Larson Scanner

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This page is the central documentation site for the Larson Scanner kit from Evil Mad Scientist.

Main details about the Larson Scanner kit:

  • Announcement article at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
  • Kit page at
  • The Larson Scanner is named after Glen A. Larson, who produced the Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider series, and is responsible for introducing scanning red light effects to the sci-fi TV viewing population of the 1970s and 80s. We coined the term "Larson Scanner" when we wrote an article with instructions for an analog version of the circuit for the Make Magazine Halloween Special Edition in 2007.

Assembly instructions:

Open Source Hardware documentation for the Larson Scanner:

  • Source code is available at GitHub.
  • Electrical schematics are here. (33 kB .pdf file)
  • The circuit board design is in gEDA, and you can download the design files here. (74 kB .pcb file)
  • For home PCB etching, the PCB layout, showing the individual circuit board layers broken out individually with crop marks, is also available as a .pdf here. (124 kB .pdf file)
  • Bill of Materials

Hacks and Mods:

  • An article on building a Kraftwerk-inspired LED tie with a Larson Scanner kit is here. (Hint: Jumper "opt. 2" on the PCB.)
  • An article on linking several Larson Scanner kits together is here.
  • A "Narrow eye" mode is built into the firmware. Hold button down at turn-on to preview. Jumper "opt. 1" on the PCB to make the "narrow eye" the default.
  • An article on modding to use different power supplies and different color LEDs is here.

More red scanning light projects:

Places for questions, answers, and sharing experiences: