It seems that the Heathkit OR-1 is a very rare oscilloscope nowadays, and Chuck Penson reached out to me for a photo to put into his latest book, Heathkit Test Equipment Products. This is a very well-written, well-researched treasure trove of data about the most iconic kit manufacturer of its time. Highly recommended!
Chuck Penson’s latest book – superbly authoritative
Last month’s post about the Heathkit Oscilloclock generated tremendous interest, and I’ve heard from several folks keen to try their hand at preserving their own beloved instruments.
… so let’s take a brief look at what was involved in the Heathkit OR-1 conversion!
Approaches to conversion…
There are many approaches to retrofitting a scope into an Oscilloclock, but it really boils down to how much of the original circuit you want to re-use, vs. what you will bypass with Oscilloclock boards.
From 1947 to 1992, the U.S. based Heath Company produced electronic kits for everything you can imagine: radios, TVs, computers, robots, ham gear, and electronic test equipment. Yes, you guessed it – they also produced kits for oscilloscopes!
My Grandpa purchased one such scope, the Heathkit OR-1, around 1960. He wanted to kick off a new career in electronics repair, and the ‘build-your-own-equipment’ approach to training was in full bloom at the time. Also, since this was before the era of cheap overseas manufacturing, he could buy a Heathkit far cheaper than an assembled scope.
Heathkit OR-1 manual – a work of art
Unfortunately, Grandpa’s electronics career never really took off. But decades later, he introduced me to his gorgeous oscilloscope, and boy – did that kick MY career off! Much later, the OR-1 came to live with me. (You can read a bit more about my affinity for this scope in my History page.)
The problem is, I have too many oscilloscopes. But I don’t have enough Oscilloclocks. What more fitting way to keep Grandpa’s legacy alive, than to retrofit his Heathkit?