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Thread: Oscilloscope advice

  1. #1
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    Oscilloscope advice

    I have an old 1960's ish Tektronix scope and want to get a new one. If anyone has used one of these they know how big and heavy they are. Any advice on a handheld type for field work would be great. Of course I don't want to spend a fortune but want a nice one.

    What I would like to have:
    2 inputs
    Color
    < 100Mhz
    Handheld

    I figured that people on here have had good and bad experiences with scopes so I value your opinions. When I say affordable I'm looking around $300, it's a starting point, could be less or a little more.

    If your're happy with your scope please let me know what brand and model.

    Thank you,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Probably to answer this you need to figure out what you really want/need to use it for, as there are some things that only a good scope will do.

    Slightly off of what you are asking, as the only Scope like thing I have is an old Parallax USB scope used with their learning signals like education, which was very limited and is floating around somewhere in my cabinet. However what I do use on a very regular basis is my Saleae logic analyzer. Note: I have one of their original ones as well as a newer 16.

    I am also very interested in their new versions that will be coming out soon (https://www.saleae.com/). These new versions also allow you to track analog values as well. One thing a Scope gives you that the current software for saleae does not, is a real time view. But recently so a posting that they will be working on some form of that soon. http://ideas.saleae.com/forums/21430...-view#comments

    Again sorry if I am a bit off of your question

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    I've had a Hantek DS2090 for several years. $125.
    Excellent choice for hobby/casual use.
    I really like that its USB with a display in a window as is the source code I'm troubleshooting.
    My old Tektronix sits unused in the garage.

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  5. #5
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    You prefer a 'scope with built-in LCD, versus a USB 'scope with display on PC (costs a lot less).

  6. #6
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    On only a $300 budget, you should probably get the Rigol DS1052.

    I would not recommend any USB-based scope. If you do get one, don't spend much. Think of it as a PC soundcard with DC coupling. If you do go the USB route, don't spend a lot. Look for something under $150.

    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.

    You should really consider stepping up to the Rigol DS1074Z, if you can afford it, at nearly double your $300 budget.

    http://www.rigolna.com/products/digi...1000Z/ds1074z/

    I used one of these briefly about a month ago. It's definitely a low budget scope, but a great value for such a low price. For a reasonably fast update rate, deep memory and 4 channels, and a reasonably good implementation, at an amazing price. I believe the DS1074Z is probably the most "bang for the buck" you can get today.

    Tek hasn't made a really good 'scope in many years. Beware their MSO 2000 series, which look good on paper but run so slowly when features are turned on that they're basically unusable. Tek has recently been slashing prices, but really, you don't want a painfully slow scope, even if it's free.

    If you can afford a *lot* more, the Agilent 3000X, 4000X & 6000X are excellent, probably the very best general purpose scopes available today. But they're very expensive. If you look at Agilent, do not consider anything below their 2000X models.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to everyone that has given me advice; once again this forum is the best. Finding a scope is difficult and having people that have experienced many different kinds is priceless.
    I'm very interested in the DS series, that one seems to be one of the most popular choices.

  8. #8
    I agree with comments above, I have a DS1052, but would go for the DS1074Z if I was buying today.
    David

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    I wish I could rationalize a $400+ 'scope for home use (I use nice ones at employer's lab).
    For starving students, and budget-limited hobbyists (me included), here's a couple of screen grabs from my cheapie USB 'scope.
    Looking at SPI clock and data from Teensy 3 SPI down some 8 in. of no-ground plane wire to a HopeRF RFM69 radio module.

    Using el cheap-o scope probes that don't have a capacitance adjustment.
    In screen 1, the SPI clock period is 500nSec. In screen 2, the clock is faster, at 128nSec. Indeed, screen 2 at 8MHz clock shows that we can see the clock vs. data timing but the $125 'scope is undersampling. (I turned off averaging).

    I have ye ole Tek analog scope in the garage, but unlike the Tek, this cheapie lets me freeze a waveform, change the horiz time base while looking, and peruse a zoomed-in H bit stream.

    For many amateur uses, these low cost USB 'scopes are sufficient for some of us who don't need to look at 100MHz waveforms in our projects.
    It's just a cheapie 40MHz scope, 100Msps.

    They also don't take up desk space, easy to tote, and don't cost much.



    3 screen grabs enclosed
    Click on pix for larger pix.

    2MHz SPI from Teensy3 to RFM69 radio
    Click image for larger version. 

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    8MHz SPI from Teensy3 to RFM69 radio - undersampled, yes but we can see the clock and data correspondence (as a user, not designer).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    115200 baud UART
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by stevech; 05-06-2014 at 10:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks stevech.

    That does seem like something that could hold me over for awhile. Now... what's a good inexpensive USB scope? Recommendations? And usable in Linux...

    Hmmm, apparently the Hantek DS2090 does work with OpenHantek in linux.
    http://www.openhantek.org/
    Last edited by linuxgeek; 05-07-2014 at 02:49 AM.

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    My professional resume as a consultant.

    Cheapest, works ok: Hantek 6022BE
    Next: Rigol DS1052E (Exceptionally good user interface. Very good stability and features. Low res display. All in all a great bargain. I got one and hacked it to a DS1102E with 100MHz. A horrible amount of work&time to reflash if you bust it. Be careful!)
    Next: Rigol DS1102E (100MHz. See above)
    Next: Rigol DS1074Z. Optionally including the signal generator. (Not tested. A friend tells me the DS1074Z is newer & even better then the DS2072.)
    I have also a DS2072 hacked to DS2102=200MHz. The best scope in terms of features and signal quality I ever worked with.
    Owon cannot compare in terms of signal quality. Rigol is the (!) professional mid/hi range scope from China.
    Last edited by eduardo; 05-07-2014 at 01:45 PM.

  12. #12
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    I'd pass on the Hantek 6022BE -- no ext. trigger input; bandwidth too small. I suppose it's OK for someone working only with low freqs/audio.
    Hantek has a broad line of USB and LCD 'scopes, and many are sold under other brands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0t9j0lxYAY

    To help the newbies, we should show what the relative costs are. The Rigols are on the order of $300-$1000 in the list above.
    Owon is popular.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevech View Post
    I've had a Hantek DS2090 for several years. $125.
    Excellent choice for hobby/casual use.
    May be interesting Inside a Hantek DS2090.

  14. #14
    Senior Member xxxajk's Avatar
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    Use your teensy3.x as an O'scope, relay ADC to your pc, and let the PC do the real computational work. ;-) This would be way less than $300

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    I own a DS1074z and liked it a lot. Having 4 channels is very helpful if you don't own a logic analyzer and just want to analyze some simple data on SPI bus.
    I don't think you could get anything better for the price of a DS1074z.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by phangmoh View Post
    I own a DS1074z and liked it a lot. Having 4 channels is very helpful if you don't own a logic analyzer and just want to analyze some simple data on SPI bus.
    I don't think you could get anything better for the price of a DS1074z.
    in the range of $550+

  17. #17
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    I use a 4 channel Agilent scope. Most tasks need only 1 or 2 channels, but for the times when I need to see a 3rd and 4th, it makes troubleshooting tough problems a lot easier.

    Sometimes you can get by with only 2 channels, like with SPI bus using a chip select signal for the external trigger and then getting to only see SCK and either MISO or MOSI, or both data lines and using your imagination that the clock signal is there and looks ok. But sometimes 2 channels is really very limiting.

    Before the DS1074Z, you simply couldn't get a decent (new) 4 channel scope under $2000.

    Hopefully over the next few years we'll see more low-end scopes move to 4 channels. Hopefully the advanced trigger options, especially parameterized pulse width trigger, will also become standard. These features are incredibly helpful, especially on modern microcontroller-based projects.

  18. #18
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    I bought one of these http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/test-e...analogic-2-pro to look at SPI, I2C, UART and CAN signals. I am hoping that with my Rigol DS1052 I will have sufficient kit to handle most eventualities.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BriComp View Post
    I bought one of these http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/test-e...analogic-2-pro to look at SPI, I2C, UART and CAN signals. I am hoping that with my Rigol DS1052 I will have sufficient kit to handle most eventualities.
    That looks terrific! Reasonable price. 20Msps. I think I'll get one. Probably meets 90% of my 'scoping needs for logic levels and serial data decoding.
    45 British pounds, about $75 US. Saelig's price is rather higher: http://www.saelig.com/product/LA032.htm

  20. #20
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevech View Post
    That looks terrific! Reasonable price. 20Msps. I think I'll get one. Probably meets 90% of my 'scoping needs for logic levels and serial data decoding.
    45 British pounds, about $75 US. Saelig's price is rather higher: http://www.saelig.com/product/LA032.htm
    And Saleae are even higher priced: https://www.saleae.com/

    However for the time they have saved me, they have been worth every dime!

    Warning: I know there are several counterfeit versions of these up on ebay. Most of them even have you go to the official Saleae website to use their software... Several have been caught and removed, but new ones keep showing up.

  21. #21
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    saeleae's 4 ch was $99, same as Ika Logic's 4channel if bought through US distributors. Cheaper in $US less VAT if bought in the UK?
    I wonder which one has better software?

  22. #22
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    I can not say anything about Ika's as I have never used one before.

    I have the Saleae's original 8 and and a 16. I have per-ordered one of the new 8s, when it arrives, I may sell my original (8). The software has always worked well for me. They also have versions that run on Mac and Ubuntu. I use their Analyzers all the time for Usarts and SPI and sometimes I2C. and I have known some others who have setup their own filters for looking at stuff on Bioloid AX Bus.

    At the end of the month they are coming out with a new set of software to support the new hardware. The thing that got my interest with the new ones is that they can now also collect analog data. Most of the time I don't care, but have seen a few cases where there were issues with voltages, that this might work well with (as I don't have an oscilloscope... Their new Logic 4 will allow you to see analog data on one IO pin, where the new 8, Pro 8 and Pro 16 will allow you to read analog on all pins.

  23. #23
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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.

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    Ika Logic's product and software look better to me. I downloaded their software which has a canned-data demo. Looks good.

  25. #25
    Senior Member+ Frank B's Avatar
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    I just bought the IKALOGIC Scanalogic-2 EDU-KIT for 39,95€ in germany. It has the exact same specifications of the SCANALOGIC-2 PRO.

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