Author Topic: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?  (Read 6837 times)

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Offline David Cutcher CEG

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Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« on: April 18, 2019, 05:04:18 pm »
I am developing an online course, for the complete beginner.
In the second module, as I introduce digital, I also introduce an oscillating circuit and oscilloscopes to visualize what's happening. In my book, Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius 2nd ed 2010 -  I use an online freeware and we build our own probe.
BUT . .  . prices and size have plummeted. Now some scopes are less expensive than an adequate soldering station.
What can this audience recommend - for beginners, introducing concepts,  ideally 2 channel. Inexpensive.
Discussion ended up with GYRO referring me to this EEVBLAB
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/owon-vds1022i-quick-teardown-(versus-the-hantek-6022be)/
all about the OWON VDS1022i. Looks good.
And I've ordered one.
David Cutcher "Certified Evil Genius"
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 06:47:52 am by David Cutcher CEG »
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 05:50:49 pm »
This is debated every week, give or take a couple of days.  Here in the Beginner's forum and also in the Test Equipment forum.

The Rigol DS1054Z usually heads the list as it is more mature but the Siglent 1104X-E is gaining ground.  Personally, I would look at the 200 MHz version, the 1204X-E but it is expensive.  The 1104X-E can be unlocked to get 200 MHz bandwidth, details elsewhere.

I have the Rigol and it works fine for me.  There are complaints about the speed of the UI (and they're valid) but I don't spend all that much time twiddling knobs compared to watching the display.  So what if I save 50% time on a 1% operation?

The Siglent is supposed to be much more responsive but I don't have one.

However...

I think a better solution for a newcomer is the Digilent Analog Discovery 2 because it has 2 AWG channels, 2 differential scope channels, a dual power supply (very limited current) plus 16 digital IO pins that can be used as a logic analyzer with protocol decoding.  Digilent has a course (Real Analog) based on this gadget.

The AD2 is an electronics lab in a small package and, no matter what, a 27" display is bigger than a 7" display.

A newcomer can get a lot farther into electronics with a much smaller investment if they consider the AD2.

Check the specs:

https://store.digilentinc.com/analog-discovery-2-100msps-usb-oscilloscope-logic-analyzer-and-variable-power-supply/
 
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 07:06:57 pm »
Whatever rstofer mentioned, with an addendum:

If the target audience is severely cash strapped and you are working with audio, you can also check one of the toy oscilloscopes on the web:

  • The JyeTech DSO138 is dirt cheap and comes both assembled and in kit form. May be a great path to also introduce soldering. :)
  • The JyeTech DSO150 has more or less the same characteristics as above but in a more compact form.
  • The Daniu DSO188 with 1MHz and 5MSPS is a much upgraded version of the previous one. I couldn't find a kit form, but it is still quite cheap.

What do you lose when using one of these? Apart from the performance features themselves, you lose the look and feel of using a real tool. On the other hand, assembling your own tool gives some extra reward points (for the DSO138).
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

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Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 07:28:41 pm »
In that case, I'm going to throw the VDS1022 into the mix - you get two channel, 25MHz, 100Msps, low cost and the 27" (pc) screen.  :)


P.S. If you're introducing digital then don't forget the $10 ebay 8 channel USB logic analyser.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 07:44:47 pm by Gyro »
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Offline David Cutcher CEG

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 08:16:57 pm »
Thank you for this,but for my audience, these tools would be like giving them a Fluke DMM and then showing them how to do continuity. 
My expectation is that they will get better tools if they choose to progress.
David Cutcher "Certified Evil Genius"
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 08:17:59 pm »
Well you're setting us a pretty hard (impossible?) challenge to compete with freeware!

Current ebay prices:

- 8 channel logic analyser <$7 US, use with freeware Sigrok Pulseview.

- rsjsouza's suggested single channel DSO138 kit, <$15 US

- Owon 2 channel VDS1022 (non isolated version) <$70 US

All shipped from China of course but I'd say that's pretty good value!

The Rigol DS1054Z, Siglent 1104X-E, and Digilent Analog Discovery 2 are, of course, considerably more expensive but you get what you pay for.
Chris

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Offline David Cutcher CEG

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 08:23:41 pm »
These are interesting, but I need 2 channel. Audio Signal. Simple.
And from experience, it can't be a kit. In a classroom, I can help fix a bad solder that ruins a project. Can't do that online.   
I'm looking now at he Owon VDS1022.  Any experience with this tool?
David Cutcher "Certified Evil Genius"
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2019, 08:26:58 pm »
Yes, sure... https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/owon-vds1022i-quick-teardown-(versus-the-hantek-6022be)/ The galvanically Isolated version (I) is preferable for a few more $.

I agree, the DSO138 can be a bit of a bugger to solder (pad size a bit small).


P.S. There's the Hantek too, but it has issues (performance and S/W), there's an "Open Hantek" s/w initiative to resolve the latter.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 08:30:35 pm by Gyro »
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Offline David Cutcher CEG

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2019, 08:29:42 pm »
Owon VDS1022
This looks perfect. Do you have experience with it?
It has seriously mixed reviews online.
But so does my text. For example . . .
  • Worst reviews from tech and engineers, saying my demonstrations and my graphics are too simple.
  • Best reviews from those who are complete beginners, never held a DMM before.

DAvid Cutcher "Certified Evil Genius"
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 08:37:17 pm by David Cutcher CEG »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2019, 08:38:05 pm »
Quote
This looks perfect. Do you have experience with it?

See above.  :)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 08:46:12 pm by Gyro »
Chris

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Offline David Cutcher CEG

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2019, 08:51:35 pm »
AH! Yes. And I'm very impressed, reading past posts from a general search, and your connection.
I'm ordering the VDS-1022 this afternoon.
Thank you for your attention to this.

David Cutcher "Certified Evil Genius"
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2019, 09:02:36 pm »
There's also the option of the cheap used analog scope. For visualizing what an oscillator is doing virtually any scope will do the job. Often times the best scope is the one you can get your hands on.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 02:22:42 am »
There's also the option of the cheap used analog scope.

I also support the idea of an analogue scope as being the first contact instrument - for one very basic reason: They represent the most straightforward operation that is based on the physics of scanning a CRT.  This gives two benefits:
 1. The response to control changes is instant.  This is really important in the early stages to make the connections "this switch does that".  DSOs aren't always as responsive.
 2. The controls and their function are easily connected to the physics - which is not as apparent with digital scopes.  This also explains why the basic operation of DSOs is the way it is.

Once there is understanding, then the argument for continued use of an analogue scope diminishes.


Edit:
Of course, the appropriateness of this will depend upon the course objectives.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 02:26:29 am by Brumby »
 

Offline MarkF

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2019, 03:06:52 am »
You might also look at the PicoScopes (starting at $139 for 10MHz minus their EEVBlog discount).

   https://www.tequipment.net/Pico/2204A/PC-Based-Oscilloscopes/?v=7404

I believe their software is more mature and is used for their entire product line.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 03:09:25 am by MarkF »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2019, 04:20:04 am »
That doesn't seem like much of a bargain when you can get an older standalone 100MHz DSO for around that price range. PC based instruments never really lived up to the hype IMO, they were supposed to be much cheaper since they could use a PC as the display and processing hardware however in practice I never really saw much if any savings. Especially now when displays and computers are cheap as dirt.
 

Offline Peabody

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2019, 04:21:59 am »
JYETech has a new 2-channel kit, the "Wave2".  They sell it for $79 with free shipping, which is less than Banggood's price.  But you would also need a battery - about another $9.

https://jyetech.com/wave2-2-channel-oscilloscope/
 

Offline exe

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2019, 05:24:31 am »
I don't think there are special scopes for beginners, for professionals, etc. Just buy a good one, and learn how to use it. For complete beginners there is often "autosetup" button and "reset settings" buttons. Of course approach only works for people who a willing to learn. Also worth watching videos on safety, there are quite a few pitfalls due to common ground on probes.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2019, 05:30:57 am »
Also worth watching videos on safety, there are quite a few pitfalls due to common ground on probes.

Whoops ... Yes!

Here is the obligatory viewing material:

 
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Offline exe

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2019, 06:04:19 am »
BTW, I'd just go to a local hackspace and asked somebody to teach how to use an oscilloscope. Like, triggering, ac/dc coupling, vertical controls, horizontal controls, probe attenuation, compensation, sampling rate, measurements, math (differential mode, fft, ...), etc. May be even serial decoding :).

I also agree on the point that it's quite easy to screw measurements and even burn the DUT. So, sanity check is needed at all times.

An analogue scope and a demo board can be a nice first encounter.

The way I learned how to use scopes is I went to an industrial fare, and a representative of GW Instek was happy to show their equipment, as well told me how to use it, and even gave me a few tasks like to setup trigger on an unstable signal, etc. Then I connected it to their signal generator and played with that. It was super nice experience. Then I went to LeCroy booth and played with equipment I probably will never buy for myself :). It was also interesting to compare ui of different brands. In a few hours I got hands-on experience with Rigol, Siglent, GW Instek, Keysight, R&S and Hameg and Teledyne LeCroy. Although at the end I bought Micsig :). Each scope has own strengths and weaknesses, but frankly, for a typical use it's not that important which one you have. They all let the job done.

One thing to consider is analog discovery 2 (ad2), this is the oscilloscope, signal generator and logic analyzer for my daily use (partly because of differential input). I have much better equipment than ad2 in terms of specs, but it collects dust most of the time.

PS I'd also watch a video "how not blow up yourself when using an oscilloscope". Hint: it's quite a tricky subject.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 06:31:21 am by exe »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2019, 09:13:51 am »
I think this thread is loosing track of the fact that the OP - the author of "Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius", is looking for something low cost to standardise on for an online course, that that has current availability. He can't really do that with a mixed bunch of miscellaneous second-hand analogue (or digital), or the more expensive stuff that might normally be applicable to single users.

If you look at a copy of his book, you'll see that he hand-holds the readers quite closely.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:24:05 am by Gyro »
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2019, 03:12:28 pm »
I think this thread is loosing track of the fact that the OP - the author of "Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius", is looking for something low cost to standardise on for an online course, that that has current availability. He can't really do that with a mixed bunch of miscellaneous second-hand analogue (or digital), or the more expensive stuff that might normally be applicable to single users.

If you look at a copy of his book, you'll see that he hand-holds the readers quite closely.

The selection has already been made in Reply 10 - the Owon VDS-1022 - available at Amazon for $79 (about $100 for the isolated version, the VDS-1022i).  This is about as 'entry level' as it gets and can probably reach a wider audience.

There is an Oscilloscope Training Class as a sticky at the top of this forum:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/oscilloscope-training-class-(long)/

The Owon might be interesting for one of my applications.  I play around with an analog computer and  some form of graphic display is required.  The required bandwidth is quite low and it might be nice to have a unit dedicated to the purpose.  I don't want to tie up my AD2 and moving my DS1054Z between the bench and analog computer is kind of a drag.  Maybe I'll give the Owon a try.  It's not like I'm risking a lot of money.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 03:16:42 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2019, 03:37:07 pm »
An early EEVblog review of other USB Scopes:



Here is a review of the OWON VDS1022i specifically:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/owon-vds1022i-quick-teardown-(versus-the-hantek-6022be)/
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 03:54:07 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2019, 05:27:54 pm »
The selection has already been made in Reply 10 - the Owon VDS-1022 - available at Amazon for $79 (about $100 for the isolated version, the VDS-1022i).  This is about as 'entry level' as it gets and can probably reach a wider audience.

Here is a review of the OWON VDS1022i specifically:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/owon-vds1022i-quick-teardown-(versus-the-hantek-6022be)/

Err, I know.  ;)  ;D
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 06:16:45 pm by Gyro »
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Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2019, 10:13:05 pm »
I have bought both the "DSO138" and the "DSO SHELL" and I find them very dissapointing. The buttons of the 138 are a pretty bad user interface. The "Shell" has a rotary encoder and the user interface itself is usable, but some other limitations are too big to call these usable instruments.

First, they pick up way too much noise. The STM32F103... used in these 2 toys are 10 bit converters, but they do not seem to manage to get more  then 6 bit of usability out of them. This may be a PCB layout issue or maybe it's simply bad software, for example using the least significant digits of the ADC instead of the most significant digits.

Another issue is simply bad overall software. Especially the way triggering is implented. You can somewhat change a trigger level to get a stable signal on the LCD, but the triggering itself is always off screen and you can not see the point on which the scope toy was actually triggered.

If those issues were resolved the DSO Shell would have been a nice and usable instrument, even with it's limitations of small low resolution screen, limited functionality and small bandwith. Those are acceptable for an EUR 20 instrument.

The "DSO Nano" and "DSO Quad" are also jokes. Horrible User interfaces (they may have improved on that) but they're too expensive. Just add EUR150 and buy a real scope.

The "expeyes" may be interesting. It has been designed in India with the goal of education in mind. It can be combined with a PC or a phone for a UI, which keeps the price low.

I also recommend to search for "gabotronics". On his website he made an overview of about 50+ scope like gadget things.

If you're designing a coarse about electronics you also can go hardly around microcontrollers nowadays. For microcontroller debugging a Logic Analyser is a very usefull tool and I can highly recommend the very cheap (EUR 7 !!! ) LA's from Ali / Ebay / China. Just search over there for "24MHz 8ch", and use them with Sigrok / Pulseview.
I have a Rigol scopoe myself, but when working with microcontrollers I often find the EUR 7 Logic analyser more usefull. On the AVRfreaks forum there is an old thread that is an introduction into using a LA for software debugging on small uC's.
https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment/2421756




 

Offline alsetalokin4017

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Re: Best Oscilloscope for complete beginner?
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2019, 10:26:24 pm »
I don't think there are special scopes for beginners, for professionals, etc. Just buy a good one, and learn how to use it. For complete beginners there is often "autosetup" button and "reset settings" buttons. Of course approach only works for people who a willing to learn. Also worth watching videos on safety, there are quite a few pitfalls due to common ground on probes.

The "autosetup" button is the most anti-learning button on the DSO. Students should not be permitted to use that button until they already know how to capture a signal manually by setting appropriate vertical and horizontal and trigger settings. In fact I note that some "entry level" scopes that might be found in classrooms have this button disabled, deep in a menu. You can even disable it in the Rigol DS1054z.

I am of the school of thought that says absolute beginners should absolutely begin on an analog scope. Hopefully it will last long enough for the student to figure it out. Then when it goes wonky, get a decent DSO to help fix the analog scope.
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