Author Topic: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?  (Read 9464 times)

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Offline eeguy

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I am a bit confused. I read many reviews and posts about this inexpensive oscilloscopes. Some users are strongly in favor of it.  I heard that it is the cheapest one with lots of functionality. Many people consider it to be the "best" oscilloscope for "hobbyists". Some people mentioned that they are very satisfied with it even they have used more expensive oscilloscopes from other manufacturers. However, there are also people mentioning that it has many bugs, "you get what you pay for", Rigol does not know what they are doing while copying the design of others, since it is so cheap some faults can be tolerated, it is a piece of sh*t, etc.

So, why many people consider it to be the "best" oscilloscope for hobbyists? Is it just because it is cheap? Does that mean it is just like a toy for hobbyists rather than a piece of instrument for serious scientific research and academic use at graduate/postdoc level? I can imagine that if a measurement instrument has bugs, it may not be a good idea to use it as incorrect measurements and incorrect scientific findings may result.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 10:53:10 PM by eeguy »
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 11:02:44 PM »
Your confused because you are stating and/or quoting very subjective opinions. Are you looking for validation on having bought one or considering getting one or justification for sending more on something 'better'? Your questions should be in context of what you feel your specific needs are.

 I've been involved in electronics for fifty years and I'm of the opinion that the human holding the test probe is the limiting factor in the effective use of any piece of test equipment. Concentrate on the use of, not the possession of, any specific piece of test equipment.

 
 
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Offline eeguy

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 11:07:58 PM »
I plan to purchase an oscilloscope for academic/scientific use. I am considering this oscilloscope along with the ones from GW Instek and Keysight. The ones from GW Instek are less expensive than those from Keysight. However, the price differences are not so much. So, if I choose between the two brands, I probably choose Keysight. Given that there are so many positive reviews about the DS1054Z and that it is much less expensive than the Keysight 2K, 3K series, I also consider it. So, I want to know what it means by this oscilloscope is the best for "hobbyists". Is it not reliable enough for academic/scientific use? I read some posts that a Math function does not work properly.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:14:05 PM by eeguy »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 11:10:51 PM »
a) No, it's not a toy. Far from it.

b) It's the best bang for buck in the "hobbyist" price range. By far.

c) You're spending far too much time reading in forums. Forums are where people go to complain, not to praise.
Nobody here is posting long lists of all the things the DS1054Z does well (and the list would be very long).

d) The Internet is a place where old posts/videos never die. Bugs may have been fixed long ago but google will reliably keep on digging them up for you, years later. eg. Googling for "Rigol DS1054Z bugs" won't produce anything useful.

If you've seen that "people mentioned that they are very satisfied with it even they have used more expensive oscilloscopes from other manufacturers" then try believing that, not the sour grapes around here.

If you want the truth in a forum then never ask "what's best?". Opinions are almost never helpful.

Try asking for something concrete like "a list of current known bugs". Something factual like that.

 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 11:11:04 PM »
Not sure what additional information you are looking for? The advantages and limitations have been discussed in quite some detail in the related thread you had opened, on a scope for robotics work.

That thread also has a good cross-section of the opinions people have on the DS1054Z's bugs: Some are very annoyed by specific bugs, or just by the fact that an issue which is trivial to fix has not been fixed yet (namely the "pulses" vs. "pluses" spelling error). Others feel that the remaining bugs are in arcane areas and don't limit their use of the scope in any way.

Personally, I am happy with my DS1054Z, which I have used in various microcontroller, FPGA, and old-tech-repair projects. For me, it was a massive step up from an old 2-channel analog scope. I would certainly not call it a toy (and reserve that category for some of the low-cost USB scopes). Compared to a $10k high-end scope, it might however feel toy-like to others.

By the way, Rigol has just released a new firmware yesterday. According to several reviews on this forum, it makes the user interface (trace adjustment) feel more responsive, and it fixes a bug with RMS measurements. I am pleased to see that Rigol still actively care about the product, and look forward to trying out the new firmware.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:13:14 PM by ebastler »
 

Offline eeguy

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 11:17:59 PM »
By the way, Rigol has just released a new firmware yesterday. According to several reviews on this forum, it makes the user interface (trace adjustment) feel more responsive, and it fixes a bug with RMS measurements. I am pleased to see that Rigol still actively care about the product, and look forward to trying out the new firmware.

Thanks. Any video about the new user interface?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 11:27:32 PM »
So, why many people consider it to be the "best" oscilloscope for hobbyists?

It's not just for hobbyists, but simply put it's the best "bang-per-buck" you can get for the money.

Quote
Is it just because it is cheap? Does that mean it is just like a toy for hobbyists rather than a piece of instrument for serious scientific research and academic use at graduate/postdoc level?

Nope, it's a very serious scope. NASA could use it just like they could use any other modern advanced 100MHz digital scope.
5 years ago this would have been a very advanced scope worth 10 times the price.
10 years ago it would have been an extraordinary bit of kit most would have lusted over.

Quote
I can imagine that if a measurement instrument has bugs, it may not be a good idea to use it as incorrect measurements and incorrect scientific findings may result.

If it had that serious a bug it would have been found by now by the community.
 

Online sainter

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 11:31:44 PM »
My university uses only Rigol DS1102E scopes. I bought DS1054Z and will never regret it. If I had more money when buying a scope.... I still would have gotten the DS1054Z and a SDG1050 signal gen or something like that.

I would say this scope is best place to start from and move up if you need to.
 

Online JPortici

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 11:45:42 PM »
It's the best you can get because it costs aroung 400 € after tax all around the world.. and while it gets sold as a basic 50 MHz scope you can hack it without consequences.
that's why is the best bang/buck for hobbyist (and makers)

if you compared the full-paid version to other brands it would not be that bargain, but nobody would tell you that because he could get accused to be a "rigol-basher"
however while i don't share fungus' enthusiasm (it hasn't improved that much in speed in doing basic things like moving the trace up/down/left/right) it must be said that it has improven a lot since the beginning of this year.

if you want better tools you pay more money. if you need a tool that is responsive, fast and has options like decoding standards not decoded by rigol, you get a different piece of equipment. if you are a hobbyist you probably have all the time in the world to play and make stuff so you won't care. go for it! you may like it or not, it's up to you. you will find out only after you play with it. infact, there are people that can do real work with that scope, i get easily pissed off by its lag to be productive so i mostly use an analog whenever possible.

But point n°1. if i was in the US i would have got a GWi as a low end scope, which unfortunately costs at least 1.5 times more here in europe (all models), hence why i got a 1054 for myself, all i could afford for the hobby, that didn't suck too much. not what i use or would use at work
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 11:50:09 PM »
By the way, Rigol has just released a new firmware yesterday. According to several reviews on this forum, it makes the user interface (trace adjustment) feel more responsive, and it fixes a bug with RMS measurements. I am pleased to see that Rigol still actively care about the product, and look forward to trying out the new firmware.

Thanks. Any video about the new user interface?

Not that I know of. Just read the last one or two pages of the DS1054Z mega-thread to get several opinions (from fans and critics of this scope  ;)) on the new firmware.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2016, 11:54:35 PM »
however while i don't share fungus' enthusiasm (it hasn't improved that much in speed in doing basic things like moving the trace up/down/left/right) it must be said that it has improven a lot since the beginning of this year.

It's not "enthusiasm" it's just that everybody here is on a constant downer about it.

If it has 100 functions and one of them has a bug then on here it's somehow useless, not to be trusted for anything, a piece of junk.

What about all the other 99 things it does brilliantly? Do they count for nothing?  :-//

And the idea that if one function has a bug then nothing else is to be trusted is farcical. If just one other function didn't work then you'd know all about it and be posting it here. Guaranteed.

This weeks firmware update has fixed everything that matters. Can we just enjoy our 'scopes now?

it's a very serious scope. NASA could use it just like they could use any other modern advanced 100MHz digital scope.
5 years ago this would have been a very advanced scope worth 10 times the price.
10 years ago it would have been an extraordinary bit of kit most would have lusted over.

Exactly.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 12:12:10 AM »
I am a bit confused. I read many reviews and posts about this inexpensive oscilloscopes. Some users are strongly in favor of it.  I heard that it is the cheapest one with lots of functionality. Many people consider it to be the "best" oscilloscope for "hobbyists". Some people mentioned that they are very satisfied with it even they have used more expensive oscilloscopes from other manufacturers. However, there are also people mentioning that it has many bugs, "you get what you pay for", Rigol does not know what they are doing while copying the design of others, since it is so cheap some faults can be tolerated, it is a piece of sh*t, etc.

So, why many people consider it to be the "best" oscilloscope for hobbyists? Is it just because it is cheap? Does that mean it is just like a toy for hobbyists rather than a piece of instrument for serious scientific research and academic use at graduate/postdoc level? I can imagine that if a measurement instrument has bugs, it may not be a good idea to use it as incorrect measurements and incorrect scientific findings may result.

I can drive my truck to work and be pretty sure I'll get there.  If I had one, I could drive my Ferrari to work and make a real statement.  Is the Ferrari 'better' in some sense?  Actually, probably not.  It will spend more time in the shop because the least imperfection must be dealt with.

I'm confused!  I thought we dealt with all these issues in your other threads.  You really should be looking at a much more expensive scope because, for your work, you need to make a statement.  "My equipment produces perfect results and they are...".  The rest of us, hobbyists probably, just want to see squiggly lines where we can state with certainty "the results are about this and subject to interpretation..."

You're confused!  You seem to think that an oscilloscope produces an exact answer.  That will never be the case.  In the first place, your probing has altered the circuit.  Maybe it's insignificant, maybe it's not.  Every component you use will have a tolerance and when they stack up against you, none of your results are "typical".

You will never be able to make a statement with anything less than Keysight.  None of the other manufacturer's names carry the same impact as HP->Agilent->Keysight.  In the analog days, only Tektronix was credible, everybody else was 'some other brand'.  Back then, even HP was a step down from Tektronix.  But that was a long time ago.

Why is it the best scope for a hobbyist?  Because there is nowhere on the planet where you can spend $400 on a scope and come anywhere close to its capabilities.  Sure, you can match it with a $1200 <something or other> but you just dumped an extra $800 into something and got nothing for it.

I am willing to concede that a $25k Keysight will be far superior to a $400 Rigol just as the Ferrari is far superior to my pickup truck.  But the truck will get it done during the week and still be able to make dump runs on the weekend.  Side issue:  Back when I was racing Hare Scrambles (dirt bikes), there was one rider who showed up in a Rolls Royce with a trailer hitch.  I guess that was his solution to making dump runs.  Oh, and he didn't haul his bikes around.  The team did that, all he did was show up and ride!  Rock star!

Nobody is going to take a paper or presentation seriously unless the equipment itself is serious and that isn't Rigol.  If it isn't Keysight, everything falls apart from there.

When you read about all the problems with Rigol, make sure the poster actually knows how to operate a scope.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 12:17:41 AM by rstofer »
 

Online JPortici

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2016, 12:14:26 AM »
to the OP: seeing all you topics my final suggestion is: get a 1054Z.
altough you seem to have the budget for much better equipment you also seem to have no idea if you will need it or not. get a 1054, find out if you are able to get your work done with it.
if you can good for you! you saved at least 2600.
if you can't at worst you wasted 400 if you don't want to resell it, but having a spare wheel is always useful

i'm sure i'm not the first to say it :)

Quote
When you read about all the problems with Rigol, make sure the poster actually knows how to operate a scope.
oh boy, the topic from that guy that wanted to look at a 10Vpp sinewave with 10 mV per division vertical scale  :palm: or something like that. i don't want to dig it out... that was embarassing
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 12:20:05 AM by JPortici »
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2016, 12:16:53 AM »
Nope, it's a very serious scope. NASA could use it just like they could use any other modern advanced 100MHz digital scope.
5 years ago this would have been a very advanced scope worth 10 times the price.
10 years ago it would have been an extraordinary bit of kit most would have lusted over.

You're joking, right?

A very basic 50Mhz B-brand scope hacked to 100Mhz wouldn't have cost $4000 in 2011 (which is around the same time the DSOX2k came out, and the DSOX2104A with unhacked 100Mhz and Agilent premium didn't cost $4k). And even back in 2006 this would have been a very far cry from being "extraordinary", considering that on the bottom end there were already scopes like the Agilent DSO5000/7000 and various 20GSa+ 100Mpts+ Windows based scopes on the upper end.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing in any way that the DS1054z is currently the best bang for the buck you can find in the $400 price bracket, but I'm sorry but that statement above is just silly.

Let's stay realistic here.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 12:22:05 AM by Wuerstchenhund »
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Offline nctnico

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2016, 01:00:05 AM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing in any way that the DS1054z is currently the best bang for the buck you can find in the $400 price bracket,
That is only true IF YOU HACK IT! Otherwise the DS1000Z series is actually rather expensive and limited compared to the competition.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online JPortici

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2016, 01:10:13 AM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing in any way that the DS1054z is currently the best bang for the buck you can find in the $400 price bracket,
That is only true IF YOU HACK IT! Otherwise the DS1000Z series is actually rather expensive and limited compared to the competition.
the average hobbyist/maker doesn't care
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2016, 01:12:02 AM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing in any way that the DS1054z is currently the best bang for the buck you can find in the $400 price bracket,
That is only true IF YOU HACK IT! Otherwise the DS1000Z series is actually rather expensive and limited compared to the competition.

Yes, but then look at who'd buy a $400 scope. It'll be pretty much hobbyists and for them the idea of "hacking" a scope (which as I understand it is really using an online key generator) is probably exciting. Quality or maturity aren't necessarily top issues as long as the scope does mostly what they want. So it's fair game, and under that circumstances I'd say that the DS1054z is pretty much the best offer on the market.

If I had to spend $400 on a brand new scope I'd probably buy the GW Instek GDS1054B because of its better FFT and because I assume it's more mature, but that's me. And frankly, I'd rather spend the money on a 2nd hand scope, which is exactly what I did when I needed a cheap simple scope (I thought about buying a DS1054z, but then bought a HP 54645D MSO instead for a bit over half the money) :)
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Offline rstofer

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2016, 01:41:55 AM »
to the OP: seeing all you topics my final suggestion is: get a 1054Z.
altough you seem to have the budget for much better equipment you also seem to have no idea if you will need it or not. get a 1054, find out if you are able to get your work done with it.
if you can good for you! you saved at least 2600.
if you can't at worst you wasted 400 if you don't want to resell it, but having a spare wheel is always useful

i'm sure i'm not the first to say it :)

Quote
When you read about all the problems with Rigol, make sure the poster actually knows how to operate a scope.
oh boy, the topic from that guy that wanted to look at a 10Vpp sinewave with 10 mV per division vertical scale  :palm: or something like that. i don't want to dig it out... that was embarassing

I don't see how the OP can publish papers for peer review with scope screenshots from a Rigol and not get laughed at.  Serious research requires serious instrumentation.  Not that the answers are any different, they probably won't be, but anything by Keysight will have more impact than anything by Rigol.  Serious instrumentation implies serious costs.  Keysight can easily fill that requirement.

 

Online JPortici

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2016, 01:48:23 AM »
to the OP: seeing all you topics my final suggestion is: get a 1054Z.
altough you seem to have the budget for much better equipment you also seem to have no idea if you will need it or not. get a 1054, find out if you are able to get your work done with it.
if you can good for you! you saved at least 2600.
if you can't at worst you wasted 400 if you don't want to resell it, but having a spare wheel is always useful

i'm sure i'm not the first to say it :)

Quote
When you read about all the problems with Rigol, make sure the poster actually knows how to operate a scope.
oh boy, the topic from that guy that wanted to look at a 10Vpp sinewave with 10 mV per division vertical scale  :palm: or something like that. i don't want to dig it out... that was embarassing

I don't see how the OP can publish papers for peer review with scope screenshots from a Rigol and not get laughed at.  Serious research requires serious instrumentation.  Not that the answers are any different, they probably won't be, but anything by Keysight will have more impact than anything by Rigol.  Serious instrumentation implies serious costs.  Keysight can easily fill that requirement.


i agree 100% with you last two posts but the op seems to be so uncertain that my advice can't be different than that. try and see the results/consequences.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2016, 01:56:08 AM »
I don't see how the OP can publish papers for peer review with scope screenshots from a Rigol and not get laughed at.  Serious research requires serious instrumentation.
I'd rather say: NIST traceable calibration.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2016, 02:03:01 AM »
I don't see how the OP can publish papers for peer review with scope screenshots from a Rigol and not get laughed at.  Serious research requires serious instrumentation.
I'd rather say: NIST traceable calibration.

That's a given and applies to every instrument.  But even a NIST traceable calibrated Rigol screenshot isn't going to look good in a published paper.  I hate to think about how much cost all this rigor adds.

Me, I'm just a hobbyist and the DS1054Z does far more than I will ever need.  When it doesn't, I'll buy something else.  But I'm not writing papers for peer review.
 

Offline R005T3r

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2016, 04:42:24 AM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing in any way that the DS1054z is currently the best bang for the buck you can find in the $400 price bracket,
That is only true IF YOU HACK IT! Otherwise the DS1000Z series is actually rather expensive and limited compared to the competition.

Yes, but then look at who'd buy a $400 scope. It'll be pretty much hobbyists and for them the idea of "hacking" a scope (which as I understand it is really using an online key generator) is probably exciting. Quality or maturity aren't necessarily top issues as long as the scope does mostly what they want. So it's fair game, and under that circumstances I'd say that the DS1054z is pretty much the best offer on the market.

If I had to spend $400 on a brand new scope I'd probably buy the GW Instek GDS1054B because of its better FFT and because I assume it's more mature, but that's me. And frankly, I'd rather spend the money on a 2nd hand scope, which is exactly what I did when I needed a cheap simple scope (I thought about buying a DS1054z, but then bought a HP 54645D MSO instead for a bit over half the money) :)
I'd skip low end scopes. Simply I'd save up until I can afford a better one, because if in the future I want to play with RF or stuff like that, I can and I don't have to buy specific gear again. I want to totally trust my instruments, because still making projects and stuff seems simple but it's not because bad mistakes can really happen and you may find yourself in a bad debugging situation (and I hate it).... if we add also that the instruments can't be trusted, you are in a never ending cycle.

Not to mention that I want full support from the manufacturers even if the gear costs a little bit more...
 

Offline wraper

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2016, 04:55:02 AM »
Quote
I can imagine that if a measurement instrument has bugs, it may not be a good idea to use it as incorrect measurements and incorrect scientific findings may result.

If it had that serious a bug it would have been found by now by the community.
Actually it was. VRMS measurment "digital crosstalk" bug.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2016, 05:08:21 AM »
Not to mention that I want full support from the manufacturers even if the gear costs a little bit more...

But it isn't just a 'little bit more', is it?  Just moving from $400 to $2000 gets nowhere.  Essentially low end scopes of dubious heritage.  By the time you get to NIST traceable, you're up in the multiple 10s of thousands of dollars.

We wouldn't be talking about an entry level 100 MHz scope but a full blown 1GHz+ scope with a datacenter full of sample memory.

Maybe something like this:
http://www.keysight.com/en/pdx-x202179-pn-DSOX3104T/oscilloscope-1-ghz-4-analog-channels?nid=-32541.1150356&cc=US&lc=eng

Oddly enough, this $14,500 scope has less sample memory than the DS1054Z and its still only an 8 bit device with a 3 digit DMM.  My grandmother had a 3 digit DMM!

Even the $17k DSOX4104A has less memory and an 8 bit ADC with a 3 digit DMM
http://www.keysight.com/en/pdx-x201951-pn-DSOX4104A/oscilloscope-1-ghz-4-analog-channels?pm=spc&nid=-32539.1150543&cc=US&lc=eng

And the $200k Infiniium Z series is only 8 bits (12 bits with averaging - this is making some assumptions about the nature of the signal):
http://www.keysight.com/en/pcx-x205212/infiniium-z-series-oscilloscopes?nid=-32529.0&cc=US&lc=eng

This entire scope selection game is pretty much nonsense!  You can spend a metric buttload on high end scopes and all you bought was a bit of bandwidth and a name!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 05:10:47 AM by rstofer »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What does "Rigol DS1054Z is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists" mean?
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2016, 05:58:07 AM »
If it had that serious a bug it would have been found by now by the community.
Actually it was. VRMS measurment "digital crosstalk" bug.

It was found by the community, and it was now fixed by Rigol (with yesterday's new firmware), if I understand the early test reports correctly.
 


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