Hi! The Oscilloclock Lab is still on a pandemic-induced hiatus, for all the good reasons explained in last year’s announcement. For now the Contact form remains closed and we can only take enquiries from existing clients.
But good news – the constraints are being resolved, one by one, and Oscillolifewill resume – eventually. We have oodles of backlogged ideas, heaps of ambition, and of course a nice stock of gorgeous CRTs and vintage scopes to make use of.
Recent worldly events have taken a huge toll on the crafts and maker community globally. Sadly, the Oscilloclock Lab has not been immune.
It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Oscilloclock will be on official hiatus until further notice, at very least until the end of 2022. We won’t be accepting any further orders or enquiries, but any repair work for existing Oscilloclock patrons will continue to be handled with great passion and gusto.
This was a painful decision to make, but we are battling a perfect storm: extreme parts shortages, high shipping costs and long delays, a suddenly weakened yen (we are Japan-based), and an immediate need for your devoted cathode-ray engineer to focus on his day job and skills training as he reorganizes to go “back to office”.
I’m hopeful that in the coming 6-12 months, many of these factors will go back to ‘normal’, and we can formally resume our beloved cathode-ray activities! Stay subscribed to the site for future updates.
Television broadcasting has switched from analog to digital – and if you’ve got a nice HD TV, you’ll be loving it!
But with that transition came the death of an entire breed of equipment – the Vectorscope.
Just to be clear, these are not monitors for playing ancient video games using vector graphics!! No, the Vectorscope is (was) used to give a delightful view of the ‘vectors’ inside an NTSC or PAL video signal, describing the color components of the signal.
If you were lucky enough to be a TV broadcast technician, you’d use your Vectorscope all the time to check your vectors’ amplitudes and phase. You would even give your vectors names like ‘Jack’ and ‘Jill’, and check up on their relationships daily, just as any responsible guardian would!
But above all, you would marvel every single day at the beautiful hardware you were using, and the complex circuitry involved. Take a look at my Tektronix 526 Vectorscope, which has oodles of delicious tubes to heat my shop on a nice winter’s day:
Well, it all went digital and there is no longer any need for analog color signal analysis. But dry your tears… There is something even better:
Announcing the Tek 520A VectorClock
This lovely Oscilloclock reincarnation of a Tektronix 520A, sold at Maker Faire Tokyo 2013, allows its new owner to forever relive the magic of NTSC, PAL and SECAM analog color.
Tektronix 520A VectorClock – brilliant blend of the old and new!
The Tektronix 520A has a stunning built-in array of lights for illuminating the CRT graticules. By simply removing the bezel and external graticule, the Tek 520A morphs into a deliciously moody timepiece!
Normally, I shun CRTs with built-in graticules. Their lines detract dreadfully from an Oscilloclock image. But here! The Tek 520A’s internal vectorscope graticule is round! What better way to accentuate a Circle Graphics driven display?
The Tek 520A is solid-state. It can be left on 24 hours a day and not fail for many years. This makes it a perfect match for my Maximum Re-use + Minimum Invasion policy: nearly all existing circuits – HV power supply, deflection amplifiers, blanking – are put to use, with just a few (reversible) tweaks.
The Oscilloclock Power Board is mounted neatly next to its own dedicated low voltage supply. A small relay board can be seen below, for controlling the Tek’s main power unit. All cabling is HV-tolerant and neatly fastened with high-temperature cable ties.
Of the more interesting reversible ‘tweaks’ needed for this retrofit, here we see a delightful little trimpot pretending to be a transistor. Quite an act, I would say!
Like what you see?
If you love big, looming Vectorscopes and need to have one put to good use in your living room, Contact me. And be sure to subscribe from the front page, to track all the other exotic experiments and unique timepieces targeted for 2014!
Credits to [Quinn] in Canada, for providing the initial inspiration for the Tek 520A VectorClock project!
This 2013 edition hand-crafted scope clock exudes sophistication and elegance, to match the most refined interior – be it the boardroom or the bedroom. The 1-S boasts solid brass fittings custom-turned in Japan, ultra-transparent cast acrylic housings, and a decadent harness with chrome connectors and gold-plated pins from France. The brand-new old stock CRT was selected especially for its gentle white-blue trace and extremely long persistence, to provide a relaxing and refreshing viewing experience.
This particular unit went on display at Maker Faire Tokyo 2013, and was sold within several hours. Enquire via the Contact page for pricing and availability of the Model 1-S and other exclusive Oscilloclocks.