We successfully designed and manufactured a custom oscilloscope for use in hobbyist
and some lab applications. Our original goal was to have a bandwidth considerably higher than the audio range (1KHz -1MHz). We also wanted a wide range of voltage inputs ranging from a few millivolts up into a few volts. The analog front end is comprised of various ICs including anti-aliasing filters, amplifiers, and a 10-bit ADC. Because of our previous experience with FPGAs, VHDL, and the Xilinx design tools, we used a Xilinx FPGA to handle receiving data from the ADC, any digital processing (i.e. peak detection, RMS, FFT, etc.), and displaying the waveform on a VGA screen.
Because there are so few courses on hardware design here at WUSTL, we decided that rather than buying a development board, we wanted to fabricate our own, fully custom board. Both of us understood that this would be a challenging project from the start but were committed to making it work. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to fully realize our target design. There were a few mistakes and uncontrollable events that hindered the success of the project. These are spelled out in the “problems” section and related subsections.
While we were unable to fully realize the design we initially targeted, largely due to time constraints, we both agree that the time investment have more than justified the knowledge acquired. This project has helped both of us land interviews at emerging aerospace companies.
Alan is a candidate for a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and is concurrently pursuing a Master’s in Electrical Engineering.
Neil is a candidate for a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a graduating Senior. Neil is the chief engineering for the WUSTL SAE team.