TDSScreenCap – An RS232 screen capture program for the Tektronix TDS3000 series

I whipped up this little utility a while back as a quick and easy way to get screen captures from the TDS3000 series’s serial port.

TDS3000 Screen capture
TDS3000 Screen capture

Download it here.

Choice of serial cable

Note that if you are building your own Null-Modem serial cable to connect to the scope, please connect all signals as per standard Null Modem cable wiring. This program requires hardware flow control. It is not sufficient to connect only the RX and TX lines.

19 thoughts on “TDSScreenCap – An RS232 screen capture program for the Tektronix TDS3000 series

  1. I’ve tried this utility for my TDS340A. Serial dialog works but at the end of receiving PC stops with “no valid image received”. What’s wrong?

    1. The problem is that is written for the TDS3000 series.

      Assuming the TDS300 even supports screen grabs, I do not have one to experiment with.

  2. Thanks very much, works really well. Others note that you have to set the System I/O values to RS232, 38400 Baud, Flagging – None, EOL – LF for this to work.

    You can use Alt Print Screen to capture the whole window into the Clip Board, or use something like Snaggit or 5 clicks to copy just the TDS Screen part.

    Pleased 🙂

  3. Hi, I have a TDS3014 scope which has a floppy drive (pretty much useless these days), but it also has a parallel port at the back for connecting to a printer. If I obtain a parallel to serial converter and cable, would I be able to use your screen capture utility? Are there any other things I need to know. Thanks! Mark

    1. No chance of that working sorry. Getting it to work over parallel would require emulating an entire printer – a feat of engineering.

  4. I really like it. These additions would make it great:
    1. A button to stop triggering.
    2. A button to start triggering.

    That way I could work remote to it, stop the scope, capture the screen image, and then restart trigger.

    Thanks all the same for a good little app.

    1. Interesting idea. I will look into it at some point… If you can tell me the serial commands that would make it a lot easier.

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I tried to get this job done using NI VISA drivers and a Perl interface, but it always hanged after receiving a few bytes.

    Would you be willing to share the code you are using to retrieve the hard copy?

    In turn I would answer your question about which serial commands are required to start and stop triggering:

    “ACQUIRE:STATE RUN” starts
    “ACQUIRE:STATE STOP” stops

    the triggering (or acquisition).

  6. Hi, that is exactly what I have been looking for: Avoiding to save screenshots to floppy disc.
    But I have problems with the program under win10 (tested on two different PCs). The program starts and opens the window, but after I have clicked on “Capture” or “Wait for print button press” the program freezes. I even cannot close the program except by using the Task-Manager. The serial transmision from my TDS3014 to a standard terminal program works well.

    Can you give me some hints how to solve that problem? Unfortunately I don’t have experience with C# and compilation of the mentioned github files. Perhaps you can update the exe file and I can try to test this version?

    Thanks, Ralf

    1. I’ve not had anyone else report this behaviour, certainly haven’t seen it myself on Win 10.

      I think it’s going to be something specific to your computer or serial interface hardware and its compatibility with the .NET Serial interface. My guess is that hardware flow control (required by this application) isn’t working. The lock-up is because it’s trying to write data to the serial port, but the hardware or driver is blocking it. Beyond that I wouldn’t be able to help sorry.

      1. Thanks for your feedback! I’ve just made an other test with my win7 netbook and USBtoSerial adapter: Same behaviour. Print for example to “CoolTerm” with 38400, 8N1 and SW flow control is working. Do I need a special cable? I just have connected RxD, TxD and GND. Also if the TDS is not connected to the cable I cannot abort after I have clicked on “Capture” or “Wait for print button press”. Is that normal behaviour? Ralf

          1. Problem solved, I have just modified my cable with RTS/CTS connected and program is running! Thank you very much again, very good work and just the only program found with this great functionality and easy usability!

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