Oscilloscope doubles as a serial terminal

PC-based USB oscilloscopes are fast becoming all the rage. [Matt Sarnoff’s] Terminalscope takes the reverse approach, adapting an oscilloscope into a full serial terminal. You may have seen something similar before in the Dutchtronix/SparkFun O-Clock, but [Matt’s] project goes one further by adding a PS/2 keyboard port for full bidirectional serial communication, and with much sharper display resolution to boot.

The mostly VT-100 compatible Terminalscope is built around two AVR microcontrollers: an ATmega328P runs full-tilt to generate the video signal and handle serial I/O, while an ATtiny45 handles keyboard input to avoid interrupting the ’328’s duties. Rather than vector trace each character, a raster-scanning approach is used: the beam follows a fixed X/Y path (like a television), while modulating the Z input (beam intensity) to form an image. The device can be connected to a PC via serial port or USB-to-TTY adapter, or directly to another microcontroller to debug serial output.

We recently showed an oscilloscope being used as a multichannel digital logic display. The Terminalscope provides yet another use for this essential bench tool and could nicely round out a “poor man’s” testing setup. The schematic and full source code are available for download.

Remote control pellet gun – with scope

Project Thunderbird is an automated predator and pest control system. It consists of a pellet gun mounted in a motorized base. The icing on the cake is a 60x zoom camera that has cross-hairs superimposed on the picture. This reminds us of the Internet hunting for the handicap we heard about years ago.

In the video after the break you can see how the motorized base works, watch the trigger-pull motor, and observe a demonstration of some target practice. The creator, [Gadgetapodimus], mentions the possible sale of plans and kits as soon as he completes the system. Perhaps it would be better if this was not easy for people to build.

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DSO nano oscilloscope reviewed

dsonano

We’ve been eyeing Seeed Studio’s DSO nano digital storage oscilloscope with a mix of intrigue and skepticism. A pocket-sized $89 storage ’scope? This is a joke, right? Hack a Day reader [Blair Thomson] has written a thorough review based on his experience with one of the beta test units, and it might be a winner after all.

[Blair] feels the unit compares favorably to buying a similarly-priced secondhand analog oscilloscope. The DSO nano wins major points for ease of use, a good range of functionality, and of course the whole portability thing (the enclosure is a repurposed portable media player). Can’t say we’re entirely convinced though. As a single-trace ’scope with 1 MHz bandwidth, the DSO nano may be extremely limiting for anything but basic hobbyist use…which, to be fair, is exactly how they’re marketing it. We can see a place for this the same way there’s a place for $10 multimeters — an inexpensive, toss-in-the-toolbag second ’scope to quickly test for vital signs, something that might complement but not replace a good bench unit.

Amazingly cheap dual channel scope

[Jacques] sent us this little project he has been working on. It is an amazingly cheap USB 2 chanel scope. The total cost of the project was around 5 Euros.  It is based off of an Atmel Tiny45, has 2 analog inputs, and can supply 5 Volts to a breadboard. He has listed the bill of materials as well as downloads for the source code, plans, and display software.