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Advice please about which frequency generator to buy

Started by Unknown October 4, 2015
To All,
Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an
oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and
experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone
who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and
I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and
so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency
generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should
have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly
been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose
problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some
servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm
looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of
the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably.
Thanks,
Eric
In article <emn21b9613rbd35sa1c41pe1te72b1l5e6@4ax.com>, 
etpm@whidbey.com says...
> > To All, > Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an > oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and > experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone > who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and > I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and > so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency > generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should > have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly > been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose > problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some > servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm > looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of > the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. > Thanks, > Eric
WHat is your price range and your top end range of freq you wish to play with? I have a function generator by rigol that will allow you to generate any patern you want up to 10Mhz I think? and the Sinewave output up to 20 or 25Mhz, I can't remember now. As for a generator for RF use, you need to sepecify the range in mind 1 GHz?, 500 MHz ? etc.. Look around for a HP 8640B generator with the 1GHZ option in it. That gives you an audio generator as well with AM/FM modulation and freq counter that allows you to use it externally.. I have 2 of them :) The Function Generator is a nice thing to have on the bench for creating periodic time signals in wave form shapes of your choice. P.S. The RF generators normally do not come with a function generator that allows you to create special waveforms and very slow/long output signals. You may want both! :) Jamie
<etpm@whidbey.com> wrote in message 
news:emn21b9613rbd35sa1c41pe1te72b1l5e6@4ax.com...
> To All, > Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an > oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and > experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone > who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and > I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and > so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency > generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should > have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly > been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose > problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some > servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm > looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of > the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. > Thanks, > Eric
There seem to be some nice looking stuff comming out of China that is new. You can get them anywhere from circuit boards where you just add power and a case if you want them to some that are already in the case. I just looked and they are from about $ 15 for the ones without a cse, and nicer ones start around $ 75 and go to slightly over $ 100. You did not state the frequency range, but as you said function generator, I would think that about 1 MHz would be the top of what you want. Some of them on ebay go to as much as 20 or 25 MHz and some to about 1 MHz.or less. Just get on ebay and search for function generator.
On Sun, 04 Oct 2015 10:25:08 -0700, etpm@whidbey.com wrote:

>To All, >Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an >oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and >experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone >who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and >I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and >so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency >generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should >have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly >been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose >problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some >servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm >looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of >the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. >Thanks, >Eric
In addition to a "real" hardware benchtop function generator, you might consider a PC-based unit that uses your sound card. It's only going to be good for the "audio" range, usually under 20 kHz (or 40 kHz with a card that samples at 96 kHz). And sound cards are AC-coupled so you won't get flat-topped square waves at low frequencies. But what you do get is precision frequency accuracy, stability, and setability, and a mind-boggling range of modulation and waveform options. And up to 8 independent output signals (using a cheap USB sound card). all in perfect synchrony. [PLUG] My Daqarta software includes such a signal generator that is absolutely FREE. (You don't need to buy Daqarta; while the 30-session/30-day trial expires for some features, like the signal *input* channels, the signal generator and most other features never expire.) See <http://www.daqarta.com/dw_gen.htm> Best regards, Bob Masta DAQARTA v8.00 Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis www.daqarta.com Scope, Spectrum, Spectrogram, Sound Level Meter Frequency Counter, Pitch Track, Pitch-to-MIDI FREE 8-channel Signal Generator, DaqMusiq generator Science with your sound card!
On Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 1:24:12 PM UTC-4, et...@whidbey.com wrote:
> To All, > Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an > oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and > experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone > who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and > I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and > so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency > generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should > have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly > been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose > problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some > servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm > looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of > the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. > Thanks, > Eric
Hi Eric, Frequency range? Is 50 ohm output impedance OK? approximate price? I like my Rigol sig. gen. ~$350 but it may be too much for you. maybe an old Wavetek (ebay prices start ~$50.) Bob Masta's given you the PC sound card option. You could also hack your own for low frequency stuff. a 555 timer. Or I've got piles of ICL8038's kind of a function generator IC. I could send you some to play with. (used in a discontinued instrument) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8038_ic George H.
Thanks for all the great replies guys. I think Jamie is correct, I
probably should have both a frequency and function generator. I'll get
the function generator first. After reading your post Ralph I looked
at ebay and there is now WAY more of this type of equipment coming out
of China than when I bought my 465B. It might be a good idea to buy
something cheap and then I can learn enough to make a more eductaed
decision about buying something better. You have mentioned Daqarta in
past several times Bob and I am going to try it now.  I'll give it a
shot before I buy something from ebay.Thanks for your shameless plug.
That ICL8038 looks great George. Easy to make a circuit on a
solderless breadboard. I would really appreciate it if you sent me
some. That was a nice offer. Once again, thanks for the replies, it is
this kind of thing that helps amateurs like me.
Eric
On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 11:54:10 AM UTC-4, et...@whidbey.com wrote:
> Thanks for all the great replies guys. I think Jamie is correct, I > probably should have both a frequency and function generator. I'll get > the function generator first. After reading your post Ralph I looked > at ebay and there is now WAY more of this type of equipment coming out > of China than when I bought my 465B. It might be a good idea to buy > something cheap and then I can learn enough to make a more eductaed > decision about buying something better. You have mentioned Daqarta in > past several times Bob and I am going to try it now. I'll give it a > shot before I buy something from ebay.Thanks for your shameless plug. > That ICL8038 looks great George. Easy to make a circuit on a > solderless breadboard. I would really appreciate it if you sent me > some. That was a nice offer. Once again, thanks for the replies, it is > this kind of thing that helps amateurs like me. > Eric
Eric, drop me an email (gherold at sign teachspin.com) with a shipping address and I'll stick some in the mail. (We've got >200 of these, the previous person doing purchasing was a bit out of control at times.) George H.
On Sun, 04 Oct 2015 10:25:08 -0700, etpm@whidbey.com wrote:

>To All, >Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an >oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and >experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone >who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and >I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and >so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency >generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should >have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly >been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose >problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some >servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm >looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of >the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. >Thanks, >Eric
I have a B&K 4003A and it's very useful. It's about $375 new, but you can probably find something similar for less somewhere, with the same basic features: sine/square/triangle/pulse, DC offset, attenuator, sync output, 50 ohms. I used mine recently to measure the inductance of some flat parallel-copper-strip cables, in the 10s of nH, something few LC meters can measure. The old Waveteks were good, but most have probably failed by now.
On 10/10/2015 12:32 PM, John Larkin wrote:
> On Sun, 04 Oct 2015 10:25:08 -0700, etpm@whidbey.com wrote: > >> To All, >> Several years ago I was looking here for advice about buying an >> oscilloscope. The unit that got the most votes for my price range and >> experience was the Tek 465B. So I bought one and then later someone >> who used to post here sent me the meter kit that Tek used to sell and >> I installed it on the 'scope. The 'scope is way more than I need and >> so it has never let me down. Now I think I could use a frequency >> generator or a function generator. I'm not sure which or if I should >> have both. I don't have a lot of experience and the 465B has mostly >> been used by me for fun and self education. I have used it to diagnose >> problems on a couple CNC machines that I own as well as tuning some >> servo amps that I used on a home built machine. So the stuff I'm >> looking for now needs to be cheap but still of the quality level of >> the 465B. Something about the same age as the Tek 'scope probably. >> Thanks, >> Eric > > I have a B&K 4003A and it's very useful. It's about $375 new, but you > can probably find something similar for less somewhere, with the same > basic features: sine/square/triangle/pulse, DC offset, attenuator, > sync output, 50 ohms. > > I used mine recently to measure the inductance of some flat > parallel-copper-strip cables, in the 10s of nH, something few LC > meters can measure. > > The old Waveteks were good, but most have probably failed by now. > >
1980s-era Waveteks sometimes blow up if you hang a 50-ohm load on them. Cheers Phil Hobbs -- Dr Philip C D Hobbs Principal Consultant ElectroOptical Innovations LLC Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics 160 North State Road #203 Briarcliff Manor NY 10510 hobbs at electrooptical dot net http://electrooptical.net