iceNINE Tech

- Tektronix 5000-Series Oscilloscope Directory -


 


Tektronix products are pretty amazing things. With almost no exceptions, if a given Tek 'scope still works, it's still good for something, and won't let you down. The modular 5000 series are not the fastest units around, but have a number of good features that make them notable. There is little consolidated information available on the Internet about them, so I've spent some time scouring eBay, Tek's website, used equipment resellers, and Usenet posts to compile this index. Readers of this site and the Yahoo Tekscopes group have also contributed a great deal of arcana and old documentation. Thanks, everyone, and keep it coming!

This information is not complete, though I hope it may be someday, and is not guaranteed to be accurate (but please let me know if you find a bug!). And by the way, I have obtained images from a variety of sources; they are all stored locally for longevity. If you see one that is in some way 'yours' and you would like it removed, please let me know and I will remove it posthaste!

5000 scopes can be considered the little brother of the 7000 series. They were contemporary, being sold from 1971 to 1991. A very long-lived product, really. The target market was initially biomedical and mechanical instrumentation use, explaining the low speeds. They have also found use in the audio field, and the faster mainframes introduced in 1975 are actually reasonable general-purpose scopes.

These 5000's are not to be confused with the TM5000 series - the second generation of Tektronix's TM500 test and measurement mainframes, which take plugins like voltmeters, power supplies, function generators, miniature 'scopes (confusingly), and the like - which looks similar, but is completely incompatible. There are keyed connectors that prevent cross-plugging, and they wouldn't work, electrically, either. Sorry. Yes, I think that would be pretty cool, too.

Calibration of the 5000 series is a mixed bag. The 5100's are easily done with basic T&M gear that you probably already have. The higher-sensitivity plugins are a little tricky - you'll need to make some precision BNC splitters and resistive dividers. Extenders are sometimes available; I am told that the 067-0645-00 and 067-0645-03 are suitable, while the -01 and -02 are not - I do not know why right now. Doing the 5400's requires the 067-0680-00 plugin, which generates precision steps, amplitudes, and has a levelling indicator so that you can use an unlevelled sine generator to do bandwidth checking. I have a scanned manual and schematics available for this unit. These were personally auto-scanned from a Rev B, Oct 1977 manual. The latest serial number listed in the BOM is, well, a little funny. There are a number of places that B020381 is given. Then there are a couple places that say 'B05294' (yes, one digit is left out in the original). Hmm. And yes, there was no component location guide in my paper original. Did one ever exist? BTW, the PCB was completely re-layed-out at B02xxxx, I think.

The file sizes are large, for best resolution. If you download these to use them, I'd appreciate a quick email to let me know how things work out. My 067-0680-00 (B020791) is a little beat up, and I have some questions.


There were two basic generations of the 5000's. Initially, there was a fairly odd model numbering system, based on the display type the mainframe was built with. Basically, there was one 'lower' section of the scope mainframe, where the modules plugged in, and a number of different displays available. They could be mounted on the lower chassis, for a bench system, or next to it, for a rackmount (5 1/4") system. These latter units seem very plentiful on eBay. These are all 3-bay mainframes, by the way.

I have sucessfully converted a rackmount 510x to benchtop-style, with a minimum of effort. I will write this up Real Soon Now.

Another aside: apparently some stray units were sold by Tek to OEMs that painted them other colors, and did various strange things to them. See question #6 in the below-linked FAQ. I have only ever seen one of these - a 5A48 that has a black face; see the plugin list below.

Further aside: the C-5 camera was designed for this series, and features fixed-focus and fixed-aperture, 'for ease of use'. I know there were several variants of the C-5, including at least a C-5A and a C-5C.

In the beginning, the 'main' model number was 5103N, and five CRTs were available, with differing properties. Less than two years later, these were changed to be different models, in the 511n form. This chart (direct from Tektronix's 5000 FAQ page) summarizes:

5103N/D1n / 511n Mainframes (Slow)
Model Bandwidth Original nomenclature & Description Image
5110 2 MHz 5103N/D10 - Standard non-storage instrument  
5111 2 MHz 5103N/D11 - Single beam storage instrument (splitscreen bistable)  
5112 2 MHz 5103N/D12 - Dual beam non-storage instrument  
5113 2 MHz

5103N/D13 - Dual beam storage instrument (splitscreen bistable)

 
5115 2 MHz 5103N/D15 - Single beam storage instrument (high writing rate) (bistable)  

I have not found any sign of a 5114 scope. Several (all?) of these units have 'A' models (updated versions) produced, and they appear to have all been available in rackmount configurations. A note on the dual-trace models - both traces are driven from the same set of horizontal deflector plates, so no two-scopes-in-one-chassis wonderfulness (as seen in the 7844 Oscilloscope and several of the old 500 tube scopes) here. Also, funny things happen when a dual timebase is used in them, apparantly.

The term 'split-screen' refers to a sort of dual-storage tube, where the bottom half of the tubes' display can be stored independently of the top half (and vice versa). Hmm - more information would be nice here.

The CRTs of the non-storage scopes are large - 6 1/4" diagonal. The storage CRTs are smaller, as is usual in Tek products.


An unusual analog/digital scope was released in 1981- the 5223. It has GPIB, and requires the 5B25N Digital Timebase for storage. The otherwise wonderful 5A14N 4-channel amplifier is not recommended for use with this unit, in storage mode at least. The storage appears to be similar to the 7D20, with multiple waveform capture and so forth. The CRT is only slightly smaller (6"?) than the 5100's.

There was also some sort of wildcat color model, the 5116, which worked best with the 5D10 digitizing system. I'd love to see a picture of this one in action! The colors claim to be blue-green, orange, and 'neutral' (whatever than might be). It mentions a 'color shutter' (!?) that does the work. Without the 5D10, you only get blue-green (the standard Tek beam color, I'd expect) - and it works just like a 5110. Same large CRT, too. It does have CRT readout, for the few plugins that provide it.

Special Mainframes
Model Bandwidth Description Image
5223

10 MHz repetitive (10 MS)

100 KHz single-shot

Digitizing oscilloscope (GPIB)

Has plotter outputs (ie, X & Y Sig Out, Pen Lift)

5116 2MHz Color non-storage instrument

And then there were the faster ones. These came along a little later, in 1975. Like the slow models, these originally came with seperate chassis/display numbers. The original number was 5403/Dnn. There were three models, and they were all 60MHz (nominally, see below for 50MHz reduction details).

5403 / 5400 Mainframes (Slow)
Model Bandwidth Orginal Nomenclature & Description Image
5440 60/50 MHz 5403/D40 - Single-beam non-storage instrument  
5441 60/50 MHz 5403/D41 - Single-beam storage instrument (variable persistance)  
5444 60 MHz 5403/D44 - Dual-beam non-storage instrument (only sold 1976)  

The CRTs here are the larger 6.5" on the 5440 and 5444, and smaller (4.5"?) on the 5441 storage unit. They all have CRT readout, again, for the plugins that support it. As with the 510n series, both rack- and bench-mount were available. The 5444 dual-beam construction differs from that of the 5100 units, in that it posesses two distinct sets of horizontal deflection plates, allowing true independant operation, similar to the 7844. A dual timebase allows things like one signal at two sweep speeds, or two different signals at two different sweeps (each beam is slaved to a vertical compartment).

CRT readout is another feature that sets the fast scopes off from the slow models. The 5400's came with it by default, but you could order Option 01, which deleted it, and save some money. So perhaps you should check for this before you buy. The readout looks and works similarly to that found on the 7000 series, with all the greek letters, math signs, and so forth. There are eight total groups of up to 10 characters each - four groups each on the top and bottom of the display. The furthest left, top & bottom, is for the left vertical amp, thus accomodating dual-channel amps. The 5A14N (quad-channel) was never made with readout, that I know of, so that logistical problem was avoided. Likewise, the center left top & bottom is for the right amp. Splitting with tradition (ie, the 7000 way of doing things), the top two right groups are for the timebase, thus accomodating dual & delayed timebases, with the main towards the left.

Custom readout was a special order possibility. If you ordered Option 3 (and payed a bit), you got the ability to program the lower two right groups as you saw fit. Unlike the 7M13 Typewriter Plugin, though, it was a bit trickier to change your text. The digest of Tekscope articles that is floating around the net describes this process, as does another pair of documents a kind reader sent in. This PDF contains both instructions on adding Option 3 to high-serial-number 5400's (B090000 for the 5440, B080000 for the 5441), and a manual on utilizing the plugin card required to program the display. I have a higher-res image (from the aforementioned Tekscopes article) of this programming card available. Basically, for each character, a resistor of a specific value is soldered into this little card. The card plugs into a DB25 on the back of the scope, which has a number of wires connecting to the readout circuitry.

The documents that describe the custom readout circuitry also mention 'programming devices that will be available soon', and include some special signals intended for these devices, not otherwise used by the available card. I do not believe that these were ever released - info?

Actually adding Option 03 is very easy - I just did it to my 5441, it took about two hours. Most of the trouble is getting the cosmetic aluminum rear panel cover off and punched for the connector (I used a Greenlee chassis punch, but a drill and file would have worked too)- the inner steel chassis is ready to go. (Incidentally, I punched a couple of holes in the indicated places for BNC connectors, while I had the back off. As far as I could tell, there was never a Sig Out Option for the 5400's (there was for the 5100's - Option 07, but that's another story for another time). But maybe they'll be useful at some point.)

After I reinstalled the panel, there were about 20 wires that needed to be soldered into place, most of which went to the readout board. The instructions give a good procedure to get it out. I'd recommeend following their advice about raising the rear of the display, by the way. I then made up a quick PCB with a matching connector and a couple of rows of socket strip, to plug resistors into. When I installed it, and powered up the scope, I got my initials in the correct place. Cool! I wonder how long it's been since anyone has done this, anywhere...

Speed reduction - in 1981 Tek reduced the speed rating of all the fast 5000 gear they made at the time from 60MHz to 50MHz. I have no idea why. I don't know if there was an associated change in hardware then, or if they instituted some sort of new 'purity of rise time' requirement that lowered the guaranteed 'clean' bandwidth, or what. Thoughts?


There were a number (27, I believe) of plugins released by Tektronix for the 5000 series. All but five are of the Amplifier (5Ann) or Timebase (5Bnn) families. All but the calibration fixture will work in all mainframes.

There are also some special plugins out there made by other companies. Tracor Northern, for one, made some digitizers and, I think, another spectrum analyzer. Some medical plugins were made also; I've seen some intended to work with an experimental EEG setup. Someday I'll have pictures of these up.

Special Plugins (from Tektronix)
Model Description Notes Image
5CT1N Curve Tracer

1/2W max, 10nA - 20mA/div (Ib), 0.5V - 20V/div (Vce)

The specs are virtually identical to the 7CT1N, with a small reduction in price.

5D10 Digitizer

2 Channel, input for additional 'left' amplifier (only on 5100 series, but more info coming soon)

Adds CRT readout to any mainframe

Stores reference waveforms, has cursors feature

Samples at 1 MHz, good to 100 KHz single, 50 KHz 2-channel

Serial numbers of B020000 or higher provide the color signal for the 5116.

Has outputs to drive pen plotter, with pen lift

5L4N Spectrum Analyzer

Includes tracking generator, 20 Hz - 100 KHz (good for audio and mechanical instrumentation, mainly).

You'll want a storage scope to use this - sweeps faster than 100mS/div are not very useful, and it goes down to 10s/div.

5S14N Sampler

1 GHz, dual channel, 2V p-p max, 50 ohm inputs, rise time <350pS.

Basically a 7S14 in disguise. My 1975 catalog calls them 'similar'. The 5S14N cost approx. 5% more, and has no readout. The front panels appear identical.

 
067-0580-00 Calibrator Used during calibration and standardization of 5400 mainframes ONLY - does not work with 5100 series. Operation is similar to that of the 7000 standardizers. Contains a pulser rated at <= 600 or 800pS rise time (SN-dependant)  

The rest of the plugins fall into two categories: fast and slow. There is backwards compatibility only - slow plugins in fast scope are fine, but not the other way around. There is apparantly a mechanical interlock, and they don't work electrically, either. I'm going to break them up by function, though - that's what is useful to me, at least.


Standard Amplifiers (ie, single-ended)
Model Bandwidth Sensitivity Traces Description & Notes Image
5A14N 1 MHz 1mV - 5V FOUR !!! Trigger on Ch 1 only
5A15N 2 MHz 1mV - 5V Single Basic single trace amp
5A18N 2 MHz 1mV - 5V Dual Selectable trigger
5A23N 1.5 MHz 10mV- 10V Single

'Simple controls' (V in decades only)

A good match with the 5B13N

5A24N 2 MHz 50mV - 1V Single User prototyping area, 100K Zin
5A38 35 MHz 50mV - 1V Dual Selectable trigger
5A45 60/50 MHz 5mV - 10V Single Sensitivity down to 1mV at 25 MHz
5A48 60/50 MHz 1mV - 10V Dual Selectable trigger

All of these amplifiers have a Zin = 1 MEG, with the exception of the homebrew-friendly 5A24N. And I have to point out that a pair of 5A14N's would be totally sweet.

I have acquired a less-common version of the 5A48 that I would like to learn more about (see the linked page for details). Comments? Email me at cweagle@i9t.net!


The wide range of differential amps available is one of the 5000's claims to fame. Several of these models were later available with readout, for use with the 5400 series.

Differential Amplifiers
Model Bandwidth Volts/Div Description & Notes Image
5A13N 2 MHz 1mV - 5V Includes comparator +/-10V, 10K CMRR
5A19N 2 MHz 1mV - 20V

DC offset:

1mV - 200mV/div: +/- 15V max, +/- 16V common mode

500mV - 20V/div: +/- 350V, +/-350V common mode

 
5A20(N) 1 MHz 50uV - 5V

Basic high-sensivity diff amp, 100K CMRR

Readout optional of 5400 series

5A21(N) 1 MHz 50uV - 5V

Same as 5A20(N), with added 125-turn current probe input

Includes current probe amplifier; with P6021, 0.5mA to 0.5A/division (& down to 60Hz, instead of the P6021's normal 100 Hz)

 
5A22(N) 1 MHz 10uV - 5V

Similar to 7A22 (but with no readout, usually)

DC offset:

10uV - 50mV/div: +/- 0.5V max, +/- 10V common mode

0.1mV - 5V/div: +/- 50V, +/-350V common mode

Also has very useful adjustable high & lowpass (-3dB) filters, for tuning out noise.

Readout optional fof 5400 series

5A26(N) 1 MHz 50uV - 5V

Dual differential amplifiers

Readout optional for 5400 series; changed circa 1979 to readout by default

 

Timebases
Model Timescale Aux Amplifier Description & Notes Image
5B10N 1uS - 5S 50, 500mV, 1 MEG

Basic single timebase, does 100nS in 10X

5B12N 1uS - 5S 50, 500mV, 1 MEG

Dual timebase (seperate timebases for L & R vert) or delayed

 

5B13N 1uS - 100mS 50mV, 50 K

Extra-simple operation, limited capabilities

A good match with the 5A23N

 
5B25N 200nS - 5S 50mV

Digitizer for 5223 mainframe, triggers to 15MHz, does 10nS in 10X

5B31 0.2uS - 5S 50mV

Digital delay, 1 - 99,999 thumbwheel, by time (in uS) or events

Does 20nS in 10X

 
5B40 100nS - 5S 50mV, 1 MEG

Triggers to 60/50 MHz, does 10nS in 10X

5B42 100nS - 5S 50mV

Dual delayed, triggers to 60/50 MHz, does 10nS in 10X

5B44 50nS - 2S 50mV, 1 MEG

Dual (seperate timebases for L & R vert) or delayed

Triggers to 60/50 MHz, does 5 nS in 10X

 

The aux amplifiers are meant to allow easy X-Y displays, without needing a vertical amplifier in the horizontal compartment (though that will certainly work, and provide much more flexibility).


Many years of availability and prices show the line's rise and fall over the years. If you happen to have some data you'd like to submit, I'd very much like to have it, even just the 5000 section; note also that the special plugins are often elsewhere in the catalog. I know about Testmart, but they don't have 1972-4, or 1976. A blank box indicates no data available; years where the product was not offered for sale in the main Tek catalog (my source for these figures) are indicated by a dash. Numbers are in US dollars of that year. Notes are down bottom. The prices listed are for the base model (no options or accessories), and in the case of the mainframes, the cabinet configuration.

When the 5100 (sorry, I mean 5103N/D1n) series was introduced in 1971, it was possible to purchase the display (the 'D1n' unit) separately from the plugin chassis (the '5103N' unit). I suppose this was useful if you wanted to upgrade one unit to another. The effort required to install or swap displays would preclude doing this very often (ie, no buying a bunch of basic displays and one storage display, and move that around as needed - much easier to move the whole scope). This is all detailed in this scan of the part of the 1971 Tek catalog where the series was introduced.

 
1971
1975
1976
1977
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
5110
540
595
700
795
850
1300
1300
1425
1505
1610
1650
1815
2095
2305
2420
2895
5111
1020
1095
1300
1490
1590
1850
2100
2300 (3)
2430 (3)
2605 (3)
2700 (3)
2835 (3)
3125 (3)
3440 (3)
3610 (3)
4195
5112
870
965
1225
1360
1490
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5113
1370
1435
1825
2025
2200
2640
2970
3350
3535
3840
4005
4205
4375
4815
5055
5995
5115
-
1170
1375
1565
1665
1980
2235
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5116
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
2335
2360
2460
2585
-
-
-
-
5223
-
-
-
-
-
-
4995
4505
4930
5080
5390
5870
6165
6800
-
-
-
5440
-
1175
1425
1640
1740
2090
2390
2615
2760
2955
3160
3320
3835
4220
4430
5275
5441
-
2275
2595
2775
3000
3605
4060
4425
4675
5010
5245
5505
6070
6675
6875
7995
5444
-
-
3300
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A13N
-
565
685
755
850
1020
1140
1245
1375
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A14N
-
595
750
860
945
1135
1270
1390
1465
1540
1620
1660
1685
1855
1950
2195
5A15N
115
130
175
200
220
260
300
330
350
370
390
400
405
455
465
595
5A18N
265
285
365
440
480
570
630
690
730
765
815
835
845
930
975
1095
5A19N
-
170
210
250
275
330
375
410
430
455
470
480
495
545
575
675
5A20N
165
185
275
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A21N
185
205
310
350
385
465
465
510
540
575
600
615
660
725
760
895
5A22N
-
450
575
650
695
835
940
1025
1080
1135
1190
1220
1240
1365
1430
1595
5A23N
65
75
135
175
195
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A24N
25
30
95
110
120
146
160
180
225
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A26N
-
-
585
670 (2)
730 (2)
900 (2)
1010 (2)
1105 (2)
1170 (2)
1240 (2)
1305 (2)
1335 (2)
1390 (2)
1530 (2)
1600 (2)
1895 (2)
5A38
-
350
395
440
485
585
585
640
675
720
765
820
945
-
-
-
5A45
-
250
280
310
340
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5A48
-
450
495
595
650
765
860
940
995
1065
1140
1170
1260
1385
1450
1595
5B10N
175
195
275
305
335
405
460
500
530
555
585
600
640
705
740
875
5B12N
550
495
575
650
715
860
970
1060
1115
1170
1230
1260
1355
1490
1560
1795
5B13N
85
95
140
170
190
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5B25N
-
-
-
-
-
-
775
725
795
845
905
970
1095
1230
-
-
-
5B31
-
-
625
670
735
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5B40
-
275
340
410
450
540
600
660
695
730
790
810
895
985
1030
1195
5B42
-
575
640
730
800
995
1110
1215
1280
1345
1435
1470
1580
1740
1825
1995
5B44
-
-
895
920
1020
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5CT1N
-
375
630
535
590
710
785
855
900
995
1050
1075
1125
-
-
-
5D10
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
(1)
2850
2850
1995
2045
2095
2420
(4)
-
-
5L4N
-
1950
2650
3150
3350
4000
4720
5120
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5S14N
-
1850
2275
2470
3000
4615
4915
5310
5630
5920
6355
-
-
-
-
-
$100 (5)
106
134
147
155
178
198
225
248
264
272
284
294
300
310
323
339
357
 
1971
1975
1976
1977
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991

(1) - listed in catalog as available in 1982 Q2, and to write for more info

(2) - now available with readout by default

(3) - model sold is 5111A

(4) - listed in model number index; I can't find it anywhere in the catalog!

(5) - indicates the relative value of the US dollar, yearly versus US$100 in 1970, from http://www.westegg.com/inflation/. It's around US$500 today.


Last updated December 13, 2006
Original content copyright © Christian Weagle unless otherwise indicated.