Thunderscope – Software-defined Oscilloscope

Thunderscope is a disruptive new platform that challenges our thinking around what an oscilloscope should look like. It’s an innovative software-defined instrument that brings wideband data capture and analysis to students, hobbyists and professionals alike.

Thunderscope is an open source high speed multi channel oscilloscope – built with a super fast Thunderbolt interface. This allows digitized data to be streamed continuously to your computer at speeds exceeding 1 GB/s.

As an open platform and unlike traditional instrumentation, it gives the user complete access to digitized data.

What makes Thunderscope different?

Traditional oscilloscopes are closed hardware platforms that don’t provide access to the digitized data. Users can only view short bursts of data on a small screen. Some scopes provide limited protocol analysis and anything more sophisticated is at a premium.

Thunderbolt on the other hand interfaces to a laptop and gives users complete access to this raw data. You can display it on the laptop screen or analyze it using any software tool of your choosing.

ThunderScope is also open source. Once the sampled data is acquired, you have a tremendous amount of flexibility. You can easily develop with it and also leverage community developments.

Finally the benefit of interfacing this hardware to a laptop cannot be overemphasized. Processors are getting cheaper, better and more powerful everyday. Compare data processing with an open platform relative to a processor that’s locked down within oscilloscope hardware and cannot be upgraded.

Key Specifications and Benefits

  • Channels: Four
  • Analog Bandwidth: 350 MHz
  • Sample Rate: 1 GS/s
  • Resolution: 8-bit
  • Voltage ranges (with 1× probe): 1 mV to 10 V per division
  • Memory Depth: As many gigabytes as you can allocate!
  • Compatibility: Windows and Linux

The four channel Thunderscope allows for simultaneous measurement of high speed lines. With 350 MHz of bandwidth you can measure everything from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth to 5G. The high sampling rate of 1 GS/s with 8-bit resolution is comparable to scopes from Siglent and Rigol. The key differentiator is the wider bandwidth of 350 MHz relative to 200 MHz from traditional benchtop scopes.

Another key differentiator is the memory depth. Oscilloscope memory is limited and typically not very large – for instance some 200 MHz scopes have a waveform memory in the tens of MB and that’s considered a lot in the oscilloscope world. Thunderscope by comparison has unlimited memory depth in the PC that it connects to. This is powerful! You can analyze multiple waveforms for features; demodulate signals and more.


As the world moves toward software-defined instruments and communication hardware, Thunderscope is an exciting new development in the world of oscilloscopes. A thunderbolt interface allows for the flow of wideband, continuous data into a PC. Coupled with an open source design this gives users a lot of flexibility when it comes to data acquisition, processing and analysis. This will be a very useful tool in the world of test and measurement.