different database offers answers to different questions. It is not
reasonable to conclude that you must have ALL the data and all the databases
to get any useful information from any of it. Also, SOME of the info in
those databases has never been released by Tek for publication, unlike
obsolete manuals. Here are some example sources of data and the kind of
questions these sources will answer.

Instrument Microfiche:

This is what people normally refer to as "Tek Microfiche" but Tek had lots
of different databases on microfiche besides these. The instrument
microfiche consists of 3 parts, one part of which has always, and still is,
"Tek Company Confidential". The most common part of this database is the
complete instrument manual which may actually be several volumes for some
instruments. By now, you know that all manuals are not identical for the
same product. As the instrument progressed through life, so did the manual
and changes were introduced throughout its life in both instrument and
manual. Tek generally tried very hard to make "composite manuals" that
covered the current state of the instrument (whatever that was) and all
earlier instruments, too. Sometimes this was not possible if a rather
drastic change was made in the instrument and another whole version of that
manual had to be printed for instruments "above serial number XXX" in which
case two manuals would be required to have the complete story on all serial
numbers of that instrument. Of course, the last manual printed is the best
and most complete one and should cover all serial numbers. This is the
manual that appears in the microfiche at the time the instrument is

The second part of the instrument microfiche is the instrument "Modification
Summary". This part describes, in detail, each change that was made to the
instrument, why it was made, usually the date, the serial numbers which it
applies to, and how you can install it in an earlier instrument (sometimes
not possible). By examining the Mod Summary, you can estimate the total
number of instruments manufactured and the approximate time for any
particular serial number, just by comparing the modifcation date and the
serial numbers it applies to. The Mod Summary grew with the instrument,
too, just like the manual and the last Mod Summary published for a
particular instrument has the best and most complete data. It has been
argued that the modification data is in the latest manuals but this is not
really true. Yes, the manual shows changes of certain parts to new values
at specific serial numbers, but it does not tell you WHY these changes were
made or how many parts and what OTHER wiring changes need to be made to
install the ENTIRE modification. Partial installation of a modification can
be worse than not putting it in at all . . . This database can tell me
exactly which modifications I can install in my 7A24 s/n B116058, for
example, and WHY I should install them.

The third part of this instrument microfiche database was called "Sales and
Service" and still is considered "Tek Company Confidential". The
confidentality is not usually because it contains any "secrets" but rather
because the data in it was intended for use by Tek employees only and not
carefully screened nor written for publication to the world. It may contain
notes for sales engineers on how to best demonstrate the insturment in order
to win over the competition, for example. It may contain the original
design goals for the product and the final product MAY not have met them all
. . . It may contain snipets of service information not falling into the
category of a modification, like certain unreliable batch numbers for
failing components . . . All useful info but not necessarily what Tek would
want published to the world, hence, this part was classified "Tek Company

Most of the Tek Instrument Microfiche was used by Tek themselves with
complete libraries of it in each of the 35 or so Service Centers in the U.S.
and a bunch more overseas. Some sets of parts 1 and 2 (not part 3) were
sold to customers. Tek's sets included parts 1, 2, and 3 and were updated
weekly from Beaverton. Customers had the option to buy an update
subscription service. Customers could also buy partial sets such as "7000
K", "TM500", or "530/540 Series". As the sets of microfiche were updated,
sheets of microfiche containing approximately 60 images were replaced but
sometimes only one or two sheets of an instrument set containing 6 or 7
sheets total. Many times the old fiche were saved and these are sometimes
available on the market. Usually, you cannot find the entire set for any
particular instrument but partial data is usually better than none.

It has been suggested that digitizing these microfiche images provides no
advantage over using the microfiche sheets themselves in a microfiche
reader. I beg to differ with this opinion. While I have access to many
original Tek microfiche sheets, most of you do not. I can digitize mine and
make them available to you as PDF files. Another possibilty would be to
turn the images into hardcopies and make those available to you. While
making a PDF file takes more time and labor intitally, making additional
copies is MUCH easier than dealing with paper copies. Besides, if you
really want paper copies, you can print them yourself from the PDF file. It
has also been suggeted that unless you have the entire library, none of it
is useful. This is like saying you have to have ALL Tek Manuals before ANY
of them are useful!

Numerical Parts Record (NPR)

This Tek Company Confidential microfice database was intended primarily as a
parts pricing document for use by Tek's Field Sales Offices. It contains
much more than prices, however. If the part number was obsolete, for
example, it told you what the replacement part number was, and what
insturment types and serial numbers used it. It also told you if this part
was manufactured inside of Tek or purchased outside and who the primary
supplier was, complete with mailing address. There were about 75 sheets of
microfiche to this database with maybe 100 images per sheet and lots of
individual part numbers in each image. With this database, I can look up
Part Number 120-0612-01 see where it was made and who made it, as well as
find out which instruments and serial numbers used it.

Tektronix Catalogs

Tektronix made lots of different catalogs. We are all familiar with the big
ones done each year containing all the current products for sale. You can
get a LOT of really valuable data from those which is why they sell for as
much as $30 or more on eBay. It can tell you information such as which
probes Tek recommended for a particular scope model, what plugins are
compatible with which mainframes, what accessories were included, how much
the instrument cost when new, major specifications if the products in the
catalog, what years particular products were offered by Tek, etc. etc.
Since many of these original old catalogs are getting impossible to find, I
have digitized both the 1970 and 1975 Tek catalogs (with specific legal
permission from Tek) and offer them for sale on CD. Thes two catalogs give
you most everything you want to know about 7K scopes and TM500 instruments.
I plan to digitize more Tek Catalogs in the near future.

You may NOT know that Tek also made catalogs specific to TV and computer
products. You may also not know that Tek made a "Calibaration and Test
Fixtures Catalog" that lists things like the 067 fixtures and Input
Normalizers. With regard to 067-0542-99, do not expect to find ANY
published information on it because all 067 fixtures that ended in "-99"
were never offered for sale to customers and no official manuals were ever
printed. These were "in-house" test fixtures for use on the production line
and very few of them ever made it to the field. Information about these
fixtures was intentionally supressed to reduce the demand for support on
them from the field . . . since you can't find much on this product, I guess
Tek was successful . . .

CRT by Instrument List

Tek had such a microfiche list made in about 1990 that covered all
instruments that used CRT's up to that time. I extracted the data, line by
line, from a copy of the microfiche images I have in my possession and put
it in a database that is on the web site. This was very
time-consuming work but also very valuable data to have.

Tektronix Transistor Part Numbers to Generic Part Numbers Cross Reference

I also extracted this data, line by line, and we have published it on I would like to do it for diodes and IC's but, so far,
time just does not permit me to do it. The source of this data is not from
microfiche. Rather, Tek published a whole series of Company Confidential
reference books for use by Tek design engineers to help them select parts
for use in new designs. The entire set of reference books makes a stack
about a foot high and covers tens of thousands of electrical and mechanical

Did you ever want to know exactly WHAT parameters checked and matched tubes,
transistors, and diodes were matched or checked for? The data exists but
not published at this time. So, there are LOTS of databases on Tek stuff
and each one answers some questions. I happen to think that even just a
small part of this data can be helpful and more can be more helpful. As I
get time, I will attempt to make more of it available on


PS One thing that slows down this whole process is the tons of individual
requests I receive for specific pieces of data. Each one of these is a
valid request but the volume of questions precludes me from working on
publishing more databases for all to use. This is the well known "kill
aligators or drain the swamp" enigma . . .

----- Original Message -----
From: "maddisassembler" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 1:39 AM
Subject: [TekScopes] Re: What's the best manual?

January 12th, 2004

Albert and all others who care for this issue,

even if one has a complete collection of
microfiche (which would be well above 10,000
microfiche I estimate) he would have to spend
appr. USD 2,000 (0.20 times 10,000) just to
have them digitized.

All this is worthless (or at least the same level
as putting microfiche into a reader) if this whole
action cannot give immediate answers to questions
like (just examples):
What is a 067-0542-99 good for? Where was part
120-0612-01 used and what was the serial number
range? Under which modification falls my 7A24
serial B116058?
etc etc etc

From my point of view such answers can only be
found in reasonable time if the contents of all
microfiche are linked into some kind of data base
or retrieval system.

To build up such a system it would need a big
effort of labour - too much for single a person
with only 24 hours a day to spend on this...

Comments welcome.

Best regards

--- In, "Albert LaFrance" <lafrance@a...>
Another option which might be worth considering is to have the
scanned onto a CD-ROM. I looked into this a while ago for some
Bell System
Practice manuals, and several service companies estimated prices of
cents per image, depending on quantity, fiche quality, need for
post-scanning image cleanup, etc.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Stan & Patricia Griffiths" <w7ni@e...>
To: "maddisassembler" <320041677522-0001@t...>
Cc: "TekScopes" <>
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 4:43 PM
Subject: [TekScopes] What's the best manual?

Our local library has microfiche readers that can read either
fiche sheets
or 35mm filmed images and convert any image to hard copy on
excellent copy
paper similar to what you use in your own laserjet printer. It
costs 10
cents per image to do prints and I sometimes use that service.

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