Oscilloscopes were once commonly called CROs, for the fact that they relied on cathode ray tubes for display. Since then, technology has moved quickly, and oscilloscopes these days almost entirely rely on modern screens like LCDs. However, [lonesoulsurfer] went a different route with this fun DIY build, creating an oscilloscope with a low-resolution LED display.
Yes, the signals are shown on a 10×10 matrix made up of red LEDs. The individual pixels look nicely diffused and chunky thanks to the fact that [lonesoulsurfer] was able to source square 5mm LEDs for the build. The whole project only uses four ICs – a decade counter and a LM3914 LED driver to run the display, a 555 timer for clock input, and an LM386 op-amp for amplifying incoming signals.
With a mic fitted onboard, the oscilloscope can act as a simple music visualizer, or be used with a probe to investigate actual circuits. It may not be of great enough resolution or precision for fine work, but it’ll at least tell you if your microcontroller’s clock is running properly if you’re scratching your head about the function of a simple project.
We’ve seen some great DIY oscilloscopes over the years, like this neat Arduino-based build. Video after the break.