Review and tweaks for Tektronix TLA714 logic analyzer

The Tektronix TLA714 is a “Portable Analyser Mainframe”. Yes, in 1999 this was considered very portable. This heavy and bulky machine and has the following set of features:

  • Holds 2 double-wide modules, which include logic analyzers, pattern generators and digitizing oscilloscopes
  • 8 GHz deep timing analysis
  • Up to 800 MHz state acquisition with 1.2 GB/s data rate for advanced processors and buses
  • Broad processor and bus support universal source code support for correlating high-level language source with real-time trace
  • Performance analysis support for optimizing target system remote control using Microsoft COM/DCOM technology supports advanced data analysis
  • MagniVu™ technology provides 500 ps timing resolution on all channels all the time through the same probe
  • Microsoft Windows PC platform provides familiar user interface with network connectivity
  • Simultaneous state and high speed timing analysis through the same probes pinpoints elusive faults
  • Intel Pentium MMX 266MHz CPU (Embedded version)
  • Up to 256MB RAM (by SDRAM PC100 2 x SO-DIMM modules)
  • Intel 430VX chipset
  • IDE 2.5” HDD and IDE CD-ROM drives
  • 800×600” TFT with 2MB embedded VGA
  • 3.5” Floppy Disk Drive
  • Built in trackpad and external PS/2 Keyboard & Mouse connectors
  • 2 x USB Ports
  • 2 x PCMCIA (PCCard) Slots

TLA714 was released to world 1st July 1999, so we looking at 16-year old gear here. List Price at release was $10500 USD (analyzer mainframe only) or $11125 USD (with TLA7N4 logic module). Software at release was Windows 98 with TLA Application version 3.0. Later units came with Windows 2000 SP2, TLA Application Version 4.4.

TLA714 was replaced by TLA715 in 2001, which got significant upgrade on computer side, with Intel Pentium III 733MHz processor, up to 512MB DRAM. Today both mainframes are obsolete and not supported officially, being sucedded by TLA7000 and TLA6400 series.

There are a number of different Logic Analyser modules that can be installed in the TLA714 :

Module model name Amount of channels Connector type Max speed Max depth
TLA7N1 34 channels 2.54” pitch ports
TLA7N2 68 channels 2.54” pitch ports
TLA7N3 102 channels 2.54” pitch ports
TLA7N4 136 channels 2.54” pitch ports
TLA7D1 2 channels, analog BNC TekConnect ports
TLA7E2 4 channels, analog BNC TekConnect ports
TLA7PG2 64 channels, pulse generator Pod ports

If mainframe upgraded with TLA Application V5.1 or newer, it can accept and run newer modules without any problems as well.

Module model name Amount of channels Connector type Max speed Max depth
TLA7AA1 34 channels, analog mux Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7AA2 68 channels, analog mux Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7AA3 102 channels, analog mux Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7AA4 136 channels, analog mux Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7NA1 34 channels Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7NA2 68 channels Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7NA3 102 channels Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M
TLA7NA4 136 channels Mictor high-speed port 450MHz 32M

Latest TLA7ABx, TLA7ACx, TLA7BBx, TLA7BCx likely to work too, but I don’t have any to actually test. Serial modules such as TLA7SA and TLA7S series probably will not work at all.

Before we dig into internals of this machine, let’s take a look on documentation

Document Tek’s reference ID
Tektronix Logic Analyzer – Quick Start Manual Tektronix 071-1575-02
Tektronix Analyzer User Manual – Software v4.4 Tektronix 071-1236-01
TLA Family – Logic Analyzers Tektronix 52W-14259-0
TLA700 Series Key Features Tektronix 52W-11144-5
Tektronix Logic Analyzer – Service Manual Tektronix 071-0267-01

Unit I got was storaged in damp conditions, and mainboard had corrosion and rust all over it. So let’s tear it apart and repair.
PC mainboard was replaced with working one, sourced from second market separately.

Backplane features connectors for aquisition modules and power supply, acting as interconnect:

Mainframe’s brain motherboard is located on top of backplane, at left unit’s side.

It is complete system with Intel Pentium MMX 266MHz embedded processor.

TFT LCD panel 640×480 pixel

Power supply:

Front panel assembly with optical drive and floppy drive.

It also does have all buttons and front knobs, emulating keyboard and touchpad for user operation.

Stripped aluminum frame:

Now let’s reassemble everything with new PC board and test it

I used Tektronix P6810 probe and 3V source to check logic signal operation.

iView Technology:

Setup : TLA714 + TLA7AA4 + P6860 probe, scope : TDS7704B, interface: NI GPIB-USB-HS

Current finance report on project Tektronix TLA is available in table below:

Item Date Paid cost Shipping
Tektronix TLA714 mainframe $1000 USD 0
Tektronix 020-2457-00 PCB-Mictor adapter 05/07/2012 $80 USD $41 USD
Tektronix TLA7AA4 Logic Analyzer Module w/ Option CS 2MB 06/28/2012 $199.99 USD $47.95 USD
NEW Emulation Technology MIC-38-BREAKOUT Mictor Male 07/22/2012 $69.95 USD $16.95 USD
Tektronix TLA714 LA Mainframe W/Option 1S, 128M, 2 PCBs 07/16/2012 $199.99 USD $29.74 USD
NEW 512mb 2 × 256mb pc133 sodimm 144pin sdram Laptop 07/09/2012 $15.99 USD Free
Tektronix P6860 probe set – 2 pcs 07/05/2012 $189.98 USD $46.41 USD
Tektronix P6810 probe set 11/05/2012 $919 USD Free
Mictor 38 adapter to testpoints with header 12/03/2012 $49.99 USD $6.99 USD
Intel PRO/100 CardBus II 10/100 Ethernet LAN Adapter 11/06/2012 $9.99 USD Free
Nexus Technology NEX-PRB2X Probe Cable for Tektronix 11/03/2012 $66.40 USD $36.01 USD
Total $2801.28 USD $225.05 USD

Grand total with shipping: ~3026.33 USD
As you can see, cost of probes and adapters can be easy way greater than TLA mainframe itself!

Author: Ilya Tsemenko
Created: Aug. 15, 2015, 7:38 a.m.
Modified: Feb. 16, 2016, 3:17 a.m.