A trip down memory lane with the O-Scope


Back in the day, I spent many many hours in front of an Oscilloscope (or O-Scope some of us) – one of those crazy devices that “allows observation of constantly varying signal voltages, usually as a two-dimensional plot of one or more signals as a function of time. Non-electrical signals (such as sound or vibration) can be converted to voltages and displayed.”

When I was in the Army, from  in Ohm’s Law (with Gordie, Boyer, Hill, Tillery and Brown) – it seemed they were always drumming how to use this device into our https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Oscilloscope.jpgheads.  Many of my 33 Brothers and sisters will probably remember the IBM 475A here, and the stories of what could be done with them over at NSA (yes, they were legendary/notorious even then).

These devices were a real wonder to work with – and at times, they seemed like “Magic” as you broke down signals/voltage in troubleshooting – and for those of you 33s that thought we were only going to use them in school….well, your fantasies were quickly dashed as you turned up to permanent party only to find you section assigned several in your TMDE (Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment). 

Many of the signal guys used to joke about it taking two 33s to fix something, well – that was because it took one to carry the toolbox and the other to hump the O-scope. 

Thankfully, my experiences with these types of devices prepared me for stepping into Satellite Communications – as the Spectrum Analyzer was the next logical step up for me.  And for the record, when you type a sentence like that…you either have a problem or are a true geek.

Its that “Geekyness” in me that truly appreciates what I read today on HackADay, and caused me to want to share with you here the work of Aaron over at Oscilloclock.com.  You see, he takes old electronic devices and brings them back to that stately beauty that I remember so well…in this case, modifying them into clocks. 

Tektronix 520A VectorClock - Featured Image


Not only does he transform them – but he provides detailed instructions (and firmware) so you can conduct your own DYI project.

The end result!Just look what he does with this Heathkit (another blast from the past).  As an added bonus – June 29th is my birthday…..now I know what I want to add to the list.  I only wish I had the Hardware laying around to actually attempt some of his mods.  If anyone has a few they want to donate – drop me an email.  I will gladly drive to pick them up.

What Aaron is doing is pure art – of course, I cannot capture all of his great work here….so I highly recommend exploring his site (OscilloClock.com) or at the least, venture over to his YouTube Page to see the clocks in action.  Believe me, its a great way to spend a Monday morning with a cup of coffee. 


One thought on “A trip down memory lane with the O-Scope

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s