8000 MDL Series

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The Tektronix 8000 MDL series, sometimes called Microprocessor Labs or Microprocessor Development Labs, is a group of advanced logic analyzers targeting developers of products/circuits utilizing microprocessors of the era. The 8000-series MDL instruments are intended for complete hardware microcode debugging with emulation for supported microprocessors. Three emulation modes were available to aid various steps of product development, software development and prototyping.

All of the models in the series did not have dedicated output/readout CRT so the addition of either a CRT display terminal or printer was a requirement of the MDL-series. The CT8100 and CT8500 are CRT terminals designed for the 8000 MDL-series, but the 4024 and 4025 terminals were also listed as compatible.

8000 Series


The 8001 and 8002 models are the first releases in the series from 1978. 8001 models were only configurable for one microprocessor at a time by removal/installation of cards/interfaces.


The 8002 offered support for more than one microprocessor without the need for re-configuration. It also had a Data management unit identifiable by the two floppy drives.

Initial 8001 and 8002 support for 5 popular 8-bit microprocessors of the era:


In 1979, the 8002 was revised to the 8002A appears to have added an additional 16 K of program memory. The 8001 did not receive the same memory update. Both models received additional support options for 8-bit microprocessors.

Added 8-bit support:

8500 Series

Microcomputer design with the 8500 series is performed in three basic work environments. These are the single-user environment, the multiple-user environment, and the host computer environment. The 3 core models of the 8500 series support each of these tasks.


With the 8002A update in 1981, the 8550 also appeared in the catalog as a new offering in a new enclosure. The 8550 added support for 16-bit processors.

The 8550 MDL is a self contained microcomputer development lab that gives complete support to one user at a time. The 8550 was made up of two components, the 8301 Micro Processor Development Unit and the 8501 Data management unit featuring two floppy drives, much like the 8002/8002A.

Added support:


In 1982, the 8540 and 8560 models were added to the family. The 8540 Integration Unit extends the host computer's microcomputer development support to include the task of hardware/software integration. While the 8560 or other host computer supports the software development task, the 8540 is used to integrate, test and debug the prototype hardware. In 1985, the 8540 was considered part of the newly named V System, but could also be ordered individually.

The 8540 dropped support for some 8-bit microprocessors. Some 8-bit processor development was shifted to the TekMate in 1985 and later E System series.

Added 8 and 16-bit microprocessor support up to 1986:


In 1986, the 8540 was revised to the 8540A.


The 8560 MDL is a full microcomputer software development lab that supports up to eight separate workstations. The 8560 has a 16-bit CPU paired TNIX operating system (derived from Bell Lab's UNIX Operating System Version 7). Software work stations consist of CRT terminals like the CT8500 and the required 8540 Integration Unit, which has full microprocessor emulation and debugging capability. Terminal connectivity is RS-232-C.


The 8561 was a lower cost version of the 8560.


The 8562 was a high performance version of the 8560.

Series retirement

After 8 years, 1986 was the last time an 8000-series MDL products were listed in the catalog as a stand alone product. The 8540A was still listed as a component of the V Series systems in the 1987 and 1988 catalogs. The MDL series of products was replaced by the V System, and to a lesser extent the MV System in 1987 likely due to the transition to 32-bit processors.