Oscilloscope recommendations

I want to replace my old Tektronix scope with a DSO.
Looking for suggestions or any advice what to avoid?

Price line ?


#of Channels ?

Avoid USB scopes that require permanent PC connection. You'd risk ground loops and were bound to common ground signals.

A built-in signal generator with sweep capabilities can be helpful, together with related analysis soft-/firmware.

I also verified that data can be transmitted and processed in my own programs.

Thanks. Which do you like? Or are DSO Models like cellphones, superseded every few months so that whatever you bought is no longer available?

I have a Rigol 400MHz 4 channel DSO, love it.

If money is a limiting aspect, suggest a 200MHz 4 channel unit.

Then a 200MHz 2 channel unit.

Then a 100MHz 4 channel unit . . .

What do you like on the one you have already?

You a Tek today ... why a new one?

30 pounds. Takes up half of my bench. No storage. 30 pounds.

30 pounds is a very good reason, I dragged one of those around the country for many years.

What is the difference from a DSO and MSO (Mixed signal oscilloscope)? I don't want to spend more than $500 and a 2-channel, 100MHz should be just fine for all of my work. I rarely need two channels, let alone 3 or 4. Rigol has a 2ch, 200 MHz for $300 and a 4ch, 100 MHz MSO for $500. Tough decision.

Thanks- that guy has a lot of videos on various pieces of equipment.

I wouldn't take this as a criteria. Basically for same reason not to go for a MSO. DSO are made for, well, oscilloscope functions. I.e. they are - with respect knobs, button, potis made for that function and thus usage of the signal generator would be always a little more complicated as it has to be.

I would rather look for decoding functions for data bus (I2C, CAN, etc), and go for a separate signal generator. For today's scope those decoding functions often included, i.e. are not to purchase as option, however, this is not true for all.
Bandwidth is not the only criteria. Sample rate is also important. In the linked video in #11 it was pointed out: 250MS/s for 50MHz is not useful - just five samples for a whole period of a periodical signal. So what do you see? The signal rises, has a maximum, falls, has minimum, rises, and then it starts all over again. Not useful...
If you were fine with 2 channels in the past, never missed 4, then stay with two. And rather invest in higher sample rate (ratio at least 1:10 with respect to bandwidth), and make sure decoding function is included in case you like to have it.
Just for info: I own a Siglent SDS1104X-E, 100MHz is for me sufficient, it runs with 1GS/s when used with two channels and it is for my application not a drawback that sample rate drops to 500MS/s when 3 or 4 channels are in use because I have no idea when 100MHz at four channels are absolutely needed. Bus decoding is included. The 2 channel version with 200MHz of same family is said to be not worth the money, also because it still runs at 1GS/s.

A logic analyzer for 8 or more channels is available up from $10. Here a PC or tablet for display is acceptable because digital signals are bound to a common ground.

A detached signal generator requires much efforts for integration into any analysis. With an integrated signal generator all required parameters (frequency, sweep start and range...) are already known to the analyser program.

Thanks for the tip. You gave me something new to think about- I never thought of the sample rate. It also gave me the translation I've been too embarrassed to ask. MS/s, GSa/s? Your comment lit the light- mega-samples or giga-samples.

I wanted to stay under $300 and the 'Hantek DSO5102P USB Storage Oscilloscope 2 Channels 100MHz 1GSa/s' is currently on my short list.

It doesn't have a sig gen or a data bus decoder, but, I've never needed these before. (Of course, if I had them now, I would find a reason to specify them in my next instrument).

I bought the Hantek 6022BE a few years back and am happy with what I got for $45 including shipping. The USB was preferred for me because I don't have a lot of storage space. I don't use it often and not in any applications that demand high performance but it does what I need when the time comes to pull it out.

My only bad experiences were related to stubbornly trying to use the community created open source software for it. Once I finally accepted that software was not reliable and switched to the manufacturer-created software it has been all smooth sailing.

But I'm not sure I would go this route for a higher end, higher spec piece of equipment. It's easy enough to be satisfied when you only spent $45 but once you get up into the hundreds of dollars there are more options.

Fine, if I was able to contribute :slight_smile:

Despite, with given budget there is not really something to choose from. Actually you are limited to basic scope-functions and so I would rather check those than additional features.

I sold my Tektronix for more than I was expecting, so I have bumped my budget to $400. Does that change your recommendation?

Well, still tricky question. For curiosity I just checked Rigol and Siglent Homepage, and well:

  • 2 channel scope are getting rare at lower price range
  • Rigol seems to have just one ADC for four channels for their low cost scopes, i.e. sampling rate always a quarter of maximum when more then 2 channels are used
  • Siglent does the same with their Siglent SDS1104X-U, i.e. 250MS/s max for three or more channels - I guess that their solutions so lower price in comparision to the SDS1104X-E
  • As said, I have the SDS1104X-E, and I'm happy with it - but this scope is out of your budget. Just the fan is somewhat noisy, but I have no idea how the others "sound".

I think you need to go along other criteria:

  • what is the next project you like to run, and what signals you like to measure?
  • What "Look and Feel" you like more? Technical performance might be the same, but one concept may fit more to your habits.
  • Do you intend to buy other stuff like signal generator, power supply, etc. ?
  • And, as four channel is more than you need (as written above), the drop it sampling rate for three or four channels might be something you simply don't care. 250Ms/s is still a sample every 4ns... how fast is the electronics you want to work with?

For a brand new scope, suggest you wait till you can afford something in the range of
$1,000 - $2,000.