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oscilloscope

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Krawford, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Krawford

    Krawford Member

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    Looking to get an oscilloscope for my shop, we have been making some fun little Arduino/DMX actuators over the past year and having a scope should make life a little easier when troubleshooting prototypes. anyone have a favorite brand/model?
     
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  2. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I doubt you could go wrong with Tektronix.
     
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  3. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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    You can't, but it's also pricey.


    I'm a big fan of Rigol scopes - excellent value.

    At my last job we bought a handful of the 1000 series for embedded engineers to keep at their desk if they need it, and a 4000 series for the lab.


    Currently I have an MSO1104Z sitting next to me - I like it's screen size.
     
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  4. eadler

    eadler Active Member

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    Unless you need to look at high speed data lines or transients you should be able to get by with almost any old tektronix scope - check eBay or craigslist. The 465 is great, you should be able to find one for less than $200 without much trouble, cheaper if you hunt around.

    If you want to be able to share and teach with it, you may want a newer "DPO" or "DSO" style scope that supports saving waveforms and perhaps a video output and some more advanced features.

    I have a nice 4 channel Tek TDS3034B at work rated for 300 MHz that has modules that cost a few thousand dollars each in it. I have a nice 4 channel Siglent (SDS1104X-E) scope at home rated for 50 MHz that works at 100 MHz (and can be made to work at 200MHz) that has a lot more features (including i2c and other serial protocol decoding) and cost less than a $700 total (including probes and terminators and such). The Tek is calibrated and I trust it explicitly, I treat the Siglent as an indicator and it works great for 95% of what I do both at home and at work.
     
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  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I don't know if it's just because I'm in Portland but I see Tektronix scopes on Craigslist all the time.
     
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  6. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Used Tek and HP scopes sell for <$200 on Fleabay. New solid state scopes like Rigol are relatively inexpensive, too.
     
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  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    A lot of the Dimming and control business comes from former Tektronics guys, by the way. Back before Corporations owned every ounce of Intellectual property an employee came up with while employed.
     
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  8. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    While the Tek 465B is my favorite scope (mainly because I have muscle memory about every control on its front panel), I might opt for a more modern digital scope if buying today. The "less than $200" can rapidly grow with calibration and repairs. These scopes are typically more than 40 years old now, which is clearly outside typical life of their capacitors.

    ST
     
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  9. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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    Wow, you guys go back far...

    My first scope was Tek TDS430.
     
  10. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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  11. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    In 1977, I bought Production Arts' first 100mHz scope--a brand new Tek 465B with 10:1 auto-indicating probes and a scope-mobile cart. (I'm just guessing you might not have been born yet :) ) I remember it cost $3600--a LOT of money in those days. It came by air directly from Tektronix headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Man, that was a great piece of gear, but what a hump it was to get it to a jobsite!

    Then, about 10 years ago, I bought the same setup on eBay in perfect condition for $300. It's very happy in my home shop and I use it regularly! Proves that I'm about a 100mHz engineer--not more. :)


    ST
     
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  12. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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    1977? I was around, but toddling.


    Anything above 100MHz is in the realm of black magic. :)
     
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  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    100Mhz used to be near the limit as analog scopes had to deal with CRT tube deflection issues. Technically, digital scopes are limited only by what is practical to bring to market. The display is totally separate from the sampling electronics and is pretty much just displaying a picture. The sampling circuits can be in the Ghz range. That info is then processed by the microprocessor software and a representative graphic is generated and displayed.
     
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  14. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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  15. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    HP / Agilent is also a name to consider...

    I have seen a scopes that is good to I think it was 100 GHz, it's one of three pieces of test gear in the so called million dollar room at a leading AV manufacturer, so probably a little overspecced and pricey for this application...
     
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  16. DrewE

    DrewE Member

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    Agilent (itself spun off of HP) has in turn spun or sold off their electronic test equipment; the oscilloscopes are now made and sold by Keysight.

    One of the neatest and handiest scopes I've had the opportunity to use was an HP mixed signal oscilloscope, with a couple (or was it four? it was some time ago) "normal" DSO channels--with decently deep memory depth--and sixteen digital channels that formed a sort of mini logic analyzer. I seem to recall they informally referred to it as the "scopealyzer." It looks like Keysight still sells some descendants of that line, if you care to buy a brand new oscilloscope rather than a brand new car.

    For analog circuits or repeating waveforms, a plain analog scope is very often sufficient and used ones are not expensive. For digital signaling, particularly serial communications and the like, a digital storage scope is very much handier as the things one wishes to look at are often not nicely periodic.
     
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  17. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the market was just being overrun with Chinese products for them to be competitive.

    Pretty much every brand has a mixed signal scope in their line now. The Rigol model I have with that is under $700.

    Indespensible for embedded software design.
     
  18. DavidCNelson

    DavidCNelson Member

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    I picked up a Rigol DS1054Z on Amazon for $350. There are large number of places on-line that tell you how to unlock all the features. But now its ships with everything already unlocked, so no hack is necessary. Being able to record signals over time and then decode the serial byte values is great. I've got a couple old analog scopes, but this does everything I need and takes up a lot less space. It comes with 4 probes, so you don't have to buy them separately.
     
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  19. theatrewireless

    theatrewireless Jim @RC4Wireless #RC4DoesThat

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    Do you have an idea of the actual bandwidth you need? If the fastest you need to see is timing of a DMX signal or smoothness of a PWM generator, then there are lots of low-cost options. Many years ago I had a Fluke handheld scope that worked perfectly well for almost everything. I can't help thinking you could find one used for next to nothing. And you get the added benefit of all the regular multimeter functions with a big display, and accessories for high-voltage isolation, etc.

    If you have the budget to invest in something new, start by looking at reviews and ads in leading magazines like Nuts and Volts, and Circuit Cellar (you don't have to get printed paper, they have iPad apps). There are numerous USB devices for use with a laptops, iPads, phones, etc., ranging from super cheap with only audio bandwidth (all over Amazon), up to performance rivaling the most expensive standalone units. That high end stuff is pretty mature at this point, with solid companies offering good support.
     
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  20. eadler

    eadler Active Member

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    I see 465s and 475s all over all the time but not on craigslist... almost all of them with the IBM silkscreen -- but that's because Endicott is right here. I also see a lot of other manufacturers scopes around and a lot of tek scopes on craigslist in adjacent areas.

    Well, I wasn't born yet...

    Again, depends on needs. I wouldn't buy a non-functional one these days since there are so many readily available and I wouldn't buy an instrument of that age for calibrated use (unless very specific feature sets were needed). It's interesting to note that the calibration procedure for the 465 requires a functioning oscilloscope (among other things). The calibration procedure for the 422 suggests a voltmeter and ohmmeter I believe (I don't think both were actually required, I may be mistaken though). I might have a 422 that I acquired (gratis) some years ago and reconditioned and recalibrated so that I could use it to recalibrate a 465...
     

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