October 7, 2005

Expensive Solitaire Console

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at October 7, 2005 5:14 PM

My advisor has a powerful dislike of digital electronics, partly due to the additional electrical noise generated by such circuits. Another issue is that manufacturers of high-precision digital equipment are often tempted to add dubious "enhancements" to their products. Consider, for example, our Tektronix digital oscilloscope. It has a lot of useful features, most importantly a 1 GHz bandwidth. On the other hand, it runs Microsoft Windows.

Now, this does allow me to play solitaire during an extended measurement. And in principle the ability to run programs like Labview could be very useful, and the scope connects to the network very easily. On the other hand, this means that the software that actually runs the core oscilloscope functions is Windows software.

Recently, when booting up the scope, the aforementioned software has been exiting immediately with an "unrecoverable system error". This effectively converts the instrument into an ordinary PC with a tiny screen (and a $30,000 price tag). This was the first time I have attempted to repair a scientific instrument by reinstalling Windows. Unfortunately, this had no effect on the problem, leading me to guess that it was a hardware malfunction on the acquisition board. Time to run the scope diagnostics... which only exist inside the software that refuses to run.

So we're sending the thing to Tektronix where they will repair it for a hefty fee. Meanwhile, I am starting to appreciate the simplicity of purely analog electronics.

Tags: Lab, Science, Technology

Gotta' love the blue screen of death!

Just wait until that happens with the computers in cars...

Posted by: Mason | October 7, 2005 10:21 PM

Argh that does sound aggrevating. Using labview here has given me a new hate for windows - and I thought my old hate was the limit.

Out of curiosity, anyone know if labview runs on linux? :/

Posted by: Kyle | October 10, 2005 6:51 AM

hi guy.Then have you learned what was the problem of your scope.I have the same problem.If you could help me i will be very glad.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 1:09 PM
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