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Old 02-10-2020, 07:07 PM   #1
SolomonMan
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Default Oscilloscope Advice....

All,
Just getting started in Electronics/Novice...OK..I am very interested in electronics as my dad (biological-deceased) was and my step dad is as well.

Step Dad was a Tech for over 30 years (21 years Air Force/9 years private civilian Military Contracts).

I have a Masters in Science and a Bachelors in Computer Science so I believe the electronics desire comes from my love of Science and Math.

Anyways, I have a Decent Meter and a every day meter and then a few that get tossed around the garage and with the kids.

I have a Power Supply Unit (A Cheap one) - I need to learn to use but that is in a different post....LOL.

Anyways I am beginning to look at Oscilloscopes. I have been asked this question a time or two...Do you have a Oscilloscope?

At one time I actually did have a real old school one that was old and purchased at a School Sale...It was old when I had it 30 years ago. Never used it...from memory there was a probe issue...but it worked. I gave it to a friend as the size was not small and he had a working probe for it. (Teachers Kid)

So what should I look for in a Oscilloscope?

I see they come in different sizes and I know they basically measures signal voltage as a function of time.

Seems like the size plays a part in price but that probably due to sampling Rate/Bandwidth Capabilities. But the size also tells if there is a picture Tube or Digital Display or if they attach to a computer.

I believe my dad said a 25-30 Mhz unit would suffice for much of the stuff I get into. (Monitors/TVs/Old Computers (Atari/Commodore/etc). He suggested a older BK Precision 30MHz Oscilloscope or a Techtronix one.

I believe Must haves would be;
1) Complete unit including probes.
2) Directions or at least a owners Manual
3) Size - I can carry it in my hands along with my Meter. (Large Lunch Box Size or smaller)
4) Not so old that can't get probes/parts

Nice to Have;
1) Name Brand
2)Multiple Channels (not exactly sure what I would use that for currently but I have a feeling I would grow into it type of thing).
3) Made in the last 15 years or possibly new.

Anyways any suggestions on units to look at?
Suggestions on the Name brands vs cheaper ones?

Thanks for the help!
Chris

Last edited by SolomonMan; 02-10-2020 at 07:09 PM..
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

well firstly, 50MHz minimum or you cant check dvd lasers!
infact most things now run at higher frewuency's than they used to .

you mentioned size, that pretty much eliminates all the old crt scopes.

i have one of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETCOhzU1O5A
there is no shortage of info on them - you buy the 50MHz one and use a software code to instantly unlock it to 100MHz!!]
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

I have basically the same one as stj. Mine is a Rigol DS1052E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0ajIBb4EU4

but it hardly ever gets used as I much prefer to use my 100MHz Tektronix 465B even though the Rigol sits on top of it so I can just as easily turn either one on

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGVXUsjTzIU

The 465B is 45 years old and it's still better than the modern DSO. Go figure that out...

Last edited by dicky96; 02-11-2020 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

a friend has the 465, it's not exactly portable!
(yes, i know it has a handle on it - but it's a big heavy scope)
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Dangit, the Tektronix 465 IS portable as much as the original Compaq!
(Along with my Tektronix 2440 and 2465...)



Sigh...expectations change so much over time...
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Guys,
Thanks so much for this information...I will look into the higher mhz units....My step dad has not been doing much electronic other than old radios (tube types) from the early 40's and maybe earlier.....I believe a lot earlier but I would have to ask him.

The one I had before took up a quarter of my desk and was 2 feet high at a minimum and heavy as all day lights. Took forever to warm up.

Thanks
Chris
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Honestly I think the higher MHz sometimes simply doesn't matter that much.

Back in the day when radio was high tech electronics, nobody cared that they could not have an oscilloscope that could show RF waveforms. They did without them. At most they could get an inkling of what IF waveforms looked like, but the full carrier frequency? Not a chance and things still worked.

Of course today, digital is the thing. However even this is better suited to logic analyzers, not oscilloscopes, as one really needs to decode the waveform and not just view it.

Thus unless you have specific needs, I don't think high sampling rate is a big deal. Especially for audio and "largeish" switch mode power supplies, the frequency bandwidth mostly gets wasted.

And today, yes you can get scopes that can view full carrier frequency of a lot of the lower frequency spectrum... and it's basically only good for eye candy.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
a friend has the 465, it's not exactly portable!
(yes, i know it has a handle on it - but it's a big heavy scope)
Yes it does have a handle so it was definitely intended to be portable

TBH in the 70s and 80s I think we just were less adverse to carrying things around (and why not, we were not overweight either regardless of what were eating which was certainly NOT healthy, so the exercise was obviously good for us)

I do respect it does not fit the OP requirements, I was just ruminating on why I go for the 465 almost every time when the Rigol sits on top of it

I have thought about this and the best guess why I think it is better..... well it's a bit like a multimeter. I have a Fluke, and when I go to diode range and poke around a PCB to see what is connected to what, then I expect it to beep on a short circuit even before I see anything on the readout (in fact I don't even use the read out) and the Fluke does that. If another DMM can't even manage to do that instantly then TBH it's a bit shit really.

I expect a scope to do the same thing. And the Rigol doesn't so it's also a bit shi.... but the 45 year old Tektronix does

Same reason I still use a 20 odd year old analog Satlook spectrum anaylizer (with black&white CRT) when I am out on-site aligning satellite dishes. Because it has an instant response. I have a fancy modern digital one that is 10% of the weight and it has it's uses (like it will actually identify the satellite I am pointing at) but it is rubbish compared to analog one if you can be bothered to learn to use it and remember what the spectrum patterns of various satellite look like when you want to find them


Any other lovers of analog scopes here (and I would like to hear your reasons too) or is it just me?

Last edited by dicky96; 02-11-2020 at 04:57 PM..
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

i had a satlook, dont drop it!!
the shockwave ripped the neck and deflection coils clean off the front of the crt!!
mine had the digital tuner with the constelation display too
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

I have a working analog satlook and another (same model) that basically works but does not display any signals on the spectrum. So I have a lot of spare parts. As well as don't drop one, don't use one in the snow either (not that it would ever snow here but there was plenty of it in the UK) as the snow melts and runs down inside the meter and fries your line output circuit!

At one time I did have the digital one with the CRT (Satlook Digital NIT) but I didn't like it much and when it packed in a month or two after I got it I asked for a refund.

I also had a Satlook G2 Micro which was excellent for tweaking up a signal on a particular transponder if you in a fringe reception area but that got lost along the way.

Now I have one of these digital meters...
https://es.aliexpress.com/item/40000...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

And my analog Satlook. The digital one is very good for identifying a satellite once you have already set it up to identify that satellite using a known good dish, but finding new satellites it is not so much use. Also it will not identify or even show a proper signal on Intelsat 907 at 27.5W which I need to use a lot here. But the Analog satlook is excellent for Intelsat 907, and for very quickly finding the satellite 'arc' if you are unsure of the direction or if you even have a working LNB, despite being over 30 years old obsolete tech!

But back to the topic of scopes - I prefer my analog one for the same reason I prefer the analog satlook. Yeah the digital scope gives me a lot more info about a signal once I have found one, same as the digital satellite meter does, but for quickly poking around a DUT looking for signals the analog one is just 'better'

Last edited by dicky96; 02-12-2020 at 03:03 AM..
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

that's a nice meter,
can it control lnb switches / motors with diseq??
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
a friend has the 465, it's not exactly portable!
(yes, i know it has a handle on it - but it's a big heavy scope)
I used to drag one around on aircraft as I was traveling (would never trust it in "checked luggage"). For that era, it was *highly* portable. In a pinch, I wouldn't mind traveling with it -- though I'd much prefer one of my DSOs or LAs; they're lighter weight and far more functional for the types of systems I work with.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Dangit, the Tektronix 465 IS portable as much as the original Compaq!
(Along with my Tektronix 2440 and 2465...)



Sigh...expectations change so much over time...
Yeah, the 455/465/475 Tek 'scopes were luggable. I kind of like Tek's or Fluke's hand-helds or Tek's TDS30xx series "lunch-box" 'scopes, but those may be pricier than SolomonMan has in mind.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Honestly I think the higher MHz sometimes simply doesn't matter that much.
i used to think that,

if you think you need 20MHz to see a signal, you need 5x that to see noise on the same signal.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

But then you'd be lying because you actually want to look at 100MHz noise... :-p
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

but the rigol 50MHz scope can be unlocked to run at 100MHz and can resolve signals upto about 250!
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:56 AM   #17
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

Guys,
I am considering a Rigol DS1102E.

Basically I am finding that used scopes with shipping is almost 67-75% of a new scope shipped...So I am thinking the newer may be just a better option for me at this point.

I did look at a Rigol DS1052E...and there is a link of a DS1052E vs DS1102E Comparison.

https://www.tequipment.net/Rigol-DS1102e-vs-DS1052e/

Only difference appears to be Rise Time and the MHz but its mentioned you can "unlock"...Is the unlock something that is difficult to do?

Also the rise time according to the site above;

This is the duration of the fastest pulse that can be resolved by the oscilloscope.
This relates closely to the bandwidth. A good formula to use is as follows:

Bandwidth in Hz x rise time in seconds = 0.35

so RT=0.35*Bandwidth

A scope intended to resolve pulses with a rise time of 1 ns would have a bandwidth of 350 MHz.




So they are assuming a 100Mhz (DS1102E) but the (DS1052e) is a 50Mhz.

But the Rise Time is 7ns vs 3.5ns but the math (correct me if I am wrong) is .7 X 50(Bandwidth) = 350Mhz for the DS1052E....So in essence its the same equivalent unit or does the 7 vs 3.5 Rise time mean more?

The difference appears to be about 40-50 bucks street price... Just for the label and the unlocking...The DS1102E I believe is discontinued and there are some places dropping prices on it so might be advantageous.


I would also like to review current equivalent of the two Rigols to Techtronix or other models in the sub $325 cost factor.

Thanks
Chris

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Old 02-15-2020, 12:47 PM   #18
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

the "E" is obsolete - go for the "Z" like i linked.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

My obsolete 1052E is still working fine.....
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:58 PM   #20
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Default Re: Oscilloscope Advice....

that's not the point, it has a smaller screen, far less features, half the channels and the price difference is minimal.

https://www.rigolna.com/products/dig...loscopes/1000/

https://www.rigolna.com/products/dig...oscopes/1000z/

Last edited by stj; 02-16-2020 at 12:02 AM..
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