52 Replies Latest reply on Oct 5, 2017 3:57 AM by Duncan Fraser

    Recommendations for an Oscilloscope

    interested1

      Hello Everyone,

        I am in the market for my first oscilloscope.  I have used oscilloscopes before but not really taken to writing down the specs of the device or constructing exactly what I want in a scope.  To date I have gotten by without the device, but I now am in a good financial spot and the purchase of a sub-$500 'scope is reasonable provided I obtain some guide.  My requirements are rather vague, but can be generalized as a desire to purchase a scope that provides enough data sampling for robotics projects --I currently work with the Raspberry Pi and the Beagle Bone Black.  I am confident that the previous curtailment didn't reduce the field all that much, so I reiterate, I am willing to spend ~$500 on a scope, so please no suggestions of thousand dollar scopes.  I want something, which in the breadth of product offerings is probably quite basic, but nonetheless I would like to be able to have a scope to test my robotics and embedded Linux boards with...

       

      A friend of mine suggested that I purchase something akin to the Instek GDS-1052-U Digital Storage Oscilloscope, 2 Channel, Color LCD, 50MHz, 250MS/s with USB or a less expensive USB Oscilloscope - MSO-19 Considering his knowledge of what I might be using the scope for, likely an intimacy more than I am expressing in my description for usage, I remain inquisitive for advice.  I mention these products and provide links only to better aid my previously vague explanation for my prospective usage.

       

      As a final curtailment, I would really love to get a scope that I could use with Linux rather than Winblow$ as I really only use Linux or OSX boxes these days.  I am confident there are products that are not Winblow$ only, but the two scopes my buddy suggests both seem to urge my adoption of a OS that I want not part in!

       

      Thank you for your responses and if I can better explain what I hope to accomplish with a scope please explain to me what I can provide to better resolve the specification I (unwittingly) desire in a scope.  I apologizes again for being less than committal or precise, but you have to begin from somewhere and my point of departure is that I would like a scope... thanks for working with me on a request that is perhaps an incomplete formulation.

       

      David

       

      P.S. I did try to search for a discussion on this topic; however, I couldn't find anything within the last year or two.  I figure this is a question that everyone has at some point and so why not posit the issue and revisit.

        • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
          nermash

          If your budget is set at 500$ max, then it's no brainier. After many posts on EEVblog forum, there seem to be consensus that these budget dsos are best: Rigol DS1052E, Owon SDS7102, Siglent SDS1102 CML and Hantek DSO5102B.

           

          General consensus there is that USB scopes are crap and should be avoided. This Instek you mention is old generation dso, pretty slow in terms of sampling rate and with pathetic 4k sample memory. 385$ can get you a much better scope.

           

          Which one of these? I have SDS7102 and I like it a lot, high res big LCD, 10 MB of sample memory at full speed and for both channels, 1 Gs/s, 100 MHz bandwidth. Lately there has been some noise issues with these, so you might wanna check it before you buy...

           

          If you can double your budget than I would take a look at the Rigol DS2072, which is pretty serious scope.

           

          I recommend that you head to eevblog forum and do your research there. There is a lot of scope related discussion and lot of very knowledgeable people.

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
            vsluiter

            Hey David (Scheltema -> Dutch roots?)

             

            I've been using the Rigol scope for a few years now, and -for its budget- it's really great. A few fellow engineers bought USB scopes years ago, all of which ended up in the closet, except for the one where the owner wrote a completely new acquisition program

             

            I've used a lot of scopes for work (Tektronix, Agilent, Fluke, Philips, from old CRT-based ones to modern 12"TFT based scopes that run on a popular desktop OS), and have also used things like picoscope and cleverscope USB scopes, and nothing beats a 'real' scope with 'real' buttons. The DS1052 is a nice little thingy; fits in my backpack, offers a lot of measurement options, and works quite OK. I do miss 'deep memory' functions (acquiring a large set of data, and zoom in on an interesting piece) found in more expensive scopes, and of course the display resolution quite crappy. User interface is OK most of the time.

             

            I second Drew's opinion on the Saleae device; I've bought it for my job and for our local hackerspace, and it's been an instant hit at both locations. Really easy to use and setup, easy waveform viewing, and decoding of data. However, its usage is different from a 'scope': the Saleae doesn't offer a 'live' view but opposes that with the possibility to capture many minutes of data and store it for later viewing. It has saved me many, many, many hours during debug sessions! If you're just going to analyse digital signals, and you're not interested in having a direct 'live' view, skip the scope and get the Saleae logic analyser. Then you can still buy the scope if you need it....

            Greetings,

            Victor

             

            EDIT: I've used some 'budget-line' scopes from big manufacturers aswell. They were very cumbersome in usage, slow in response and even worse in measurement options. Seems like the engineering / marketing just cut away functions, instead of making a new device with a lot of options, but done cheaply.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
              tech_kid

              Hi David,

               

              I would like to know more about the Linux part as I am migrating to Linux from windows. How to control and measure an Oscilloscope in Linux ?

              Which Linux distro you are using? I would like to go for Fedora or Open SUSE.

              And what are the other EDA tools you are using/suggesting in Linux?

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                Problemchild

                If cash is limited how about scoring an old analog  scope from an auction site.

                Use it play with it work out if the tool is for you and what you would want in a more expensive scope then buy that  much better informed about your wants and what  you can do with a given scope

                I'd keep the analog scope but if you wanted you could probably then sell it for the same price you paid

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                    michaelkellett

                    If you can afford it then go for the Rigol, it's not a bad scope and there are a lot of them about.

                     

                    I wouldn't go for a second hand analogue scope unless cash is really tight (stuff on UK Ebay looks very old and not that cheap - eg there's a Scopex horror currently at £89 - I remember buying one new more than 20 years ago and it was pretty awful then).

                     

                    I still have several analogue scopes but I very rarely use them - a halfway decent digital is better for almost anything (the exception being low speed and very noise sensitve things).

                     

                    MK

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                    saeligdan

                    Ditto what Nermin said about the SDS7102.  It may be the best overall value in the around-$400 price range.  He mentions the 50MHz Rigol DS1052E, and as Drew observed, the 100MHz DS1102E now sells for under $400 in a lot of places.

                     

                    Regarding this statement: "General consensus there is that USB scopes are crap and should be avoided."  Whether or not that's the general consensus on EEVblog or anywhere else, there are plenty of excellent USB scopes on the market, and they would be preferred for some applications.  Pico Technology is one example among many makers of high-quality USB scopes.  Picoscopes are used in starter scope applications, university R&D, aerospace and other industries.  Pico is one of the preferred scopes for vehicle diagnostics world-wide.  Pico just released a pair of 16-bit, 20GHz sampling oscilloscopes which sell in the range of $13,000 to $17,000 and change.  This is not to promote a USB scope for your purposes, just to put a different spin on a way-too-broad generalization.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                      echen1024

                      Sorry for digging this old thread up, as I have watched this forum for quite some time but only recently taken to posting. If you have not purchased yet, an extra $85 gets you a Rigol DS1074Z, which comes with plenty of extra features, such as a larger display, 12Mpts standard memory, optional serial decode and triggering,  30k wfm/s, as well as the all important 4 channels. I have done 2 videos on it and they can be found on my channel, which is the same as this forum username. In general though, the cheap USB scopes should be avoided, even though i would not hesitate to recommend a Pico.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                        malamitra

                        Hi David!

                         

                        For selection of oscilloscope the most important aspect is bandwidth. Please check the maximum frequency content of the signal that you are going to measure. The bandwidth should be double of that. Lower bandwidth creates distortion of the signal. Unnecessary high bandwidth adds to cost and random noise. I love Agilent. But it is a bit expensive.

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                          ravi butani

                          As you are working with raspberry_pi and beagle bone , I assumes that you need scope for embedded system prototyping....

                           

                          Here is my suggestion...

                          OscilloScope Tektronix  TBS1052BTBS1052B is low price tek's 2 channel 50MHz scope Its very reliable and low cost too It will be help you out for measure up to 50MHz analog signal and voltage range is about 300V with 10X probe supplied with probe Any way you can blindly trust any Tektronix scope

                           

                          for digital side of embedded system you need logic analyzer with serial protocol (UART, SPI, I2C) decoder... here I suggest "Analog Discovery" board with inbuilt Signal generator, oscilloscope up to 5MHz and 100MSPS logic analyzer and many more...interesting features...

                           

                          this both product together cost you <600$..

                          If you are tight in budget first go for Analog Discovery , as it will satisfy all needs of embedded system test and measurement requirements..

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                            tomas.bongren@telia.com

                            Forget the war of USB or Not USB, many of the highgrade solutions use USB!

                            Take a look at QA100 https://www.quantasylum.com/content/Products/QA100.aspx

                             

                            I have used this scope for more than a year and it is a dream to work with it.

                             

                            In embedded MSO you dont need 600V probes, often is the reality -10V-+10V and the scope are made to share clock with the other instruments.

                             

                            " The QA100 is a PC-based oscilloscope for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 8 and later. This means the PC is used to collect, display and analyze your data. The connection to your PC happens over a USB High Speed link, and the high-speed transfer rate (up to 480Mbps) means screen update rates rivaling video games are possible. It also means you are looking at data on a high resolution desktop monitor in 32-bit color instead of a low-cost LCD panel that can display limited resolution. And best yet, your mouse and keyboard can drive the user interface and accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time it takes on a standalone scope. Sharing data has never been easier, with the ability to display comments directly on the screen fixed at a certain point in time. Add a note to the capture, copy the screen, drop it in an email and explain the problem to other engineers in less time than ever before."

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                              bernard-dell

                              I have bought an Analog Arts model SA925 a USB type oscilloscope (www.analogarts.com). I bought the device mostly for its spectrum analyzer capability. For about $300 it was the price that initially attracted my attention. Although it has about 200 MHz bandwidth, I hardly need that level of performance. Overall, I am happy with its performance. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend to you to meticulously read the specification of any device you planning to buy. So you do not fall victim to marketing gimmicks.

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                  vsluiter

                                  Hi Bernard,

                                  About the specifications: this scope has a max sampling rate (single shot) of 125MHz, it advertises as 200MHz "real" sample rate, an "effective sample rate" of 100GHz (which means you're taking more samples of a signal, with a variable trigger delay. The signal should be repetitive) and an analog bandwith of 200MHz.

                                  To me those numbers do not compute. For a single shot trigger the analog bandwith can be no higher than ~50Mhz, taking Nyquist into account without safety margins.


                                  I think that these guys also let the marketing misuse the specs....


                                  BTW: someone mentioned the Rigol DS1054Z, I bought it and received it two weeks ago. Haven't used it much yet, but it's certainly worth its money!

                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                      bernard-dell

                                      Hi Vsluiter,

                                                  Well, If you are talking about the criteria imposed by the Nyquist theorem, who could argue with that. However, for a repetitive signal that criteria can be manipulated. Analog Arts oscilloscope correctly displays 150 MHz sine-wave in my set up. If you wish I can email you a plot of the signal. Now, that you mention it though, I do find it quite impressive. I am not quite sure how they do it. I am familiar with different methods of signal reconstructions, but none of them could work for really high frequencies since you need to generate extremely small delays, which are impossible. The application engineer, whom I talked to, was not open about how they do it, stating they have a patent pending on their technique. He did mention they somehow calculate the frequency of the signal (to .1ppm) before it is reconstructed. Anyway, for the money I paid, i am quite happy with the unit. For a lower price, I am getting higher bandwidth and spectrum analyzer feature.

                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                          shabaz

                                          The way it works is well documented (known as equivalent time sampling). It is useful in the circumstance that the signal is repetitive as you say, which is a limitation.

                                          The spectrum analyzer feature is offered on many oscilloscopes nowadays.

                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                              vsluiter

                                              Thanks for that link! There's also an explanation here: http://www.signalrecovery.com/Support-Center/FAQ/FAQ-Hardware/Effective-Sampling-Rate.aspx

                                              Still, the numbers do not compute well to me; a single shot update with a different sample rate than the "real sample rate"? And what about undersampling / aliasing? The analog bandwiith will allow signals to pass that cannot be correctly visualized on screen, and you won't be able to see whether you're undersampling or not.

                                               

                                              To be honest: I haven't checked my own scope's data so thoroughly, but I found these numbers to be raising some questions.

                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                  shabaz

                                                  Hi Victor!

                                                   

                                                  I read an article a while back (sadly I can't remember where now) but basically although equivalent time sampling is highly useful, doing it well is a hard thing (requires very low jitter from the delayed periodic signal (generated from the input signal) which will cause the ADC to sample. And, as you suggest, there is the risk of misinterpreting the output when the signal actually isn't periodic, or only has some periodic elements - the resultant waveform display quality could look wrong for any of these cases (jitter, non-periodic or periodic with non-periodic components) and probably others too if I could remember it in detail.

                                                  Fpga4fun (terrible site, I can't recommend their products because they have expensive "development" boards that they do not supply the entire schematics nor entire source code for) have a design using a 100MSPS ADC which uses equivalent time sampling to achieve higher than 50MHz waveform capture. They have a block diagram showing the periodic output from their ADC boards (no schematic of course..).

                                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                      Problemchild

                                                      I think this is the "secret sauce" in many scope designs and I'm sure that most signals tend to repeat at some point (exactly where seems to the the art).

                                                      How exactly do you tell when the scope is making a good job of this and when is it just making funny pictures for your entertainment  seems to be even harder to decipher.

                                                       

                                                      OT: I was looking at the DVI output generator stuff sometime ago on FPGAs4fun and they do have some VHDL, have you tried any of their stuff?? I'm shure there is something missing on many of them?!

                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                      bernard-dell

                                                      Thanks Shabaz. Well, as I mentioned I am familiar with the technique you mention. But achieving  consistent 10 picosecond time , 100 GHz, resolution (what Analog Arts oscilloscope does) is very challenging. I would appreciate any explanation.

                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                        • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                          shabaz

                                                          Hi Bernard,

                                                           

                                                          I'm afraid I can't justify or explain it - perhaps Analog Arts may have a paper published where they explain their design?

                                                          As you may know, a sample rate of 2.5 times the analog bandwidth is all that is needed to reproduce (with accuracy) the input waveform.

                                                          As a result, the advertisement of 100GHz effective sample rate on a 200MHz analog bandwidth and 125MHz real sample rate scope is

                                                          "marketing bluster" perhaps.

                                                          Furthermore bear in mind, if there is jitter on their 10ps time between samples (which is conveniently ignored in their specs), that

                                                          results in a bad (i.e. misleading) shaped waveform.

                                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                              daviddragon356

                                                              I recently bought from Analog Arts. Their devices perform as advertised.

                                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                  shabaz

                                                                  Hi! Welcome to the forum.

                                                                   

                                                                  Personally I wouldn't buy it. Just a personal, subjective opinion of course.

                                                                   

                                                                  This is because they are quite silent on waveform quality because it is well known that if there is jitter inside their product (conveniently absent from their specification) then

                                                                  equivalent time sampling will produce a poor result. Furthermore, equivalent time sampling only works well when the input signal has no  glitches or jitter too, let alone needing to be periodic. That's a fact, well established.

                                                                   

                                                                  The 125Msps of the Analog Arts oscilloscope only provides 50MHz of real-time bandwidth (i.e. usable for non-periodic signals). That's a fact too and not a subjective opinion of course.

                                                                   

                                                                  For near-similar amounts of money to the Analog Arts 125Msps 2-channel USB scope, it is possible to get a full-blown 4-channel 1Gsps oscilloscope with the same real-time bandwidth (DS1054Z) and built-in display, an order of magnitude more memory, and 30k waveforms updates per second, or a 2-channel 250Msps USB scope with twice the real-time bandwidth(Tenma  72-1016572-10165 of the Analog Arts product(i.e for non-periodic signals

                                                                   

                                                                  I'm not saying the Analog Arts product is bad, but what I am saying is that it is seems to be clearly easy to recommend alternatives which appear better, without looking too hard. This is just an opinion.

                                                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                      shabaz

                                                                      Just noticed someone did a review and teardown of an Analog Arts 'scope. I've not watched it (got other things to do ; ) but a quick scan of the comments was interesting.

                                                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-1uA4Iwce8

                                                                       

                                                                      aa-review-teardown.jpg

                                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                        • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                          waelect

                                                                          Long video but also comes with caveats, in a general sense it was a thumbs sideways for the product as he received a serviced unit, not a new one. On the video it doesn't instil confidence in the product.

                                                                           

                                                                          I am not sure I would have reviewed it at all until I received a new unit.

                                                                           

                                                                          Initially I oooo, and ahhhh the specs but as the video progress I became a bit disappointed with the product. Without a response from the manufacturer I would not buy the AA USB scope.

                                                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                              peteroakes

                                                                              Ya, the claims significantly outweighs the actual abilities, but as stated on the video, if you stick within its real bandwidth (Below the nyquist frequency limits of the ADC, DAC etc then it seems to be quite capable. Pay attention to the cross talk across channels he demonstrated too, not a good thing.

                                                                               

                                                                              He also pointed out that his Surface Pro 3 could not power the unit so if you plan to use it with laptop or tablet, there might be an issue

                                                                               

                                                                               

                                                                               

                                                                              Peter

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                                                                                • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                                  picitu

                                                                                  I've recently been looking long and hard to get a scope to fit my budget.  In the end I settled on the Siglent SDS1120CML.  The CML is almost the same as the CNL apart from the CNL has 40K of memory and the CML has 2 meg.  I did consider the Rigol DS1042E but this has less storage memory, at 1 meg, has a smaller screen at 5.7" and the Siglent has a 7" LCD screen which I like.  Another factor in the decision was that the Rigol has share knobs for CH1 and CH2 and you have to press a button to select the channel first.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  As far as the performance goes, It's 100MHz and 1GSa/s so the sample frequency is 10 times the bandwidth so no loss of accuracy at high frequencies.  You can save traces easily to a USB stick and there's a bunch of math functions.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  In the UK it's around £260.00 + vat so within my budget.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Just my 2 pennorth....

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Steve

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                                                          • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                            pjallum

                                                            David,

                                                            You could do far worse than watch the following couple of videos on the EEVblog site on YouTube.

                                                             

                                                            EEVblog #13 Part 1 of 2

                                                            http://youtu.be/JTG6jWL0ZqA

                                                             

                                                            EEVblog #13 Part 2 of 2

                                                            http://youtu.be/Ev121xAt_k4

                                                             

                                                            There's some good sound advice regarding what to look for in an oscilloscope.

                                                            Hope this helps your decision.

                                                             

                                                            Regards,

                                                            Pete

                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                            • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                              doug@telonic.co.uk

                                                              You cant go wrong with the new Rigol DS1054 4 channel 50MHz unit for £250 http://www.rigol-uk.co.uk/Rigol-DS1054Z-Digital-Oscilloscope-p/ds1054z.htm#.VmIX4fnhDIU

                                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                              • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                doug@telonic.co.uk

                                                                Hi, If you look under Documents, Software and Videos tab on the following link https://www.rigol-uk.co.uk/Rigol-DS1054Z-Digital-Oscilloscope-p/ds1054z.htm

                                                                then then click on Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope Review (EEVblog #703) you will see great review.

                                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                  johto

                                                                  for 500$ you can get professional and very good Oscilloscope  i agree with other this is very good Rigol DS1054Z 50MHz Digital Oscilloscope. I use Oscilloscope for hoby and i get this i thnik this is best USB Oscilloscope for his price but more for hoby Qingdao Hantek Electronic Co., Ltd.

                                                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                  • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                    ipv1

                                                                    we need a button that says "Close thread and stop further comments" Then when someone wants to ask a similar question, just refer to the original via a link.

                                                                     

                                                                    Suggestions?

                                                                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                      shishir6

                                                                      Nice post. I personally useSiglent sds1052dl. I read the review here and bought it. http://besttopreviewsonline.com/blog/10-best-oscilloscope-for-hobbyist/

                                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                      • Re: Recommendations for an Oscilloscope
                                                                        Duncan Fraser

                                                                        I have just ordered, and awaiting deliver of, a hantek 6022BL Qingdao Hantek Electronic Co., Ltd. i purchased it after watching Dave Jones video on starting an electronics lab on the cheap. it only cost me £65 on amazon. I think the software is windows only though

                                                                        1 of 1 people found this helpful