Lissajous curves and microcontrollers turn an old Heathkit oscilloscope into a timepiece.
While prowling the Internet for test and measurement leads, I stumbled upon a wonderful recycling project: the Oscilloclock.
It started out with an oscilloscope built from a Heathkit. That alone was enough to make me ridiculously happy. My father was an electrical engineer, and we were a family who loved projects. Under his supervision, my brothers and I built a set of walkie-talkies, a transistor radio, and even an SB ham radio set. OK, I was just five years old, but I occasionally got to commandeer the solder gun (under close supervision), and I was in charge of handing out parts, like an OR nurse. I learned to read resistor codes, which stood me in good stead later on in life.
If you want to get nostalgic, you can find old Heathkit catalogues to flip through. Even more interestingly, it appears that Heathkit is going through an on portion of its on-again-off-again cycle.
The Oscilloclock uses Lissajous curves to form numbers,
letters, lines, and circles.
But I digress. The owner of our lovely Heathkit scope apparently already had quite a collection of instrumentation, so he decided to do something entirely different: make it into a clock. That's right, a clock. He uses the CRT display as the clock display in either digital or analog format. It makes sense if you think about it. Lissajous curves can be tuned to form circles and straight lines, and if you combine them, you can form any number or letter you desire. From there, it's just a matter of getting the right controller board and programming it. You can see all the details and images on the Oscilloclock site, including full-color video.
You could get the owner to make a version for you for a hefty fee -- or you could make one for yourself. What do you think? Is this the best use of instrumentation you've ever seen, or do you have a better example?