ANN: Open Instrumentation Project

This announces the Open Instrumentation Project (OIP), which has been formed to support open-source software and low cost hardware for electronic instrumentation.

The objective is to make electronic instrumentation readily accessible to students, hobbiests, engineers and scientists. This then allows independent circuit development and project-based learning in electronics.

Three instruments have been completed:

- dual channel, 20MSample/sec oscilloscope - 100kHz waveform generator - low-frequency vector-network analyser

Screen shots and the software for these instruments are available from sourceforge at:

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The software is licensed under the GPL.

Low-cost hardware using this software is available from Syscomp Electronic Design:

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The software uses the Tcl/Tk language without extensions, which makes it simple to install and maintain. The current cross-platform implementation runs under Windows and Linux operating systems. We are currently testing the Mac OS-X version.

Tcl/Tk is a scripting language that is interpreted text. It is simple for non-experts to add features to the graphical user interface.

The hardware uses the USB interface with drivers and hardware that emulate a high-speed serial port, which simplifies programming. No USB programming is required. The Windows and Mac drivers are available from FTDI at

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Linux drivers are available in the Linux kernel from version 2.4 onward.


---------- The current releases of software provide basic features for the instruments, but there are many that could be added. For example, the oscilloscope would benefit from 'waveform math' commands. The waveform generator could be configured as an audio sweep generator. Contributions are welcome and will be shared with the user community.

Peter D. Hiscocks                         	   
Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University                    
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