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Author Topic: Oscilloscope/Function Generator Recommendations  (Read 3992 times)
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Hi Everyone

I am planning on purchasing a Function Generator and an Oscilloscope and I have no idea what I should be looking out for. As there is quite a price range I would be interested in some recommendations on products you like.

I mainly want to use them for prototyping and testing some wireless power transfer systems I am playing around with.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

p.

EDIT: I guess I prefer simplicity over 100 extras which I probably will never use.
I would also just appreciate some suggestions on what to look out for or what to avoid.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 01:27:13 pm by fkeel » Logged


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Hi
I wanted a simple cheap Oscilloscope. I was advices to buy a DSO Nano. And I'm really pleased with it.  DSO Nano has a Function generator. Which I already killed by plugging 24 volt in the generator instead of the sensor. I bought version 1 but I guess version 2 is just as good.
As non being used to Oscilloscopes the scan function (just show the values) is my favorite. But automatic mode (shows the repeating signal) is great to.


Best regards
Jantje

PS note that Adafruit sells them which is a reference to me.
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I have a scope (a Rigol), but haven't used a function generator for years.
I'd spend a little more on the scope, and forget the generator.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 02:02:12 pm by AWOL » Logged

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Hi Jantje

I also was looking at that one - but it somehow almost looks like a toy, which makes me skeptical. I sort of like the bigger one they have:
http://adafruit.com/products/681

Though I don't know enough to really justify buying the bigger one. I just really rather invest more up front than ending up buying things double.

*

I explicitly (think I) need an oscilloscope, for testing different frequencies for wireless power transfer. A cheap unit I was looking at is this one: http://www.accudiy.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_17&products_id=183 but again I am afraid of buying a toy ...

*

I'll google Rigol, thanks for sharing what you work with :-)
EDIT: Nevermind. the DS1052E is by Rigol :-D

p.


EDIT 2: I am considering simply getting 2 DSO Nano's - Does anyone else have any opinion on them? Is anyone using them as a function generator?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 02:12:32 pm by fkeel » Logged


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In terms of bang-for-buck you cannot beat Rigol right now:

http://www.saelig.com/product/PSPC017.htm  ** The oscilloscope you linked is the 50Mhz version of this scope.  Get the 100Mhz one! **
http://www.saelig.com/FGDG/FGDG007.htm

But you may not want a function generator at all.  BTW, the top frequency for the generator you linked is 200Khz for sine wave and 10Khz for the other.  That is very low.  There are some very cheap kits, many already built, just no enclosure so they are kit-like, to do various waveforms on eBay.  These kits are not as good as the Rigol above and nowhere as friendly, but you can get the signals you need out of them.  Some examples:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AD9850-DDS-Signal-Generator-Module-0-30MHz-Sine-Square-Wave-Frequency-AD9851-/330621540938
http://www.ebay.com/itm/50MHz-Sine-Wave-5Mhz-Square-Wave-DDS-Signal-Generator-with-Sweep-Function-NEW-/320897517771
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wave-Signal-Generator-Module-PWM-Sine-Wave-Square-Triangle-Saw-tooth-etc-300kHz-/330760676635

On the specs page for the DSO nano I see that the ADC they are using is 1 MSPS.  The cheap Rigol, for example, is 1000 MSPS.  All I can say is that the DSO doesn't look all that appropriate for high-speed circuits (it tops out at 1Mhz and does that on 1 MSPS which is cheating).  It seems more suited towards audio gear.

http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/DSO_Nano_v2#Specifications
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 03:40:11 pm by JoeN » Logged

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On the specs page for the DSO nano I see that the ADC they are using is 1 MSPS.  The cheap Rigol, for example, is 1000 MSPS.  All I can say is that the DSO doesn't look all that appropriate for high-speed circuits (it tops out at 1Mhz and does that on 1 MSPS which is cheating).  It seems more suited towards audio gear.

http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/DSO_Nano_v2#Specifications
I fully agree that the DS0 Nano is not good for high-speed circuits. However -as we are on the Arduino forum- I assume high speed circuits is not the target of fkeel.

@fkeel
Unless you have a really good reason to have 2  DS0 Nano's I would only buy 1. If you have a need for 2 it may be wiser to look for a more advanced device that can do the job alone (a multi channel device).
The disadvantage of 2 devices is that you can not merge the signals on the same screen. For instance the generated and the read signal. So you can not measure delays between channels. The 100MHz device can do that (I know it is 3 times the price)
I think the DSO Nano is great as a starter tool because of following features:
-It is cheap enough to get you started with enough functionality.
-The range is good enough for the Arduino.
- Even when you have bought a better device it still can be handy. For instance
    -It fits in your pocket so you can use it for field work.
    -It can be a floating ground scope.

Best regards
Jantje
 
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I bought the RIGOL deal which was the 50Mhz scope and their Arbitrary function generator.  I use the scope all the time.  The only time I used the Arb was the first time I turned on the scope...
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I fully agree that the DS0 Nano is not good for high-speed circuits. However -as we are on the Arduino forum- I assume high speed circuits is not the target of fkeel.

The Arduino can put out signals faster than 1Mhz and I don't even trust that Nano at 1Mhz, perhaps at 200Khz.  The ADC is only 1 MSPS.
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I bought the RIGOL deal which was the 50Mhz scope and their Arbitrary function generator.  I use the scope all the time.  The only time I used the Arb was the first time I turned on the scope...

I got the 100Mhz scope and the 25Mhz function generator at the same time too, but ala-carte and still $698 all in (free shipping).  Same thing as you though.  I have used the function generator about 4 times, mostly with the scope but once with an LED and a small speaker to see how slower signals behave when materialized into the real world.  The function generator puts out enough juice to run these things.  Putting a speaker on it was probably not that smart, but no harm done.
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Thanks for that suggestion, lock - I might just do that.
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The big question about the function generator is "What do you plan to do with it?".

That'll tell you how much speed and precision you need, whether it needs to be especially portable, etc.

You could well find that something extremely cheap and simple (like a 555 astable for square and semi-sawtooth waves,  and a couple of other simple circuits for other waveforms) will more than suffice.

If you don't need "portable", look into old HP and Tektronix rackmount units, that are probably available for peanuts now.
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The big question about the function generator is "What do you plan to do with it?".

That'll tell you how much speed and precision you need, whether it needs to be especially portable, etc.

You could well find that something extremely cheap and simple (like a 555 astable for square and semi-sawtooth waves,  and a couple of other simple circuits for other waveforms) will more than suffice.

If you don't need "portable", look into old HP and Tektronix rackmount units, that are probably available for peanuts now.

Ran
I completely agree with your "look at what you need before you buy advise". It might even be that a small program on an arduino you have lying around is good enough.
Best regards
Jantje
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about Function Generator an other good idea should be using AD9834
- it is a SPI interface chip
- it is produced by Analog Devices
- it is able to generate signals up to ~30Mhz

i mean, you could build up an home-made board =P

 I just ordered a sample of that chip, a switching regulator, and a D/A converter. Should be some interesting possibilities.
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One of the projects which is coming up for me is designing a wireless charging option. I hope to simply plug the signal generator into my circuit in order to manipulate shape and frequency of the primary coil, so I can get a feel for how things work and for optimizing what type of signal/frequency my final circuit should have...

(I haven't really figured any of the details out though. I am very much a learning by doing type of person.)

I have a slight budget for this, thats why I thought I might as well buy something which lasts.

*

So yeah... still open for suggestions :-)
And I will google Textronix :-)

Cheers

p.
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Hello,

For my purposes I only need to switch from zero to 5 volts at a frequency of 100kHz.  I have tried this using the digitalWrite function and it works but it seems to be a bit inconsistent.  Is there a way to create a nice clean pattern with a 10us period (100kHz)?

Thanks!
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