Tektronix TDS-10xx/20xx Oscilloscope
GPIB Software

I recently acquired a Tektronix TDS-2012 digital storage oscilloscope (which is a really cool device; compared to the other scopes I've owned which date from the mid-80s or earlier, its capabilities are remarkable). I wanted to be able to capture screens from the scope, and decided to use the opportunity to learn a new programming language. So, this simple capture program is written in Python. I wrote and tested it under the the Linux operating system using the LinuxGpib driver and interface library. It ought to work with other scopes in the TDS-10xx and TDS-20xx families.

So far, the program is pretty basic, but it does a nice job of displaying a single trace. It also measures and displays (if applicable) the waveform's peak-to-peak and mean voltages, the signal frequency, and its period.

In addition to the linux-gpib driver and interface library, this program requires the MatPlotLib Python graphing module. The on-screen display requires the X window system, but it should be possible to modify the code to simply create a PNG file without requiring any display graphics.

The source code is available at ftp.febo.com/pub/n8ur_programs. I'm not putting precise links here because the filenames are likely to change for a while yet, but look for something like "tds2012.py".

Here are some examples of output from the screen capture program.

This is a screenshot of the display window that pops up on your desktop when the program is run. The controls at the bottom allow you to zoom and pan through the image, and to save it.

This is the saved image, reduced in size. The default image size is about 1100 pixels wide, so it needs to be scaled for on-line use.