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Topic: Oscilloscope recommendations <= $300 USD  ? (Read 9169 times) previous topic - next topic


Dec 20, 2010, 11:38 pm Last Edit: Dec 20, 2010, 11:40 pm by MikeEMEco Reason: 1
I really want an OSCILLOSCOPE for Xmas.  
My budget cannot exceed $300 (USD).  I've got
no problem buying used or new.  I just want a fairly decent
O-scope that won't outgrow me in a year or two.  Something
thrifty, easy to use, easy to read, durable, and accurate.

Any suggestions?  
(Please post links or recommendations):

Thanks again!  ;)


Dec 21, 2010, 12:23 am Last Edit: Dec 21, 2010, 12:25 am by retrolefty Reason: 1
Well I'm an old school guy and analog scopes are what I learned and grew up with and I'm not likely to change to digital scopes. So what I would do if I didn't already own a nice scope would be to try and find a nice used analog Tektronics or HP scope. I have a Tek 2213 dual channel 60mhz scope and like it a lot. But again that's due to my specific experiance. I'm sure some of the digital scopes have very nice features and can do things a analog scope can't, so take my recommendation as just one persons preference. As far as reliablity and quality both Tek and HP analog scopes were designed and priced for industrial use and were among the finest electronic equipment built in their era.



I rather prefer analog scopes to digital ones on one account: analogs add up their brightness if you get multiple peaks (about same size and width) to pile up on the display. On a digital scope, there is no such effect. In my x-ray diffraction experiments, I use that to visually see the x-ray counts on an analog scope. More counts=brighter peaks. Digital scopes just don't do this (yet).

On the other hand I love digital scopes in teaching intro classes. The tektronix scopes we use have USB slots. We can reset all settings with "restore config" over a flash drive. You know how itchy college student fingers can get, in a lab. Bless the developers! ;D
Saving data is also pretty much standard on a digital scope.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter


There are plenty of deals on eBay on both Analog and Digital scopes.  Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

1.  Digital scopes are (almost) impossible to service yourself.  There are three main components:  front-end amplifier, a/d, and memory controller.  These are almost always proprietary components.  If anything on the acquisition board fails, you probably won't be able to repair it.

2.  Analog scopes are going to be older, but could still be possible to service yourself.

3.  Most used scopes do not come with any sort of probes.

4.  If this is your only oscilloscope, avoid the "Pocket DSO."  Their $99 price is attractive, but if it is your only scope you may be disappointed.

Lastly, just fuel the flamewar, I am a proponent of digital scopes.  (However, my bias is skewed.  I've worked for 2 of the 3 biggest scope companies, so I can do things with them most people can't.)
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Seedsstudio have pocket DSO.

There's e-bay for another oscilloscope...



Lastly, just fuel the flamewar, I am a proponent of digital scopes.

I've got a 100 MHz 2-channel Fluke Combiscope - how do your feel about those?


If you are willing to buy used, I would only buy it if it came from a reputable dealer, or I could test it myself. Get yourself a pair of 100 MHz probes, and if you are able to test it yourself, hook up to the test signal on the scope and run it thru the simple "paces"; check alignment, focus (see if you can adjust them), etc. Generally, if it passes the self-test good, its probably OK.

I've bought two used scopes this year; one was a Tek 2213 60 MHz scope (like retrolefty's) - I had to buy a new implosion shield from a guy in Czechoslovakia; it was fogged from some chemical spray - but other than that, perfect (he had it serviced and calibrated by Tek - gave me all the documentation for it, too). I bought it off a guy on Craigslist for $150.00. Later I picked up a rolling stand for it off a gal on the ElectroTech forums for $25.00.

A few months back I picked up the Fluke - its a combination analog and digital storage scope (hence the name "Combiscope"); it was calibrated as well. I picked it up at Apache Reclamation here in Phoenix; paid $200.00 for it.

Both are great scopes; I wouldn't jump into the first thing I saw, unless it was a great deal (both the Tek and Fluke I got were pretty good deals - though had I saved my money, I could've gotten a 50 MHz Rigol DSO or something).

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I wouldn't recommend it as your "go to" bench scope but I bought a Seeed Studio DSO Nano earlier this year for under $100 and I use it more than my "real" scope. :)


There's also

RIGOL that slightly little bit more from 300US$.

Thank you



I know it's pretty much a budget unit for light duty apps.  
a.k.a --  a very non traditional benchtop prof. scope like mentioned,  
but out of curiosity; how do you guys & gals feel about the DSO-Nano?



I'm a fan of Tek analog scopes.  I've owned a 465, 2215, and, as of today, a 2252.  Other than broken probes, I've never had trouble with any of them.  There are a lot of broken scopes on eBay, so read the postings very carefully.

Definitely avoid the cheap new sampling scopes like the DSO-NANO above.  They advertise it as having 1 MHz analog bandwidth.  That's quite a stretch as it samples at 1 MHz.  It's useful analog bandwidth is around 100 KHz.

My recommendation: Get a TEK 2215 60 MHz scope and a TEK 1240/1241 logic analyzer.  If you take your time and shop carefully, you should be able to get both for about $300 total.  Now you've got both analog and digital domains well covered for the kind of projects discussed around here.


The New DSO Quad have 36Mhz bandwidth and support 4 channels. It will available in our store on Jan,1st.


I got my Rigol DS1052E (50MHz) a couple of months ago, and I have been very satisfied (especially after a firmware hack, it is a 100MHz OSC) now :)

If I were you, I wouldn't choose a portable DSO. For just a little over $300, you could get a nice dedicated DSO like DS1052E.


Dec 24, 2010, 07:23 pm Last Edit: Dec 24, 2010, 07:23 pm by AWOL Reason: 1
If I were you, I wouldn't choose a portable DSO

My 1520 is about the size of a shoebox, which I consider to be pretty portable - did you mean "handheld"?   :D


Sorry I wasn't quite clear, you are absolutely correct. What I meant was a dedicated stand alone oscilloscope not those "pocket sized" that require a PC to operate.


If you are able to just add in about $60, I would suggest getting the Rigol DS1052E. That is probably the best for money scope out there. :)

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