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Thread: Oscilloscope advice

  1. #26
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post
    For years, Saleae's software has been unusable on Ubuntu, crashing with complete data loss when you do almost anything. Clearly they only test on Windows and Mac.
    Have you tried it with their Beta version of the software?

    I personally have used it on Windows probably about 99.8% of the time. Only recently have I tried it on Ubuntu 13.10 and 14.04 on an Intel NUC and only a handful of times and during those times it worked fine... Note I am using the beta version as their web site says:
    Notes for Linux Users

    If you are using Ubuntu 12+, or a similarly new version of Linux, we strongly recommend that you use this beta version as an alternative to the production software. A number of bugs were discovered when Ubuntu 12 was first released, which are fixed in this beta.

    We are currently also debugging issues with Logic and Logic16 when used with USB 3.0 host controllers. If you experience any issues with the USB performance of Logic or Logic16, please let us know.
    FYI - I am not affiliated with Saleae, I just have been happily using their products since 2008.

    But if another product like Ika looks good to you, go for it.

    I was simply trying to say that for the type of stuff I do (mostly robotics), this type of tool has been far more useful than an Oscilloscope. Things like debugging Serial communications, SPI devices, timing for IR devices, AX Buss issues, Timing of code, checking to see if code is run... However for those times when I need to diagnose wave forms or if a signal has noise or a signal is not generating sufficient voltage to trigger high, a good Oscilloscope would. Which is why I have been following this thread as it might be time to add another tool to my toolkit to replace the extremely limited Parallax USB Oscilloscope, that I purchased probably in 2004.

  2. #27
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    Dec 2014
    For a couple of years, I've used the cheapest Owon PDS5022T for two channels of analog "is something wiggling," and a Saleae Logic 8 (original) for bus analysis -- UART, SPI, I2C, and others.

    The Saleae Logic 1.1.15 doesn't crash for me on Ubuntu, except when trying to "save." Which I never do. I love the logic. I'm on my second set of probe clips (they wear out) and probably will need a third soon. I might upgrade to the new 8 with analog-in at some point in the future. I don't trust typical USB low-price analog scopes, but my experience with Saleae has been great, so I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

    I like the UI of the Owon, and it's quick at answering the questions I"m asking. But in reality, it is a 7-bit scope; I wouldn't try to debug audiophile stuff on it. I do use it for "does this power signal ring enough to destroy my switching power converter? (yes)" and "is there bad ripple on this signal? (no)" I've also used the low-end Rigols, and for my use, they are approximately equal.

    If I only had $200, I'd get the Saleae Logic 8 (new version.) If I had an additional $300, I'd then get a low-end scope for quickly looking at things (The Owon is OK for me.) But I don't do much analog at all, and only hobby-level digital. If I suddenly was independently wealthy, or switched careers to electronics, the Rigol DS1074Z seems like an amazing value :-)

  3. #28
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    May 2015
    Hello all

    I know this is an old thread. But based on Paul's recommendation I bought a Rigol 1074 a year ago.
    It offers a lot of functionality for the price compared with other more expensive brands (like Tektronix).

    But I have to advice clearly that chinese oscilloscopes have a far worse quality than I was used to.
    All my life I used a Hameg and it was really high quality - although analog. And it lived nearly 30 years.

    My old scope (bought in 1990's) served me decades but it was lacking memory from the first day.
    And as in today's digital era it is indispensable to capture a signal to memory for studying it, I bought a Rigol 1074.

    At first look it is a fine oscilloscope.
    But when you work with it you find the flaws.
    Mine has several bugs.
    Most of them are difficult to reproduce.

    One thing that does not work at all is the knob "horizontal position".
    When you move this knob, the captured signal moves on the screen from the left to the right.

    A very basic functionality - you might think.
    But in Rigol it is not working correctly.
    If you move the knob too fast you suddenly loose the signal which you were watching and it jumps to a COMPLETELY different location in the signal.
    When you move the knob slowly the signal nearly does not move at all on the screen.
    This knob is simply a shame.

    It also happened to me that suddenly it showed random data instead of the data which it showed before.
    Just moving this knob too fast it lost the captured data in memory and showed crippled data generated by a software bug in the oscilloscope.

    Short to say: Such a simple functionalty as "navigating in the captured signal" is working very badly.

    But this week I found an additional and incredible bug in my scope:
    In one position of the horizontal frequency my oscilloscope shows the wrong timing!
    All timing is exactly 4% too slow.
    I would never have expected this because digital scopes have a precise crystal based timing.
    4% deviation in timing is a very severe error for a measurement device.
    It means that you cannot trust in what the oscilloscope shows you.
    You expect a signal to have a period of 600 ms, but your oscilloscope insists that the period has 624 ms.
    This is COMPLETELY wrong and it is a shame for Rigal that they don't have a quality control which detects such servere bugs before selling this series.

    Generally I have made worst experience with chinese products in the past years - apart from oscilloscopes.
    Have a look here what I write about chinese ELM327 adapters:
    They are 100% FRAUD.

    As I could not believe that I found such a bug and Google shows no results, I posted on StackExchange to ask if someone else made the same experience.
    And I was right: Another user confirmed this severe bug: In his Rigol 1054 the same thing happens.
    It seems that I'am the first to discover this bug, although it exists since years.

    So if you want to buy a Rigol:
    Be aware that the price is cheaper than other brands, but what you wil get is cheap chinese quality.
    In my experience Rigol offers a good hardware quality but the firmware is buggy.

    What does it serve me if I buy an oscilloscope with hundeds of features (like for example a "cursor" which measures the period of a signal) and this functionaliy is showing me completely wrong values?
    All my life I trusted in my old Hameg oscilloscope. I trusted it blindly. It never betrayed me.

    But today I measure something and I have to ask myself if this is true or false?
    I have to make extra tests to verify if my scope shows me the truth or a lie.
    The Chinese betray the rest of the world with their cheap crap.
    I knew this from Alibaba and AliExpress.
    But I would not have expected this from a professional measurement equipment.

    Read my post here about the incredible Rigol 1074 bug with all the details:

    Last edited by Elmue; 08-24-2020 at 03:10 AM.

  4. #29
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    Dec 2014
    So, in summary: It turns out higher quality equipment costs more to produce. Who would have thought?! :-D

    If you can afford a Tek, buy a Tek! but a Rigol is better than nothing.

  5. #30
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    Aug 2020
    I have a Rigol DS1054z. It's close to your $300 budget. 4 channels, 50MHz. Apparently you can "software hack" it to 100MHz but I haven't needed or wanted to. It's a really nice thing to use and doesn't take up much space.

  6. #31
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    Aug 2020
    The problem seems to be only when you are using "24 megasample" capture mode as described in your stackexchange thread. Is that correct? So your scope should be still fine at 12MSP? Or have you found issues with that which would possibly also manifest on my 1054z? It has to be said the DS1054z seems to be widely reviewed as the ideal hobbyist's choice which is what guided my purchase.

    The principle of caveat emptor applies to stuff bought online from China. You can get very good stuff for money or stuff that isn't fit for purpose. I would always recommend an escrow service like eBay or AliExpress where you can get your money back if you were scammed.

  7. #32
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    May 2015
    > It turns out higher quality equipment costs more to produce. Who would have thought?! :-

    The point is that the costs to produce are basically the hardware costs.
    But the hardware of Rigol is OK.
    It is the firmware which complete chinese CRAP.

    The programmers simply do their job very bad.
    And a quality control does not exist in Rigol.
    They could easily sell a very good oscilloscope for the same price if they just would fix their bugs.

    They have so many models of oscilloscopes. Instead of producing more and more models they should invest their time in fixing the old bugs.
    And all would be fine.

    > It's a really nice thing to use and doesn't take up much space.

    This is your criteria?
    That it does not take much space?
    Sorry, but for me this is not enough. I have higher expectations.
    I prefer a big oscilloscope like my old Hameg, if it only works correctly.
    I would also prefer less features which I will never use in my life if only the BASIC functionality would work correctly!

    I added more screenshots to my posting on Stackexchange.
    I was just working with my scope and it made me the favor to show a very ugly bug which happens from time to time.

    This is a correct capture:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    By just moving the knob "Horizontal Position" too fast you get ugly artifacts which appear in a capture that is already stored in memory!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can amplify these artifacts and zoom into them.
    The scope shows you a signal which never has existed on the input !
    The problem with these bugs is that you can report them to Rigol but they are difficult to reproduce.
    They are random artifacts.
    Last edited by Elmue; 08-25-2020 at 12:15 AM.

  8. #33
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    I've personally used the Rigol 1054 / 1074 scope just a few times when someone brought theirs to a hackerspace meetup. A couple of those uses were helping someone diagnose a problem with their project. The scope was always a little sluggish to respond but generally worked pretty well. We did manage to get to the bottom of the problems using the scope. Each time I was fairly impressed that a cheap $400 scope had nearly all the same features as my expensive Agilent (now Keysight - bought it before Rigol made the 1074 series), even if they were a bit painful to use with the UI being kind of laggy.

    Another time was when someone had just bought it (presumably to learn how to use one) and wanted people to check it out to make sure it was working. At the time I had just worked on a project that played sound clips and sent DMX serial control messages to turn lights on/off. While the scope worked fairly well, its pulse width trigger could not manage to reliably find the ~12 bits of idle time that mark the start of a DMX frame. I had to edit the code to give a much longer idle time between frames before the scope could find that within the sea of DMX data bits and trigger to the actual start of frame.

    I'll certainly keep these bugs in mind when recommending budget scopes. Online I've seen many people rave about Siglent's newer scopes which looks pretty similar in price & features to Rigol, but I can't speak to whether they also have these sorts of issues.

    I can say my Agilent DXOX4024A works very well. I have found a couple cases where it too seems to have minor bugs, but mostly involving cases of changing time base while also viewing waveforms near the limits of delay from the trigger point. But overall it's been very solid.

    Sorry the Rigol turned out so badly for you. Hopefully you still have time to return it and get something else?

  9. #34
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    @Elmue - Sorry to hear you have had problems with yours. I almost bought one, but never got around to it.

    So far I can do everything I need to do with my logic analyzers.

    I assume you contacted their customer support? Hopefully they either know about the issue and have suggestions (or better yet) a new firmware for it or they will allow you to return it.

  10. #35
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    Aug 2020
    This is why I only buy things like that from actual brick and mortar shops I can drive to. If there's a problem with yours maybe take it back for a refund ore replacement if you can. As the saying goes, one swallow does not make a summer. So it's sad you have personally a bad experience but it doesn't seem to be a common experience. I don't miss having an expensive giant dual trace CRO on my bench. The world's moved on in a better way for me at least.

  11. #36
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    May 2015

    In the last months I was working on a OBD project:
    It bought a chinese ELM327 adapter which connects a computer to the electronic unit (ECU) of a car or motorbike.

    You cannot believe how many troubles I found on my way with this chinese CRAP:

    1.) An adapter where 20 electronical SMD parts are missing.
    2.) Adapters which implement 10% of the commands which they should implement.
    3.) Fake responses from the chinese crap when they don't implement a command.
    4.) For example the command ATIB96 should switch the baudrate to 9600 baud. The adapter answers with "OK" but does not change the baudrate.
    5.) Even the version number is a fake.
    6.) Problems with chinese CRAP Windows drivers which result that the computer does not go into sleep mode anymore and hangs.
    7.) USB to RS232 adapters with severe bugs which result that some bytes are transmitted wrongly sometimes. (the adapter sends 0x00 byte instead of 0xFA)
    8.) And additionally the multiple bugs in my Rigol

    I'am really pissed off by the Chinese who betray the rest of the wold.
    And they know that they sell crap!
    And they do it by PURPOSE.
    There is no excuse for selling adapters which implement only 10% of the commands and give fake responses.

    The problem ist that if you want to buy a real ELM327 adapter you will hardly find one.
    Searching in eBay or Amazon you find 99,9% chinese fake.

    What a luck that Paul Stoffregen is still a source of high quality in this fake world !

    > I assume you contacted their customer support?

    They told me:

    Think this a known problem on the DS1000Z series!
    Please upgrade the firmware to version and the capture problems should be solved.
    Follow this link to download actual firmware for your DS1074Z oscilloscope:
    But the the webpage shows another version: from august 2019

    And my scope shows under system info: Software Version: 00.04.04.SP4
    Is this the same ?

    And the weirdest thing is if I search on the Rigol homepage under Support for Firmware for DS1000Z series I find this:

    Where they have an even newer firmware v00. from october 2019.
    But inside is not firmware for DS1000Z series.
    The TXT file says another thing than the website:

    [Model Supported] DS1202Z-E.
    [Latest Revision Date] 2019-09-20
    [Updated Contents]
    v00. 2019-09-20
    - The first version is released.
    Rigol is a shame!

    I extracted the direct link to the RAR file of 1,9 MB: (So small ???? I though my oscilloscope has more firmware)

    But the instructions say:

    - MSO/DS1000Z series digital oscilloscope does not support the downgrading operations.

    I'am really scared to install this.
    What if they fix the timing bug but the other bugs remain and they even introduce a more severe bug ??
    Then I'am worse than before.

    The Rigol website is the same crap as the whole company.
    Why don't they offer all firmware versions on their server?
    On I can download all existing versions of Firefox from the first to the last.
    Why is Rigol not able to provide all their firmware versions and a short description which bugs have been fixed?
    And when I have a problem with a firmware update I could go back to my previous version.

    Firmware update is a one-way-road for Rigol.
    But I don't know where it leads me to.

    Before buying this oscilloscope I obviously searched information in internet.
    There is this guy on Youtube (EEvblog) who shows all types of oscilloscopes.
    He is so enthusiastic about Rigol that I suppose he is payed by them.
    But I hardly found anything critical.
    Last edited by Elmue; 08-25-2020 at 10:32 PM.

  12. #37
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    Aug 2020
    Dave Jones - my fellow Aussie - on EEVblog was loaned the DS1054z he reviewed and subsequently bought one of his own. Coincidentally, I also bought it from the same company (down the road from me) after watching his review. There's no need to cast aspersions without any evidence.

  13. #38
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    May 2015
    Today I got the definitive answer from the Rigol support.
    My oscilloscope already has the latest firmware.

    It displays Software Version: 00.04.04.SP4

    So all these bugs that I describe are in all oscilloscopes of the DS1000Z serie.

    I doubt that Rigol will ever care to fix them as long as people are buying it and trusting Dave Jones recommendations.

    Why don't you talk with you fellow Aussie down the road and ask him to make a video about Rigol's bugs.
    This would be a way to make pressure on Rigol.
    Last edited by Elmue; 08-26-2020 at 04:18 PM.

  14. #39
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    Aug 2020
    Elmue, why don't you ask him yourself? He's got a huge forum and specialises in test equipment more so than PJRC. I'm a happy Rigol owner so don't have an itch to scratch... You have to understand these devices are extremely complicated. I make a living writing software (graphics specialist) so have a fair understanding software has gotten so complicated nothing is perfect. Is Windows perfect? No. Is the Arduino IDE perfect? No. I occasionally have to shutdown and restart. These things are par for the course. Is Teensy perfect? Far from it. But, as an electronics hobbyist, I get a huge amount of satisfaction and productivity from using these tools. I don't know where you're from but perhaps take your Rigol back to where you bought it from for a refund or replacement. As I've said previously that's why I buy expensive things from brick and mortar shops - consumer law is on my side. Caveat emptor. Be wise with your purchasing decisions. Read lots of reviews before buying anything.

  15. #40
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    Jul 2020
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post
    The Owon scopes have a terrible reputation (I have not personally used them). Faster waveform update rates and correct implementation are far more important than larger screen size. Owon and several others have the shop-by-specs only game covered. But they're only specs like screen size and resolution, not things that really matter. Buyer beware.
    I had good luck with mine. Used it to debug a 400-nanosecond-wide self-clocking signal for WS2812s. This is way back when Adafruit was saying you couldn't drive NeoPixels with a Raspberry Pi because it doesn't have a real-time OS. I guess whoever said that wasn't thinking about DMA. The Owon is the only oscilloscope I ever bought. I don't know how good it is at other things, but for debugging digital signals it seems to work alright.

    Based on feedback in this thread, I might not buy another. But if I didn't have an oscilloscope, and I was specifically interested in debugging digital signals, and there was one for cheap on Craigslist or whatever, it'd be a contender.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #41
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    > You have to understand these devices are extremely complicated.

    Completely correct.
    However I see no reason why a company should not fix their bugs even in a complicated product.
    As I wrote already the Rigol hardware is not the problem.
    It is their buggy software and they COULD fix it and they WOULD sell a nearly perfect product.
    As I already wrote I would be happy with far less Rigol oscillosocope models if these don't had such fat bugs.
    Instead of bringing out a new buggy model every few months they could improve their existing models spending the same money.
    They could sell better quality for the same price if they had this priority.

    > Is Windows perfect?

    Windows 10 is far better than Windows XP.
    It took a long time but Microsoft improved Windows very much in the last years.

    > Is the Arduino IDE perfect?

    This comparison is not fair. Arduino is an open source project, Rigol is a company.
    I expect from a company that they fix their bugs.
    If I use an Arduino product for free and I find a bug I can fix it on my own.
    If Rigol would pass me their source code I would do the same.

    > Is Teensy perfect?

    For me it is high quality product. Much better than any Arduino.
    I don't know what you are missing.

    > Be wise with your purchasing decisions.

    It is far easier saying this than doing this.
    You have to work some time with an oscilloscope before you notice the hidden bugs.

    > Read lots of reviews before buying anything.

    Today it is common that companies (especially chinese) and also hotels in give products or service for free if people give them a good reputation. They buy their good reputations. But they are fake.

    If you understand german look this:

    If not, here a short summary in english: All the products you see in this video where bought on Amazon from chinese companies who gave him back his money after giving a 5 star reputation on Amazon.
    Amazon is aware of this fraud going on on their website, but they don't do much to stop it.
    It does not interest them because they earn money with every sold product.

    So if you say "trust in reviews", I ask you how do you know if the reviews are real of fake ?
    Last edited by Elmue; 08-27-2020 at 10:30 PM.

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