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Which to buy: NI USB DAQ or DSO Quad or other?

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Due to my increasing interest in micro controllers, esp in signal processing (wireless comm), I need n O-scope and a frequency generator. However, these items are REALLY expensive. I need a digital oscilloscope that can save my files for later analysis. There are three options...and i am at hobbyist level. My main problem, thought is that most of the signals i care to sample are like 433mhz and 900 mhz communications stuff. 2.4 would be a probability with the rf2500 modules...non of my two main options feature the ability o handle that...


NI USB-6009 wit the Student scope


cost is $279

the USB-6009 delivers 48 kS/s at a resolution of 14 bits. Both modules provide eight single-ended (four differential) analog inputs. Both also provide two true analog outputs and 12 digital I/O lines (5 V TTL/CMOS) to provide true multifunction DAQ capability.


then there is the DSO Quad

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/dso-qu ... ?cPath=174

for $199-$219

it is stand alone, portable, but definitely not as reliable in some aspects as the NI system, which i can also used as a 2 channel function generator instead of a 1 channel one. It claims 72MS/s and reviews have put it at usable in the 300kS/s range at best.

I is a cheaper and slightly better, even if more limited, option for the primary task


Ofcourse, i can just get a regular oscilloscope...OR i could wait for the tech in the DSO and this other company that makes cheap digital O-scopes to become more widespread and bring costs down.

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My opinion? (see my sig for cautions) Get a 'real' scope for any serious work. Rigol seems to be a good name DSO at a good price point ($400). I'm sure there are others.


The coolest 'toy' scope I've found is the XMEGA XProtolab from Gabotronics. They used to advertise here, so be sure to let them know you found them through 43oh. Neat little device that does TONS of functions and fits on a breadboard. Definitely check out their demo video. At $50, it's definitely worth it. It seems they now have a version with a larger screen (Xminilab) for $64 as well.


I bought the XProtolab to hold me over until I really needed a 'real' scope, and I haven't been disappointed.

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Don't waste your time and money on those toys. Get a real oscilloscope. A used tektronix from ebay is an acceptable option. I have a Tek 2235 and I've borrowed a Tek TDS210 from a friend.


When it comes to RF, unless you have kilobux in your bank account, you have to get creative with the test equipment. Here's my favorite RF test set - the IFR 1200S Service Monitor.

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yeah...i spent the day testing out that silly little ADC code and researching prices on the adverts, craigslist, and ebay. I don't think i want to see $27K disappear over a hobby, side education, or tinkering (i'm an ME, not an EE lol). I really thought they would be cheaper...wow


Thank you zeke and doc! Your suggestions and advice have helped my plan a course of action. I will get a real digital scope with SPI, I2C, AND UART logic analyzer and make sure its compatible with the NI VISA drivers. IF and ONLY if i need an NI daq will i attempt to buy the USB-6009. :). While i like the proto oscope, , until they get it interfacing with the computer, it just isn't where i need it to be (i bought labview so i want to actually use it lol). you guys are awesome.


BTW, zeke, that link was a treasure chest!

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I faced the same question before - to buy a scope, which one?


Silly thoughts half year ago was that, with the advance of mobile phones and the trend to marry hardware accessories with them (e.g. ADK) we will soon have scope/logic analyzer hardware module that can plug into phones, and make use of the power supply, processor, and color display on the phone. This way the cost will be leveraged by investment already committed on a phone.


Unfortunately this dream never came true ;)

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I'm starting to think that I could use a LabJack.


At least, I'm going to try to convince my new boss that we need one for the new EE lab. :mrgreen:


I'm interested in it because I can monitor and log so many data points all at once.


It's a purchase to be made after the scope.

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I recently bought a Tektronix 2440 from an estate liquidation sale for under $150 including S/H. When it came out in the late 80s, it cost more than most cars; I was doing biomed consulting at a local major engineering school which shared one for 3 floors.


I could tell from the pic that it had been well-cared-for, and but I bet the seller was scared to death by a flurry of system failures on boot (if it had passed the detailed system self-check, they'd have posted a pic of the summary screen). I was 90% sure that this was solely due to a failure of the built-in batteries. I replaced them with a more modern, non-battery NVRAM for under $10, and spent <$30 building a circuit to re-calibrate it (I didn't have access to a sufficiently good 250MHZ square wave generator with a 1 ns risetime and minimal overshoot/ringing) It was a gamble, but it paid off as I expected, and I'll probably recoup my costs by selling the calibration circuit on the Tektronix Yahoo group. Tektronix's calibrator runs $600+, used.


With some hand-holding from the Yahoo group, this was an afternoon project suitable for an an advanced beginner or intermediate who trusts their soldering skills (not all do, or should). Mine were honed by endless hours salvaging PCB parts as a broke kid.


More importantly, as a kid I'd always been in awe of the wizards who could casually fix o-scopes. Now I somehow am one!

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