Re: Copyrights, patents, costs, etc.

Phil (VA3UX) <phil@...>

I agree with you Dean but I don't recall anyone ragging on Tek for the high cost of their manuals. I've never spoken to anyone that didn't consider the Tek scope manuals to be the "benchmark" of what a manual should be; a standard to be worked towards by all others, a standard that few others (if any) achieved. The Tek manuals are masterpieces and they should be expensive. Now I'm referring here to the older stuff (50's to 70's) since that's pretty much all I have here. The work in putting those manuals together must have been incredible : the clarity of thought and writing, the photography, the details, the exploded diagrams as you pointed out - all first class. Now I do recall a recent post about someone paying good money for a current manual that sounded like it's content was disappointing, but that's the only negative I've ever heard or read. Clearly, Tek is a different company today than it was 30 or 50 years ago. But so are most companies. My own employer is a disappointing shell of what it used to be just 15 years ago.

Anyhow I otherwise agree with everything you wrote.


At 04:19 PM 9/17/2001 +0000, you wrote:
On behalf of Tektronix and every other manufacturer of high-quality,
industrial test equipment, I can understand why a manual would cost
so much. When you consider all of the drawings, parts lists,
mechanical parts "explosions", etc. complete with pull-out
schematics, parts-placement diagrams, etc., all nicely bound, heavily
edited for minimal mistakes, high-quality paper, good printing ....
well, it's no wonder that a manual gets expensive. We can rag on Tek
all we want for high-cost manuals, but the day wasn't that long ago
that Tek charged either $7.50 or $15.00 for their manuals regardless
of the manual. Even back then, that was dirt-cheap!

They always included two manuals with each instrument. That's one
reason that a lot of Tek manuals are so plentiful on the surplus

Tucker doesn't always copy those manuals. We tried ordering an hp
manual from them once and found out that the delay in ordering and
the high cost of the manual was because they were going to order it
directly from hp "for me" ... and add to the delay and the cost
considerable. (I don't remember the circumstances of why we were
ordering through them vs. directly from hp.)

Tek sued for copyright and patent infringement once. It left a bad
taste in their mouths, too, so that may be why they "speak loudly and
carry a small stick". The suit where they sued the U.S. Government,
Lavoie Labs, Hickok, et. al. for "cloning" 545 scopes for government
contract fulfilment took upwards of 10 years and gained them nothing
but principle. The money they spent defending their property was far
greater than that awarded -- from companies long-gone.

One reason that Tek is poor with support of older instruments is that
Tektronix is Tektronix's greatest competitor. How could they expect
to sell TDS-series scopes for a small fortune when there were all
kinds of fully-functioning, lab-grade, analog Tek scopes out there on
ebay and in "Nuts & Volts" magazine for pennies on the dollar? You
reduce that competition by killing support.

The comment was made something on the order that Tek's lousy customer
service support on the older equipment is doing little more than
losing customers for new equipment. Who are we fooling here? The
same folks that are buying 465's, 7904's and 7854's off ebay are not
going to be buying anything new from Tek. That's not even an

I'm not a Tek-blue supporter here. Just flipping over the other side
of the coin. I don't think that it makes sense that the "Concept
Series" and other out-of-print publications should be hoarded by Tek
and not shared. If there's no profit for them in
reprinting "Vertical Amplifiers" for sale, then there's no loss if
someone else does. At that point, it's only a matter of principle
and is more like me when I was a kid not letting my sister play with
my microscope even though I hadn't touched it in six years and had
zero interest in it.

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

Join to automatically receive all group messages.