HOWTO: Reinstalling the System software on a HP16500B

Device: HP 16500B Logic Analysis System

Problem: Won’t boot. “SYSTEM FILE ERROR”, “Unable to load Module D”, “System File Damaged”, or similar errors on boot.

Cause: The system software is corrupted.

You will need:

  • at least one blank, formatted floppy disk (but it’s easier if you have four or five).
  • a PC or laptop with a floppy drive

Download the System 3.14 software from Agilent’s website. This can be found here. Unzip it into a convenient directory on the desktop. Open that directory — you’ll see five subdirectories: DISK1 thru DISK4 and PVTEST. These correspond to the different disks in the Operating System set.

Insert a blank, formatted floppy disk into the PC, and copy all the files in DISK1 into the root directory of the disk. Repeat for the other four disks.

Now insert Disk 1 into the analyser’s floppy drive and toggle both POWER switches to on (the rear-panel LINE one first, then the STANDBY switch on the control panel). The analyser will try and boot from the disk. Be patient — this takes about 10 minutes.

When the analyser has booted, touch the “Configuration” button, then select “Hard Disk”. Touch “Load”, then select “Format Disk” from the menu. Press Execute. You will be asked (twice!) to confirm that you really, really want to format the hard drive. You do, so confirm both requests.

Touch “Format Disk”, and select “Make Directory”. Enter “SYSTEM” in “New Directory Name”. Press Execute. Select “SYSTEM” with the spinner, then press “Change Dir.”

Now touch “Hard Disk” and select “Flexible Disk”. Touch “Load”, and select “Copy”. Use the Spinner to select the first file. Press Execute.

Remove Disk 1 and insert Disk 2, then roll the Spinner to refresh the file list. Copy all the files onto the HDD as above. Repeat this for all the other disks, in order Disk 3-4, then PVTEST.

Now remove the last disk (this should be PVTEST), and flip the switch to Standby. Count to ten, then flip the switch back to “ON”. The analyser should now boot.