New Year’s Resolution!

Q: “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
A: “Why, 1024 x 768, of course!”

Geeky jokes aside, here at the Oscilloclock lab we DO have a form of New Year’s resolution! 「日進月歩Nisshin-geppo, which loosely translates as “Steady progress day by day“, reflects the goal to complete the the once-in-a-decade re-design work, and resume crafting beautiful Oscilloclock products. It also highlights confidence that issues currently facing the wider world will be overcome, one step at a time.

In keeping with local traditions, [Oscilloboy] wrote the slogan in Japanese calligraphy. But there, tradition ended and true joy began! Behold, courtesy of an Oscilloclock VGA Core assembly, Oscilloclock’s 2021 New Year’s resolution on a beautiful old 7-inch oscilloscope!

The Setup

After choosing an appropriately meaningful four-character phrase for our resolution, I asked [Oscilloboy] to write out the characters. Bucking with tradition, we used standard white A4 paper instead of calligraphy paper. The ink took more time to dry, but we wanted to maximize the contrast.

[Oscilloboy] demonstrates his prowess in Japanese calligraphy. Right: the finished product!

After scanning the handwritten characters and inverting the images, I created a rolling video in 1024 x 768 resolution. (See? The joke at the beginning of the post about resolution was serious, after all!)

I then played this through an Oscilloclock VGA Core assembly, which is essentially a graphics card that allows you to use a beautiful old CRT as a rudimentary computer display. (For earlier write-ups, see VGA display… On a 3″ scope tube! and The VGA Cube! .

The assembly used here features a late prototype of the Revision 3 Power Board, which I have been working on for almost a year. I won’t go into all the bells & whistles yet. Stay tuned!

A VGA Core assembly – displays monochrome images from VGA, SVGA and XGA inputs

Unlike a permanent Oscilloclock conversion (see the Gallery for examples), this was only a temporary setup. The VGA Core was positioned externally, with the harness routed into the 7VP1(F) CRT via the rear of one of the side panels. No invasive procedures needed!

Just LOOK at that beautiful CRT socket – brown Bakelite!

No VGA socket on your ultramodern slim notebook of choice? No problem – use an off-the-shelf HDMI to VGA converter!

And voila – the final result! Japanese calligraphy on a vintage 7″ oscilloscope!


About the Model – A rare 1963 Nitsuki Oscilloscope

Nitsuki is the brand name of Japan Communication Equipment Co., Ltd., a specialist in television and microwave broadcasting systems. The firm’s English name was originally Nihon Tsushinki Co., Ltd., so you can see how the Nitsuki moniker came about.

Check out this exquisite cap on the pilot lamp!

By 1963, the Japan domestic test equipment market was mature and quite competitive. English language labeling had become stock-standard. This scope is one of very few units I have ever obtained that has Japanese labeling. How appropriate for today’s display!

Japanese labeling – a rarity!

Some of the higher-quality oscilloscopes of this era featured flip-latches and detachable side panels, for easy access. See the Toshiba ST-1248D for another example. These scopes are infinitely more enjoyable to work with and show off than scopes with a slide-out chassis.

This model is also quite unusual for its time in that most of the components are located under the chassis! The valves (tubes, if you prefer) are even mounted horizontally. Nitsuki used very robust construction techniques, including very tidy cable lacing.

In fact, their design was so robust that the scope functions almost perfectly today (except for some triggering instability), yet there is no evidence of major repairs in the last 57 years!

Back to its natural self – a nice old 7-inch 1963 oscilloscope!

Like what you see?

The Oscilloclock lab struggled in 2020 due to worldly events, but NOW – day by day, step by step, the newly designed Oscilloclock boards are at last taking shape! Does your New Year’s ‘resolution’ for your next project specify 1024 x 768? Or perhaps you’re into displaying fancy calligraphy on vintage CRTs? Let me know.

And as always, see previous posts and the Gallery for info on other unique creations!