Blinging Up A Scope: Scale Your Divisions In Style

When a hacker owns an oscilloscope, it’s more than a possession. Weary nights are spent staring at the display, frantically twiddling the dials to coax out vital information. Over time, a bond is formed – and only the best will do for your scope. So why settle for the stock plastic dials when you could go for gold? Well in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re partial to a bit of over-engineering here at Hackaday, and [AvE] has upgraded his Rigol scope by adding metal knobs.

Employing his usual talent in the shop, [AvE] first turns the basic knob shapes from the stock, before drilling them and milling the outer texture pattern at an angle. Voilà: six custom knobs for 100% more torque and traction control. No matter how trivial the project, it’s always good to watch him at work. This [AvE] video doesn’t come with the usual fruity language warning; instead this build is set to the swelling tones of Beethoven. “Less Talk – More Action!” says the title, but we have to say that we miss his quips. That said, he still manages to deliver his signature humour through action alone.

For some slightly more functional oscilloscope upgrades, you can read about adding a hybrid touchscreen interface, or hacking a Rigol scope’s software to unlock greater bandwidth, storage depth and more.

20 thoughts on “Blinging Up A Scope: Scale Your Divisions In Style

  1. That ‘scope passed its EMC homologation tests with plastic knobs. Replacing them with metal ones may have more than an aesthetic impact – it may (or may not!) also invalidate the results of certain EMC tests. ESD tolerance is the one most likely to be affected.
    I know in products of mine, the use of non-conductive front panels and knobs meant that I could save money by omitting electronic ESD mitigation (e.g. TVSs, extra planes, etc.) on the PCB.

    Not that this is necessarily going to happen to this ‘scope, but it is something that shouldn’t be ignored in general.

    1. All true, watch a few if his videos and you’ll see, he just does it for the “likes”, so common sense doesn’t apply. I gave up trying to do what you’re doing, it’s a lost cause, sit back and enjoy the carnage. He’ll probably take them off next week using an earth mover and be shocked that it didn’t survive.
      PS, I used to watch them avidly when it was a review show, now it’s just a big kid playing to the camera breaking stuff with the odd bit of info, well they have been on the ones I’ve seen.

      1. Really? How far we going back here? I feel like the style has remained fairly consistent, but I’ve only been watching for maybe a year or so.

        I mean, obviously he does go way over the top. Opening boxes with the little chainsaw and such. But I still feel like I’m listening to a guy who really knows his stuff and has knowledge to pass on.

          1. people like to talk about him like he is some all knowing deity, he is usually entertaining and know a lot about some things, other things he’s a hack that has little idea what he is talking about

  2. “When a hacker owns an oscilloscope, it’s more than a possession”.
    Nope, for me, it isn’t.
    I have two, but in most cases I solve my problems by thinking hard, and by trial and error, and not by staring at the scope for hours.

    1. My scope is more than a possession, it’s my entire history in electronics as my scope was a National Panasonic Oscilloscope VP-5102B given to me by my late father, it’s helped me teach, fix, amaze and hack my way through life. Yes i could buy a more modern one but this one still works and has more history than i can think of (it’s prior owner before my father was Zambia National Broadcasting Corp ) and the unit is only a few years younger than I. So i disagree with your thinking, Thinking hard is not thinking smart, Right tool for the right job as my late father used to say. Oh and the scope was used to repair modern cars with brains and injection systems, he knew how valuable it was to visualize injection pulses in the 80’s and he was just a mechanic, so yeah, think smart,not just hard.

    2. I get what you’re saying. I feel like I rarely have to fire up a scope to do what I need to do. The scope comes out when something is going very wrong and I just can’t figure it out without looking at a waveform. I am sure people who do more analog work than I do need to use a scope far more often though.

  3. I myself have though mostly been prodding at one of my scopes. Only to find out that the HDD with the OS on it has decided to die…

    But it is also missing a knob, so might make one out of teflon or something. (Mostly since it teflon is reasonably cheap and easy to work with.)

  4. This is a bad idea. Have you ever had a static discharge when touching metal or metal plated plastic knobs on audio equipment? *POP* in the speakers. Think what can happen to your delicate o-scope.

  5. AvE could be accused of many things… precision is not one of them.

    Sloppy technique, but the knobs do look cool! I wonder if a thick layer of clear coat would be enough to give ESD protection? Probably not–it’d have to be thick enough to prevent static discharge.

        1. Ah, that could be! I wasn’t aware of those. At the same time, though, pausing the video at 8:15 sure makes it look as though there’s a cant between the ridges and the axis of the mill bit.

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