Keithley secret menu and settings

It is not uncommon to have “easter eggs” in electronic equipment with complex firmwares.
Often hidden functions are implemented for debug and development purposes, but sometimes just for run too.
Firmware engineers are human beings too, after all. In article below some of secret functions of Keithley test equipment are covered.

Feel free to try these on your gear, but do remember that information provided here is “AS IS” and no warranty provided by vendor or any other 3rd party.
For example, changing Model ID on Keithley 24xx SourceMeter units cause permanent loss of calibration data. Obvious culprits are noted in this article, but something can be lost still.

Let’s get started.

Keithley Model 2001 DMM (Axx firmware versions)

This 7½ multimeter features dual line dot matrix VFD. This kind of display is handy for displaying lots of text data.

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold button "FREQ" and button "MATH" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Firmware versions with “A” index are more constrained in size due to only single 4Mbit ROM chip being used on digital board. It is a PLCC32 package 27C4096, located in socket near CPU. Here is information based on latest A08 version.

Secret menu have next items:

Menu item Detail Default Note
BKGD-DLY Background delay 5 unknown effect
SIGNAL-DLY Signal delay 5 unknown effect
CREDITS Lists software team developers
SCANNER Override scan card detection No Unlocks scanner card functions even without actual card present
INIT-BB-RAM Initialize BB-RAM Initialize option battery-backed NVRAM to operation data
COMP-CAL Skip AC in comprehensive calibration No

Init BB-RAM is a easy option to update memory options with replaced DALLAS NVRAM.
Before upgrade procedure was covered in article here which required use of ROM program tool.

Also when secret mode is enabled, there is extra 8½ resolution setting available in DCV function mode.
But its more for demo purposes, as 2001 analog board/ADC does not really provide necessary noise and linearity performance for real 8½ digit meters.
Software team using same digital board to develop functions for both 2001 and 2002 multi-meters, and were working on 2002 firmware even before actual 2002 analog hardware was available.

8½ mode is also available to use if use GPIB command :SENS:VOLT:DC:DIG 8.5;. By GPIB it’s possible to set ACV, DCI, ACV, 2wire Ohms, 4wire Ohms to higher 8½ resolution mode as well, by same :DIG 8.5; operand in
mode selection command, while front panel secret menu allows this only on DCV function.

Keithley Model 2001 DMM (Bxx firmware versions)

“B” version firmware is using larger ROM size, since it’s split between two ICs for odd and even bytes. One of ours 2001’s have digital board revision K, which have this configuration and using two ST M27C4001 DIP32 UV-erasable EPROM.

Here’s secret menu options with firmware version B15, kindly provided by one of Keithley Model 2001 owners.

Entrance is same as A-version 2001:

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold button "FREQ" and button "MATH" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Ignore error codes, these are due to wrong calibration data in I2C EEPROM, since unit in video is under repair. Normal 2001 will not
have any error codes while entering secret mode.

Menu item Detail Default Note
MESSAGES Hidden messages submenu Entry to show credit messages in english/french/german and game
INIT-OPTIONS Initialize EEPROMs for option cards
FREEZE Freeze display Off Turning this on causes the PREV button to freeze display
OPTION Override installed addon card detection Enable meter to init EEPROM on option cards
AC-CAL Skip AC in comprehensive calibration Allow manually view and change some of cal data, offsets/gains
MSGS Item Detail Note
CREDIT Shows The Design Team: credits Lists all team members who work on Model 2001. ~30 seconds
ENGLISH Listing features and capabilities English language demo mode (likely used for trade shows, ~2min)
FRENCH Listing features and capabilities French language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
GERMAN Listing features and capabilities German language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
GAME Easter egg: game? Entering this submenu on B15 firmware does nothing :)

Also when secret mode is enabled, there is extra 8½ resolution setting available in DCV function mode, same as with A-version firmware.

Keithley Model 2002 DMM

Model 2002 have similar menu like 2001, but with more settings and more easter eggs in it.
This flagship Keithley DMM was designed with main competitor in mind, HP 3458A. It also have compatibility mode for GPIB interface,
so existing software could interface 2002 using 3458A SCPI commands.

Unlocking hidden menu is same as Model 2001:

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold button "FREQ" and button "MATH" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Here is video overview of all items:

Menu item Detail Default Note
MSGS Hidden messages submenu Entry to show credit messages in english/french/german and eggs
INIT-OPTS Initialize EEPROMs for option cards
OPTION Override installed addon card detection
RAW-DISP Display measurements in ADC counts Shows counters data for ADC operation in various modes
CAL-CONSTS Setting offset and gains for DCV/Ohms Allow manually view and change some of cal data, offsets/gains
SKIP-AC-CAL Skip AC in comprehensive calibration
BKGD-AV Background averaging function Enabled Some digital filter, perhaps?

Here details of second-level submenus:

MSGS Item Detail Note
CREDIT Shows The Design Team: credits Lists all team members who work on Model 2002. ~30 seconds
ENGLISH Listing features and capabilities English language demo mode (likely used for trade shows, ~2min)
FRENCH Listing features and capabilities French language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
GERMAN Listing features and capabilities German language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
HP-KILLER Easter egg: 2002 eating 3548 digits 2002 number are coming and eating 3548, funny demo :)
HP-SHOOTER Easter egg: 2002 shoots 3548 digits 2002 shooting rockets to 3548, killing one digit every time :)
INIT-OPTS Detail Note
BB-RAM Initialize BB-RAM Prepares DALLAS NVRAM to enable MEMx option installation
PREAMP Initialize EEPROM on PREAMP PREAMP option card module EEPROM initialize? Changes scan functions to PREAMP
PHASE Initialize EEPROM on PHASE PHASE measurement card module EEPROM initialize? Changes scan functions to PHASE
TC-OHMS Initialize EEPROM on TC-OHMs TC-OHMS option card module EEPROM initialize? Changes scan functions to TC-OHMS

—-

Keithley have Preamp option for 2001 and 2002, called Model 1801, and likely internal phase and TC-OHMs (thermo compensated ohms mode?) cards on modules which can fit Model 2002 in scanner card slot. Not sure last two do, but since enabling these options via secret menu changes scanner control functions and menus to related hidden menus, it’s the guess.

Preamp Keithley Model 1801 enhances low-side range measurement capability of 2001/2002 DMMs. There is scarce information available about it, just a brief sheet. According to which, preamp is designed to connect with DMM via option slot, instead of scanner card. According to datasheet, option card features just low-noise power supply to external Model 1801 nanovolt preamp module.
Gain with preamp module is 1000 on 2 mV range, 10000 on 200 uV range and 100000 on 20 uV range.
DMM with preamp option have only next ranges available:

DCV 20uV, 200uV, 2mV, no peak measurements, resolution down to 1 pV, Noise min 0.6 nV p-p, 1GOhm impedance
ACV 500uV RMS low-frequency, no normal RMS/Peak/Crest factor measurements, resolution down to 100pV
4W Ohms 2 mOhm, 20 mOhm, 200 mOhm, 2 Ohm, 20 Ohm, 200 Ohm, resolution down to 100 pOhm, 9.2 mA current source, 5V
Frequency 1 Hz to 1000 Hz, 5 digits resolution, 400uV p-p minimum signal level
Temperature Thermocouple or uV/°C value, resolution 0.0001 °C)

PREAMP configuration:

PREAMP CONFIG Detail Note
CONTROL PREAMP CONTROL: Enable or disable Enable changes available ranges to those available with preamp
FILTER Selects between filter speed of preamp Available options Slow/Medium/Fast
CALIBRATION Initialize meter calibration constants Reads preamp calibration data and calibrate DMM to use them
TC-OHMS Initialize EEPROM on TC-OHMs

Phase card is another option. Google knows nothing about this item.

PHASE configuration:

PHASE CONFIG Detail
CONTROL Phase measurement control: Enable or disable
SPEED Measurement speed setting, like normal DMM functions in NPLC
FILTER Filtering options, just like normal DMM functions
CHANNEL Select phase options for signal or reference
SCALE Setting phase scale between +-180 or 0-360 degree
UNITS Setting degrees, radians or grads for phase unit
REF-RES Setting reference resistance, in ohms
CAL Calibrate phase reading

TC-OHM did not change either settings, but I did not check every option yet.

—-

Back to Secret menu, Options submenu:

OPTIONS Detail
NONE No option override, detect by HW
SCANNER Scanner card option override
PREAMP Preamp card option override
PHASE Phase measurement option override
TC-Ohm Override option detect to TC-Ohm

Keithley Model 24xx series SourceMeter

On 2400 series SMUs entering mode is using same buttons:

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold gray button "^" and button "SWEEP" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Here are hidden menu items on Model 2400 with firmware C32:

Menu item Detail Default Note
MODEL# Override model ID Allow to force ID to 2400/2410/2420/2430/2426/xxxx. Warning! Calibration will be LOST!
FB-BURN-IN Burn-in all VFD pixels
DIGITAL-REV Write digital board revision ID into ROM Stores digital board revision in calibration ROM
ANALOG-REV Write analog board revision ID into ROM Stores digital board revision in calibration ROM
CONTACT Enable contact option 24xx-C(need hw) Allow to enable CONTACT option hardware

Of course, changing MODEL ID will not make SMU working with other ranges, since analog boards on different models within 24xx series are physically different.
This function is in firmware to allow developers test and use same digital board and same firmware, while connected to different analog boards.
Do not change Model# if you don’t have calibration-grade DMM available! Calibration data will be permamently lost!

Keithley Model 2510/2510-AT

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold gray button "T" and button "CONFIG" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Hidden menu items on Model 2510 with firmware A11:

Menu item Detail Default Note
FB-BURN-IN Burn-in all VFD pixels
BOARD-REV Write board revision ID into ROM Stores board revision in calibration ROM
AUTOTUNE Enable/disable autotune option Allow to select between 2510 or 2510-AT Model SMU

Keithley Model 6517A Electrometer

This unit does have secret menu as well, but since don’t have one (just yet?) unable to make video for it.

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold button "SEQ" and button "Voltage source UP" and power on unit
3. Secret menu available now in MENU/GENERAL/SECRET
4. After power down unit enters normal operation mode as usual.

Firmware code C05 for 6517A does have neccessary strings for secret stuff:

00085BA0                               SECR
00085BC0   ET CAL MENU  yBB-RAM   5156 INIT
00085BE0   IALIZE OPTIONS  NONE   6521   65
00085C00   22   5156 OPTION INSTALLED   y  
00085C20   HP-SHOOTER yCREDIT  ENGLISH  FRE
00085C40   NCH  GERMAN  yHIDDEN MESSAGES   
00085C60   BKGD-AVG  DISP-BURN-IN  DQ-CAP y
00085C80   MSGS OPTION INIT-OPT CAL-STUFF  
00085CA0    ySECRET MENU

And actual menu tree:

Menu item Detail Default Note
MSGS Hidden messages submenu Entry to show credit messages in english/french/german and eggs
OPTION Override installed addon card detection Force installed option (None / 6521 / 6522 / 5156)
INIT-OPTS Initialize EEPROMs for option cards Initialize NVRAM or 5156 calibration option ROM
CAL-STUFF Various calibration items Allow manually view/change cal data, calculate cal data, reset
BKGD-AVG Background averaging function Enabled Some digital filter, perhaps? Can be either ON or OFF
DISP-BURN-IN Burn-in all VFD pixels
DQ_CAP Use DQ capacitor? Can be enabled or disabled

Here details of second-level submenus:

MSGS Item Detail Note
CREDIT Shows The Design Team: credits Lists all team members who work on Model 6517. ~30 seconds
ENGLISH Listing features and capabilities English language demo mode (likely used for trade shows, ~2min)
FRENCH Listing features and capabilities French language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
GERMAN Listing features and capabilities German language demo mode ~ 2 minutes
HP-SHOOTER Easter egg: 6517 shoots 4339 digits 6517 shooting rockets to 4339, killing one digit every time :)
INIT-OPTS Detail Note
BB-RAM Initialize BB-RAM (NVRAM) Prepares DALLAS NVRAM to enable MEMx option installation
5156 Initialize EEPROM on 5156 Initialize 5156 calibration module EEPROM
CAL-STUFF Detail Note
CONSTANTS View calibration constants
PROCEDURES Calibration procedures?
CALC&SAVE Calculate calibration date and save
FACTORY Reset data to factory state
RESTORE-ALL-DEFAULTS Revert back to default data

5156 Option is a calibration box with precision characterized resistances and capacitor.

Keithley Model 6517B Electrometer

Menu item Detail Default Note
FB-BURN-IN Burn-in all VFD pixels
ANALOG-REV Write digital board revision ID into ROM Stores digital board revision in calibration ROM
DIGITAL-REV Write analog board revision ID into ROM Stores digital board revision in calibration ROM

Keithley Model 7001/7002 switching frame

Switching frame Model 7001 have just credits information display.
To enter this mode do next

1. Ensure unit is powered off.
2. Press and hold button "6" and button "STORE" and power on unit
3. Enjoy credits information with developer team names listed
4. After showing all names, unit enters normal operation mode automatically

Model 7002 also have shooting game using switch LEDs and light pen, but since we don’t have this unit cannot give exact details on it.
Entrance to hidden mode should be same, hold buttons “6” and “STORE” on power on.

That’s if for now, if anyone have more details regarding Keithley gear, feel free to share via email (team[doggy]xdevs.com) or
on EEVBlog forums here

Author: Illya Tsemenko
Published: Feb. 28, 2015, 12:24 p.m.
Modified: Jan. 5, 2017, 12:20 p.m.

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