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Digitizing Oscilloscopes with InstaVu™ Acquisition

TDS520B • TDS540B

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TDS520B • TDS540B

Features & Benefits

  • InstaVu™ Acquisition (100,000 wfms/sec capture rate)
  • 500-MHz Bandwidth
  • Sample rates to 2 GS/s
  • Two and Four Input Channels
  • Pulse Width, 1-ns Glitch, Runt, Pattern, and State Triggering
  • 1 mV/div - 10 V/div Sensitivity
  • Infinite- and Variable-Persistence Displays
  • Record Lengths to 50,000 Points (Extendable to 250K on TDS520B; 500K on TDS540B)
  • 8-Bit Vertical Resolution and up to 12 Bits with Hi-Res Acquisition Mode
  • 3.5-inch DOS Floppy Disk Drive (Optional)
  • Vertical Accuracy to 1%
  • Tek TriStar™ (DSP) Processor
  • Slew Rate, Setup, and Hold Violation Triggers, and Time-Out Triggering
  • Waveform Pass/Fail Testing
  • Dual Window Zoom
  • Channel Deskew
  • Direct Readout in "Amperes" and "Watts" (with P5200 and TCP202 Probes)
  • 25 Automatic Measurements
  • Full GPIB Programmability
  • Desktop-Publishing Outputs
  • HDTV Video Trigger Option
  • Segmentable Acquisition Memory
  • VGA Output
  • Three-Year Warranty


Channels -

4 (TDS540B)

2 + 2 auxiliary (TDS520B)

Samplers -

2 (TDS520B)

4 (TDS540B)

Bandwidth*1 - 500 MHz*2

*1 Reduce the upper bandwidth frequencies by 2.5 MHz for each °C above 30 °C

*2 1 mV/div: 250 MHz, 2 mV/div: 350 MHz


CH1, CH2 - 1 mV to 10 V/div

CH3, CH4 - 1 mV to 10 V/div (TDS540B)

AUX 1, AUX 2 - 100 mV, 1.0 V, 10 V/div (TDS520B)

Position Range - ±5 divisions


CH1, CH2 - ±1 V from 1 to 99.5 mV/div

CH3, CH4 - ±1 V from 1 to 99.5 mV/div (TDS540B)

AUX 1, AUX 2 - 10 mV/div ±.5 V, 1 V/div ±5.0 V, 10 V/div ±50 V (TDS520B)

Maximum Sample Rate

Any One Channel -

1 GS/s (TDS520B)

2 GS/s (TDS540B)

Any Two Channels -

500 MS/s (TDS520B)

1 GS/s (TDS540B)

Four Channels -

500 MS/s (TDS540B)

Maximum Record Length

Any One Channel - 50K pts. (optional 500K on TDS540B; 250K on TDS520B)

Any Two Channels - 50K pts. (optional 250K on TDS540B; 130K on TDS520B)

Any Four Channels - 50K (optional 130K on TDS540B)

Time Base System

Time Bases - Main, Delayed

Time Base Range - 500 ps to 10 s/div

Time Base Accuracy (over any interval ≥1 ms) - ±25 ppm

Pretrigger Position - 0% to 100% of any record

Delay Between Channels (any 2 channels with equal V/div and coupling) - ≤250 ps

Vertical System

DC Gain Accuracy - ±1.0%

Vertical Resolution - 8 bits (256 levels over 10.24 vertical divisions). >12 bits with Hi-Res; >11 bits with averaging.

Analog Bandwidth Selections - 20 MHz, 250 MHz, and full (Except Aux 1 and Aux 2 on TDS520B are full BW only).

Step Response Setting - ≤0.5% error within 20 ns of a ≤2 V step.

Effective Bits - 6.0 bits (500 MHz at 1 GS/s) Hi-Res.

Input Coupling - AC, DC, or GND.

Input Impedance Selections - 1 Megohm in parallel with 10 pF, or 50 ohm (AC and DC coupling).

Maximum Input Voltage - ±400 V (DC + peak AC). Derate at 20 dB/decade above 1 MHz. 1 Megohm or GND coupled.

Channel Isolation - ≥100:1 at 100 MHz and ≥30:1 at bandwidth for any two channels having equal Volts/div settings.

AC Coupled Low-Frequency Limit - ≤10 Hz when AC 1 Megohm coupled. ≤200 kHz when AC 50 ohm coupled.

Acquisition Modes

Insta-Vu™ - Instantaneous capture of random glitches and changing signals. Captures over 100,000 waveforms per second. Uses color grading to show relative occurrence of events.

Peak Detect - High-frequency and random glitch capture. Captures glitches of 4 ns using acquisition hardware at all real-time sampling rates.

Sample - Sample data only.

Envelope - Max/min values acquired over one or more acquisitions.

Average - Waveform averages selectable from 2 to 10,000.

Hi-Res - Vertical resolution improvement and noise reduction on low-frequency signals, e.g. 12 bits at 50 microsecond/div and slower.

FastFrame™ - Acquisition memory size segmentable with trigger rate up to 50,000 per second from 50 to 5,000 points per frame (independent of the number of channels).

Single Sequence - Use Run/Stop button to capture a single triggered acquisition at a time which may be automatically saved to NVRAM with AutoSave.

Trigger Types

EDGE (main and delayed) - Conventional level-driven trigger. Positive or negative slope on any channel or rear-panel auxiliary input. Coupling Selections: DC, AC, noise reject, HF reject, LF reject.

PULSE (main) -

WIDTH: Trigger on width of positive or negative pulse either within or not within selectable time limits. Time limits settable from 2 ns to 1 s.

GLITCH: Trigger on or reject glitches of positive, negative or either polarity. Minimum glitch width threshold is 2.0 ns, with 200 ps resolution.

RUNT: Trigger on a pulse that crosses one threshold but fails to cross a second threshold before crossing the first again.

SLEW RATE: Trigger on pulse edge rates that are either faster or slower than a set rate. Edges can be rising, falling, or either.

TIME-OUT: Trigger on an event which remains high, low, or either, for a user-specified time.

PATTERN: Specifies a logical combination (AND, OR, NAND, NOR) of the four input channels (Hi, Lo, Don't Care). Trigger when pattern stays True or False for user specified time.

STATE: Any logical pattern of channels 1, 2, and 3 (AUX1 on TDS520A/524A) plus clock edge on channel 4 (AUX2 on TDS520A/524A). Triggerable on positive or negative clock edge.

SETUP AND HOLD: Trigger on violations of both setup time and hold time between clock and data which are on separate input channels.

Video (Optional) NTSC, PAL, HDTV, FlexFormat™ - Trigger on a particular line of individual, odd/even, or all fields. Trigger on a specific pixel of a line by using video trigger with delay by events. Choose horizontal sync polarity. Choose from popular HDTV formats (1125/60, 1050/60 1250/50, 787.5/60) or use FlexFormat™ for other HDTV-type formats by defining frame rep rate, number of lines and fields, and sync timing structure.

Triggering System

Triggers - Main, Delayed

Main Trigger Modes - Auto, Normal, Single

Delayed Trigger - Delayed by time, events, or events and time

Time Delay Range - 16 ns to 250 s

Events Delay Range - 1 to 9,999,999 events

External Rear Input - (except TDS520B) ≥1.5 kilohm; Max input voltage is ±20 V (DC + AC peak).

Display (Monochrome)

Waveform Style - Dots, vectors, variable persistence selectable from 250 ms to 10 s, infinite persistence, and intensified samples.

Color Grading - With variable persistence selected, historical timing information is represented by temperature or spectral color scheme providing "z-axis" information about rapidly changing waveforms.

Gray Scaling - With variable persistence selected, waveform points time-decay through 16 levels of intensity.

Waveform Capture Rate - For 500 point waveforms with infinite persistence mode selected: 150/sec; 100,000 waveforms per second with InstaVu™ mode.

Graticules - Full, grid, cross hair, frame. NTSC and PAL with video trigger option.

Format - YT and XY.

Fit to Screen - Entire acquisition memory displayed on screen.


The zoom feature allows waveforms to be expanded or compressed in both vertical and horizontal axes. Allows precise comparison and study of fine waveform detail without affecting ongoing acquisitions. When used with Hi-Res or Average acquisition modes, Zoom provides an effective vertical dynamic range of 1000 divisions or 100 screens.

Dual Window Zoom - Dual graticules simultaneously show selected and zoomed waveforms. Up to two zoom boxes show areas on the selected trace that are being magnified, and the two magnified areas can be overlapped for quick comparison. Color of zoomed trace matches selected trace.

Measurement System

Automatic Waveform Measurements - Period, Frequency, High, Low, +Width, -Width, Maximum, Minimum, Rise, Fall, Peak to Peak, Amplitude, +Duty cycle, -Duty cycle, +Overshoot, -Overshoot, Propagation Delay, Burst Width, Mean, Cycle Mean, RMS, Cycle RMS, Area, Cycle Area, Phase.

Continuous update of up to four measurements on any combination of waveforms.

Thresholds - Settable in percentage or voltage.

Gated - Any region of the record may be isolated for measurement using vertical bars.

Snapshot - Performs all measurements on any one waveform showing results from one instant in time.

Cursor Measurements - Absolute, Delta; Volts, Time, Frequency. NTSC IRE and Line Number with video trigger option.

Time Measurements Accuracy - (Single Shot Typical)

<80 ps at 2 GS/s (TDS540B)

<150 ps at 1 GS/s (TDS520B)

Cursor Types - Horizontal bars (volts); Vertical bars (time); operated independently or in tracking mode.

Waveform Processing

Waveform Functions - Interpolate-selectable sin(x)/x or linear, Average, Envelope

Advanced Waveform Functions - FFT, Integration, Differentiation

Arithmetic Operators - Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide, Invert

Autosetup - Single-button, automatic setup on selected input signal for vertical, horizontal, and trigger systems

Waveform Limit Testing - Compares incoming or math waveform to a reference waveform's upper and lower limits

Computer Interface

GPIB (IEEE-488.2) Programmability - Full talk/listen modes. Control of all modes, settings, and measurements.


Printer - HP Thinkjet, Epson, Interleaf, Deskjet, Laserjet, PostScript, TIFF, PCX, BMP (Microsoft Windows), DPU 411/412, RLE

Plotter - HPGL

Interface - GPIB standard

Hardcopy Interface - Centronics and RS-232


Waveforms - 4 full 50 K point records.

With Option 1M: 2 full 130K points or 1 compressed 500K point on TDS540B.

With Option 1M: 2 full 130K point or 1 full 250K point on TDS520B.

Setups - 10 front-panel setups.

Floppy Drive - Store reference waveforms, setups, and image files on 3.5-inch, 1.44-MB or 720-KB DOS-format floppy disk.


Type - 7-in. diagonal, magnetic deflection. Horizontal raster-scan. P4 White phosphor.

Resolution - 640 horizontal by 480 vertical displayed pixels (VGA).

Power Requirements

Line Voltage Range - 90 to 250 VRMS

Line Frequency - 45 to 440 Hz

Power Consumption - 300 Watts max

Environmental And Safety

Temperature -

Operating (floppy not used): +4 to +50 °C

Operating (floppy in use): +10 to +50 °C

Nonoperating: -22 to +60 °C

Humidity -

Operating (floppy not used): To 80% RH at ≤32 °C. Derates to 30% RH at +45 °C

Operating (floppy in use): To 80% RH at ≤32 °C. Derates to 30% RH at +45 °C

Nonoperating: To 90% RH at ≤40 °C. Derates to 30% RH at +60 °C

Altitude -

Operating: 15,000 ft

Nonoperating: 40,000 ft

Electromagnetic Compatibility - Meets or exceeds Vfg. 243/1991 amended per Vfg. 46/1992; FCC 47 CFR, Part 15, Subpart B, Class A; EN 50081-1; and EN 50082-1.

Safety - Listed UL 1244; CSA - C22 No. 23; Tektronix self-certification to comply with IEC 348 recommendations.

Physical Characteristics




Height (with feet)



Height (without feet)



Width (with handle)



Depth (with front cover installed)







approx. 14.1



approx. 25.4