Author Topic: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner  (Read 13425 times)

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Offline Vexer

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Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« on: September 06, 2010, 05:54:42 pm »
I am fairly new to electronics, and I am planning on getting an oscilloscope soon. I would like to get a "real" analog oscilloscope off of ebay, however I am not sure what to look for in a used oscilloscope(manufacturer, bandwidth, etc).

Could anyone point me towards what looks like a good oscilloscope for a beginner on ebay?
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 06:15:08 pm »
hameg, HP, agilent and many more are good, most scopes don't go below 20 MHz and this should do you fine unless you have a specific need
 

alm

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 06:35:47 pm »
Don't forget Tektronix, who basically invented the modern scope and remained on top until the DSO leveled the playing field with HP/Lecroy. HP's scopes had a reputation for horrible triggering, although I'm sure they've fixed that in their later models. Lecroy's scopes (especially their earlier models) had a pretty unintuitive user interface. Tektronix scopes usually do command a premium, though.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2010, 06:35:56 pm »
Well the oldies are an good option , but  have in mind those ...  
1) Possibly damaged tube
2) Old model = no parts or support.
3) documentation ...   ( Users  manual )  its an must have, with the device..  

  
 

Offline djsb

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2010, 08:00:48 pm »
David
Hertfordshire,UK
 University Electronics Technician, London PIC,CCS C,Arduino,Kicad, Altium Designer,LPKF S103,S62 Operator, Electronics instructor.  http://debuggingrules.com/ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2010, 08:50:05 pm »
What do you guys think of this one?

Includes two probes, owner's manual, and it is obviously working(look at pictures):

http://cgi.ebay.com/GW-Instek-GOS-620-Dual-Trace-20Mhz-Oscilloscope-/170536636074?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item27b4c68eaa#ht_500wt_896
 

alm

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2010, 09:14:10 pm »
No experience with the brand. $135 for 20MHz seems really expensive to me, should be able to get at least 50-100MHz for that price, although manuals and probes add extra value. If he bought it five years ago for $269, it's probably pretty low end, scopes from brands like HP and Tektronix were at least an order of magnitude more expensive in their days if you factor in inflation. No neat features like delayed time base (which is not essential, but can come in handy).

Manuals (both operators and service) for brand names like HP and Tektronix are usually fairly easy to find, although they may cost you some money. Smaller vendors is usually harder, although there are exceptions.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 09:32:51 pm »
What do you guys think of this one?

Includes two probes, owner's manual, and it is obviously working(look at pictures):

http://cgi.ebay.com/GW-Instek-GOS-620-Dual-Trace-20Mhz-Oscilloscope-/170536636074?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item27b4c68eaa#ht_500wt_896

The only advantage that one has is that it's a fairly new model, as opposed to say 10-20 year old models which most on ebay are.
I agree, you can get better value for money than that.

Tektronix are great, but command much higher auction prices and more demand.
Almost any of the "secondary" brands (i.e. not HP or Tek) are very good scopes too - Hitachi, Hameg, Kenwood, Kikusui, Philips etc
I'd shoot for at least 100MHz with dual time base.

Dave.
 

Offline Varal

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2010, 09:56:08 pm »

Almost any of the "secondary" brands (i.e. not HP or Tek) are very good scopes too - Hitachi, Hameg, Kenwood, Kikusui, Philips etc
I'd shoot for at least 100MHz with dual time base.

Dave.

I have to agree. I own a kenwood oscilloscope myself and no problems with it so far (aside of the bit worn out BNC jacks) :)
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2010, 10:22:13 pm »
What do you guys think of this one?

Get it ... looks solid and fresh .   
At the time that you will start looking for something more advanced , you can sell this too.

Its not an marriage ... its just an item .
 


Offline DJPhil

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 01:29:36 am »
What about this one?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Tektronix-Tek-465-Oscilloscope-A-Great-Instrument-/280557167206?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item415282a266#ht_802wt_879

I'd recognize that gumby anywhere! This is one of a small group of sellers that regularly tunes up older Tek's. If you go back through their feedback you'll find they've sold dozens of Teks with few complaints. A 465 series Tek has just about the largest parts and support base possible for an analog scope.

The downside is that auctions from these guys regularly make it up to $200US or so near the end. It's a worthy investment if you're after an analog specifically, but for a first scope it's almost better to save twice that and start with one of the digital scopes recommended here frequently.

Just my opinion and observation, who knows, you may get lucky!
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 01:53:57 am »
Hopefully I'll be able to get the 465 for cheap!

Otherwise, I'll either get an Instek GDS-1062A or a different analog scope.

Also, will the manual for the 465 be a good way to learn how to use it? I don't know how to use an oscilloscope right now.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2010, 01:55:51 am »
Looking at the 100MHz+ models (assuming USA) and ignoring Tek and Agilent (for price reasons)
Search: "100mhz oscilloscope -tektronix -agilent" :

http://cgi.ebay.com/Kenwood-CS-5170-100mhz-Readout-Oscilloscope-/230519993771?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item35ac0ff5ab
No real waveforms show, so take your chances.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Hitachi-Oscilloscope-V-1065A-100MHZ-/330466659793?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item4cf1590dd1
Bit on the pricey side, but looks good.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Hitachi-V-1565-2-Channel-100MHz-Real-Time-Oscilloscope-/330466877822?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf15c617e
Decent price, looks good.
He's got heaps of them, also "make an offer". A 100MHz analog for under $100 would be a great buy.

etc etc

Probes will cost you extra though.

But I agree a 20MHz job with some probes for the same money might be better value for a beginner.

Dave.
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2010, 02:03:51 am »
Are the probes universal?

Or do I have to get ones for the specific scope?
 

Offline DJPhil

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2010, 02:21:41 am »
Are the probes universal?

Or do I have to get ones for the specific scope?
Unless the scope is very old, it should take a simple BNC probe. Older scopes used banana jacks and in some cases screw terminals. It always pays to check the pictures though. Occasionally you'll see a connector that looks like BNC with a pin array right next to it, that's for fancier probes but usually you can still connect a plain BNC. Always dig around online for a service manual before hand and read up on the details. Places like the Boat Anchor Manual Archive have heaps of old service manuals for free, I'd only pay for one if you're desperate.

So the connector is mostly standard, but probes come in different types. Without getting too far into it, you're probably going to want to start with a switchable X1-X10 probe. This allows you to to attenuate the signal by a factor of ten when you wish.

For more on scopes and probes in general, see Tek's XYZ'z of Oscilloscopes.

Hope that helps. :)
 

alm

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 11:04:55 am »
Probes are kinda universal, almost all of the 20-500MHz scopes will have the same BNC connector, but you do have to pay attention to input capacitance and bandwidth. Bandwidth is less critical (more bandwidth than your scope is fine, less prevents your from using the scope to its full potential), but compensation range is relevant. If a probe can't compensate for your scope's input capacitance, it's unusable. But trimmer caps are not known for tight tolerances, so I have been able to compensate probes to scopes outside their specs in some cases. Choosing A Probe (For Your Tektronix Scope) is a pretty good overview, nothing Tek specific about it. Get 10x probe, they are by far the most versatile. 1x probes are occasionally useful for measuring low-level signals, but their low bandwidth and huge input capacitance limit the usability (I only use them for power supply ripple measurement, and when amplitude accuracy is important, since they don't contain a divider). I'm not a big fan of switchable 1x/10x probes, although they're probably OK for low bandwidth <= 100MHz or so). Other kinds of probes, like 100x, current or active, are much more specialized, forget about them until you actually need them and are familiar with your scope.

Another place for free manuals is KO4BB. Paying might get you a real paper copy or better quality scan (more readable, schematics on one page, searchable), but you can usually make do with a free copy if money's tight.

Tek 465 is a good scope, has been the workhorse of the industry for decades. But it's like to cost more than $50 by the time the auction finishes. The probes are not original but probably pretty cheap ones, but they'll work fine for most use. The operation and maintenance manual on CD are probably the same ones you can download for free from BAMA. I don't agree with Dave to dismiss HP/Tek beforehand, I'd just search based on price below $150 or whatever (advanced search).

I would look for completed auctions and watch the auctions for a while to get a feel for prices, don't jump on the first opportunity, it's unlikely to be the best. Scopes advertised as 'tested' will command a premium, but you'll know it's at least not completely broken. I wouldn't take part in the 'untested, don't know how it works, sold as is' lottery for a first scope.

Depending on where you live, looking for local deals on Craigslist might also be a good idea. Shipping heavy, fragile items like scopes can be expensive and might damage the item unless the seller packs very well.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 12:31:20 pm by alm »
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2010, 12:45:00 pm »
Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I already checked craigslist, but(not surprisingly)there was nothing in my area.

So do you guys think I should go ahead and bid on the 465?
 

alm

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2010, 01:30:28 pm »
Still 5 days to go, no point in getting in a bidding war long before the end of the auction. I would do research (read Tektronix XYZ of oscilloscopes, ABC of probes, flip through the 465 operators manual available from Bama, look through completed Ebay auctions), and ask the seller any questions (eg. about condition). Make sure they pack well (double boxing), UPS et al. are not known for treating packages carefully, and the front panel knobs and CRT can be delicate. The shorter you bid before the end, the less time for other people to overbid. I use sniping services for this reason. Expect to see the price skyrocket just seconds before the end. Set a price you're willing to pay, and stick to it. Don't be tempted to win the auction at any cost, there will be plenty of others. I wouldn't be surprised if this hits $200, like DJPhil suggests. From a quick look through completed auctions, auctions with no returns allowed (but sometimes with visible trace) sometimes finish below $100, but auctions with returns often finish above $150.

The 465B is a newer version, but the 465M is almost completely unrelated, it's not just a militarized version of the 465.
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2010, 12:31:35 am »
Thanks for all of your advice! However, after doing a lot of research on oscilloscopes, I have learned that analog oscilloscopes are not good for digital electronics(microcontrollers etc.). This is mainly what I will be working with and have decided to get an Instek GDS-1062A.
 

Offline slburris

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2010, 12:56:07 am »
Thanks for all of your advice! However, after doing a lot of research on oscilloscopes, I have learned that analog oscilloscopes are not good for digital electronics(microcontrollers etc.). This is mainly what I will be working with and have decided to get an Instek GDS-1062A.

Maybe you can give us some impressions of the GDS-1062A when you've had
a change to try it out?  There are tons of reviews of the Rigol DS1052E, but
not too many of the Instek unit.

Did you get this from tequipment.net?

Scott
 

Offline Vexer

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2010, 01:06:07 am »
It is going to be a while before I get it(couple of months). I will definitely post my first impressions of the unit.
 

Offline TopherTheME

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Re: Analog Oscilloscope for Beginner
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2010, 08:04:24 pm »
Have you looked on ebay for a good deal? I'm sure the instek is probably a good value for the money but you can probably get a very good and comparably priced tek or agilent DSO for a similar price if you don't mind buying second hand. The 1060 looks like its a great value for the money but 99 times out of 100 you get what you pay for.
Don't blame me. I'm the mechanical engineer.
 


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