I'm wanting to start tinkering in microcontroller projects (Arduino/Propeller) using I2C/SPI, etc buses. I'm wondering what the best combination would be for me to do this. From my reading it looks like a digital scope is best for this work coupled with a logic analyzer.
I'm looking at something that will handle my needs in the ~1000 dollar range. Does anyone have suggestions? I don't have to purchase new, and would actually prefer a higher quality used (Tek, etc) unit to a lower end new unit (Rigol).
Are there any used MSOs that will fit the bill? Am I better off with a seperate DSO/LA? Is there a good combination that I can sync the signals when using two seperate units and overlay the two to get the "complete picture?"
Input greatly appreciated!
Just get yourself a dual beam oscilloscope. Storage scope if you can afford it but a simple 50MHz one will suffice for many years.
Leave off the logic analyser that is more for parallel bus architecture, it take an age to set up and tells you little at the sort of level you are at.
I bought a used Tektronix TDS210 (dual-trace 70 MHhz digital) several years ago from a rental company. (Tucker Electronics.) It was factory refurbished/calibrated and included two brand new probes. Cost at the time was around $650 (plus shipping, of course). Every now and then I kind of wish I had a four-channel scope, but the '210 has met my requirements. It was the best birthday present that I ever gave myself. Period.
There are lots of new ones in the $1000 price range (or a little more), and some of the other brands (LeCroy, for example) are quite good, but, for my money (and it was my money, not my Boss's), I just prefer Tek for 'scopes. And I always have. (I'm funny that way.)
A few years later I also picked up a used Tek 2246 100 MHz analog scope, which is good for certain things (really good for looking at modulated RF signals within its frequency range), but the digital scope can capture one-shot events in ways that used to require a $50,000 (or more) storage 'scope. It's easier, actually. The 2246 was still in its sealed bag from a military surplus outfit. I mean, it was brand new even though it was 10 years old (maybe more). It was just about the last scope with real knobs (lots of them) but it does have on-screen labeling (the CRT actually writes those little characters showing voltage and time scale, etc.)
A big advantage of the digital scope: I can carry it in one hand, and it takes very little bench space. The analog scope is a lot more "substantial" and I can carry it all by myself, but it takes both hands to lift it. (I still like it---a lot.)
For working on a microprocessor system like an Arduino and its various I/O devices I would get a digital 'scope.
My advice: Whether you get a new or used one, buy from an established firm and use a credit card so that you have recourse in case it's not what you thought it was supposed to be.
I bought a used Tektronix TDS210 (dual-trace 70 MHhz digital) several years ago from a rental company. (Tucker Electronics.) It was factory refurbished/calibrated and included two brand new probes. Cost at the time was around $650 (plus shipping, of course). Every now and then I kind of wished I had a four-channel scope, but for the most part, the '210 has met my requirements. It was the best birthday present that I ever gave myself. Period.
Sounds like you got a good deal. A few months back I bought a dual-trace analog Tek scope (60 MHz - Model 2213) off a guy on Craigslist; he had bought it used and had it factory recalibrated (he gave me all the paperwork and microfiches to prove it) - he sold it to me for $150.00 - not a bad deal for the equipment.
I had to order on-line a new implosion shield for it (it was fogged from some chemical or something - causing everything to be blurry - with it removed, though, it passed various checks I did with the built-in signal).
Today I just received in the mail from a user on the Electro Tech forum (http://www.electro-tech-online.com/) a Tektronix rolling stand for it (the stand will work with the 2213 or 2215, from what I gather), so it will work great in my shop.
That is, if I can ever get my shop cooled down!
One awesome thing about USA is that you can get loads and loads of equipment in great shape for very little money, and those surplus shops, that must be like Christmas everyday!!
In Europe, or at least in my country there is nothing like that, and even ebay is much more expensive
I have a Tektronix storage scope (2ch) and I recently purchased a Saleae logic pod
to debug SPI and I2C stuff. The Saleae pod was 150USD. It has 8 channels
and you use it with a PC. I use it with my laptop.
The software decodes the SPI and I2C bytes so it is very convenient to use.
I am not impressed with the software but other people seem to like it. I have
read that there may be an API available so you could automate various tasks.
If you buy something used I would get a Tek, Agilent or Lecroy. I would also
try to get one with a USB port. It can be convenient for downloading
scope pictures or test automation.
(* jcl *)
I gambled on an Atten 100Mhz chinese scope for 400 bucks. It looks like a knock off of the Rigol/Lecroy scopes. It works great so far. I've heard good things about Rigol scopes also and I believe there is a software hack to turn the 50Mhz scope into a 100Mhz.