Cooking up a cheap digital o-scope


Update: Since, as a reader so astutely pointed out, we already blogged this item (the ONE time I forget to search for prior postings), may I interest you in a Parallax USB Oscilloscope? It was featured on the Introduction to Oscilloscopes Make: Podcast back in February. It’s a 2-channel digital scope that looks pretty impressive for the $140 pricetag. It’s seen here in its Understanding Signals educational kit form, which includes a guide book and additional parts for an extra $20. Such a deal!

Parallax USB Oscilloscope – Link

We now return you to our regular blogcast, already in progress…


If you’re looking to learn more about oscilloscopes, but don’t have a lot of money, you can get started on the cheap by using a PC scope with an oscilloscope hardware module. Over at fpga4fun, they’ve put together a “recipe” for making a hardware interface using a Pluto FPGA board and a Flashy acquisition board. The parts will cost you between $80 and $100, depending on what you already have on hand. And you only end up with a single-channel oscilloscope. But you can get a two-channel o-scope by replacing the Pluto board ($40) with a Saxo board ($90). and the single-input Flashy ($30) with a FlashyD ($70). As you can see, the cost starts to mount (bringing eBay bargains on analog scopes within the ballpark), so I’m not sure how sensible this is if you’re looking for an everyday piece of test equipment. But as a fun electronics project… ?

Hands-on – A digital oscilloscope – [via] Link


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn