After a confusing start, (entirely self inflicted complications caused by not just simply doing what the instructions said) the Scope Clock is nearing completion. The final steps went really fast, in fact much easier than expected, and after only a few minutes, it was clear that we are on the right path.
The poor DAC chip looks like it had a tough journey. It was squashed completely flat in the package, and the first task was to straighten the pins, solder the socket onto the board and put the DAC into the socket. There were no other components needed. The two turret pins also needed to be soldered. In total this only took two or three minutes.
At this point, the temptation was simply too great. Even though I only have one lead made up and could only look at a single channel, I just had to have a look what the scope was doing. In the video you can see what it looked like. It was of course totally unreadable, but staring at the pattern for a few seconds, it became clear that something good was going on.
There is no need for the RS232 interface at the moment, but I know I'll just lose the parts if I don't put them on the board right now. One of the cool features of the Dutchtronix Scope clock is that you can link it up to another computer and use it as a terminal (with only very few characters per line, and only few lines.
To complete the build, the RS232 chip (a HIN232ACP, a new one to me) was added and the chunky D-Type socket.
After all that, plugging the board into the scope with both channels immediately gave a picture that was recognizable. It was turned on it's side and back to front, but it was clearly a clock face. Switching the X and Y axis and turning off a channel invert made the clock face appear correctly.
How cool is that?
Recently a Dutchtronix Oscilloscope clock module arrived by post, and it seems a really nice kit. Oscilloscope (or just "Scope") clocks have a fairly limited appeal, but the people they appeal to really, really like them. They are, in all seriousness, the pinnacle of geekness.
Q1: Who has a scope?
A1: A geek.
Q2: Who has a scope clock?
A2: A cool geek.
This article takes us through the first part of the build of the clock.
One of the things that this website doesn't have enough of is CRT / Oscilloscope clocks. Thankfully, I found an eBay seller who is happy to help fill the void. eBay seller al-truism has been selling scope clocks for a while and I've been watching them as his designs progress and he is offering them pretty regularly via eBay and directly from his website. For those who are a little more adventurous, he sells the board directly as a kit. His website has lots of great work and his YouTube channel shows the devices in action - go check it out.
From his site:
These oscilloscope clocks display a digital face for ten seconds and then an analog face for ten seconds. This helps to reduce the "burn-in" that otherwise will inevitably occur on crts displaying the same image for too long. Many of the parts are recycled from used electronics, which makes them kind of "green". The base and shroud are homemade from plexiglass. These scope clocks have a "shifter" that will move the display on the screen slightly every 6 seconds. Also , the display alternates every ten seconds between analog and digital face. This helps to greatly reduce the burn in that can result from the display staying in the same spot continuously. The Nixie clocks are "faders", which means when the numbers are changing, the number that's going is dimmed while the number that's coming is brightened. This produces a "morphing" effect that kind of makes them appear to melt into the next one. The oscilloscope clocks are user programmable with preset sleep / wake mode , which will turn the display on and off at preset times automatically, while still keeping time, thus conserving the crt usage and extending its lifespan.
I don't have much information on this device yet but I wanted to share it anyways: