Recommendations for Oscilloscope.

Started by Daniel Pitts August 10, 2012
As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to 
owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to 
get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for 
hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more 
bells and whistles than I would ever need.

What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without?  Any 
particular brands that are cheap but reliable?

Thanks for suggestions,
Daniel.
On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts wrote:

> As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to > owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to > get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for > hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more > bells and whistles than I would ever need. > > What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without? Any > particular brands that are cheap but reliable? > > Thanks for suggestions, > Daniel.
For what it does, this is Dirt Cheap: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-TDS350-1GS-S-200MHz-Scope-with-Printer- and-Com-Options-/150875129110?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2320dbc516 No relation to the seller. The TDS scopes are a joy to use. --Winston
Winston wrote:
> On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts wrote: > >> ... fairly tight budget, ...a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for >> hobby work. ... cheap but reliable?
> For what it does, this is Dirt Cheap: > > http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-TDS350-1GS-S-200MHz-Scope-with-Printer- > and-Com-Options-/150875129110?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2320dbc516
I'm guessing that "what it does" (e.g., Ghz sampling) is way beyond Daniel's "good enough". And that $300 is quite a bit beyond his idea of "cheap". But who am I to put words on the OP's mouth. Maybe a 100Mhz, 2 ch older Tek, no more than $150.
On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:29:06 -0400, Bob Engelhardt wrote:


(...)

> I'm guessing that "what it does" (e.g., Ghz sampling) is way beyond > Daniel's "good enough". And that $300 is quite a bit beyond his idea of > "cheap". But who am I to put words on the OP's mouth. > > Maybe a 100Mhz, 2 ch older Tek, no more than $150.
Yup. Without numbers, it's impossible to define 'cheap'. It is possible to pay too little for a scope, though. I paid $50 for a couple Tek scopes, a 531 and a 551. Getting them working was a hoot, but they were real 'space heaters' and I seldom used them. So I bought a new Hitachi V-1100A for $1150. It's a good tool and has served me well. --Winston<-- That TDS 350 is still very lust-worthy, however.
On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts
<newsgroup.nospam@virtualinfinity.net> wrote:

>As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to >owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to >get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for >hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more >bells and whistles than I would ever need. > >What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without? Any >particular brands that are cheap but reliable? > >Thanks for suggestions, >Daniel.
For hobby use with frequencies including audio and into the ultrasonic range, this USB-based scope is one option. Specs: http://www.pdamusician.com/dpscope/features.html Prices: http://www.pdamusician.com/dpscope/buy_it.html I'm currently using a Tektronix 2247 (4 channel) that I got for a bargain when a local fiirm closed.
"Daniel Pitts"
> > As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to > owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to > get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for > hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more > bells and whistles than I would ever need. > > What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without? Any > particular brands that are cheap but reliable?
** This is cheap and ought to do you for a while. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tektronix-422-15mHz-Portable-Dual-Trace-Oscilloscope-Scope-/160842105349?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2572efc205 If you imagined buying NEW scope, then this is OK too. I have one just like it - very easy to use. http://www.electronickits.com/gold/CKOSCOPE10MHZ_Low_Cost_10MHZ_Oscilloscope.htm ... Phil
On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts
<newsgroup.nospam@virtualinfinity.net> wrote:

>As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to >owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to >get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for >hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more >bells and whistles than I would ever need. > >What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without? Any >particular brands that are cheap but reliable? > >Thanks for suggestions, >Daniel.
Depends on what you want to do. If you are working at audio frequencies you probably don't need a GHz-capable scope, like you would for high-speed digital stuff. I got by for years with an ancient 10 MHz Heathkit IO-103 that I built from a kit. It was certainly good enough for the mostly-audio stuff that I was interested in at the time, and "high speed" digital was only in the low MHz range. Eventually I worked up to a 100 MHz B&K Precision 1580 (a "bargain" at $800 back then!) and it's done everything I needed since. Now, I'd go with other's recommendations for a decent used scope. <shameless plug> In addition to a "real" benchtop scope, you might want to take a look at my Daqarta software that uses your Windows sound card. The sound card limits it to "audio" range, but these days that can be nearly 100 kHz. HOWEVER, despite what some "premium" cards seem to imply, sound cards don't go down to DC... so you'll still need that benchtop scope. But despite the bandwidth limitations, there are some powerful features that you won't find elsewhere. The built-in 2-channel signal generator can create just about any signal you want, with 4 independent "streams" per channel. Each stream can be a simple or modulated waveform. The base waveforms are Sine, Triangle, Ramp (with controllable slopes that can also be modulated), Square, Pulse (monophasic or biphasic, controllable phase heights and widths), Arbitrary (from a file you supply), Play (complete recordings can be played at any speed, forward or backward, modulated, etc), uniform White noise, Gaussian noise, Pink noise, and Band-limited noise. The modulation options include Burst (with complete control over rise, fall, duration, lag, and cycle times, and rise/fall shape), AM, FM, PWM for pulse waves or phase modulation for others, or Sweeps (which can be linear or exponential, continuous or stepped). Modulation sources can be simple sine waves, or can use the output of other streams. Complete setups can be saved and instantly loaded. On the input side, besides standard waveform display Daqarta offers Spectrum and Spectrogram modes. Advanced signal averaging allows you to extract signals that are buried in noise, if they are synchronous with a clean "stimulus" signal. (Used for "evoked potentials" to measure hearing in animals and infants, for example). Trigger controls include the usual, plus Hysteresis to allow you to get a stable view of a noisy trace. Delay allows you to see events that happened up to 32Ksamples (over a half second) before or after the trigger. Holdoff allows you to sync to the start of a burst while ignoring events during the burst. There is also a Generator sync, so you can (for example) trigger on an FM modulating frequency. There is also a built-in frequency counter with high precision at low frequencies via reciprocal period methods. Built-in true RMS voltmeter and SPL meters are available if you calibrate your system. Daqarta includes a built-in macro language, and now includes a number of standard "mini-apps" that can be used as-is, or as the basis for your own applications. Some that you may be interested in are THD meter, IMD meter, Phase meter, Chart recorder, and (for fun, mostly) Lissajous figures. NOTE that after the 30-day/30-session free trial, the external inputs stop working, but the outputs are not affected... so the signal generator is yours to keep, for FREE. (Also file analysis, etc.) So even if you don't buy it (US$29, or $99 for the Pro version) you might want to install it on an old laptop and keep it on your bench next to your hardware scope, with my best wishes. Enjoy! Best regards, Bob Masta DAQARTA v7.00 Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis www.daqarta.com Scope, Spectrum, Spectrogram, Sound Level Meter Frequency Counter, Pitch Track, Pitch-to-MIDI FREE Signal Generator, DaqMusic generator Science with your sound card!
On 8/10/12 3:29 PM, Bob Engelhardt wrote:
> Winston wrote: >> On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts wrote: >> >>> ... fairly tight budget, ...a cheap oscilloscope that is "good >>> enough" for >>> hobby work. ... cheap but reliable? > >> For what it does, this is Dirt Cheap: >> >> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-TDS350-1GS-S-200MHz-Scope-with-Printer- >> and-Com-Options-/150875129110?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2320dbc516 > > I'm guessing that "what it does" (e.g., Ghz sampling) is way beyond > Daniel's "good enough". And that $300 is quite a bit beyond his idea of > "cheap". But who am I to put words on the OP's mouth. > > Maybe a 100Mhz, 2 ch older Tek, no more than $150.
Yeah, I suppose I should have been more specific, although I really didn't have any idea of what the ranges of Oscilloscopes were. Something less than $250, I could buy pretty much right away. More than that I'd have to plan for and save up, which is also fine. As far as sampling rates, I'd be working with digital circuits running in the 10-30MHz range mostly, so more than audio, but I have no need for GHz. I didn't think about the fact that I could/should look for used, but actually for this type of equipment that makes sense to me. Thanks, Daniel.
On 8/11/2012 2:12 PM, Daniel Pitts wrote:
> On 8/10/12 3:29 PM, Bob Engelhardt wrote: >> Winston wrote: >>> On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:45:11 -0700, Daniel Pitts wrote: >>> >>>> ... fairly tight budget, ...a cheap oscilloscope that is "good >>>> enough" for >>>> hobby work. ... cheap but reliable? >> >>> For what it does, this is Dirt Cheap: >>> >>> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-TDS350-1GS-S-200MHz-Scope-with-Printer- >>> >>> and-Com-Options-/150875129110?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2320dbc516 >> >> I'm guessing that "what it does" (e.g., Ghz sampling) is way beyond >> Daniel's "good enough". And that $300 is quite a bit beyond his idea of >> "cheap". But who am I to put words on the OP's mouth. >> >> Maybe a 100Mhz, 2 ch older Tek, no more than $150. > > Yeah, I suppose I should have been more specific, although I really > didn't have any idea of what the ranges of Oscilloscopes were. Something > less than $250, I could buy pretty much right away. More than that I'd > have to plan for and save up, which is also fine. > > As far as sampling rates, I'd be working with digital circuits running > in the 10-30MHz range mostly, so more than audio, but I have no need for > GHz. > > I didn't think about the fact that I could/should look for used, but > actually for this type of equipment that makes sense to me. > > Thanks, > Daniel.
The link Phil gave you is a good scope for the money, I used one for years. Note the shipping cost is to Australia, click in USA and it's about 40 bucks. Here is Phil's link: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tektronix-422-15mHz-Portable-Dual-Trace-Oscilloscope-Scope-/160842105349?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2572efc205
On 8/11/12 3:25 AM, Phil Allison wrote:
> "Daniel Pitts" >> >> As I get more advanced at creating circuits, I can see the benefit to >> owning an Oscilloscope. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and was hoping to >> get a recommendation on a cheap oscilloscope that is "good enough" for >> hobby work. I've used one at school years ago, which probably had more >> bells and whistles than I would ever need. >> >> What features are essential for a hobbiest? What can I do without? Any >> particular brands that are cheap but reliable? > > > ** This is cheap and ought to do you for a while. > >
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tektronix-422-15mHz-Portable-Dual-Trace-Oscilloscope-Scope-/160842105349?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2572efc205 Cheap until you account for the "postage" of $180.
> > If you imagined buying NEW scope, then this is OK too. > > I have one just like it - very easy to use. > > http://www.electronickits.com/gold/CKOSCOPE10MHZ_Low_Cost_10MHZ_Oscilloscope.htm
Looks reasonable. When an oscilloscope says 10MHZ, what exactly does that mean? Is that the highest frequency it can reliable display? Thanks, Daniel.