Hard drive oscilloscope

hard drive scope

[hackgadgets.com is back up... maybe]

[Alan] put together a list of the Top 5 Dead Hard Drive Projects. He suggested we post about the hard drive laser oscilloscope, since he couldn’t find the project anywhere else. I actually saw a similar project during dorkbot-sf‘s presentation at Maker Faire. A laser is mounted to the drive case. The beam is bounced off of a mirror connected to the read/write head. He’s got a video of it in action on his site. Have a look at the other hard drive projects as well.


  1. dave says:


  2. SilVer says:

    Looks cool. Too bad I’m “forbidden” from viewing it.

    And what’s up with the site being down for 24 hours? I figured there’d be a post about it.

  3. Doug Cooper says:

    It would be nice if the link worked instead of giving me a “ACCESS FORBIDDEN” page

  4. craash420 says:

    You don’t have permission to access /2006/04/25/top-5-uses-for-a-dead-hard-drive/ on this server.

    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    …and may a plague of a thousand rabid rodents decend upon all of the “first post” llamas!

  5. drayk says:

    front-page of digg
    probably why it’s down

  6. bird603568 says:

    does digg just steal all of our links?

  7. need to start autocaching these sites regardless of the host. that way if the site gets hosed by us, dorks (i mean digg), or in the odd case slashdot we can still see it. I have seen eliot or whoever posts doing it for geocities or anglefire but i think it needs to become a standard option.

    Oh well, somebody tell me when it is back up.

  8. Tired2 says:

    yes, yes they do. anyone got the video that could put it on youtube or google vid and post about it?… cached or something?
    Kinda hard to prepare for the ‘slashdot’ effect…

  9. Alan says:

    Sorry guys, my hosting provider was having some trouble with the traffic :( It should be up for good now… (I hope)

  10. Alan says:

    Still seems to be a slow down every now and then. I uploaded the videos of the hard drive scope to YouTube.

  11. This video is wicked. If I could download it, I would upload it to google video for better viewing. Youtube sucks.

  12. Self_defenestrate says:

    Why not turn on the hdd’s motor and it spin the mirror at a certain number of scans per second/minute? It would be alot more precise than moving the platter yourself.

  13. name says:

    try using an 8 sided mirror on the hard drive platter and letting that spin. you should get a 45 degree trace.

  14. Alan says:

    Hi 13,

    That is the same thing someone said in the site comments. I am going to keep my eyes open for something like this:


  15. Stevediraddo says:

    I built one of these before, not with a harddrive tho. The horizontal deflection works best with a 60Hz Sine, so it can scan back and forth allowing the high frequency vertical deflection to display a very nice visual.

  16. Alan says:

    Hi Stevediraddo,

    Got any pictures? I would love to see some.

  17. andre says:

    idea:- reduce the oscillator frequency of the controller chip on the hard disk. this can be done by replacing its crystal with a lower frequency one.

    i’ve done this to a 5 1/4″ disk drive to lower the rotation speed before.


  18. kudrjash says:

    sbi com in,

  19. chake says:

    www graffitimaker com,

  20. boris555 says:

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