Tektronix made Oscilloscope probes in a number of standardized mechanical dimensions so that accessories like tips or hooks could be interchanged.
The standards include
- 6-32 probes (#6-32 UNC thread)
- Miniature modular probes (5 mm tip diameter)
- Compact modular probes (3.5 mm tip diameter)
- Subminiature modular probes (2.5 mm tip diameter)
- 4 mm
From an electrical perspective, probes can be classified into passive and active probes, and further categorized into these categories.
Probes embody the fight against the adage "garbage in - garbage out" like nothing else associated with the use of oscilloscopes. For that purpose, Tektronix has been publishing "ABCs of Probes" for decades as a standard publication. It has been updated many times, adding newer models and deleting obsolete ones. Especially for Classic Tek lovers, the older versions (see list below, especially the 1990 version) are still valuable or even preferable. Unfortunately, some of the more recent versions contain typesetting errors, see the "Errors" in the list below.
- Dennis Tillman's Compilation of Probe Parts and Accessories (PDF)
- Circuit Concepts: Oscilloscope Probe Circuits (published 1969, PDF)
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-2, published 1990, PDF) - Note: The "classic" version
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-7, published July 1998, PDF)
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-8, published January 2004, PDF) - Note: Wrong image in Figure 1.11C
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-9, published January 2005, PDF)
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-11, published December 2009, PDF)
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-13, published March 2013, PDF) - Notes: There's a dummy caption to Figure 2.4 (the correct caption can be found in version 11) and Figure 2.5 has wrong picture
- Tektronix ABC's of Probes (60W-6053-14, published January 2016, PDF) - Notes: In Figure 2.1, pictures of Level 1 and Level 2 are swapped, there's a dummy caption to Figure 2.4 (the correct caption can be found in version 11), and Figure 2.5 has wrong picture
- Tek Scopes and Vertical Amplifiers to Tek Probes Cross-Reference (published 1990, PDF)
- Passive probe overview table
- Active probe overview table