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Raspberry Pi Pico DAQ PCB Turns Microcontroller into Oscilloscope

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Alperen Akküncü)

Maker and developer Alperen Akküncü has created a custom PCB that turns the Raspberry Pi Pico into a data acquisition (DAQ) tool known as the PlainDAQ

This project — which has been a work-in-progress for a while, but was most recently updated this week — includes tools and features that make it possible to troubleshoot and monitor potential issues, as well as performance data, for microelectronics projects. 

We reached out to Akküncü to get more detail on what we're looking at with the new PlainDAQ PCB. 

"PlainDAQ is a module that turns your Raspberry into a simple, precision 4-channel oscilloscope and a single channel function generator," Akküncü said in a message to Tom's Hardware. This edition also adds optional Wi-Fi, but Akküncü plans to remove this feature because the newly-released Pico W adds wireless functionality to the Pico. The intention behind its network support is to allow remote access and logging so users don't have to physically access the PlainDAQ to interact with it.

The PlainDAQ has a 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) which makes less noise than many internal ADCs found on other microcontrollers and is capable of generating waveforms. This makes it possible to visualize the recorded data in real-time.

In addition to the PlainDAQ PCB, Akküncü created two separate PCBs that work as low pass and high pass filters. These filters draw power from the PlainDAQ PCB. Akküncü has also developed a GUI for the system that allows users to view the waveforms, select waveform types, and analyze them.

Because the system is open-source, users can modify PlainDAQ as needed via Python. Akküncü hopes the project will aid users and students in their understanding of more complex issues found in their microelectronics projects.

If you want to take a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, check out the official GitHub as well as the CrowdSupply project page for more information. Be sure to follow Alperen Akküncü for future updates as this project is still a work-in-progress.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.