Author Topic: REVIEW - Owon SDS7102 - A look at the SDS series from Owon  (Read 392285 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline marmad

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2609
  • Country: 00
    • DaysAlive
REVIEW - Owon SDS7102 - A look at the SDS series from Owon
« on: August 08, 2011, 11:05:42 PM »
Edit (22 Dec, 2012):

During 2011, I owned a Rigol DS1052E (hacked), Owon SDS7102, and Hantek DSO5062B (hacked) each for about a month. All of them were returned because I felt each one was deficient enough in some aspect of usability that I could not justify the $400-$600 price tag at that moment in time. To me, it seemed like too much money to spend on something that felt frustrating in some respect - and would be replaced within a couple of years.  Then this year I bought a Rigol DS2072 - and I'm finally really happy with a DSO - it feels a much better investment for the future than the other's did - and a much more professional piece of equipment. If you can afford a few hundred dollars more - I would highly recommend you check out my impressions of the Rigol DS2000 series.

Meanwhile,  here is my Owon review - please watch the entire thing for both pros and cons:

Owon SDS7102 Complete Review
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 01:52:15 PM by marmad »

Offline patb

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Country: pl
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 12:00:24 AM »
Great news you got it finally. Yup, we have that 'cooling off' period in Poland too - it is 10 days for all purchases made remotely. I believe it is EU regulation. Anyway, could you post some video on YT in hi-res how this baby works? Just to see its 'look and feel', no comments are necessary. Thanks for the first part, waiting for the next one. :)

Cheers,
Patryk

Offline Bren

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 24
  • Country: ca
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 02:59:15 AM »
Thank you!

Finally some news on one of the OWON SDS series scopes. I'm excited, and frightened to see what comes next. Too bad on the firmware.
Would love to see photos/vids of the function of the scope.

Bren

Offline tinhead

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1739
  • Country: 00
    • If you like my hacks, send me a donation
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 03:45:23 AM »
cool, waiting for deeper review.

Btw, about the firmware things, as i got my first Tekway the firmware was really crap, then within one month i got
i believe 2 or 3 new versions before i was able to use that scope. So for sure, it can be that first models does have bugs
or sometimes really useless - on the other side, hmm, for Tekway it was first multilanguage-enabled scope, before
that they did only chinese menu (so maybe an excuse, but only maybe). Later they finally managed to made
nice working firmware (at that time i decided to post anything about them). Few months later Hantek shareholder
bought them and new developers team rewrote the firmware - so the story remains, crap on the beginning,
really useless features, tons of bugs. It tooks 6 months for them to fix all these issues, but finally they did.

So what i'm trying to say is, give Owon a chance (meaning while doing review). For your personal decision
about which is better, i would say write an email to Owon and tell them what you don't like.
If you got an answer like "yes we know" then you can be sure (or at least hope) that they will fix it,
if you get no answer, well then you know what to do. 

Of course we all know this slogan "cheap, cheaper, china" - but it didn't means automatically that there
is no support and no continuous development on firmware only because it was "cheap".

For me, as i saw the "good will" from Tekway the decision was much easier, i've send back other scopes
and chosed Tekway.

Owon is producing DSOs since years, and to be very honest i never ever saw any firmware updates from them
 - which didn't means of course they not having them. UNI-T for example is sending firmware updates
only via email, Tonghui too, Tekway actually the same (Hantek is publishing the fw on website)

Anyway, let's start the review :)
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.

Offline marmad

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2609
  • Country: 00
    • DaysAlive
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 05:20:13 AM »
Quote
Owon is producing DSOs since years, and to be very honest i never ever saw any firmware updates from them

Yes, this is what worries me... can any owner of any piece of Owon equipment confirm if they've ever received or downloaded a firmware update?

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4198
  • Country: us
    • NIST
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 05:54:02 AM »
Looking forward to the review too.  Thanks for making this available.  Hope you can post as many photos as you can.
Best Wishes,


Saturation

Offline bertchai

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 20
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 05:06:19 PM »
Really looking forward to your insight.  please also point out the different in the UI between Owon and Rigol that you have , so we know why you don't like the Owon UI.    :)

Offline marmad

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2609
  • Country: 00
    • DaysAlive
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 06:21:55 AM »
Here's the first part - a look at the packaging, general design, and overall build quality of the unit:

Edit: See First post.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 02:58:56 AM by marmad »

Offline tinhead

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1739
  • Country: 00
    • If you like my hacks, send me a donation
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 06:56:47 AM »
nice review...

Probes - yeah, they from Texas, others (HanTekway, Tonghui, ???) using them too, then not that bad.

IR Hole/LED - remote control, IR transfer, remote trigger or light sensor for TFT dimming?
Whatever it is, could be interessting.

VGA/RS232 port - a big ???? However VGA port is already a big plus.

FAN - again plus

Buttons - big minus, construction and type of buttons, just ugly. I would probably replace them by softer buttons ...
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.

Offline bertchai

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 20
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 11:54:27 AM »
Great hardware review.   

I am still thinking if I should get this or Atten ADS1102CML.....
Atten ADS1102CML seems to have a faster response (eg.  response to a button pressed) firmware than this Owon.

On the other hand, this may be interesting to watch.  At least to have a feel on the Owon SDS series. This video is a SDS6062 with another brand:
http://www.tmatlantic.com/e-store/index.php?SECTION_ID=262&ELEMENT_ID=6671
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 01:16:22 PM by bertchai »

Offline Mechatrommer

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5631
  • Country: my
  • reassessing directives...
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 01:22:10 PM »
nice review Mark.

Offline Bren

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 24
  • Country: ca
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 01:29:09 PM »
Great in depth review of the front and sides.

But, No Fine Control!?  :-\.... That's disappointing. I noticed they didn't mention anything about that in the manual either, I was hoping they just... forgot to mention it.

To stop that slippage on a smooth desk you could probably wrap a piece of thin rubber around the scopes back foot.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 01:33:41 PM by Bren »

Online Nermash

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 218
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 04:39:43 PM »
Great review, looking forward to seeing part 2.

Any thoughts on waveform update rate and frontend/adc noise level?

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4198
  • Country: us
    • NIST
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2011, 11:07:20 PM »
Concur, you're a natural; clear diction good ergonomic insights.  You should do more!

The ergonomics of the Owon look great; so slim and nicely laid out, but looking forward to its real performance, best not to judge a book by its cover.

Minor issues:

The Rigol 1052e probes, if they are RP 2200 are 200 MHz probes.  While that seems like a lot for a 60 MHz scope, that's the sine wave rating; for looking at square waves you'll start to see roll offs at 9th harmonic, so in the 20MHz arena, and probably definitely at the 5th harmonic, > 40 MHz will likely be probe induced artifacts.   Its partly a reason 200 MHz probes ship with 60 MHz scopes.

Great review, looking forward to seeing part 2.

Any thoughts on waveform update rate and frontend/adc noise level?
Best Wishes,


Saturation

Offline marmad

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2609
  • Country: 00
    • DaysAlive
Re: Review of Owon SDS7102
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2011, 12:23:30 AM »
Thanks everyone.. doing the best I can here considering my lack of knowledge and experience when dealing with DSOs.  I hope to post a video part 2 of extensive use of the firmware - it's MANY problems - and it's few nice features - but first I'm plowing through reading material: Nyquist theorem applied to DSOs; ADC interleave distortion, and, well... most of you know the rest - and I'm also taking notes while running tests to save video recording and editing time later.

I could use suggestions in tests I could run or specs I might check with what I have on hand.... which is very little, I'm afraid.  I've gotten by for years with a 30-year old 25MHz Tektronix analog scope, a 10 year-old Fluke DMM, and assorted logic probes, etc.  So I don't have a faster scope, spectrum analyzer, etc.  Just the Hantek AWG - and of course, I have tons of digital circuitry with which I could generate, at the very least, fast, repetitive clock signals.

But in the meanwhile, here are some screen captures and some of the info I've compiled.  The first 6 .pngs are exact comparisons between the Rigol and Owon made using the same test setup with the DDS3X25 and the same settings on the scope (except you'll notice the volts/div is off - on the Rigol the inputs were set to 10x - on the Owon 1x - but the ratio between the channels is the same).  I could not replicate the 75MHz result I had with the Rigol on the Owon.  I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that 75MHz from the Hantek is not particularly stable - and I managed to get lucky with the Rigol - or, more likely, problems with the Owon.  This was just an averaging issue (as pointed out by saturation) - which I used on the Rigol for the unstable 75MHz, but forgot to do on the Owon.

Although the 100MHz .pngs from the Owon don't look too bad, what is odd is that I have the display set to dots, not vectors, and the sine wave coming from the Hantek is exactly 2 points per period; i.e. a triangle wave.  Why is the Owon showing a sine?  Is it because I can't turn off sin(x) on the Owon scope?  The 2 .pngs after the 100MHz screen caps show the saved 100MHz waveform brought into the Owon PC software - two times saved, one after the other - with different sample points on the waveform.  Again, I'm not sure if this is due to the instability of the DDS3X25 at this high frequency, but it doesn't look good to me.

Other data, problems, or issues I've discovered:

No Equivalent Time Sampling available.  That kind of sucks - I just assumed all modern DSOs had this - it's very handy for fast repetitive signals in digital circuits.

No way to turn off sin(x) - as mentioned above.

When using the frequency counter (on the trigger channel), the count becomes more and more incorrect the further the trigger level is moved below the zero line of the waveform.  As mentioned in another post, I haven't replicated this bug since the first time, so it's intermittent - and not easily - because I couldn't repeat it.  So, it's not that important - because you notice it  right away when playing with trigger level (and it works fine always when trigger level >= 0).

It takes exactly 4 minutes to save the full 10Mpts to the USB hosted device (during which, of course, the scope is doing nothing else).  That works out to a data rate of about 333kbps.  I haven't checked the USB to PC transfer rates yet, but I will.  It also takes exactly 35 seconds to save a screen image to the USB hosted device.   It takes the PC software about one second to transfer a full 10Mpt record from the scope - a little better than the 4 minutes needed to write it to a USB stick, yes?  ;)  That's around 80Mbps, which = 6.5x > full bandwidth USB 1.1 - and about 5x < max. bandwidth 2.0.  So it's definitely USB 2.0 as advertised.  It's certainly a big improvement over communication speeds with either the Rigol or the Hantek AWG.  To recap: the Owon appears to use USB 1.1 as host - USB 2.0 as device.

The 'Copy' button does NOT work to copy screen images to the hosted device - as the manual says it will. Obviously, you can still do it through the 'Save' menu, but this means you can't do screen captures with the different menus displayed.  Now I AM getting the 'Copy' button to work as described in manual - so it's a slight bug (sometimes yes sometimes no).  I haven't cracked it's logic yet  :)

The screen is gorgeous - not doubt about it - and the VGA output works great and should be on every DSO - but the firmware's usage of screen real-estate in general is not good (which is so sad on an 800x600 display).  They don't have split-screen modes for FFT, or, at the very least, for zooming in on waveforms.

The measure functions seem pretty weak to me.  You can only have 4 measurements at a time on that massive screen (unless using Show All, which is problematic itself, as mentioned below) - and the procedure you go through to add or remove each one is bad interface design.  Also, some of the measurement abbreviations they use are strange and not following standards.
Actually, you can have 8 measurements on the screen at one time: it looks like only 4 will fit in the given display space, but when you add a 5th, it pops the Channel and Sample settings out into a different part of the screen (unexpectedly).  So, this is actually fine - 8 is plenty in most circumstances - and mitigates the problem with Show All mentioned below.  Also, when I was adding measurements before (it uses a 3-tiered menu system), I assumed you had to press the encoder knob (which you turn to select which measurement you want) in order to confirm the selection - and I hate when you have to press encoder knobs to select anything (inevitably the selection often jumps to a different one by the act of pressing) - but this is not the case - so I've started to warm up a bit to the Owon's menu system.

The Show All is annoying, since it blocks much of the screen (see the attached .png) -  and it doesn't actually update if you alter settings while it's displayed - it just shows the frozen measurements from when it was invoked.  Not much use in real-time situations.

The firmware uses a two or three menu system (bottom menu, then side menu, then sometimes a floating menu on the other side), and although it's handy in a few cases, it's really - from my point of view - poor less-than-optimum software design.   The Rigol also has some poor design in terms of the menus, but it's at least understandable because of the limits of screen real-estate and buttons.  The Owon has 10 dedicated menu buttons - and a massive screen - so there's no excuse (except the obvious - saving money) for not having a well thought out menu system.  The menu system has started to grow on me a bit - it's still far-from-perfect (but which DSO is?) - but it's perhaps equally advantageous to disadvantageous (50%/50%) - as opposed to my previous opinion (20%/80%).  I have much more to say about it - but will save it for the final video review.

The Owon PC software became EXTREMELY slow then crashed (on my Intel i7 950 Quad-core) when trying to view an entire saved 10Mpt file of a 2.5MHz square waveform all at once (>1ms/div).  It worked for a saved 10Mpt file of sampled noise - but not the square wave.

That's all for now.

Edit:  Added 'Copy' button bug above.

Edit2:  Changed my opinion of the measurement features above.  They actually aren't too bad (although the Show All position on screen [and non-real time function] is still rather silly).  Also, the menu system seems a little less bad than previously mentioned.

Edit3:  Changed notes on frequency counter and 'Copy' button above.

Edit4:  Added speed results for USB to PC transfer.

Edit5:  Posted a summary of thoughts on Page 3.  Video Part2 may or may not come later.

Edit6:  Revised comments about 75MHz screen cap and USB speeds above.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 10:49:41 PM by marmad »


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf