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Ben Heck uses MDO3104 oscilloscope to reverse engineer an LCD driver


It’s hard to top elements14’s The Ben Heck Show for its combination of useful engineering tips and fun projects. One episode that caught our eye recently involved Ben’s use of a Tektronix MDO3104 oscilloscope to reverse engineer the driver for a horizontal LCD panel acquired from eBay. Instead of using the panel’s composite video inputs, Ben decided he wanted to drive the panel using a custom controller built around an FPGA.

The oscilloscope allowed him to “sniff” the signals going into the LCD driver board from the original board used for the composite video signals. Using this information, he was then able to program the FPGA and drive signals to the 1024 x 310 px display. The episode walks viewers through the steps involved with making this happen with a helpful level of detail.

Before the display can be put to use – most likely on a pinball machine – Ben still faces a challenge of getting an input signal to work. Perhaps this will be the topic of a future episode. To watch episode 169 and to keep up with Ben and his Tektronix MDO3104, head on over to the show’s homepage on the element14 community here.


Since publishing the above blog, Tektronix is currently offering a free upgrade to 3/6 GHz spectrum analyzers and a free bundle of software applications on mixed-domain oscilloscopes. Check out the details here and save away!