“If not us, then who?”
This is a tag line from one of my favorite movies, Machete.
Recently, I needed a function generator to help test some oscilloscope software I’m working on. Unwilling to shell out for a formal piece of equipment, I decided to build one out of a PICAXE. It could have been wired on a solderless breadboard, I suppose. Or a perf board. But then I realized that I had 4 more blank fabs of the solar bike power controller, already laid out for a PICAXE. It seemed a waste to use basically a $20 board to wire up such a simple thing, especially since just the tiniest fraction of the board would actually be used.
But then I thought, “If not for this, then what?” The extra proto boards were just lying around doing nothing, and I had already decided to make a major revision to the board. At my age, I find myself asking this question a lot – what am I saving it for?
Here are some pictures of the waveforms captured by my software. It’s got a long way to go, but having a function generator handy will accelerate development greatly.