This year, the Supercon badge goes analog! (Or at least fakes it pretty convincingly.) Taking inspiration from the phosphor scopes of yesteryear, the 2023 Vectorscope badge is part analog audio playground, part art project, and all about prototyping. Who doesn’t like the warm glow and lovely green fade of an old Tektronix tube scope? That’s what we’re after.
Conceptually, the badge is two separate devices in one. Most obvious is the vectorscope, which takes in voltages in the 0 V – 3 V range and plots them out in X-Y mode in glorious fake-phosphor effect on the lovely round IPS screen. We’ve also tied an audio amplifier to the Y input that plays whatever waveform you’re watching.
But you don’t have to bring your own waveforms with you – the other half of the badge is an arbitrary programmable waveform generator that drives two channels. Off the bat, it’s configurable with the front panel controls, so you’re obviously invited to make Lissajous figures and store them in the program memories.
Combining the two halves lets you draw in voltages and time, but not until you connect them together, naturally. You see, this isn’t an analog simulation – it’s the programmable equivalent of the real deal, courtesy of the AK4619 ADC/DAC. Voltages go out on one set of pins and come back in on the other.
And you get to play around with these voltages in through-hole space too, because we’ve included a very generous prototyping board for your analog explorations. Does this instantly suggest a curve tracer to you? Be our guest! Other forms of analog video-mangling? We want to see what you come up with. Make an audio filter and watch it work on the screen in front of your very eyes.
Of course we’re not leaving you code monkeys out in the cold. MicroPython puts the “programming” in the programmable waveform generator. If you’re not content with the four stock waveforms, you’re invited to write your own. And this is where it gets artsy.
You can upload your own repetitive waveforms to the onboard direct digital synth routine, but why stop there? We’ve left most of the processing power of the underlying RP2040 untouched, for you to use. And four buttons on the front panel let you store and play back your code, so you have space to stash your demos, and a sweet joystick with a custom keycap gives you control.
Continue reading “2023 Hackaday Supercon Badge: Welcome To The Vectorscope”