Oscilloscope recommendations <= $300 USD  ?

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! :wink:

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.

Lefty

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.

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.)

Seedsstudio have pocket DSO.

There’s e-bay for another oscilloscope…

Jeckson

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?

:wink:

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).

:slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

There’s also

RIGOL that slightly little bit more from 300US$.

Thank you
Jeckson

http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=101243

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?

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/dso-nano-v2-p-681.html?cPath=104_108

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 :slight_smile:

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.

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”? :smiley:

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. :slight_smile:

Any opinions on the Parallax USB Scope? I’ve used one off and on for a few years and have mixed opinions on it. There are some obvious limitations, bandwidth and some others. But I’ve had mixed results with it in terms of getting a reliable, meaningful, trace. Sometimes I feel that there are grounding issues, ground loops, etc that are overwhelming the displayed trace.

BTW, thanks for the suggestions on a Tek scope. I’ve found a 2215 locally on CL and will look at it tomorrow.

I have been watching Dave Jone’s EEVBlog for a while and remembered seeing a oscilloscope comparison video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev121xAt_k4) which made me convinced that a stand-alone oscilloscope is a better choice in most circumstances…

Any opinions on the Parallax USB Scope? I’ve used one off and on for a few years and have mixed opinions on it. There are some obvious limitations, bandwidth and some others. But I’ve had mixed results with it in terms of getting a reliable, meaningful, trace. Sometimes I feel that there are grounding issues, ground loops, etc that are overwhelming the displayed trace.

Interesting. Back in 2008, I won the “$100 Workbench Challenge” contest held in Nuts and Volts magazine. The prize was the Parallax USB o-scope; I ended up getting two of them (its a long story involving an address mixup). I have yet to try either of them out, and I’m not really a fan of Parallax any more; the failure of them not supporting Linux in a meaningful way made me migrate to the Arduino. The scope I have is “windows only” (though I did find a Python script to pull the data from the scope - it just needs a GUI to make it useful).

BTW, thanks for the suggestions on a Tek scope. I’ve found a 2215 locally on CL and will look at it tomorrow.

If this is your first “real” scope, you may want to save your money and go for a Rigol once you get enough saved (unless you need the scope “now” - which it sounds like you might - or this scope is priced right). The Tek scopes are nice, though. Make sure you’re able to test it before you plunk down the cash; take some leads with you if you have them. Make sure the test signal is within spec and adjustment on all channels; check the focus and rotation especially.

I bought my Tek earlier this year, then later bought my Fluke Combiscope - between the amounts, I could probably add $100 or so and have gotten a Rigol (but I really love both of my scopes, so no biggie overall!).

:slight_smile:

I’ve found a 2215 locally on CL and will look at it tomorrow.

Looking on E-bay, seems most completed sales run around $100-$200 range depending on condition and assersories included. That would be a very nice analog scope. PDF Equipment manuals can sometimes be found for free on the web and real manuals can be found on e-bay for reasonable amounts. The tek manuals cover everything you could ever need to operate, maintain and repair (complete schematics, parts list, etc) your scope. There was also a yahoo group that covered tek scopes with many experts to help solving repair problems, etc, many are/were ex tek employees. It’s hard to explain the satisfaction of using these old scopes as they were made of the very highest quality and cost thousands of dollars new. Some people are very reluctant to spend good money on older electronics equipment but older tek and HP test equipment is in my opinion is an exception to the rule.

Lefty