Oscilloscope Recommendation

I am going to buy an oscilloscope and have tentatively decided on a Rigol. For approximately the same price Rigol makes a 2 channel, 100 MHz model ( DS 1102E) and a 4 channel, 50 MHz model (DS 1054Z).

It is a beginner scope and I am a beginner so I don't really know exactly what I will be using it for but I know it is time to learn about it.

So....2 channel 100 MHz or 4 channel 50 MHz?

I appreciate the advice.

I have the DS1052, 50Mhz 2 channel.

I rarely use the 2nd channel, and if I had a need for a 4 channel display of something I would probably be wanting to use a logic analyzer instead.

The DS1054Z actually has 100MHz hardware. You can find unlock codes online. I got one end of last year and am pretty happy with it. I haven’t actually needed 4 channels yet, but could definitely imagine. I certainly used 2 channels with analog signals.

I just went through hell researching a good starter oscilloscope for myself. I can only afford a used one. I wanted a rigol, but i found a good deal on instek gds 1202. Its about the same as rigol, with lcd display and basic features.

I just bought 2 channel one. I rarely see anyone using 4 channel scope when i watch circuit tutorial videos.

4-channel comes into its own with more complex analog circuits, I've only had need when looking
at a 3-phase motor controller PWM signal, for instance, since there are 3 phases, but its a luxury
really. For logic analyzer looking at a parallel bus lots of channels is good, but for things like serial,
I2C, SPI, 4 channels is enough, so a 4-channel scope is perhaps useful as a substitute for a LA.

Note that many problems cannot be seen by a LA, a 'scope shows how messed up your signal
really is!

I vote 4-channel.

I have a 2-channel siglent scope, and if I could halve it’s bandwidth for another two channels, I would do it in a heartbeat; that would let you look at all 4 lines of an SPI bus, and it makes it a decent substitute for a logic analyzer (and - I don’t know about others, but I quite recently had a problem with an SPI bus that I don’t think would have been so obvious on an LA - the fets I was using to level shift it had too high of a gate capacitance for the microcontroller to drive effectively at the speed I was clocking the bus at, so instead of nice square signals, I got this ugly smeared out waveform. The moment I saw it looking like that on one side of the level shifter, and perfectly fine on the other, it was obvious what was going on… but I’m not sure I would have figured it out as quickly with an LA)

I have the Vigilent Analog Discovery 2 o-scope AND logic analyzer.

I have to say, this thing is awesome! That is, unless you need more than 2 channels. Other than that, I highly reccomend it.

What is your budget?
Will you need > 200MHz?
Is this for hobby only?
.

LarryD,

My budget and what In want to spend are two different things. I could probably write a book titled, "How to get the least out of your shopping dollar."

Like I said, I don't know what I will need or where this will lead. Kind of like the CNC machine I just bought. I like to try things out and see what happens. As far as hobby use, I started exploring electronics a couple of years ago in an attempt to solve a specific problem. One thing led to another and I still haven't solved the original problem but I sure have created a bunch of new fancy ones.

After reading and considering the replys to my question, I pulled the trigger on the 4 channel, 50 MHz rigol. It seems that for a beginner and $399 it can't be beat and if it turns out that I never use it, it's not big deal.

IMO, stick with a 2 channel highest band width you can comfortably afford.

I do have fun using a 16 channel Saleae logic analyzer but that's another story.

.

I use a 2 channel siglent 100mhz. It was cheap and does the job, I wish I had a 4channel but I wouldn't give up bandwidth for it.

LarryD:
IMO, stick with a 2 channel highest band width you can comfortably afford.

Totally agree.

For hobby use i have a 50 MHz 30 year old tektronix 2225.

They can be found on ebay for $80 working.

Downside is shipping and it is much better if you can collect to verify operation.
I have access to sophisticated test equipment but the no of times i have needed it can be counted on one hand.
Better i think to save the money for a data analyser.

Apparently, the 4 channel, 50 MHz is really a 4 channel, 100 MHz in disguise.

I'm fortunate enough to have found a couple deals that netted me a 16ch LA and a 12Mhz Freq synthesizer, both HP (Agilent) units. Along with a Tektronix 2246 4ch 100Mhz analog scope and a Fluke freq counter. All of them are nice and work great, (had a little issue with the scope a bit ago, but it was all good), BUT, they are big and heavy, and I'm sure if I turn them all on at the same time I can trip the breaker. The good thing about some of the older stuff is the availability of service manuals, and higher quality parts as compared to a lot of the imports of today.

That being said, I'm still looking at getting a Digital scope, and the Rigol is the only thing semi-local. I'm leaning towards the 4ch 50Mhz unit myself, just because of what some of the others have stated. The LA is great at showing a perfect rise and fall of a signal when that might not be what is happening. It's the nature of the beast, and also why there are so many different types of test equipment. Not one of them can "do it all", despite claims to it.

The 4 chan, 50 apparently has all the hardware necessary for 100 MHz.

Depends on your budget and your needs.

I've used Tek 20GHz sampling scopes and 2GHz 4-channel LeCroy WaveRunners- well outside my home budget!

For years I got by with 50MHz Philips PM3217 2-channel analog scope. A decent scope for it's day.

All tradeoffs.

How many pennies do you want to spend?

Allan

Boardburner2:
Totally agree.

For hobby use i have a 50 MHz 30 year old tektronix 2225.

They can be found on ebay for $80 working.

Downside is shipping and it is much better if you can collect to verify operation.
I have access to sophisticated test equipment but the no of times i have needed it can be counted on one hand.
Better i think to save the money for a data analyser.

Oh ... ma god! I was gonna be embarrassed, but I have and use that very scope. In fact, I have 12 of them for school. The upside is, that when you explain how the CRT works to students, they say something like: "That's a cool technology! I never heard of it."

Don’t tell them there’s strontium on the heater, it’ll freak out the anti-nuke brigade

ChrisTenone:
"That's a cool technology! I never heard of it."

They should see those cool transistors in glass tubes with the night light inside.

jackrae:
Don't tell them there's strontium on the heater, it'll freak out the anti-nuke brigade

thorium is radioactive, not strontium. I think you are cofusing fission products from naturally occuring isotopes.