Over its life, the 561 was actually a series of four very different scopes, plus the rack mount versions of each.
The original 561 and RM561 were introduced in 1961. Similar to the 560, also introduced in 1961, the 561 has a round CRT. It supports the 50, 60 and 70 series of plug-ins, with the highest system bandwidth of 4 MHz. The 561 uses the T5032 CRT, which has a glass envelope.
The short lived 561 was replaced by the 561A and the rack-mount version RM561A in 1962. The 561A were the highest selling model in the 560 series.
They introduced a revolutionary new CRT, the T5610, incorporating many “firsts” that would remain through most of Tek's analog scopes to follow – a rectangular faceplate allowing for a more compact CRT, and a ceramic CRT envelope which provided more mechanical precision than a blown glass tube. This also enabled the use of a separate face plate made from a flat glass panel that could have the graticule markings printed on the phosphor side of the faceplate, totally eliminating parallax errors, and allowing for better edge illumination.
The 561A supports all 2 and 3 series plug-ins. The popular 60 and 70 series plug-ins were renamed by adding a “2A, 2B, 3A, or 3B” in front to the two digit model number. New 3 series plug-ins were also added which consume more power than the original 60 and 70 series. Due to the higher power consumption, these newer plug-ins can not be used in the original 561. The highest bandwidth plug-ins gave a system bandwidth of 10 MHz.
The 561A was one of the mainframes offered for the Engine Analyzer package.
An RM561A with two custom plug-ins was incorporated (upside-down) as the standard display in the LINC computer.
The 561B / RM561B were introduced in 1969. The B models actually provided no performance improvements over the 561A, with the change being limited to all solid state design, including the HV rectifiers. While this improves reliability of the mainframe, no all solid state plug-ins were ever designed. The 561B uses the same 2 and 3 series plug-ins used by the 561A.
A special 561S was introduced as a special product, modified from a 561A. It did not appear in any Tek catalog. With special modified amplifier and time base (3A1S and 3B1S), and a special CRT (T5033), it achieved a 25 MHz system bandwidth, which is 2.5 times the bandwidth of a 561A.
The 3A1S and 3B1S were the only plug-ins that could be used in the 561S because the T5033 CRT has higher deflection sensitivity than the CRT used in the 561, 561A, and 561B. The vertical deflection sensitivity of the T5033 is 11.7 V/cm. The 561A has the T561 CRT which has a vertical deflection sensitivity of 19.5 V/cm.
The higher bandwidth of the 561S came at the expense of trading off some of the advances gained in the original 561A. The CRT is a conventional glass envelope, without internal graticule. Also, the scale was reduced from 8 × 10 divisions to 6 × 10. The 561S has no post-deflection acceleration, and a CRT cathode voltage of -3300 V, like the other 561 models.
Tek RM561 with two Type 75 (3A75) amplifier plugins