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John A. Zoidberg
02-08-2012, 11:03 AM
I believe some of you have oscilloscope at home - and you can do all sorts of testing at your own comfort.

So, should a hobbyist own an oscilloscope? Some said it isn't necessary, but another said it saves a lot of time.

I'm currently eyeing on the Rigol D1052 one with the 50MHz sampling frequency.

What do you think? :)

Gadgetman
02-08-2012, 12:35 PM
Scopes just means you're serious about your hobby and are willing to invest a few dollars in it.
And yes, if you know how to use one, it can save you considerable time, especially if you're working with analogue circuits.
I only have a small pen-shaped portable myself, but as I don't do much analogue work, it hasn't really been a priority for me.

That scope has a 50MHz bandwidth, yes, but the sample rate is much higher.
Here's a bit of info about modding it for 100MHz bandwidth.
http://mightyohm.com/blog/2010/03/rigol-ds1052e-50mhz-to-100mhz-scope-conversion/

If you plan to view digital signals, remember that you need a 10x bandwidth if you want to display a square wave.
(A square has the 'base frequency' and 3x, 5x, 7x, 9x and so on harmonics. The more of those you can accommodate, the cleaner the signal will look)

ElectricAye
02-08-2012, 12:57 PM
When I started out making my own electronic gizmos, there were two things I delayed getting which, in retrospect, I should have acquired at the very start. One was a heat gun (nowadays I can't live without heat shrink tubing) and the other is an oscilloscope. I got an old one off of ebay for a couple hundred bucks, and though it has a few problems, I've found I can't live without it. Troubleshooting without being able to see what the signals are doing is like trying to drive blindfolded down a sidewalk populated with texting teenagers.

max72
02-08-2012, 01:06 PM
I got a Picoscope many years ago, and more recently I got a logic analyzer (the saleae).
I seldom work with analogue circuits, so I use the saleae much more often.
Consider if you need an oscilloscope or a logic analyzer first of all.....
With the Picoscope I can decode logic signals, but 2 vs 8 channels make a lot of difference while debugging.
Massimo

blittled
02-08-2012, 01:53 PM
I rarely use mine but when I do it is very useful. I actually lucked out on an oscilloscope. A place I was working for was cleaning out a storage room and they were about to trash an oscilloscope so I scarfed it up. It is a bit finicky and sometimes doesn't work and one of the probes is missing but it was free so I'm not complaining.

RDL2004
02-08-2012, 03:03 PM
Changing the Rigol DS1052E from 50 to 100 MHz is a software hack, it doesn't require any hardware modifications.

http://www.eevblog.com/tag/rigol/


I don't know if the current version can be modded this way, it's possible for Rigol to have changed their software.

I have a DS1052E and it's a nice piece of equipment. The small size makes it very convenient to use. It takes up very little space and is easy to move around. I have never made the 100 MHz mod, because I have a Tektronix that does 100 MHz if I need that capability.

If all you're doing is programming you can get by without a scope. If you do any kind of hardware design/construction, I would consider a scope as a necessity.

ratronic
02-08-2012, 03:04 PM
John when I really had to budget I had bought something like this (http://www.ebay.com/itm/DSO-2090-100MSa-s-PC-USB-Digital-Storage-Oscilloscope-/130511798988?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item1e631c02cc) and am still using it it works great. But I am ready to step up I have bought a Fluke multimeter and looking at some Tektronics scopes.

jazzed
02-08-2012, 03:45 PM
A scope is useful for making sure you have good timing relationships. It eliminates guessing and frustration.
Currently I have a lowly rated and relatively big LG scope, but I've been looking at the small ADS1102CML.

So, why the Atten ADS1102CML?

I want features like DSO, FFT, and PC connection both Rigol and Atten have these.
Seems they are from the same OEM, but there are some differences.


100MHz and 2GSamples/second (minimum speed for me)
Better display "points" resolution at 2Mpts
Bigger screen 7" -vs- 5.3" diagonal

davejames
02-08-2012, 03:47 PM
So, should a hobbyist own an oscilloscope? Some said it isn't necessary, but another said it saves a lot of time.

This isn't a "hobbyist" issue.

Doing any kind of work requires the right tool.

Doing any kind of electronic work, hobbyist or professional, analog or digital without an o'scope would be like painting the Mona Lisa with a hammer and screwdriver.

Buy a scope - you.will.not.regret.it

ElectricAye
02-08-2012, 03:56 PM
..... like painting the Mona Lisa with a hammer and screwdriver....

You'll need an oscilloscope and a pumpkin.


http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b391/aggielisa9/Misc/MonaLisa-Real-2006-Rockport3.jpg

lardom
02-08-2012, 04:34 PM
I would love to have an o'scope. I would use almost as much as my multimeter.

gclouse
02-08-2012, 05:18 PM
Several years ago I bought a Hioki HiCorder model 8804 from the Unclaimed Baggage store in Alabama thinking it was a digital oscilloscope. Paid $25 for it. It turned out to be a multi kilobuck gizmo that combines the functions of a data logger, oscilliscope, and logic analyzer in a package about the size of a text book.
It's a 1995 model with a 400 kHz sampling rate, but still useful for audio and similar low speed work.

wmosscrop
02-08-2012, 05:21 PM
My 20mhz analog 'scope has been a real timesaver. Of note are the times that I was quickly able to find a bad connection or ground... or that I forgot to do a DIRA for an output port :)

It has been my most expensive investment (for this hobby) but I suspect there are some projects I would have never gotten to work without it.

Walter

KMyers
02-08-2012, 05:24 PM
Hi, if you are interested in a USB type scope check out the bitscope at www.bitscope.com (http://www.bitscope.com) I have used mine for several years and it also has a logic analyzer pod built in. Works great for my prop and stamp projects and some rf designs.

jmg
02-09-2012, 02:32 AM
I'm currently eyeing on the Rigol D1052 one with the 50MHz sampling frequency.


You could also pop DSO203 Nano, ( or even DSO201 Nano for tighter budgets) into eBay, and see how those compare ?
The DSO203 I see now has an Aluminum case option, as well as plastic.
The DSO203 even has more pixels, than the Rigol D1052....

zoopydogsit
02-09-2012, 10:08 AM
I have a very dusty Tektronix 465B, I use it when I need to look at the shape or timing of signals that I generate. I got mine from from eBay for about $200 a few years ago. It's blown up a couple of times, but fortunately I've been able to fix it (shorted tantallum capacitors, broken knob shafts, fuses, etc). They are great for looking at timming/waveshape, etc. I've been writing a DTMF generator on the Prop, the Oscilloscope is the only way of understanding the wave-shape. Though, unless you really have the need and know how to use an Oscilloscope you may want to look at alternatives.

Meanwhile I'd strongly recommend getting a LOGIC PROBE. You can get them for about $20. They tell you the logic level and also if the I/O is toggling, and some will even give you a tone for the signal. I'm on my 5th one in 30 years. I use it regularly for coding/troubleshooting. They are great for troubleshooting, helping you see what is happening without looking at an Oscilloscope. As an example, I built my own SMD Propeller board, and found that the Prop wasn't resetting/loading, lots of faults to track down (soldering, cracked tracks, etc), the logic probe was great to follow the signal changes from the USB connector through the FT232RL, to the Prop and to the Eeprom, then to the other devices connected. Can't do that with a standard multimeter, and it's a lower price. I've also repaired low voltage analog circuits with them. I use it far more than my Oscilloscope (hence the dust). Mine is permanently clipped on pins on my Prop proto-typing environment. When I'm writing some code and don't understand what's happening, I look at the pin with the logic probe and get an understanding of whether anything is happening. It's just another tool, but one I strongly recommend!

John A. Zoidberg
02-09-2012, 11:37 AM
Thanks for the opinions. I'm looking at the 50MHz Rigol D1052 - it's sold nearby my place. Plus he may give student discounts, so, I would consider that. (I'm working and studying, that's why)


You could also pop DSO203 Nano, ( or even DSO201 Nano for tighter budgets) into eBay, and see how those compare ?
The DSO203 I see now has an Aluminum case option, as well as plastic.
The DSO203 even has more pixels, than the Rigol D1052....

I have the DSO203. Thing is, it is pretty good in diagnosing small signals and some signal profiling, but on many times, it is not fast enough to catch higher frequency PWM despite it has 1MHz sampling frequency. Probably the maximum 500KHz will appear on that, I guessed.

Leon
02-09-2012, 12:00 PM
I still use an old 100 MHz Tek 2235 scope. The timebase switch is a bit intermittent on some settings (a common fault and spares aren't available) but works OK with a bit of wiggling.

davejames
02-09-2012, 03:27 PM
You'll need an oscilloscope and a pumpkin.

WOW! I never saw that one coming!!

:lol:

jmg
02-09-2012, 08:17 PM
I have the DSO203. Thing is, it is pretty good in diagnosing small signals and some signal profiling, but on many times, it is not fast enough to catch higher frequency PWM despite it has 1MHz sampling frequency. Probably the maximum 500KHz will appear on that, I guessed.

Are you thinking of the DSO201 ?

I can see the DSO201 claims 1 MSPS, (on chip ADC) but the DSO203 uses a FPGA and external ADC, and claims

["Sampling rate 30S/s - 72MS/s"]

- so that 72Msps should be enough to manage most problems ?