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  • Full review of the Rigol DS1052E

    Posted on April 5th, 2009 EEVblog 61 comments

    The review of the Rigol in the first EEVblog had to be edited due to time constraints, so here is the full version.

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    • jeremy

      Thanks! Very useful!

    • steven

      Great blog! Please keep going on with it.
      As well i got my DS1052E some weeks ago, nice piece of equipment with so little money – this scope is a must for every enthusiast.

    • Craig

      Great blog mate. I’ve been looking into an entry level scope since I finished uni and lost access to their equipment. I’ve been looking at PC oscilloscopes and wondering how they stack up against the cheaper scopes like the DS1052E. Any chance of a PC scope review?

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        I’ve got access to one, so I might just have to do a review sometime…

    • http://mightyohm.com Jeff

      Have you looked at the 100MHz version, the DS1102E? It has an advertised bandwidth of 100MHz but if you look at the specs in the user manual, the “single shot bandwidth” is only 80MHz. Isn’t that kind of odd?

      Also I think it’s important to point out that the scope only samples at 1Gs/s in single channel mode. Using both channels drops you down to 500Ms/s. But in this price range, that is still really impressive!

      I’m curious how this scope stacks up against the cheaper Lecroy WaveAce scopes. They are about 2x the price but have a similar feature set (except for the huge memory depth).

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        No, not odd at all.
        The thing you have to understand about “single shot bandwidth” is that it is a completely made-up imaginary figure. The analog bandwidth is the analog bandwidth, it doesn’t change in “single shot” mode, so it is still 100MHz bandwidth.
        The single shot bandwidth is whatever the manufacturer (or you) calls it. The rule of thumb is 1/10th the sample rate (in this case 100MHz), but Rigol have obviously taken a more conservative figure of 80MHz instead. Nothing to be alarmed about at all. For practical purposes (10 samples/cycle is good enough) at 1GS/s it’s 100MHz, and 50MHz at 500MS/s dual channel mode.

    • Joe

      Thanks man, really needed an independent point of view. Keep up the good work!

    • Y.Man

      Rigol overclock DS1052E ADC:

      http://www.ouravr.com/bbs/bbs_content.jsp?bbs_sn=3428440&bbs_page_no=1&bbs_id=3043

      AD9288 BSTZ-40(40 MSPS) x5, overclock to 100 MSPS. Oh~No!
      (T_T)

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        Thanks!
        Have not seen inside this Rigol before.
        Very nice construction as to be expected.
        That’s pretty shifty to overclock those parts!
        Will investigate further, as I was of the understanding that Rigol used their own 1GS/s sampler…

    • Y.Man

      You are wellcome! (^_^)

      Please let us see inside (your DS1052E), we need the truth!
      We need your help!

      Thank you~!

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        I’d love to, except for that pesky “Warranty Void if Removed” sticker!
        When it’s my own scope and $$$ I get a tad nervous :->
        I’ve contacted the GM at Rigol, will see what they have to say (if anything?)…
        Wish I could read that Chinese forum!
        I wonder if they mind me using their photos in an upcoming blog? (this is too interesting to not comment on!)

        • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

          I’d also like to know more details of the analog front end.
          I suspect the circuit might be the same for both the 100MHz and 50MHz models, with perhaps just a few extra parts in the 50MHz model to limit (cripple) the bandwidth to 50MHz.
          I’d love to be able to examine the 50MHz and 100MHz circuits side-by-side…

    • Y.Man

      Photos owner “kitdog” say: Sure!
      If you let us see inside (your DS1052E), we will very happy! (^_^)

    • Tristan

      Hi Dave

      I have the Rigol DS1052E as well and think I have found a bug in the firmware. Can you try to reproduce it to see if it’s just me being a bit slow?

      If you set the triggering to normal, the force trigger button doesn’t work for any timebase slower than 20mS. If you set the triggering to single, the force trigger button works for all timebases (as long as you wait for the pretrigger buffer to fill before you press it).

      I’d appreciate it if you could confirm that this really is a bug before I report it to Rigol.

      Thanks

      Tristan

    • Mark

      Please, do open the scope and MEASURE the ADC clock frequency!

      I don’t think they’re overclocking ADCs, but only (if at all) sin(x)/x interpolating the acquisition, to make it harder to see (in stopped and zoomed-in display) that there’s maximally one sampled point per 5ns in 2ch mode, which coresponds to max. 200Msps.

      Another thing that suggests 200Msps limit is 200Msps limit on digital inputs (2 x 8bit) on their DS1102D model.
      (Besides 80MHz sigle shot bandwidth limit, which is practically the highest frequency that can be restored with sin(x)/x interpolation at 200Msps.)

      BTW, how many waveform points can be transfered to a computer via USB? (Programming manual only states: 1k of those displayed.)

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        The Sinx/x feature can be turned on and off, and you get 1GS/s in either mode. It also does not explain the older Rigol 1GS/s models (e.g. 5000 series) that do not have Sinx/x. Sinx/x is meant as a display-only post-sampling feature, and that is how everyone understands it. 1GS/s “real-time” sampling means only one thing.
        Quite simply, if it does not have a true 1GS/s sampler, then Rigol (and Agilent who re-babge them) are flat-out lying, and that would be a HUGE scandal. So I doubt this is actually happening. They are just using the 40MHz parts at 100MHz which is not a huge deal if they have done their homework.

        • dvlad666

          I’m also considering buying DS1052E but ob5erver’s comment looks reasonable. AD9288 datasheet clearly states 100 MSps sampling rate max for 9288 series. If so, how can we archieve 500MSps/ADC rate? Overclock 400%? Seems tooo chineese =)
          Rigol’s manual says:”The oscilloscope has Real-time sampling rate up to 1GSa/s. At the time base 50ns or faster, the oscilloscopes use the sine(x)/x interpolation to expand the horizontal time base.”
          50ns is 1/50*10^9=20Mhz! What does that mean? I think that means they’re trying to really HIDE the actual samples from the user. Why not let me see them as dots or lines?
          Because ADC is the only part of a scope that really samples the signal. If AD9288 is 100MSps max, then where do 500 come from?! Sure, one can state “if you measure a clear 100MHz clock signal on a 50MHz-bandwidth 500MSps unit, you will not see 5 dots (samples) of ‘1’ and 5 dots of ‘0’, you will see a sine-rounded form of that clock as a result of bandwidth limit”. That’s theory, does China have it’s own Physics laws? :)

          To the point, all i want to say is that with 100MSps ADC sampling rate 500MSps rate in specs is total rubbish! I see a simple way to check that – just measure a 100MHz clock (rectangle) signal. i’m not quite sure if DS1052 will do that (if it’s -3dB @ 50Mhz, it might be well below -100dB @ 100Mhz), but even DS1102 should not see anything (sure if it has 100MSps ADC sampling rate) at all (just direct line, because a 100MHz input sine will be sampled at 100MHz – i.e. always at the same phase of a sine.

          Has anybody tried mesuring 50MHz clock signsal using DS1052? Should be a pure sine,not even close to rectangle IMO.

          Anyways, Rigol does cost it’s money, but i think it lies and thats not good. HUGE scandal? No. Because 500MSps sampling rate, being hidden under 50MHz single shot bandwidth and 50MHz analog bandwidth CAN NO WAY BE ARGUED except opening the unit and deeply examining the ADCs themselves.

          What do you think, gentlemen?

          P.S. If you google-translate that chineese DS10552 forum link, the topic is called “Rigol caught with their pants down!”. With hand-polished ADC chips that sound pretty reasonable.

          • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

            @dvlad666
            The DS1052E has *10* ADC’s. They are clearly being used at 100MHz each in a staggered configuration to get a true 1GS/S sample rate. There is nothing funny going on at all.

            • dvlad666

              Thanks for your quick reply, David!

              My apologies to Rigol, i’ve made an inattentive inspection of PCB. Yes, I see five AD9288-like square chips on PCB (2 on bottom side), each having 2 (!) channels according to datasheet, so yes, that should give 500MSps/channel sampling rate.

              Has anybody been able to actually see 100MHz clock on DS1052?

              With 500MSps channel rate and 50MHz bandwidth (and if it’s a scope, then input filter should be Butterworth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterworth_filter and have long slope after 50Mhz) 100MHz signal may pass well abobe ADCs SNR ratio thus making it possible to see it.

    • Andy

      Does anyone (Dave?) have an idea as to how accurate the auto frequency measurement is on this scope?

      Thanks,

      Andy

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        it’s very accurate (as good as the crystal clock used (probably 25 or 50ppm), it actually uses a hardware frequency counter which you can enable and display separately form the usual software/sample derived frequency counter.

    • ob5erver

      Hi all,

      I have Rigol DS1102E since 3 months. It started to act weird last couple of weeks. When I started it or sometimes in the middle of normal work, it starts to show some random bars.
      Here is the photos illustrating that problem: http://fastsoft.tripod.com/rigol_problem1.jpg

      I suspect those overclocked ADCs AD9288, but I am not 100% sure. The Rigol support does not reply my emails unfortunately :(

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        That certainly looks like something with the analog front end.
        I can’t really see how the overclocked ADC’s would cause the problem, if anything I’d expect just an occasional bit error, but you never know.
        First time I’ve ever heard of a faulty Rigol. Be sure to keep us all updated on how well Rigol respond to warranty service.

      • Claude

        That’s exactly the point.
        The web is full of people saying “oh,why buy a lecroy WaveAce when you can have an equivalent rigol for half the price?”
        The answer is exactly where you are standing: lecroy covers 3 years warranty with full support including unit substitution in DOA cases – and they pay shipment back and forth! – plus 7 years post sale support for SW or Firmware updates.
        Add that they all speak english perfectly in any country you call them and you got the picture.
        Stick with quality :-)

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          Quality, service and support is indeed something you have to pay extra for.

    • ob5erver

      The problem is that I bough it from ebay without warranty :(
      I am not sure that the problem is with analog front end. When I try to change some settings when this random bars appears sometimes the scope freezes and stops responding. The scope inside have hot parts, those AD9288 are hot too but who knows…

    • ob5erver

      This royal piece of crap inverted his screen somehow?!
      http://fastsoft.tripod.com/rigol_problem2.jpg
      The start up logo is not inverted, only main screen. I give up. Looking for another scope to buy…:)

    • ob5erver

      I have managed to fix my scope. Here is the story:

      First I have started to measure the power supply. Everything was fine with it, the power lines was clear and stable when the scope was operating and when it was not.

      Then I verified that the front end is working by measuring the ad9288 inputs. There is two white relays which switches the front signal and can be used for measuring too.

      After that I have found that when the scope is not operational, the internal 1 KHz oscillator is not working. The ADC’s does not working too.

      Finally I have found that when the scope is working on one test point near the Cyclone III (TP515) there is 10 MHz signal, but when the scope does not working this signal is missing.

      Now I have started to suspect this FPGA for bad soldering problem and yes, after I resold it with my hot air solder station the scope is back to life.

      Meanwhile when I was playing with it, I have found that some of the electrolytic capacitors of the power supply was very, very hot because they are grilled above one transistor’s radiator. So this is potential problem for the future.

      There is one interesting thing, I thing that the model with logic analyzer uses the same main board and there is a connector I think 40 pinned or more, that is intended for the logic analyzer itself. I guess that if I put the logic analyzer model’s firmware this feature could be used, I need to investigate more, but this connector is connected directly to one lookup table LCMXO256.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        That was brave to resolder instead of getting it fixed under warranty!
        While you had it open did you manage to measure the ADC clock frequency to see if it’s overclocked at 100MHz? Lots of people waiting to see that one!
        Also, did you manage to take any close-up photos of the analog input circuitry under the metal can? Would be interesting to see how it compares to the 60MHz version.
        Great to hear you fixed it!

    • ob5erver

      I did not take the photos because everything is exactly the same as DS1052E and you can see it here in this Chinese forum: http://download.ourdev.cn/bbs_upload186494/files_16/ourdev_458353.JPG

      I am just hoping that the Rigol is using better version of AD9288 for 100 MHz DS1102E :)
      I did not measure the frequency because my analogue scope has only 20 MHz bandwidth.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Those photos aren’t really detailed enough to enable direct comparison between the components on the vertical amplifier. They aren’t exactly the same because the 1052E only has a 50MHz bandwidth, so it’s either a different design vertical amplifier, or the circuit has been “crippled” to only work at 50MHz.

    • http://nosite john

      @ob5erver

      it would be really nice if you can make some photos. Btw, you right with the “update to LA”, this will probably work, however you will have to have the complete firmware (and not only the “update part”) and to program it via jtag. I managed to update “another one china scope”, now have 200mhz instead of 100 mhz bandwidth, and of course i had to re-program the firmware – which was funny due the fact that programming via jtag have skipped two “bad marked” sectors – and of course DSO was not working. However with h-jtag i was able to erase the flash, re-program and restore the “bad sectors tags” from a copy of original firmware (thx to my china friend).

      Not sure what kind of firmware Rigol is using for updates, in some case it will be only necessary to change the internal “model tag”, but well, you have to create copy of the flash first, then you will see whats inside.

      • Terente

        Hi john, could you explain more about what jtag hardware you were using to upgrade that oscilloscope to 200 MHz. What model of oscilloscope?
        Thanks.

    • http://www.theclonestore.com Doug

      Hi!
      I purchased a DS1052E in july but haven’t had much time to play with it. I see the Rigol site does not have firmware updates do how would one implement upgrades without return to china?

      Thoughts please…
      Doug

    • Michael

      Put the firmware on a USB-Stick an turn the scope on ?

    • Jojo

      Hi!
      I have ordered this scope today, too, because I’m impressed by the value for money…
      Are the any news about the possibility to “upgrade the DS1052 to 100MHz or to implement the LA?
      Maybe it is possible to download the firmware FROM the scope (DS1102), publish it, and than load it to a 1052 model?

      Greets,
      Jojo

    • gregor

      Hi !

      Below is a link to the Rigol site with a Users Manula to a new RIGOL DS1062E/D-EDU and DS1152E/D-EDU series oscilloscopes:
      http://www.rigol.com/templates/T_Support_en/index.aspx?nodeid=80&page=ListPage&keyword=DS1000E

      Why Rigol do not tell anything about them ?

      Best regards,
      Gregor

    • luciano

      Hi Dave,
      I’m just about to purchase a new scope.
      Actually, I`m between the Rigol Ds1052e and the GW Instek GDS-1062A (http://temtecsa.com.ar/ecommerce/product_info.php?cPath=21_53&products_id=166)
      Both have so similar features excecpt for the memory lenght (Instek has an extra MegaWord). Despite that, Rigol has a better view in the TFT screen (I think because of the backlight), besides I saw a different perfomance in the Real time FFT, it seems to have better resolution.
      Have you tried the other scope? What`s your opinion? the price is almost the same for both

    • luciano

      Hi Dave,
      I’m just about to purchase a new scope.
      Actually, I`m between the Rigol Ds1052e and the GW Instek GDS-1062A (http://temtecsa.com.ar/ecommerce/product_info.php?cPath=21_53&products_id=166)
      Both have so similar features excecpt for the memory lenght (Instek has an extra MegaWord). Despite that, Rigol has a better view in the TFT screen (I think because of the backlight), besides I saw a different perfomance in the Real time FFT, it seems to have better resolution.
      Have you tried the other scope? What`s your opinion? the price is almost the same for both
      Thak you very much
      Luciano. Argentina

      • luciano

        MArcos, finalmente compre el rigol DS1052E, y puedo decirte que es muy buen equipo. y cada cosa nueva q descubro me sorprende.
        sin duda vale la pena… nada q envidiar a los Tektronix de la linea TDS
        Respecto de la version DS1052D, no puedo decirte nada y por otra parte no tengo experiencia en el uso de analizadores logicos

    • Bill

      Howdy!!!
      I ALMOST bought the OWON 25 mhz scope on ebay for about 400.
      THEN I saw your review/hack for the Rigol DS1052 and found it on dealextreme (dot) com for 389 with free shipping!!!!! WOW!!!
      YOU sold me on the Rigol.
      THANK YOU for the indepth look inside and the procedure for the “upgrade”. I don’t know what FW version is in the scope I bought, but I will “downgrade” it, hack it, the use your procedure for upgrading it. I just need to find the pre 2.02 FW. Any ideas where it is??
      Thanks!!!

    • JeffS

      Hi,
      Remember, there are a lot of counterfeit chips from the chinks. The ADC,s in the Rigol
      AD9288-40 might be fake.
      This gives 2 incentives to scratch out the top markings on the chips, the first is for
      reverse engineering protection and the 2nd is for cover-up of the fake stuff. Although the
      real ones are only $3.41 at 10k q. In the final analysis you can

      • Cuong Chau

        There is room for educated comments and feedbacks, here.

        However, you should leave your ignorant racist slur off the forum, JeffS.

    • Istvan

      Hy!

      Can you help me please?
      I have a RIGOL DS1102D oscilloscope. It’s working greate. But I do not know, how can I export the datas in excel. I read the manual and the help and I everything did, but the worksheet is fully with zeros. If you know the source of the problem, please tell me.

      Thanks!!!!!!!!

    • Ilario

      Hi,

      I have a DS1102CD with a busted CH2 (no trace seen). It is out of warranty now and Rigol want $800 for a replacement main PCB. Does anyone know the whereabouts for the full schematics for this model or at the very least the front end inputs schematic?

      Thanks

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I have not heard of anyone who has been able to obtain a schematic, Rigol seem to be guarding it very closely unfortunately!

    • Bill

      I too have purchased the DS1052E and performed your upgrade with SUCCESS!!!
      I wanted to know if anyone has measured the power supplies that it uses, and the possibility of building a battery pack for it? What would the ampacity of the pack need to be for about 1-2 hours of operation? Is it even worthwhile building a pack and hacking the scope?
      My “warranty seal” is on the bottom of the case, outside along the split between the front and the back covers.

    • Paul

      Thanks for the excellen review.

      What is your opinion about UNI-T scopes especially UTD2102CEL ?

      http://cgi.ebay.com/Uni-T-wide-screen-OSCILLOSCOPE-100MHz-UT2102CEL-1G-/170496579775

      Thanks
      Paul

    • Paul

      A nice explanation of digital scopes and sampling from TEKTRONIX:

      http://www2.tek.com/cmswpt/tidetails.lotr?ct=TI&cs=Application+Note&ci=14295&lc=EN

      Paul

    • Figo

      Hi there,
      I’m glad to share a site to buy rigol ds1052e: http://www.dealexcel.com/rigol-ds-1052e-50-mhz-2-channel-digital-oscilloscope_p363.html
      I almost could not believe its price is US$359.99 including delivery, but i still ordered one.
      Ps, the package is shipped via EMS Express, i received it 7days later, Los Angeles, California

    • Neil

      Thanks for the Awesome review and the discussion. I have been long waiting to buy a good logic analyzer + digital storage ocsilloscope. After reading this, I am very tempting to buy DS1102D, but cannot find more infor on the logic analyzer function of the unit.

      Because I am doing work on the 3v logic on the micros, I wonder whether this model supports range of Triggering Voltage range to cover the need or it just support 5v TTL, or should I be looking for some other model?

    • luciano

      Hi Istvan,
      In regards to your question about the possibilitty to export a excel file, the answer is, yes you can do it!!
      Go to the storage menu, and choose “.CSV” files in the format options.
      You can save it for example in a pendrive.
      “.CSV” files mean “comma separated values” and you will be able to open it with the Excel aplication. If you hace some troubles, send me your doubts to [email protected]
      Chau

    • http://shaunak.ws Shaunak

      Hi,

      I was using a DS1102 from Rigol. Sometimes it simply refuses to save waveforms to an external USB drive. It says “file module failed”. If I unplug the USB drive, and reset, it functions normally with the internal memory.

      Why does this happen?

    • looker

      Hi I just bought a DS1052E on Amazon for $355 Does anyone know if the 100mHz hack still works on the models there shipping now?

      Im an oldie. I’m 60. I had tech training back in 1976. Now I want to do some hobby guitar amp repair and Arduino hacking. I hope this scope will do it all, meaning Analog too.

      Thanks

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      Full review of the Rigol DS1052E | EEVblog – The Electronics Engineering Video Blog