NOTE: THIS IS THE FIRST VERSION OF THE O'TOOL THAT SHIPPED IN 2012. THE CURRENT VERSION IS THE O'TOOL PLUS SHOWN ABOVE
It's an oscilloscope, but it's also a lot of other things. The Jones O'Tool is a single and dual trace oscilloscope, a levels meter, a VU meter, a Peak meter, a spectrum analyzer, an X-Y graph display, a frequency meter, a tuner, and a voltmeter.
There are three oscilloscope modes, with single trace, dual trace layered (input 1 is red, input 2 is green, on top of each other), and dual trace stacked (above and below each other). The timebase is adjustable from 100 microseconds to 5 seconds per division. The voltage scale can be set to +/-10v DC, +/-5v DC, +/-10v AC, 0-10v DC, or 0-5v DC. It can trigger on input 1, input 2, or on an external trigger. And there are two trigger levels for the external trigger. Or it can be set to have no trigger, so both waveforms free-run.
The levels mode is a visual indicator of the scale and bias of the signals going in. It is good for seeing changes in a signal at a glance without the full detail of the scope trace, but much easier to spot with a quick glance.
The VU and Peak meters follow industry standard specs for scale and response. The 0dBvu level can be selected between +4dBu (audio line level), +/-2.5v or +/-5v. There is a thin line drawn across between the meters to help see the 0dBvu level at a glance.
The spectrum analyzer has two forms. In the linear mode there are thin lines representing the frequencies, linearly spaced, and with a linear vertical scale. In the Log mode the frequencies are grouped into 6 wide bands representing octaves, and the vertical scale is in db.
The X-Y display mode uses the two inputs to draw points or lines on the screen. It has adjustable sampling times. In the shorter (faster) sampling speeds the inputs are sampled for a period of time and then drawn on the screen at once. In the longer (slower) sampling times the points are drawn on the screen as they happen and the oldest point is erased at the same time. This creates a sort of a snake-like drawing on the screen that can show very long periods of time (up to 200 seconds). Very useful for comparing slow LFOs or related voltages created by some modules.
The frequency meter has two parts. A numerical readout of the frequency, and a guitar tuner style of tuner. The tuner shows the note, the number of cents the note is off, and a sliding bar with a dot representing +50 to -50 cents. It can be used to monitor input 1, input 2, or both inputs. When used for both, the two sliding bars are above and below each other making it easier to align two frequencies. The tuner can be set for 440 or 432 scales.
The voltmeter mode is a simple DC voltmeter that monitors both inputs. It can be used to adjust two DC (constant) voltages to match or be a specific amount apart.
Suggested retail price: $250 (Note: this was the price in 2012, this version is no longer available. Please see the O'Tool Plus above)
Depth: 40mm (1.57 inches)
Power: 130ma of +12, 10ma of -12
Display: 45mm diagonal (1.77 inches) color TFT LCD with anti-static protective window
Please note that while the O'Tool is a very useful module for monitoring signals within a modular system, it does not have all the features of the full sized devices that it emulates. It does not have the large display, all the trigger options, or individual voltage controls of a full sized oscilloscope. Due to limitations in the processor the log spectrum mode can only display 6 bars, instead of the 15 or 20 typical of a full graphic EQ. And the frequency meter, tuner and voltmeter were all added (based on potential user feedback) after the hardware had already been built. So those modes do not have the accuracy or temperature stability that other devices like them would have (or that this would have had if those modes had been designed in when the hardware was designed). Those modes do not have the absolute accuracy of external dedicated devices, but they are accurate relative to the two inputs. So they are fine for tuning two oscillators to each other, or two voltages to each other. They just might be off a bit compared to an external tuner or voltmeter.
The O'Tool has two jacks for each of the three inputs. The pairs of jacks are like two-jack passive multiples. You can feed a signal into either of the jacks, and can use the second jack to send that same signal to another module. That way you don't have to use up your multiples modules to send signals to the O'Tool while still using those signals elsewhere. For example, say you have an oscillator connected to a filter. You could unplug that cable at the filter and plug it into either of the jacks for input 1 of the O'Tool. Then take another cable and go from the second jack on input 1 back to the filter you had connected before. The inputs on the O'Tool each have 100K input impedance, so it is possible in very touchy patches that you might need to use a buffered multiple rather than use the passive multiples built into the O'Tool. It is NOT a good idea to plug the outputs of two modules into the pair of jacks for a single O'Tool input, which effectively shorts those two modules together. (it won't hurt the O'Tool, but might hurt your modules) The pair of jacks for each input are simply connected to each other behind the panel, just as any passive multiple would be.
There are four buttons under the screen of the O'Tool. The button on the left cycles through the 9 different oscilloscope and meter modes. The other three buttons set options within each mode. The currently selected option for each button is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Pushing those three buttons change the options and the new settings are displayed. If the screen is blank above a button, that button is not used in that specific mode.
The instruction sheet included with each O'Tool can be downloaded here.