Author Topic: How many multi-meters do I need to start?  (Read 5667 times)

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Offline tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2018, 09:16:42 am »
In addition to requiring the more expensive scope model, there are two options required: an external signal generator ($159) and firmware ($109) which means, if you have to buy the firmware, adding the Bode' Plot feature costs as much as an AD2 complete (more or less).
That's not correct.
Bode plot is standard fare and if you already have a Siglent AWG it works without further cost. If just the USB AWG is added, the scope instructs it to sweep for the plots. The SW option to control the AWG is ONLY needed to use the USB AWG as a standalone AWG and use all its waveforms. The SW option is not required for bode plots.

So, if I want to use the USB AWG for anything other than as an attachment to the scope, I need to buy the software, right?
Correct.

Quote
Like driving it from a PC or something?
Only works with the 4ch X-E's.

Quote
The fact that I already have the SDG2082X means I wouldn't need the software or any other extra cost if I want to drive it from the scope?
Correct.
But it only applies for Bode plot usage not scope control of the SDG for general AWG usage.

Quote
When they listed it as firmware on the web page, I was anticipating unlocking firmware inside the scope itself.
The software AWG license is only for the USB AWG general usage, bode plot usage with an SDG or USB AWG is a standard feature.
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #51 on: February 15, 2018, 09:17:13 am »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.

But does the FFT and other evaluation functions are so much better in the Siglent that it gets over the lack of 2 channels?

rsjsouza states that "If you are interested in analog audio, I would be very biased towards the Siglent, given it is a more modern platform and has better FFT". Why? How much better? Is the FFT in the Rigol useless (toy feature) compared to the Siglent one? Why the "modern platform" matters?

Thanks guys!!! :D
I forgot about this comment of mine.

In general, an oscilloscope for analog audio does not require four channels nor very high bandwidth, although the more is usually the merrier. In this case, the Siglent has additional bandwidth (which is not necessarily an advantage in your case) and its two channels would not be limiting for audio. However, the much more accurate FFT (which helps evaluating the "purity" of a signal) and the newer processor being used (which is reported to bring a much more responsive oscilloscope) are two great features that help the Siglent to be highly considered for this particular case.

If in the future you intend to work with digital datastreams from ADC/DACs or signal processors, the Rigol may be a better option as its logic decoders (and the extra channels) are included in the price (the digital serial interfaces have multiple wires that need to be monitored). However, a cheap USB Logic Analyzer + an open source Logic Analyzer software (Sigrok) is also suitable for these digital datastreams for audio converters.

One thing that detracts from Siglent is their track record for fixing bugs - they tend be a bit slower on this regard. The bugs on the Rigol are well known and most of them are apparently fixed (although they were also slow to get them straightened up). If that is a topic that concerns you, another brand (GW Instek) may have a higher weight on your decision.

A thread that points to several others is: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/rigol-ds1054z-vs-siglent-sds1202x-e/

As others have said, the Analog Discovery is a nice tool as well, as it integrates a signal generator, a bit more resolution (14-bit) but slower (100MSPS) 2 channel oscilloscope, a 2 channel signal generator and a logic analyzer. It is priced quite reasonably for what it does ($279 + accessories), but keep in mind that it is a tool that does a lot but is usually more limited on each function when compared to standalone tools.

In the far future you should start considering something like a really nice audio signal generator (Krohn Hite 4400B) or the Keithley 2015, a bench multimeter that performs distortion analysis.
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Offline rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2018, 09:59:43 am »

If in the future you intend to work with digital datastreams from ADC/DACs or signal processors, the Rigol may be a better option as its logic decoders (and the extra channels) are included in the price (the digital serial interfaces have multiple wires that need to be monitored). However, a cheap USB Logic Analyzer + an open source Logic Analyzer software (Sigrok) is also suitable for these digital datastreams for audio converters.


The decoding of various serial buses is included with the Siglent, not 'unlocked' as in the case of the Rigol.  These days, Rigol is giving away the decoding but, AFAIK, not the upgrade to 100 MHz so a bit of 'unlocking' is still required.

In the digital world, more channels is better.

One other thing about the AD2 - both scope inputs are fully differential unless you use the BNC adapter.  So, for a Class A transistor amplifier with emitter degeneration, I can put one channel across the load resistor (Vcc to collector) and another channel across the emitter resistor (emitter to ground).  Or, I can have one channel ground referenced on the base and the other floating across the load resistor.

This differential input feature is really handy when messing around with transistor amplifiers.

The Rigol is easier to use than the AD2 because the Rigol is sitting on a shelf over my bench and the AD2 is boxed up in a drawer.  As a result, I don't use the AD2 nearly as often as I should.

I think the features of the AD2 are underappreciated.  It really is a lab in a box (or backpack).
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2018, 12:25:58 pm »
For those with an AD2 and working on audio projects, since the Audio Analyzer Suite software is gone, there's been some efforts to use the new scripting functionality in the AD2's spectrum analyzer for plotting frequency sweeps. More info at https://forum.digilentinc.com/topic/4383-using-script-with-spectrum-on-ad2/
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2018, 12:34:56 pm »

If in the future you intend to work with digital datastreams from ADC/DACs or signal processors, the Rigol may be a better option as its logic decoders (and the extra channels) are included in the price (the digital serial interfaces have multiple wires that need to be monitored). However, a cheap USB Logic Analyzer + an open source Logic Analyzer software (Sigrok) is also suitable for these digital datastreams for audio converters.


The decoding of various serial buses is included with the Siglent, not 'unlocked' as in the case of the Rigol.  These days, Rigol is giving away the decoding but, AFAIK, not the upgrade to 100 MHz so a bit of 'unlocking' is still required.
Thank you; I stand corrected, despite the fact that certain serial links can't be fully decoded on a 2 channel oscilloscope.
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Offline rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2018, 01:19:43 pm »
Thank you; I stand corrected, despite the fact that certain serial links can't be fully decoded on a 2 channel oscilloscope.

And that is the very reason I bought the DS1054Z;  I wanted 4 channels for SPI.
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2018, 01:21:46 pm »
The answer to the original post is ZERO. You've already started. But getting at least one should be at the top of your list.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #57 on: February 15, 2018, 08:29:17 pm »
Thank you; I stand corrected, despite the fact that certain serial links can't be fully decoded on a 2 channel oscilloscope.

And that is the very reason I bought the DS1054Z;  I wanted 4 channels for SPI.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper and more effective to spend £10 on the cheapest "logic analyser" available, or £25 on a bus pirate?

General principle: debug digital signals in the digital domain with digital tools. Use scopes for signal integrity and analogue waveforms.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online blueskull

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #58 on: February 15, 2018, 08:44:06 pm »
I have two, and I never feel I need a third. I do have a third and a fourth, but one of them is a pocket unit for troubleshooting on the go, and the other is Dave's GW121 solely for supporting Dave.
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2018, 01:07:51 am »
Thank you; I stand corrected, despite the fact that certain serial links can't be fully decoded on a 2 channel oscilloscope.

And that is the very reason I bought the DS1054Z;  I wanted 4 channels for SPI.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper and more effective to spend £10 on the cheapest "logic analyser" available, or £25 on a bus pirate?

General principle: debug digital signals in the digital domain with digital tools. Use scopes for signal integrity and analogue waveforms.

Sure!  I could have just continued along using my Tek 485 for scope duties and using my Sump.org 200 MHz Logic Analyzer.  Or, I could use my Analog Discovery 2 for both functions.

There are other features of a DSO that are equally important like single shot and measurements that are simply not available on my 485.

It was worth buying some DSO just to see how they work and education is never free.  Given that, the DSO should have features that my analog scope doesn't have (including decoding) and one of those things is 4 channels.  All in, the DS1054Z has met my needs quite well.  But my needs are also quite simple so it is understandable if people want to buy a much more capable scope.

The question here is how much scope for how much money in the context of a beginner.  I think the new Siglent 1204X-E is bringing a lot of capability to the entry level scope.  The second part of the question is whether $800 is reasonable for an entry level scope.  Because, without the additional bandwidth, the Siglent is just competing with the Rigol and the Rigol is cheaper and better established.

 
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Offline Vtile

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #60 on: February 16, 2018, 03:51:59 am »
bsas get 2nd hand Simpson 260 as you live in the US. It is really solid passive analog meter from the days long gone, but I will promise you will learn more about measurements with it that any DMM.
 
Pair it with decent DMM, the bonus is that old US tube equipment and their repair manuals often were written Simpson in mind. (..in Europe the AVO8 had similar status).

I had one, it was a beautiful classic instrument. Eventually though I gave it to someone else, I found I just never used it. The analog bargraph on my Fluke is sufficient for my needs in that respect. If you can get an analog multimeter for free or very cheap go for it, but expect it will likely become a shelf ornament unless you grew up using them and feel nostalgic, or have very specific needs.
Yes. The cost is a good point, get one from the cheap end of the spectrum. The beauty of old passive analog meter is that it forces the user to wrap the head around the measurement, not just poking around. The reason I recommended the Simpson 260 is that it were a solid quality (actually better in specs than most analog meters on the market today) and in US you can get working beaten-up unit with pennies. It is a great tool for learning, which is one thing bsas is after. Besides you can always build a preamplifier for it.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 03:55:09 am by Vtile »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #61 on: February 16, 2018, 04:13:46 am »
Thank you; I stand corrected, despite the fact that certain serial links can't be fully decoded on a 2 channel oscilloscope.

And that is the very reason I bought the DS1054Z;  I wanted 4 channels for SPI.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper and more effective to spend £10 on the cheapest "logic analyser" available, or £25 on a bus pirate?

General principle: debug digital signals in the digital domain with digital tools. Use scopes for signal integrity and analogue waveforms.

Sure!  I could have just continued along using my Tek 485 for scope duties and using my Sump.org 200 MHz Logic Analyzer.  Or, I could use my Analog Discovery 2 for both functions.

There are other features of a DSO that are equally important like single shot and measurements that are simply not available on my 485.

It was worth buying some DSO just to see how they work and education is never free.  Given that, the DSO should have features that my analog scope doesn't have (including decoding) and one of those things is 4 channels.  All in, the DS1054Z has met my needs quite well.  But my needs are also quite simple so it is understandable if people want to buy a much more capable scope.

The question here is how much scope for how much money in the context of a beginner.  I think the new Siglent 1204X-E is bringing a lot of capability to the entry level scope.  The second part of the question is whether $800 is reasonable for an entry level scope.  Because, without the additional bandwidth, the Siglent is just competing with the Rigol and the Rigol is cheaper and better established.

Your points about analogue scopes are beside the point under discussion.

If you want to get a DSO (or any other tool) for entertainment, education and experimentation, that's an excellent reason. I wish more people had that attitude.

But capturing SPI is a poor reason for getting a DSO, since there are better alternatives. (Doubly so if you already possess alternatives)

It is usually best to be clear and upfront about the motivation/reason.
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Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #62 on: February 16, 2018, 05:34:49 am »
As always, it really depends.

Just today I was using 4 and really could have used one or two more. But that is when I'm doing repair work and I need to keep an eye on how different voltage rails behave during testing. Ofcourse this is just a luxury problem, and I could just actually put in effort and move probes as I measure, but I like seeing everything in a single glance.
I have a few cheap meters that I don't trust, but they can still be usefull. It doesn't take much accuracy to see if your 15 V rail has collapsed to 2 V due to a short on the output....
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Offline jgalak

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #63 on: February 16, 2018, 06:10:45 am »
To answer the headline question, the number of DMMs needed is "n+1" where "n" is the number of DMMs currently owned....

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Offline tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #64 on: February 16, 2018, 07:05:32 am »
The question here is how much scope for how much money in the context of a beginner.  I think the new Siglent 1204X-E is bringing a lot of capability to the entry level scope.  The second part of the question is whether $800 is reasonable for an entry level scope.  Because, without the additional bandwidth, the Siglent is just competing with the Rigol and the Rigol is cheaper and better established.
Can I remind you there's an SDS1104X-E (100 MHz) model that under $500 and while head butting with a hacked 1054Z has significantly more functionality and capabilities. For those that do their homework they need to decide if the better specs, functionality and capability are worth more $ or will the cheapest do ?

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Offline Jwillis

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #65 on: February 16, 2018, 06:56:36 pm »
I agree more is better.Especially when you need to monitor more than one voltage at a time.Depending on what your doing you may want to include a good analog VM .As for buying the most expensive like Fluke ,I haven't found any difference in accuracy between my 300 dollar Fluke or my 40 dollar Master Craft ,which has more features by the way .But hey it's your wallet. Aside from the Fluke the most expensive meter I have is the Mastech MS5308.It's not just a LCR tester but does capacitance and  fairly decent measure of milliohms.Cheers
 
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Offline jayjr1105

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #66 on: February 17, 2018, 04:34:21 am »
I have an addiction. Some of these were freebies from harbor freight and ones I inherited over the years. Only paid for the Uni-T, UEI, and B&K.

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Offline Nusa

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #67 on: February 17, 2018, 04:36:56 am »
If you have to choose between buying food or batteries for your multimeters, that's when you need treatment.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #68 on: February 17, 2018, 04:41:32 am »
I think a good rule of thumb is if you live in area with a 12 hour clock - you need 12.  If you live in a 24 hour clock area - you need 24.  This makes it simple.
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Offline paulca

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #69 on: February 17, 2018, 04:51:41 am »
It's even easier than that.

If you have to ask, it's "You need one more"
"What could possibly go wrong?"
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Offline taydin

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #70 on: February 17, 2018, 05:11:41 am »
12
:-DD  :-+

I need a few more then as I can only count ~10.  :)

I am quite behind the bell curve it seems, I only have 8. 8)

God, then I'm in the stone age, only 3 :(
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Offline taydin

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #71 on: February 17, 2018, 05:21:15 am »
For audio usage, it's best to get a scope that has a higher ADC resolution (12-bit or more, 16 bit would be best). This will allow you to measure low level audio signals with high resolution.

Also, for audio usage, it's much better to get a scope with low bandwidth. The higher a scope's bandwidth, the more noise it will have. In your case, there is absolutely no benefit in getting a 300 MHz or even a 1 GHz scope. These will just pick up and display more noise.
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #72 on: February 17, 2018, 06:06:11 am »
For audio usage, it's best to get a scope that has a higher ADC resolution (12-bit or more, 16 bit would be best). This will allow you to measure low level audio signals with high resolution.

Also, for audio usage, it's much better to get a scope with low bandwidth. The higher a scope's bandwidth, the more noise it will have. In your case, there is absolutely no benefit in getting a 300 MHz or even a 1 GHz scope. These will just pick up and display more noise.

Do you have any idea what is the ADC resolution on the Rigol 1054Z or the Siglent SDS1104X-E? I don't know where to find that spec (I probably just don't know where to search or how to google it)...

Thanks!
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #73 on: February 17, 2018, 06:20:24 am »
I think a good rule of thumb is if you live in area with a 12 hour clock - you need 12.  If you live in a 24 hour clock area - you need 24.  This makes it simple.

So if you live in an area with a 12 hour clock but use a 24 hour clock, does that mean you need 36?
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #74 on: February 17, 2018, 06:56:24 am »
Do you have any idea what is the ADC resolution on the Rigol 1054Z or the Siglent SDS1104X-E? I don't know where to find that spec (I probably just don't know where to search or how to google it)...

They're both 8-bit, as are most standalone digital scopes. Below is a post with a comparison table from last August. The ADC resolution is the fifth item down in the table.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/msg1290409/#msg1290409

The Analog Discovery 2 is 14-bit for both the scope and the signal generator. https://reference.digilentinc.com/reference/instrumentation/analog-discovery-2/reference-manual
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