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[DPRG] Entry level oscilloscopes, sub $500?

Subject: [DPRG] Entry level oscilloscopes, sub $500?
From: Chuck McManis cmcmanis at mcmanis.com
Date: Tue Oct 4 19:21:19 CDT 2011

This is a good list to start from, but even better are your requirements. To
wit ...

On Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 9:05 AM, Doug Emes <dougemes at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've been looking online at scopes again, pondering the upcoming holiday
> season and / or 2012 in general,
> and trying to find a reasonable scope for not only teaching my soon to be 9
> yr old a nice slow easy pace
> into electronics, but also one that would not become quickly underpowered
> for doing msp430 or cortex
> based projects.
>

Another way of writing this requirement is that you want a 100Mhz scope.
Anything you do, up building Linux systems and custom radios tranceivers
will be covered by a good 100Mhz scope. Even basic remote control which uses
47Mhz RF spectrum is directly measurable on such a beast. So for a sold
first effort with long legs, look for something that is 100Mhz or slightly
better. (A used Tek 475 which would do 150Mhz easy and 225Mhz when tuned,
can often be had for less than $300)


Below are several makes/models below based on scopes I have seen in person
> or heard of others using, but
> wanted to see if anyone had any additional thoughts on why to purchase one
> model over another (such as
> the quad).  I don't mind having to "lug" around a reasonable powered laptop
> to provide a screen & control, and
> would prefer the ability to use a scope from the pc.  If you have a
> favorite not on the list, tell me/us why!
>

I would stay *far* away from 'usb' scopes or any scope that depends on
software on a laptop for its display. I've got one somewhere that requires
Windows 98, must have it, can't run even in emulation mode on any later
version. I used to keep around an old HP laptop for that but realized that a
new scope with its own display was the answer (I got the Rigol btw).

The thing to remember about oscilloscopes is that if they are 1 year old or
50 years old, if they are calibrated they are *exactly* as useful as they
were on day 1. Measurement tools don't become 'obsolete' like computers do.
The important thing though is that they do need to be repaired and
calibrated. So buying a used scope that is supported by all of the
calibration labs (say a Tek or Agilent one) means that you will be able to
get it repaired and calibrated for years and years. Buying an off brand that
no one supports means you may be buying a new scope when it breaks. My wife
was adamant about this when I was in the market for my first 'real' scope (I
had a Heathkit 20Mhz job) and ended up getting a used Tek 465b over a new
Korean scope. I had the Tek tuned and calibrated 3 times over 10 years, the
company that made the Korean scope went out of business.

The next thing to remember is channels. Two channels will be fine for most
stuff, especially if you have a delayed trigger capability. Four channels is
good for even more. Nearly all scopes are 'digital' which is to say sampling
scopes vs the old analog scopes. These have plusses and minuses, the plus is
they have nice crisp screens (LCD) which never need to be focussed, the
downside is that they completely miss signals that are non-repetitive or too
fast for them. An analog scope can trigger on a glitch that it can't 'show.'


--Chuck



>
> Doug Emes
>
> Parallax USB Oscilloscope (end of life)
> ~$150
>
> http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/scope/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/46/Default.aspx
>
> DSO Quad
> ~$200
>
> http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/dso-quad-4-channel-digital-storage-oscilloscope-p-736.html?cPath=174
>
> Velleman PCSU1000
> ~$300
> http://www.vellemanusa.com/products/view/?country=us&lang=enu&id=522377
>
> QA100 mixed signal oscilloscope
> ~$350
> http://www.quantasylum.com/content/Products/QA100.aspx
>
> Instek GDS-1022
> ~$350
> http://www.tequipment.net/InstekGDS-1022.html
>
> Tektronix TDS 210 (discontinued)
> ~$400
> http://www2.tek.com/cmswpt/psdetails.lotr?ct=PS&cs=psu&ci=14408&lc=EN
>
> Rigol DS1052E
> ~$400
> http://www.saelig.com/whats_hot/PSPC016.htm
>
> OWON HDS1022M
> ~$550
> http://www.owon.com.cn/eng/hds1022m.asp
>
> LeCroy WaveAce 101
> ~$700
> http://www.lecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopemodel.aspx?modelid=2118
>
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