This page is for smaller stories and memories obtained by the museum from customers and employees.
Ferrous Steinka describes the test bench setup, TU-75B Power Source Test Unit, and the reject process.
In the mid 1960s the stock room in Plant II Test had three different photoflood lamps in stock. They were all rated about 3200K and 40 to 60 hrs rated life. They were 125W, 250W, and 500W, A21 and A23 bulbs. Our TU75B's all had tags on them indicating the internal ballast.
The folks doing 106's, 184's, and 191's would use the 125W or sometimes a pair of ordinary 100W lamps. Those working on 453's may have a 125W and a 250W. 503's typically used a pair of 250W. 519's a pair of 500W. Each test bench had a TU-50 and a TU-75B. Each technician was assigned a work bench with tools and a soldering iron. Depending on the instrument being worked on, a different TU-75B may replace the one currently on the bench. My bench only had one swap out, I don't remember why. I worked on 561, 564, 647 scopes, 3A, 3B, 10A, 11B plugin units, 100 series signal generators, and mostly 453 portable scopes.
I do not remember who it was that kept track of the TU-75B's. I think it may have been our "Lead" technician. Each test area had one but I don't know how they were selected. Among other tasks, he was the one who had final say on cosmetic rejects, imperfect chrome rails, front panels, or illegible chassis markings. The test technician did the write-up of the reject but the lead, often with manager consult, would make the final determination. It was pretty easy to replace the chrome plug in rails, more difficult to replace a front panel, and very difficult and time consuming to replace a chassis. Sometimes an instrument with a chassis having bad silk screen would be returned to "Final Assembly", but this was rare. The inspection process and the care taken in Assembly with handling and soldering resulted in few of these types of rejects.
In the late 1960's, Tektronix produced a sampling oscilloscope that had a phenomenal bandwidth/speed for its day. I was doing instrument maintenance for the University of Toronto at that time, and convinced the university that I should take Tektronix' workshop on this instrument, which would be held in the late spring of 1969. The workshop would run over the course of a week, but I proposed to be away (with pay, of course!) for two weeks.
Universities being the parsimonious creatures that they are, I had to negotiate the terms of my trip ... and we agreed that I would drive out and back to Beaverton, OR, and camp along the way, thus saving the university the airfare. It was suggested that I also camp while in Beaverton for a week, but as I planned to take my new bride on our first trip to the West, I convinced them that this was less than professional. We stayed in a very nice motel in Beaverton, equipped with the first color television we had ever seen.
So it was that we left in late spring from Toronto, my British Triumph TR4A laden with camping gear, thus making us some of the few folks who went west in a covered wagon in the 20th century. The season was early enough that, along the way, we were able to fill our cooler bag (no space for a proper cooler, of course!) with snow, in the higher elevations!
During the workshop, I encountered Tektronix brilliant technique of projecting schematic diagrams of equipment on a blackboard, and the lecturers could then make notes directly on the schematics ... I used this same technique for decades afterwards, even when teaching electronics in a local high school during the 1990s.
Phil Crosby writes of the 3S76 and 3T77 plug-in development
They were originally the 76 and 77. The 76 was a dual-trace sampler and the 77 was the sampling timebase. They were first shown at the IRE (later IEEE) shown in Spring 1961, as I recall.
I was attending Portland State College (later University). I called in before spring break was coming on, and my boss, Charlie Rhodes, said "come on in, we need all the help we can get". We were supposed to be the TV group, but we were called in to finish up the 76 as the show was drawing near. and there were far too many loose ends.
Among other things, the 76 was to be a critical component of the 567/6R1 system for digitally displaying sampled data (two-dot, risetime, prop delay, etc.). I designed the channel switching circuitry, one of the "loose ends", metal bending, punching and prototype support. Rom Olson delivered the prototypes to Howard on the Sunday before the show was to start. Lots of adrenaline.
The number/letter designation was to distinguish among the available mainframes. 1- signified 500-series compatibility, 2- and 3- were for 560-series, and so on.
The S and T were sampling and timebase designations, but I don't recall anything that distinguished between sampling and conventional timebases.
Martyn Gaudion, CEO of Polar Instruments, writes of some memories of Tek Guernsey
I chanced on your recent video from Dave Bradshaw former Tek Guernsey employee. He mentioned Polar Instruments, and I have the good fortune to have worked at Polar since the closure of Tek Guernsey. We are an eclectic mix of ex-Tek ex-IBM and ex PCB fabrication people – and the company is run with an “old school” Tek ethos.
I was pleased to see that Fred and April Entizne are back in Portland, having had the privilege of working for Fred in the final years at Tek Guernsey – he added life and enthusiasm like no other. Dave mentioned Doug Campbell’s passing just before Christmas – another inspirational character who founded Polar and helped educate a generation of technical and engineering staff here in Guernsey.
Polar is now a signal integrity company – we make software product for modelling PCB layer stackup and predicting PCB transmission line performance with 2D boundary element field solvers. We also supply the PCB fabrication industry with accurate easy to use TDRs for measuring impedance controlled PCBs in the fabrication environment.
At Tek I was involved in producing the 2400 series and 2430 CCD-based DSOs, in fact I still have a trusty 2465B with all the options in my workshop.
As I recall the 2400s were some of the first oscilloscopes to use PCB transmission lines rather than routing the high speed signals on discrete coax. Now PCBs have way more layers and much more ultra high speed content – something which is our core business at Polar now.
I have fond memories of Tek, and also visited your museum about 5 years ago. It is fascinating and I hope to visit again this year as our Polar US sales office has recently moved from Aloha to Beaverton. We are now at Cascade Plaza – as far as I can see our new sales office is less than a mile along the road from you.
People I worked with and met at Tek Clark County back in the day included Doug Robins, Chris Skatch, Mike Swenson, Bruce Blair and Dennis Braatz.