Author Topic: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review  (Read 10405 times)

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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« on: September 13, 2014, 10:58:02 PM »
The following is a short review of the Rigol DG1062z AWG. On occasions I make comparisons with the Siglent SDG1020 I had (I have given it away since). Of course I am well aware that the SDG1020 is much cheaper and that a comparison isn't really fair, but I did so anyways as many are familiar with the SDG1000 Series, which provides some kind of baseline.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 1
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 11:00:29 PM »
A while ago I decided that I needed a better Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) than the Siglent SDG1020 20MHz I had. I wanted something with at least 50MHz sine bandwidth and long sample memory. As we have some nice Agilent AWGs at work my initial thought was to buy something used made by one of the big brands, however I found that everything in my budget (<£600) was either defective or "untested" (yeah, right) or ancient, and always came with low sample memory. So I looked at new stuff that offers at least reasonable quality and reliability, which narrowed my choice down to Rigol DG1062z and Siglent SDG5082. As the Rigol offered 8Mpts per channel vs the 512k+16k on the Siglent, and also came with LAN, I decided that the Rigol it is and ordered one, which arrived a few days later.

First Impressions
First impressions were positive. The apparent build quality is very good (almost as good as our Agilent AWGs at work). The platic Rigol uses feels a lot less cheap than the one used by Siglent. Connectors are solid, even though the front BNC ports look like they are secured by the solder stands only and not bolted to the chassis (but without disassemling this is difficult to verify, though). There's one exception to the good build, though, which is the removable handle. My (much cheaper) Siglent SDG1020's handle has a very solid feel, but the Rigol's handle is wobbly and feels flimsy. I believe it should be solid enough to use as an instrument stand but I'm not sure I would trust it to last if the device was carried around a lot or if the handle was moved often.

Accessories
There wasn't anything spectacular included in the shipment. A manual (with Chinese and English and some other languages covered), some USB cable, a mains cable and a CD (which I haven't opened yet, probably with pdf copies of the manual and drivers). The user guide is quite well laid out and with sufficient details. The amount of 'Chinglish' is also minimal. The same is true for the pdf variants which can be found on the web.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 10:46:42 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 2
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 11:00:47 PM »
User Interface
Operation of the DG1062z is pretty easy. The front panel is logically laid out as is the menu structure. Unlike the Siglent SDG1020 which has a pretty cramped and occasionally illogical menu, the menu structure of the Rigol is structured in a logical way and always offers an easy way to jump back to the previous level (on the Siglent the user often ends up jumping back to the main menu). Rigol has also made quite good use of the small screen estate to present relevant information clearly, and offers various ways for the user to customize what is displayed. The display can also be adjusted in brightness and contrast. The device responds quickly to user input and offers clear error messages if illegal input (i.e. too high frequency selected) is made.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 01:06:43 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 3
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2014, 11:00:58 PM »
Signal Performance
I haven't used all available signal generation functionality yet but I did some quick tests with various waveforms and couldn't identify any problems so far. As the Siglent SDG1020 originally struggled with large jitter when using square wave mode at around 100kHz (a problem that has later been fixed through a hardware mod) and because I had some screenshots from quick tests I did a while ago I did a similar check with the DG1062z. In addition, I checked square wave at 20MHz. The tests were done on both channels (screenshots are below).

From the quick tests it shows that the DG1062z has a noticably better frequency stability than the SDG1020 (the histogram for the Siglent is all over the place at 20MHz). However, the 20MHz tests show that the DG1062z exhibits slower transitions (edges) than the SDG1020. There's also some overshoot visible.

Arbitrary Waveform Functionality
The DG1062z comes with a wide range of predefined waveforms (Rigol states a number of 160 which sounds plausible but obviously I didn't check that), a lot more than the Siglent SDG1020. Finding the right one is pretty easy as they are devided into categories. Of course the DG1062z also allows for user defined waveforms, either edited on the device itself or provided externally (as data file or via remote control).

Editing on the device is limited to 16kpts sample memory, though, the full 8Mpts can only be utilized via external means. This shouldn't be much of a limitation as editing waveforms, although pretty easy on the Rigol, is a tedious task for 16ks already and wouldn't make much sense for filling 8Mpts.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 01:06:58 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 4
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2014, 11:11:46 PM »
Ultra Station Windows software
This is probably the darkest area in this review. As it's the case with most other AWGs, Rigol does offer some Windows software (called "Ultra Station") which supports the DG1000z, DG4000 and DG5000 Series of AWGs. As I was pretty disappointed by the primitive Siglent EasyWave software which came with my SDG1020 and which can barely be even considered a demonstration program, I was really hoping that Rigol Ultra Station fares a bit better. Testing Ultra Station beforehand was not possible as it uses the AWG as some kind of dongle and won't start without one connected.

To make this short, my hopes were crushed. The first thing is that the Ultra Station, while being only 12MB in size, doesn't work on its own but also requires a program called "Ultra Sigma" which is a 500MB+ large package that provides the communication layer between Ultra Station and the instrument. On top of that Rigol also wants the National Instruments NIVISA package. The thing is that apparently in Rigol's world, people ever use National Instrument's interface and software only, others like Agilent don't seem to exist. Since I had Agilent's VISA suite installed to use my Beiming USB-to-GPIB adapter, I got an error message during installation saying that this VISA is incompatible and that some libraries have to be renamed which is pretty daft.

Anyways, after installation I connected my DG1062z via USB to the computer and started Ultra Station (version 00.01.03.01) through Ultra Sigma (version 00.01.06). After the splash screen I was then greeted with a message telling me that full functionality will expire in 15 days and that after that I will only be able to use basic functionality. Apparently Rigol wants users to pay for the more advanced parts of their software. Really, Rigol?

Then there is the rest. Ultra Station is a another good example why Chinese software has such a strong and well deserved reputation of being crap. In some areas it is slightly better more useful than what Siglent provides for their AWGs, though, but nevertheless it's still a horrible piece of software. For example, there is no full screen mode. None. Zero. So sitting in front of a large monitor helps nothing as Ultra Station is windowed only, wasting a lot of screen estate which could have been very useful for a program that is used to edit waveforms. Then there are other things, like  that when creating a new waveform the default selected sample memory is only 16k and not 8M (which has to be entered manually). Or that after setting the parameters (sample memory, sample rate, voltage range) there is no way to alter the settings later on. The menu bar is ugly and unintuitive. The optional "full functionality" that was talked about in the splash screen (like various filters and maths) is nice, but it's not groundbreaking, and considering how awfully poor this program is and that the DG1062z is already pretty expensive, I think it's quite brazen to ask customers to pay again for that mess.

The good thing is that the software works, though, at least most of the time. Creating waveforms and sending them to the AWG worked reliably, but saving them into csv files, then reloading them and sending them to the AWG again often failed and resulted in some garbled signal.

Considering how good the UI of the DG1062z firmware is, Rigol should honestly be ashamed to complement a good piece of hardware with such crap software. AFter all, for AWGs waveform editors are not just a "nice to have" features but essential parts that for using the arbitrary waveform functionality. The Windows software really deserves the same attention as the hardware product. Rigol should dump this mess and hire someone who has heard from Windows Style Guides and knows about proper UX design, and have him do a proper replacement that is worthy of the hardware.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 10:52:42 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 5
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2014, 11:13:12 PM »
Frequency Counter
My old Siglent SDG1020 came with a simple and very basic built-in frequency counter which uses the Ch1 output connector as input (so Ch1 had to be disabled to use the counter). The Rigol DG1062z does come with a counter, too, but unlike the Siglent the DG1062z has a separate counter input which is much more convenient. In terms of functionality, the DG1062z offers much more like statistics an autoset function for setting trigger levels (which works surprisingly well). With the Siglent I often had problems to count very low frequencies, but the Rigol does that reliably, even down to the mHz range.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 01:07:25 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Review - Part 6 and Conclusion
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2014, 11:13:39 PM »
Operating Noise
The DG1062z is cooled by a single fan which is noticably more noisy than the one in my Siglent SDG1020, although the noise level never felt distractive or intolerable. I didn't notice any fan speed variation even after many hours of operation so I assume that the fan is not temperature controlled.


Conclusion
Good overall build quality, (apparently) good signal fidelty, (considering the limitations re. display size and front panel space) a very nice and intuitive UI, a very good frequency counter and the good documentation are the positive aspects of the DG1062z. The wobbly handle and the poor Windows software (Ultra Station) are areas where Rigol really needs to work on. Especially the software with its horrible UI design and the silly time-limit for some of its functions is a bit of an embarassment for such an overall very good device sold at this price point.

But aside from that the DG1062z is a very good AWG. It isn't cheap, especially when compared with the Rigol DG4000 and the Siglent SDG1000 and SDG5000 Series, but after using it for a while now I do think it is well worth its money, and I believe it can hold its own very well even against more expensive AWGs from traditional big brands like Agilent/Keysight. I do hope that Rigol addresses the weak points (handle, software) and extends the Series with higher bandwidth models (i.e. 160MHz would be nice) in the future.



That's it folks. If someone has questions or wants to see a specific test then let me know!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 10:55:37 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline biot

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 04:30:35 AM »
Thanks for the great review. Not surprised to hear Rigol's software was horrible, I've had to wrestle with another Rigol product's software before.

I wonder, have you ever used AWG software that you considered fit for purpose? If so, which vendor?
 

Offline Zh4ng

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 07:04:34 AM »
Thanks for the review.
I also play with the thought to buy me a AWG but i can not decide between the DG1062z and the DG4062.....  :scared:

Thx
zh4ng
 

Online tautech

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 07:25:42 AM »
It is unfortunate you no longer have your SGD1020 for a real side by side comparison.
Good read BTW.

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Offline Mark_O

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 07:23:11 PM »
The following is a short review of the Rigol DG1062z AWG.

Thanks a lot for an informative review.  The time it takes to prepare and publish ones findings is greatly appreciated.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 11:40:12 PM »
I wonder, have you ever used AWG software that you considered fit for purpose? If so, which vendor?

Tek's ArbExpress seems to be pretty decent, although it has a few bugs.

It's a shame that there isn't a *good* non-manufacturer specific waveform editor out there which supports or can be adapted to any AWG. I'd gladly pay some money for a decent program which has a proper UI, follows the Windows Style Guides, is mostly free of annoying bugs and works with NI and Agilent VISA.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2014, 11:43:53 PM »
It is unfortunate you no longer have your SGD1020 for a real side by side comparison.
Good read BTW.

Thanks. Yes, it's unfortunate. but then the SDG1000 isn't really a good comparison as its much cheaper than the Rigol. The SDG5082 would be a better candidate for a side by side comparison, as it's roughly in the same price and performance class as the Rigol. Unfortunately I don't have access to a SDG5082 as well.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 11:46:03 PM »
I also play with the thought to buy me a AWG but i can not decide between the DG1062z and the DG4062.....  :scared:

Well, I think it basically comes down what's more important to you - bandwidth or sample memory. If it's bandwidth then go for the DG4062 (or the Siglent SDG5082), however if it's sample memory then there's only the DG1062z.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2014, 11:48:14 PM »
Thanks a lot for an informative review.  The time it takes to prepare and publish ones findings is greatly appreciated.

You're welcome   8)

It took a bit longer than anticipated, but I always wanted to do it as when I was confronted with the choice of what to buy I couldn't find anything about the DG1000z Series.
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Offline BeltAndBraces

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2014, 02:57:56 AM »
Thanks so much for your effort! I have been looking for independent information on the DG1062z for a long time and your review seems to be the first on the web.
I am currently torn between the sexiness and hackability of the DG4062 and the much longer sample memory of the DG1062z. Looks like I'm not the only one  :-//

Could you do me a favor and confirm something for me? It seems like the noise-superposition function has been removed compared to the DG4000 series. Can the new waveform-summing function be used to replicate this feature?
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2014, 04:51:37 AM »
Thanks so much for your effort! I have been looking for independent information on the DG1062z for a long time and your review seems to be the first on the web.
I am currently torn between the sexiness and hackability of the DG4062 and the much longer sample memory of the DG1062z. Looks like I'm not the only one  :-//

Indeed. I was actually very surprised that there is a Rigol product which doesn't have dozens of reviews after the first week of introduction  ;)

Quote
Could you do me a favor and confirm something for me? It seems like the noise-superposition function has been removed compared to the DG4000 series. Can the new waveform-summing function be used to replicate this feature?

I had a look, and yes, you can do something similar with the DG1000z Series with the Waveform Summing function which not only works for noise but for other waveforms as well. Below is a quick test with a 100kHz sine wave to which I added some 50MHz noise.
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Offline BeltAndBraces

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2014, 08:43:09 AM »
Indeed. I was actually very surprised that there is a Rigol product which doesn't have dozens of reviews after the first week of introduction  ;)

I am also quite surprised by Rigol's hesitant marketing of the DG1000z series. So far neither did they publish any product presentation videos nor have they provided Dave or the like with a unit. It almost seems like they try to avoid cannibalization between the DG1000z and the DG4000 series. Strange.

Quote
I had a look, and yes, you can do something similar with the DG1000z Series with the Waveform Summing function which not only works for noise but for other waveforms as well. Below is a quick test with a 100kHz sine wave to which I added some 50MHz noise.

Thank you for checking that! The waveform summing function could be quite a versatile feature. I'm currently thinking of noise susceptibility testing, detecting pulses in AWGN, two-tone testing...
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2014, 03:14:04 PM »
I am also quite surprised by Rigol's hesitant marketing of the DG1000z series. So far neither did they publish any product presentation videos nor have they provided Dave or the like with a unit. It almost seems like they try to avoid cannibalization between the DG1000z and the DG4000 series. Strange.

I agree, and I guess you're right about the fear of cannibalize from DG4000 sales, but then I wonder why they did introduce it in the first place? So yes, Rigol's behavior is strange.

Quote
Thank you for checking that! The waveform summing function could be quite a versatile feature. I'm currently thinking of noise susceptibility testing, detecting pulses in AWGN, two-tone testing...

Yes, it's a very useful feature. The Summing function was one of the things that helped me decide for the DG1000z as the Siglent SDG5000 didn't seem to have that.

The other thing I like about the DG1000z over the DG4000 is the form factor, but that's a personal thing.
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Offline rodpp

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2014, 11:24:41 PM »
Thank you Wuerstchenhund for the review.

I bought the DG1032Z about two or three months ago and there were almost no information about it on the internet. Besides the bandwidth limited in 30MHz rather 60MHz I think there is no differences between these models.

I have no complains, very good equipment!

 

Offline BeltAndBraces

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2014, 11:52:32 PM »
The other thing I like about the DG1000z over the DG4000 is the form factor, but that's a personal thing.

That's one of the things I prefer about the DG1000z, too. While the "oscilloscope form factor" of the DG4000 allows for the nice big screen, the "bench multimeter form factor" of the DG1000z would allow me to stack test equipment, hence save bench real estate.
 

Offline RJdaMoD

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2015, 08:22:54 PM »
Hi,
sorry for digging this out, but has anyone tested the maximum sample rate in arbitrary mode?
I'm asking because the datasheet states 200MS/s, but the manual and the programming manual both state 60MS/s only. That would make the DG1062z useless in arbitrary mode.
Can someone please clarify?
Thanks
RJdaMoD
 

Offline trukresom

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2015, 09:02:06 PM »
Hi RJdaMoD,
look at my findings about the arbitrary mode of the DG1062Z here:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/dg1000z-arbitrary-waveform-function-generator/30/#lastPost
 

Offline RJdaMoD

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 01:49:54 AM »
Thanks for your findings!
That is really strange. I wonder if Rigol intends to allow higher sample rates in future firmwares, or their marketing stuff just screwed this.
As far as i read the programmer manual, this also means that long waveforms can't be saved in the instrument - not very hight tech :--
That linear interpolation is strange too. I guess it's the low pass filter of 20-30MHz mentioned in datasheet (under frequency characteristics for arbitrary).
Can you maybe try a nyquist square, i.e. (-1,1,-1,1,-1,1,-1,1) as waveform, at maximum sample rate to check the bandwidth?
Thanks!
 

Offline trukresom

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Re: Rigol DG1062z Arbitrary Waveform Generator - Short Review
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 10:03:13 PM »
Hi RJdaMoD,

As you suggested, I downloaded the sequence -1,1-1,1-1,1-1,1,0,0 (10 samples). screen1 shows the result
in mode [ArbMode SRate], sample rate set to 60 MS/s. Aplitude of the arbitrary output was set to 1,4 Vpp.
trace 1 is the output signal from CH1, trace 2 is the CH1-sync signal and trace3 is a 6 MHz rectangle from CH2 (after
pressing the button [Align Phase]) which is used to trigger the scope to show that the sync signal has time jitter but not
the arbitrary function.

Screen2 shows the situation with the same arb. function but in mode [ArbMode Freq]. Since the sample rate in this
mode is always the frequency * 8192 I had to set the frequency to 60'000'000/8192 = 7324.21875 Hz to obtain 60 MS/s sample rate.

The period of the signal is now 8192 samples where the first 10 Samples are mine, just downloaded. The rest of the sequence
are propbably random numbers as we can see on screen3 taken with a slower time base.

Reducing the sample rate by a factor of ten (6 MS/s) shows the linear interpolation in mode [ArbMode SRate] (screen4) and the
analogue situation for mode [ArbMode Freq] in screen5

 


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