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Thread: Tektronix 405x GPIB Flash Drive

  1. #21


    I had to adjust the directory rights. They should download now.
    I have several manuals I would like to upload to Bitsavers. What are the requirements of the PDF's and other files, & how do I submit them? I have a pretty good scanner, I just want to get the best format possible.

  2. #22


    I was successfull at capturing all the files from a Tektronix 4051 Graphics T1 tape last weekend.

    Here is the link to a couple of photos of the process:

    Capturing Tektronix 4051 Graphics T1 tape files to laptop

    First I replaced the disintegrated drive belt with one from a NOS 3M DC6250 cartridge.

    I used my 4051 to PC serial transfer program on my recently repaired and upgraded 4054A.

    I set the comm speed of the 4054 serial interface to the maximum 9600 baud, but as it is 7-bit, my program changes all 32 Tektronix control characters to "~X~" where X is the ASCII character corresponding to that control character.

    This way I don't lose any of the Tektronix 405x text formatting in the transfer.

    I was using ExtraPutty on the laptop to capture the program text strings, then copied the statements into Notepad++ and saved each file.

    I am still working on a Tektronix 4051/52/54 compatible GPIB MicroSD flash drive that will emulate the Tektronix 4924 tape drive - for all of us with these computers to use - since both the tapes and drives are very problematic after all these years.

    This flash drive contains an Arduino with my code - based on the GPIB flowcharts and info in a 4051 and 4052 GPIB manual.

    You will be able to use the existing 405x program statements with @Y for the drive GPIB address - since I don't know how to write a ROMPACK for any of the series

    I plan to organize the different captured tapes in directories on the flash - and that may mean using a non-4924 GPIB secondary address for that command. It also likely means I need to change any tape commands in each program to use the flash drive GPIB address.

    That's why I wanted to capture one of the Tektronix tapes with a menu - is to ensure I could get those files to work on my flash drive design.

    Monty McGraw

  3. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by oldcomputerexpert View Post
    I had to adjust the directory rights. They should download now.
    I have several manuals I would like to upload to Bitsavers. What are the requirements of the PDF's and other files, & how do I submit them? I have a pretty good scanner, I just want to get the best format possible.
    I scan my Tektronix documents in B&W @ 150dpi on a Canon MFP and use their MP Navigator software to create a PDF - which automatically also includes searchable text.

    Al Kossow monitors this forum and has posted several of my scanned docs to bitsavers.

    For the Files themselves I just created a github repository:


    and need to upload my latest serial transfer program and instructions for wiring the Tektronix 25 pin connector to the PC serial connector.


  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Silicon Valley


    Quote Originally Posted by oldcomputerexpert View Post
    What are the requirements of the PDF's and other files, & how do I submit them?
    I prefer 400dpi minimum 600dpi prefered for B&W text, TIFF G4 encoded.
    Color is problematic, I've recently been using 300dpi with .png encoding, then letting Adobe Acrobat downconvert it during OCR.

    If they are small enough, you can email them to me, otherwise, I can give you an ftp address to download them to or can download
    them from your choice of locations.
    Last edited by Al Kossow; June 21st, 2018 at 08:45 AM.

  5. #25

    Default Emulating a Tektronix 4924 GPIB Tape Drive

    There are 18 different tape drive commands in Tektronix 4050 BASIC.

    This is not surprising since the internal tape drive was the only standard storage device in the Tektronix 4051/4052/4054 computers.

    Fortunately - the 4924 Operators Manual posted on bitsavers has quite a few details about each command.

    However, I expect to learn the rest of the unwritten details as I implement each of the commands for my Arduino project.

    I'll be starting with the simplest command - HEADER, which did not have a direct command on the 4051, so the programs implementing tape header comments used the powerful Tektronix 4050 INPUT and PRINT commands to read and write the first ASCII string in the internal tape file after a FIND command.

    The 4052/4054 added a CALL "HEADER" command to read the tape header.

    The header is read and then listed as part of the internal functionality of the BASIC TLIST command that was available on all the 4050 series computers.

    I'll start my coding effort there and just embed a couple of fake header responses in the Arduino code.

    After that command is working, I'll try to hook up the MicroSD flash and respond to the HEADER command with FAT filenames.

    My long term plan is to use the header as the FAT filename. Tektronix 4050 stored the header as the first record in every tape file.

    Last edited by nikola-wan; June 25th, 2018 at 05:46 AM.

  6. #26


    I made some progress since my last post on the GPIB Flash Drive.

    I realized that I needed to rewire my Arduino Nano to allow pins 10-13 to be used with the SPI flash interface to the MicroSD adapter.

    I decided to cut down a small prototyping board - and solder the MicroSD adapter from Sparkfun to that board and the prototyping board to the ICSP header. This header has all but one of the signals needed for the MicroSD adapter and adds mechanical stability for plugging and unplugging the MicroSD card.

    Here is a photo of my Nano with MicroSD flash card:

    Monty's breadboard Arduino NANO with MicroSD card

    I decided to test the MicroSD card and wiring using the Arduino SD library. The library tests worked, however this library is limited to FAT16 formatted SD cards and 8.3 filename syntax.

    Checking around - there is a newer SdFat library by the same author. It supports long filenames and FAT32.
    I downloaded and installed that library and ran a couple of example programs - this library is great. I did use his SDFormatter to reformat the 32GB MicroSD card. He indicates that the OS format is not per the SD spec and recommends you use the SDforum SDFormatter program to initialize the card.

    Long filename support should allow me to make the filename equal to the entire tape header string instead of having to store the header string as the first record in every file like the tape drive does.

    Hope SdFat leaves enough program space and RAM space on the Nano (328p) for my GPIB emulation of the 4924 tape drive

    Now off to modify the GPIB code for the control pins I had to move to make room for the SD card and begin GPIB testing.

    Last edited by nikola-wan; July 1st, 2018 at 02:28 PM.

  7. #27


    Quote Originally Posted by Al Kossow View Post
    Is there service documentation around for the 4907 or 4924 external tape drive?

    I don't think I have anything at all on the 4907 at bitsavers. I have a 4924 that I just pulled out of storage to dump the firmware and photograph.

    I did find a Tektronix 4907 service manual online: Did you find this and upload it?


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