The 555 is a very popular chip, and for good reason. It is such a versatile timer. Learn about 555 measurements like how to measure the voltage divider inside the chip and what is going on with the signals in an astable multivibrator (clock) circuit. The key to a 555 circuit is connecting the threshold and trigger pins together. But, until you see the schematic and waveforms it may not be obvious why.

The first time I saw the VirtualBench from NI, I was amazed by its shear size—or lack of size.  At the time, the unit I had access to an uncalibrated pre-release unit at the Austin TechShop.  So I didn’t think it was fair to do a full review.  Fast forward to today.  Now that I’ve spent a week working with the VirtualBench I have some comments and thoughts.  What follows is a review of this “All-In-One Instrument” that runs $1999 USD.

Modern smartphones have eliminated the need for a number of devices.  Often I use my smartphone as a scanner (CamScanner), car GPS, voice recorder, security token, pedometer, light controller, and oh yeah, a phone.   My electronics bench is currently home to a Bench Power Supply, an Oscilloscope, and a Function Generator.  While good instruments, they should worried because they’re going to get replaced with one device: National Instrument’s VirtualBench.

You might also be interested in my Full Video Review of the VirtualBench!

When I teach the Electronics Measurements class at the TechShop in Austin, I take a lot of pride in showing off the Mixed-Signal Oscilloscope.  We have a Rigol DS1102D as well as a standard DSO.  To help illustrate the power of the combined digital and analog channels, I  created a Mixed Signal Oscilloscope Demo Board, based on a counter,  that has an issue that could be turned on or off.  This board is also my first time making use of OSH Park’s PCB service.

Last Update:  09/24/2013

Status:  Done

Github:  https://github.com/baldengineer/Mixed-Signal-Oscilloscope-Demo-Board


As a member of the TechShop in Austin, TX I teach a class on Electronics Measurements.  The class includes a variety of test equipment like power supplies, DMMs, and Rigol oscilloscopes.  One of the oscilloscopes is a Rigol DS1052D which is a “Mixed Signal Oscilloscope.”  In addition to the two 100MHz analog channels, the scope also include 16 digital channel channels.  It is a logic analyzer and oscilloscope in one!