Composer, electronic musician, improviser

DSO Nano V2: unboxing, upgrading, using


If you don’t know what a DSO Nano is, but you are in the market for a cheap (<$100) oscilloscope and don’t want to risk one of the totally awesome, but possibly janky analog ones on ebay, then you are in luck having found this post.

The DSO Nano V2 comes in a very nice little package (see gallery) and has, from what I can gather, a series of improvements over the previous version (V1.)  I picked this little guy up to aid MuCo’s ever-broadening foray into electronic madness.  It pays to be able to measure your signals (esp. when trying to eliminate lurking DC from your circuit!) and that’s exactly what this guy does.  The specs for it aren’t totally amazing, but are sufficient for the hobbyist and MuCo alike, and it is relatively easy to use even for those loath to read a wiki page of instructions.

The only source of aggravation when setting this dood up is updating the firmware from the insufficient and janked default firmware to the much-better BenF firmware.  BenF is the name of an affable chap not associated with the DSO hardware production, but who has nonetheless greatly improved the onboard functionality of the device by means of his coding prowess.

The problem with youtube and other sources of “how-tos” is that if they link to any files at all, by the time you get to the link it is likely out-of-date.  This is a drag, and something that irks me continually.  So I have searched around through forums and beyond to find a source where the latest version of the mysterious BenF firmware could be found.

You *should* be able to find the latest link to the BenF firmware at the following link: http://code.google.com/p/benfwaves/

The above seems to be one of Ben’s project sites. I found a link to firmware version 3.61 here. This appears to be the latest at the time of this post.

**update April 2 2012**

get the latest benf firmware from here:


get the latest dfuse demo here:


or go to st.com and search for ‘dfuse.’  The latest version as of right now is 3.0.2

** end update: more below

Another drag is that you have to have access to a PC with window$ in order to update the firmware. I tried running the program under wine on Ubuntu 10.10 to no avail. It installed and ran initially, but wouldn’t start up thereafter. (I assume this is a driver issue, though I know there is more to it than that.)  So, borrow a friend’s PC and get to work!

Once you have the .dfu files in-hand (from the above link), check out this video for a quick run-through. thewii552 has a series of videos that are pretty informative. In this video he runs you through the upgrading process.  (Skip the installation of the software bits if you know how to install a program :P.  If your friend’s PC has Win 7 you can skip the “hardware driver” selection in the video as well.  My PC just found the device and knew what to do with it.)

If you don’t like video tuts, here are the steps summed-up for your skimming pleasure: **updated April 2 2012**

  1. plug the DSO Nano into your PC
  2. hold the down arrow and power up the Nano
  3. open the DfuSe Demo application.
  4. make sure that the DFU device is in the Available DFU and HID Devices menu at the top of the application.
  5. select the top “flash” device from the Actions panel (middle)
  6. in the “Upgrade or Verify Action” section, select “Choose” and select the LIB file.
  7. tick the “verify after download” button and click “Upgrade.”
  8. Repeat 6 & 7 above for the APP file.
  9. when the process is completed, you can close the DFUSE application, unplug the nano from your PC and turn it off.
  10. Unplug the USB cable from the Nano and power it back on.

When you power the Nano back up after the firmware upgrade you will see the start screen has changed and will show the Benf and version 3+ rather than the stock firmware version 2.  This is most excellent!

If you do NOT see the new firmware, something went wrong in the process.  I have heard of people accidentally using the “upload Action” section instead of that listed above.  It looks like it’s uploading the firmware but it is not.

As usual I am loath to go into detail about the functionality of my post’s subject, so I’ll leave you with a few videos showing how neat-o it is and trust you can look up the specs yourself.  (Hint.)

Here’s another:

And lastly a little demo of a circuit from the Collins book using the 4093 circuit and some pots, photoresistors, etc.  (DSO nano is the small glowing box in the background.  ;)  )

Filed under: El MuCo, Miscellany, , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Greg Toombs says:

    Hi! I’m the author of BenfWaves. Some clarification:

    I’m not Ben, nor am I associated with Seeed Studio, but I do like both of their work and I develop a tool that I find handy in interfacing with data that Ben’s firmware generates. When you upgrade your firmware to the latest version of BenF, it’s able to export the data buffer to XML, and BenfWaves is a simple desktop application that reads that XML and can view and export it to other formats.

    I do try to maintain useful links on my project page, and so hopefully when you say that the latest firmware is linked from there I’ll try to make sure that stays true in the future. :-)

    • scacinto says:

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for the clarification! I erroneously assumed the two projects were the progeny of one mind. The only places I found Ben’s firmware (aside from your site, which had the latest) were in forum posts… hardly user friendly. Is there a site where one can go to be sure he/she has the latest firmware? I’ll upgrade this post to reflect any clarification/links from you.


  2. Greg Toombs says:

    Unfortunately, the only surefire way that I’ve found to stay up-to-date on new firmware releases is to subscribe to BenF’s forum post. It seems that instead of making a new post each time he issues a new release, he just edits the old one. That has its ups and downs; at least the link doesn’t change. If cutting-edge firmware is of importance to you, I’d recommend that you get a Seeed Studio forum account and subscribe to that post.

    • scacinto says:

      Cool, thanks for clearing that up. As long as there is a *reliable way to get the upgrades I’m happy. It’s a drag for new users and people just starting out with this stuff to have to go on an easter egg hunt just to find the latest updates. And, of course, once tutorial videos are posted to Youtube they are rarely updated to reflect changes, so these are quickly outdated.

  3. Greg Toombs says:

    You’re welcome! Though the firmware changes often enough, the process for updating it remains mostly the same. I’ve posted a very brief walkthrough on how to do it here:


  4. Vigstrom says:

    Just want to say: Brilliant!

  5. isa ölçer says:

    thanks, nice device :)

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