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mtlevine0

Advice on purchasing my first scope

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I'm an EE undergrad and i've been wanting to purchase a scope for a while, I think I can finally afford a somewhat decent one for hobby use.

 

I'm debating whether or not to get a used older model from a well known name brand such as Tektronix or if buying a new chinese model is worth any possible risk in quality etc.

 

I have a price range of roughly $200 to $400 and I'm thinking 100 Mhz bandwidth is enough for any projects I'll be using it for.

 

What do you guys suggest?

 

Heres some that I've looked at (ebay links are just for reference):

http://www.saelig.com/PSBE100/PSPC017.htm

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEKTRONIX-TDS-340-DIGITAL-2-CHANNEL-100MHz-OSCILLOSCOPE-/330726883754?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item4d00dbc1aa#ht_1377wt_1141

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATTEN-ADS1102CA ... 2803wt_955

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Rigol-DS110 ... 1135wt_955

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TDS-340 you linked to does not have any expansion cards so you will not be able to hook it up to your computer. In addition, it's CRT so it's large and heavy. For ~$350-$500 you can get TDS 1002B (60MHz) or similar.

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Get the Rigol from Saelig. It is a popular proven model from a reputable retailer. Some of the other low cost 'scopes have various firmware glitches that may never be fixed.

 

The Tek TDS200 and TDS1000 series are very good monochrome LCD DSOs. I wouldn't pay more than about $200 for one due to their age and buffer size (2.5k). They typically go for $250 to $500 on eBay.

 

The older Tek and HP/Agilent CRT DSOs are quality stuff, but they are old and could fail at any time. Repair may be difficult or impossible, so not recommended.

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Thanks for the input I knew the 43OH community would provide some good insight. Some guys r/electronics are also advocating the Rigol scope. At the moment I'm looking at a Tek TDS320 and a Tek TDS360 on Ebay I'll take either if I can get the total with shipping to be less than $200.

 

Also what do you guys think of the HP/Agilent Scopes? I've used the ones in like link below in all my EE labs so far.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Agilent-5460 ... 3377477e2b

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I have a HP 54645D - the original mixed signal (2 analog + 16 digital) MegaZoom scope. Of all the scopes I have it is by far my favorite. The ability to capture 2 million samples and then zoom in with the twist of of knob is wonderful. The CRT is clearer than many LCD scopes of the same era (such as the Tek TDS200 series), and has fast refresh. Be aware that Agilent will no longer service the older MegaZoom scopes (5460x/5464x series), so if it breaks you are screwed. Of all the old CRT MegaZoom models, the 54621D or 54622D would be the most desirable. They where the least expensive second generation mixed signal MegaZoom.

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The 54621D/54622D typically go for $1000 or more. At that price I can't recommend it. The new Agilent DSOX2000 start at $1200 and you would be a fool to get anything else in that price range - they really are that good.

 

If it where possible to get one in good working condition for ~$400, then it's a tough call. It offers a larger buffer and mixed signal, but if it breaks it may be a total loss.

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Would you pick HP54622D (used, cheaper) over DS1102E (new, warranty, portable)?

 

Thats a good point Rob, the 3 year warranty the Rigol would come with is a big selling point for me.

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I got a Rigol 1052e, i'm likewise a college undergrad. Works great for pretty much everything. However, anything fancy such as ultra high frequency reading, digital data decoding, or low voltage waveforms is going to require alot more money to have any measure of quality.

 

330 usd. from rigol directly: http://www.rigolna.com/products/digital ... e/ds1052e/

very little risk involved with these guys since they are hugely popular among hobbyists.

 

Only cons is that they come with cheap plastic knobs that crack and some of the firmware has a random screen flicker that happens 1-2 every 5 or so minutes. You can fix it by reverting to old firmware. Its not a very hard update. You can also rather easily overclock these guys to 100mhz should you so wish.

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So have you tried the mod username? I've been looking into the mod, currently I'm debating if I should just spend the extra $50 for the 1102e. The two scopes actually have identical hardware, basically you just tell the 1052e that it is a 1102e through USB or RS232 and that enables the 100mHz bandwidth. Rigol has been trying to combat this with firmware upgrades on newly sold models but it doesn't seem like they have had much success (link to the EEVBlog forum discussion).

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We've got the 1052 from Rigol at work and use it constatly. I did the 100MHz mod. Glad we ordered it and if I was going to get a little hobby scope I'd definately pick one up.

 

I agree with username completely.

 

It's a bit cheaper than $330, you've got $15 shipping but I think $30 off if you take the extra discount survey in the checkout.

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As nobody chimed in yet with the topic... with any of the scopes mentioned don't forget to include a good pair of x1/x10 probes. They are not cheap at all and that's why I'm telling not forget to consider them. They are the interface from your circuit to your 'scope so they'd rather be good.

For a 60 MHz scope a pair of 100 MHz ones will do, and if in a pinch and have to choose between a x1 and a x10, choose the x10, that will load (and disturb) the circuits under measure less than a x1, that BTW have a way more limited useful bandwidth.

You need to check that the chosen probes have an appropriate capacity for the scope inputs.

 

HTH

Gaston

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