Author Topic: Is the Rigol DS1054Z still the best buy for a cheap entry level oscilloscope?  (Read 5044 times)

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Offline wa7son

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Dave did a nice review of the Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope back in January 2015:



At the time this was THE starter scope to buy, but I imagine a lot of stuff have happened since. Is this still the recommended scope if you're on a budget?
 

Online tautech

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Welcome to the forum.

Everyone's on a budget but what you get for that budget can be another matter plus the experience with a scope will further dictate requirements.
Since 2015 there's been quite a few entry level DSO's released including 2 new Siglents that are at least worthy of some study.....presuming you know what you want and know how to properly line one against another.
Models I refer to are SDS1202X-E and the newer 4ch variants SDS1104X-E and 1204X-E.

There's a comparison between them all in the first post here:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/
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Online JS

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For not much more you can have the SDS1104X-E from Siglent, which is much modern stuff (lunched 6 month ago or so)

With the Signlent you can add later a function generator (and make bode plots with it), a logic analyzer and/or wifi. Also has all the good stuff as standard, like serial decoding, 100MHz BW. Very fast capture rate (up to 400Wfms/S, etc.

It has some downsides, as it's recently lunched the firmware could be better, and there are still bugs to be found, the Rigol is quite polished by now.

https://www.siglent.eu/sds1104x-e.html

I'm looking to get one of those, most likely the siglent, and if I can with the waveform generator from the start as I don't have one.  The problem here (in Argentina) are shipping costs about U$200 and custom taxes (50% over price+shipping) so with the waveform generator is about U$1500 once I got it to my hands.   |O

I wouldn't go or the SDS1202X-E since you loose a lot of the good stuff, over the 2 chanels (all the optionals for instance). The SDS1202X-E is more expensive as it has 200MHz BW but keeps the sampling rate the same, so doesn't much a ton of sense unless you really need to measure things over 100MHz

JS
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Offline wa7son

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Thanks a lot - seems like Siglent is everybody's new favorite :D

I'm not sure if I need the 200Mhz of the SDS1202X-E/SDS1204X-E versions or if I even need 4 channels. I'm not sure if I really need a function generator either, unless it's required to tune the probes as I've seen people do using a square wave? I've heard people talk about bode plots as well, but I'm not sure what that is.

Since you asked, I can just share a little of what my needs are. I've never used an oscilloscope before, but I've been working with RF digital signal processing on a hobby basis with the HackRF and have done a few talks on the topic.

During my work with DSP, I've often needed to inspect digital signals and recently I've been trying to reverse engineer an RS485 signal which got me thinking that it would be really nice to own an oscilloscope. I was a backer of the OpenScope MZ project on Kickstarter, but haven't gotten it to work on my Mac yet, and I saw Daves review of it as well which let me to start dreaming on owning something a bit better. My budget is probably around where the Rigol is at $350 USD, but if there's something for $500 USD that's "just that much better" then it might be worth for me spending the extra bucks.

- The Rigol DS1054Z is $349 on Amazon.com
- The Siglent SDS1104X-E is $499 on Amazon.com
- The Siglent SDS1202X-E is $379 on Amazon.com

What's a use-case where you'd normally need more than 2 channels on a scope?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 06:39:30 pm by wa7son »
 

Offline cs.dk

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I'm not sure if I really need a function generator either, unless it's required to tune the probes as I've seen people do using a square wave?
The cal-signal is build in, in all scopes afaik. Never seen one without it.
I've got the Rigol, and i'm quite happy with it. It is really up to your personal needs, spending 150$ more, or just go with the Rigol.
Btw. I've got mine from Batronix
 
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Online tautech

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Simple Bode plot example I did a few weeks back:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1435854/#msg1435854

If you get into more advanced protocol decoding than RS485 you'd be better with 4 channels.

Here on EEVblog there's a good # of members with each of the models you're considering and some with both. There's also a heap of info in the thread I've linked and also on both SDS1104X-E and SDS1202X-E that Dave's also done a vids on.
With Siglents you don't have to hack to get excellent functionality from but as yet no one's found cracks for the options in the 4ch X-E's but there are some 'work arounds' for the WiFi and AWG options that allow Bode plots with other than Siglent standalone AWG's or the need to get the SAG1021 USB module.

The 1202X-E is proving very popular and the 4ch X-E's are 'next level' in terms of capabilities.
Good luck with your decision.
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Offline Distelzombie

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I was wondering why didn't get a notification because I wrote in this thread a few weeks ago. Then I realized it just has the same name. xD
No problem, the other thread was years old anyway - except the end of it.

Im also going to buy me a SDS1104X-E . I just have to wait... wait... and save.  :'( :'( :'( :'(

Offline Electro Detective

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The Siglent-E is $499  = NO BRAINER!   :clap: 

It's a later/latest? model, and should hold its value a lot better if you decide to sell 

4 channels are good to have, but if you don't know what to do with the extra ch 3 and 4, put a piece of duct tape over them, works for me    ;D

Whatever you buy, make sure it has the latest firmware update,  to minimize on  'Help, I think my new DSO is not a happy camper'  posts   :phew:

 
 
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Online JS

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Thanks a lot - seems like Siglent is everybody's new favorite :D

I'm not sure if I need the 200Mhz of the SDS1202X-E/SDS1204X-E versions or if I even need 4 channels. I'm not sure if I really need a function generator either, unless it's required to tune the probes as I've seen people do using a square wave? I've heard people talk about bode plots as well, but I'm not sure what that is.

Since you asked, I can just share a little of what my needs are. I've never used an oscilloscope before, but I've been working with RF digital signal processing on a hobby basis with the HackRF and have done a few talks on the topic.

During my work with DSP, I've often needed to inspect digital signals and recently I've been trying to reverse engineer an RS485 signal which got me thinking that it would be really nice to own an oscilloscope. I was a backer of the OpenScope MZ project on Kickstarter, but haven't gotten it to work on my Mac yet, and I saw Daves review of it as well which let me to start dreaming on owning something a bit better. My budget is probably around where the Rigol is at $350 USD, but if there's something for $500 USD that's "just that much better" then it might be worth for me spending the extra bucks.

- The Rigol DS1054Z is $349 on Amazon.com
- The Siglent SDS1104X-E is $499 on Amazon.com
- The Siglent SDS1202X-E is $379 on Amazon.com

What's a use-case where you'd normally need more than 2 channels on a scope?
  I ended up buying the Rigol today, the other would cost twice as much for me, too much shipping and after weeks of search only an ebay seller would deliver to Argentina, had it at $600 + $200 shipping (not counting the options). It was almost twice as much, not just $150, more like $400.
  Rigol was $350+$75 shipping. I still want a signal generator but I can live with very little, I could build something for next to nothing that's good enough for what I need or expend some time and do something decent with the parts I got in the bin.
  Too bad to hear about the openscope, those things are nice to have, even when it's not a good scope for you anymore could be a nice evelopment board to build a fast solution for something, you might get it to work at some point. I was looking for the red pitaya some time ago, similar thing I guess, higher specs and price. I have a STM32F3 discovery with 12b 5MSa/s ADCs and 12b DAC (good for over 250KSa/s) so I might play around with it at some point. I got it cheap used so I bought it to investigate.

The Siglent-E is $499  = NO BRAINER!   :clap: 

It's a later/latest? model, and should hold its value a lot better if you decide to sell 

4 channels are good to have, but if you don't know what to do with the extra ch 3 and 4, put a piece of duct tape over them, works for me    ;D

Whatever you buy, make sure it has the latest firmware update,  to minimize on  'Help, I think my new DSO is not a happy camper'  posts   :phew:
Don't tape 3 and 4, tape 2 and 4 and you get twice as much sampling rate!
4ch is a good thing, 2 for monitoring the serial bus and 2 for looking what the circuit is doing in sync.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline larsdenmark

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If you haven't ever tried a scope before you may want to start with an analog scope. I have one you can get for free if you are willing to buy your own probes (I live in Copenhagen).

Digital scopes can of course do much more, but having any scope can make the world of a difference from not being able to see any signal values at all. Once you have a little experience with an analog scope you may be able to decide what features and channels you really need.
 
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Offline Adrian_Arg.

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JS, yo compre un RIGOL EL 15/02/2018 en tequipment  EEUU, 430 dolares con envio mas 200 dolares de impuestos en Argentina, el hago cosas en arduino y pequeños proyectos de electronica, me alcanza y sobra. Tequipment con el tema de soporte post venta MALO, me dijeron que me comunique con RIGOL, y los de rigol despues de 1 mes  de enviar mail, se pusieron en contacto conmigo, creo que me solucionaron el problema veremos con el tiempo si es asi, el equipo una maravilla, me gustaba el siglent pero eran 150 dolares mas y sumale 75 de impuestos con eso me compro un generador de funciones fy6600,  y casi una estacion china de soldado, lo mio es hobby. que disfrutes tu compra.

in english
JS, I buy a RIGOL on 02/15/2018 in tequipment USA, 430 dollars with shipping plus 200 dollars of taxes in Argentina, I do things in Arduino and small electronics projects, I get enough. Tequipment with the subject of post-sale support MALO, they told me to contact RIGOL, and those of rigol after 1 month of sending mail, they got in touch with me, I think they solved the problem, we'll see with time if it's like that, the equipment a marvel, I liked the siglent but they were 150 dollars more and I added 75 of taxes with that I bought a generator of functions fy6600, and almost a Chinese station of soldier, mine is a hobby. Enjoy your purchase
 

Offline JaspaJami

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Rigol DS1054Z is now 339€ VAT 0% (VAT24% 420,36€) with BND-MSO/DS1000Z options (so all the options. I know you can also hack them, but i think its nice to have licensed ones).
https://iosignal.fi/shop/oscilloscopes/ds1000z/rigol-bnd-mso-ds1000z/

Is there any decent competitions lets say under 500-600€ price? I have used before mostly only analog ones. But now looking for a cheap digital one for my hobby lab that is now without any scope.
 

Offline rstofer

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Just read the thread back a few replies.  The Siglent SDS-1104 (100 MHz 4 channels) or the SDS-1202 (200 MHz 2 channels) meet your criteria.  Unfortunately, the one I want, the SDS-2204 (200 MHz 4 channels) is a lot more money.
 
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Offline JaspaJami

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ok, have to check that one more carefully. Can bus decoding is quite interesting that seems to be missing from Rigol
 

Online JS

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JS, I buy a RIGOL on 02/15/2018 in tequipment USA, 430 dollars with shipping plus 200 dollars of taxes in Argentina, I do things in Arduino and small electronics projects, I get enough. Tequipment with the subject of post-sale support MALO, they told me to contact RIGOL, and those of rigol after 1 month of sending mail, they got in touch with me, I think they solved the problem, we'll see with time if it's like that, the equipment a marvel, I liked the siglent but they were 150 dollars more and I added 75 of taxes with that I bought a generator of functions fy6600, and almost a Chinese station of soldier, mine is a hobby. Enjoy your purchase

  I know it's a good piece of equipment, the Agilent was a tempting purchase as it has many features, not only the signal generator and bode plotting. I'm very used to do bode plottings and found them so useful as I work a lot with audio and freq/phase response is all, much more useful than looking at time domain signals. For audio freq is easy with the PC, 24 bits converters and all the toys there. The update rate in the siglent is much faster, record mode always on to catch the glitch you missed, the option to add the mixed sinal after the fact, same with signal gen and wifi(kind of a toy, network is fine).
 
  I guess I should have a code to do the bode in matlab or something and capture the data to the PC, but I'm use to do post processing of osciloscope data in the computer, as many things you can't do just with math data from the scope, would be nice that scope brands let people add it's own software to them as apps to process the data, haven't seen that though or the Rigol at least.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline Distelzombie

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If you haven't ever tried a scope before you may want to start with an analog scope. I have one you can get for free if you are willing to buy your own probes (I live in Copenhagen).

Digital scopes can of course do much more, but having any scope can make the world of a difference from not being able to see any signal values at all. Once you have a little experience with an analog scope you may be able to decide what features and channels you really need.

I'm saying it: Buying an analoge scope today, for inevitably 150€ (incl. Repair, probes...), is NOT a good thing to suggest. My opinion is:
1. They are mostly either defect or have been repaired before = High change it will break again soon.
2. They're 20 to 30 years old and have disappointingly low amount of features.
3. You paying so much for them, the same money could go into the 100€ DSO from Banggood. It is better -> because of it's many features, not bandwidth. You can flash your own firmware on it and will do whatever math function you want it to do.

So I will never buy tech that is 30 years old just to... to what? Are you telling me to get it for training purposes? (Do you buy yourself a Z80 computer before you buy a new laptop?) What's the purpose of old, failing hardware that isn't calibrated anymore? Training? Like, those toys you played with when you were 1-4? You can't trust what it tells you, so the only thing you can do with it is play.

Offline rstofer

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  I know it's a good piece of equipment, the Agilent was a tempting purchase as it has many features, not only the signal generator and bode plotting. I'm very used to do bode plottings and found them so useful as I work a lot with audio and freq/phase response is all, much more useful than looking at time domain signals. For audio freq is easy with the PC, 24 bits converters and all the toys there. The update rate in the siglent is much faster, record mode always on to catch the glitch you missed, the option to add the mixed sinal after the fact, same with signal gen and wifi(kind of a toy, network is fine).
 
  I guess I should have a code to do the bode in matlab or something and capture the data to the PC, but I'm use to do post processing of osciloscope data in the computer, as many things you can't do just with math data from the scope, would be nice that scope brands let people add it's own software to them as apps to process the data, haven't seen that though or the Rigol at least.

JS

Do these scope based Bode' plots include phase?  I can see how they can sweep a voltage and measure amplitude but I am curious if they also somehow display phase.  More stuff to read, I suppose.

BTW, a Bode' plot without phase is pretty much worthless.  I can get the same answers with a DMM and a pencil and paper.
 

Offline JaspaJami

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I did order Siglent SDS1104X-E today. Little bit more expensive than Rigol DS1054Z, but i think its better for my use.
 

Online vk6zgo

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  I know it's a good piece of equipment, the Agilent was a tempting purchase as it has many features, not only the signal generator and bode plotting. I'm very used to do bode plottings and found them so useful as I work a lot with audio and freq/phase response is all, much more useful than looking at time domain signals. For audio freq is easy with the PC, 24 bits converters and all the toys there. The update rate in the siglent is much faster, record mode always on to catch the glitch you missed, the option to add the mixed sinal after the fact, same with signal gen and wifi(kind of a toy, network is fine).
 
  I guess I should have a code to do the bode in matlab or something and capture the data to the PC, but I'm use to do post processing of osciloscope data in the computer, as many things you can't do just with math data from the scope, would be nice that scope brands let people add it's own software to them as apps to process the data, haven't seen that though or the Rigol at least.

JS

Do these scope based Bode' plots include phase?  I can see how they can sweep a voltage and measure amplitude but I am curious if they also somehow display phase.  More stuff to read, I suppose.

BTW, a Bode' plot without phase is pretty much worthless.  I can get the same answers with a DMM and a pencil and paper.

When I learnt about these things, a "Bode" plot was an idealised rendition of the response of a network, with
Amplitude & Phase  shown as changing  sharply at "break points".

The plot you could realise in the real world with a signal generator & level meter  or a tracking generator &
Spectrum Analyser was normally called a " frequency response plot".

In real life, the "break points "are not sharp, but gradual.
 

Online tautech

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  I know it's a good piece of equipment, the Agilent was a tempting purchase as it has many features, not only the signal generator and bode plotting. I'm very used to do bode plottings and found them so useful as I work a lot with audio and freq/phase response is all, much more useful than looking at time domain signals. For audio freq is easy with the PC, 24 bits converters and all the toys there. The update rate in the siglent is much faster, record mode always on to catch the glitch you missed, the option to add the mixed sinal after the fact, same with signal gen and wifi(kind of a toy, network is fine).
 
  I guess I should have a code to do the bode in matlab or something and capture the data to the PC, but I'm use to do post processing of osciloscope data in the computer, as many things you can't do just with math data from the scope, would be nice that scope brands let people add it's own software to them as apps to process the data, haven't seen that though or the Rigol at least.

JS

Do these scope based Bode' plots include phase?  I can see how they can sweep a voltage and measure amplitude but I am curious if they also somehow display phase.  More stuff to read, I suppose.
Sure they do, the more reading you are looking for:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1435854/#msg1435854
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1436912/#msg1436912
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Offline rstofer

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Do these scope based Bode' plots include phase?  I can see how they can sweep a voltage and measure amplitude but I am curious if they also somehow display phase.  More stuff to read, I suppose.
Sure they do, the more reading you are looking for:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1435854/#msg1435854
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1436912/#msg1436912

Thanks for that!  I'm getting more interested in the SDS 2104 as time goes by.
As your example  shows, 4 channels is definitely the way to go.  And 200 MHz is as good as it gets in this price range.

 

Online JS

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When I learnt about these things, a "Bode" plot was an idealised rendition of the response of a network, with Amplitude & Phase  shown as changing  sharply at "break points".

The plot you could realise in the real world with a signal generator & level meter  or a tracking generator & Spectrum Analyser was normally called a " frequency response plot".

In real life, the "break points "are not sharp, but gradual.
As tautech said, phase is also measured with the Siglent SDS1104X-E, so, not your signal gen & level meter measurement.
Now, what deffinition of bode plot and frequency response plot was given to you I can't tell, Bode plot is a type of frequency response curve. For me Bode Plot is the kind of plots we are talking about, freq(log) on X axis, amplitude (log or lin in Db) and phase (lin) in two separate Y axis. It's quite easy to visualize a lot of things in that plot, hence it has a name. You can plot many different frequency response curves (frequency on the X axis as you like and whatever on the Y axis as you like)

The sharply changing graphs are just a simlpification to be able to do by hand with raw approximations, probably exactly the same that where given to me, then you can plot the actual functions on the computer so they are not sharp anymore and they really match what you would measure in real life (if your model is correct).

This is a measurement of a RLC audio equalizer. Mid (peak/dip) and high (shelving) band shown, where it says magnitude I'd change it for phase, probably smaart PC software or something like that, made many years away... I can't belive I found it.


JS
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Offline sibeen

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If you haven't ever tried a scope before you may want to start with an analog scope. I have one you can get for free if you are willing to buy your own probes (I live in Copenhagen).

Digital scopes can of course do much more, but having any scope can make the world of a difference from not being able to see any signal values at all. Once you have a little experience with an analog scope you may be able to decide what features and channels you really need.

I'm saying it: Buying an analoge scope today, for inevitably 150€ (incl. Repair, probes...), is NOT a good thing to suggest. My opinion is:
1. They are mostly either defect or have been repaired before = High change it will break again soon.
2. They're 20 to 30 years old and have disappointingly low amount of features.
3. You paying so much for them, the same money could go into the 100€ DSO from Banggood. It is better -> because of it's many features, not bandwidth. You can flash your own firmware on it and will do whatever math function you want it to do.

So I will never buy tech that is 30 years old just to... to what? Are you telling me to get it for training purposes? (Do you buy yourself a Z80 computer before you buy a new laptop?) What's the purpose of old, failing hardware that isn't calibrated anymore? Training? Like, those toys you played with when you were 1-4? You can't trust what it tells you, so the only thing you can do with it is play.

Someone offers a free scope and you bite his/her head off.

Must be one of the strangest responses I've seen on this site.
 

Offline Distelzombie

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Someone offers a free scope and you bite his/her head off.

Must be one of the strangest responses I've seen on this site.
I didn't even read that far.
No, I don't want it. It will set the day I get a proper scope back even further.

Offline Mattjd

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I have a 1054z at home and it serves my purposes, which is learning and very rudimentary hobbying

We have a huge range of Keysight scopes at school. The ones I've played with that are similar to 1054z dont seem much different even if they're a few hundred more. I've also gotten to play with an Infinii Vision 6000 series, its pretty to look at, but for nothing special for what I do. Its in the rf lab with 3ghz func gen, all way too overkill for my shit so I can't really compare. We also have a Infiniium Z-Series that's priced to like $250k with the software, that's in a special satellite lab, need special privileges to touch that one! 
 


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