Homebrew Signal Generator

April 21/2011 I just got an e-mail saying that the parts have FINALLY shipped!

*UPDATE* I am still waiting for anything to show up….. did my house fall off the delivery route?


hello everyone!

I am planning on making a signal generator for us hobbyist types and I just wanted to get some feedback from anyone willing to give it. I am (so far) looking at this chip AD9833BRM (Click for datassheet). It is a 3-Wire SPI signal generator chip with up to 25MHz generation at 0.1Hz resolution. Everything else is not as important, but here are a few ideas I have had so far. The display will be a 16X4 back lit LCD, and the controls will be a few tactile buttons and rotary encoders. I would like to stay as close to that 0.1Hz resolution as possible, and maybe have a course, fine and extra fine encoder? It will also be capable of creating saw, sine, square waveforms. I think it should also have an off set option and some sort of duty cycle adjustment. I am unsure however of what type of micro controller I should use. I ave a few different development boards around here, some of which would be far too overpowered for something so simple. Should I use something overpowered to leave room for revision like a Atmega 328? I’m going to need at least 10 pins for basic functionality, so maybe that would be just fine plus more people could use the code (Arduino).

I have been looking at this model from Rigol for some inspiration. It has loads of features, but it definitely costs too much for the amount of use it would get around here. Also I would only require single channel.

I’m going to start working on this in my spare time and I have gotten a few of the parts ordered. I want to make this as cheaply as possible so that more people could afford to make it as well, while not making it crappy. I’m going to keep updating this article as this project progresses to keep everyone updated. I’m sure there are a few people other than myself that are getting tired of looking at 555 timer projects in hopes of finding a usable signal generator, but to no avail.


Please leave me a comment down below as to weather or not you like this idea, if you have any design ideas or considerations. Even if you are interested in working on this project with me (I’m going to need some programming help with this one for sure). Any sort of comment would be helpful at this point :)


Thanks in advance,


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2 responses to “Homebrew Signal Generator”

  1. Azzy

    1st Nov, 12

    So what came of your plans? Did you build something?


  2. jordan

    6th Nov, 12

    I have had to put this project on hold for a while. I started working for a WISP (wireless internet provider) and have been very busy but loving my job :)

    I will still be building this so long as someone else doesn’t come up with something cheap enough for me in the mean time.


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