Author Topic: Purchased an oscilloscope but did I make a mistake? (re: newbie + Arduino, etc)  (Read 4573 times)

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Offline sofakng

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I've been trying to learn more about electronics but typically experiment with microcontrollers (Arduino, Teensy, etc) and digital signals/communication.  However, I've been looking to learn more and have purchased ATmega 328 chips and 32u4 chips trying to program them without Arduino so I can learn more about the platform and electronics, etc.

Anyways, eBay had a 20% off coupon last weekend and I impulse purchased a Rigol DS1054Z for about $300 shipped which seemed like a steal.  I've been waiting to purchase one until a deal came around but now I'm wondering if I should have even purchased it at all?  (or should I return it?)

I am hoping the oscilloscope can help me learn electronics and see how things are working (SPI communication, etc) but I don't think I will ever really use it to troubleshoot any circuits?  (ie. how do clock signals work and understanding digital circuits and how they interact with the clock, etc)

For example, my projects include building a Bluetooth to USB HID keyboard controller (WIZnet chip + ATmega32u4 which uses SPI), interfacing with home automation systems (RS232), etc.

I know it's hard to give advice, but if anybody has anything that might be useful please let me know :)

(EDIT: I'm currently using a Fluke 87 V multimeter but again, I though the osciliiscope could help me learn how things work more than having any other purpose)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 07:15:58 pm by sofakng »
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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I though the osciliiscope could help me learn how things work more than having any other purpose)


I feel blind without a scope - even if it isn't hooked up :)

You'll find it useful for learning why things don't work and help you in real cases where something is wrong. Even at worst, your new scope can act like 4 very fancy voltmeters :)
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline BocaDev

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The Rigol DS1054Z is a good scope and is most definitely a great purchase for your workbench. For example, there is a the MATH button (located under the vertical position knob) Press MATH->Decode->Decode1->Decode will list several serial signals that the scope can decode and display. I have found this feature very useful. This will help you learn SPI, RS232 and I2C, being very popular communication protocol in the Arduino community. For me, a good scope is #1 for learning signals and visually "see" what is happening. There are many YouTube video's about your new scope that you can learn from. Also Dave has done some great video's on the Rigol DS1054Z that you should look at. Dave is very entertaining you'll enjoy watching.

Have fun with your new DS1054Z scope, don't return it, you made a wise choice you will not regret
 
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Offline kripton2035

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you will see many more things with the 1054z than with the fluke 87v. keep it and learn with it.
when you will one day see it's limits, it will time to buy a better scope, but not until then.

Offline rstofer

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That scope was a great choice!  I have one that I bought a couple of years ago and it's terrific, particularly for uC projects.  The fact that is has 4 channels means it can display all 4 signals from an SPI channel.  Now, true, you can't decode 'War And Peace' but you can generally see most transactions and, most important, sync to the beginning of a transaction by triggering on CS' going low then move the trigger point on the screen over to the left to get as much of the transaction as possible.

Unlocking to get all the features is a bonus - search Test Equipment for 'Riglol' - yes, it's misspelled on purpose

Definitely a great choice!

 

Offline malagas_on_fire

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Great scope for starting on the graphical way of electric signals on 50Mhz. With arduino you most will be using SPI at 10MHz which is doable with that model.

I bought a ut-81b for starting because of it's portability, price, easy to pick signals, and i have a small bench. it is doing its job for  remembering electronics and solve some problems. if i catch the "wave" again, then might go for a better scope.

The other tool for seeing digital signals is a logic analyzer , which can pick the desired data for a specific protocol. Here's an image example on a pickit 2 as a logic analyzer, using 800KHz digital signal
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Offline Adrian_Arg.

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I do small projects with arduino and electronica, very conformed with the rigol ds1054z, I had a small problem of compensation rigol china I explain how to solve it.
 

Offline Electro Detective

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An oscilloscope is a   -must have-  item for serious electronics AND hobbyist come teach yourself  uses

That said, you will learn a lot about oscilloscopes and the Rigol by immediately testing all the functions to ensure everything works as it should...and return it ASAP if anything is not working  :-BROKE

If not sure about any of that, lots of Rigol users here to assist

Good luck with the new DSO  :clap:


 
 

Offline IonizedGears

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Personally, I don't really like the rigol interface for decoding. I much prefer having a separate logic analyzer for digital stuff. Don't get me wrong; the rigol is a great buy for when things aren't working for analog reasons- levels being wrong, wonky noise, or even for understanding analog circuits that do work. I don't know any logic analyzers that can measure rise time... There are tons of cheap Saleae clones that will work with Saleae's software which will be far less painful to use. Keep the rigol but buy a cheap Saleae clone.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F302384112773

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Offline bitseeker

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Anyways, eBay had a 20% off coupon last weekend and I impulse purchased a Rigol DS1054Z for about $300 shipped which seemed like a steal.  I've been waiting to purchase one until a deal came around but now I'm wondering if I should have even purchased it at all?  (or should I return it?)

That's a good deal.

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I am hoping the oscilloscope can help me learn electronics and see how things are working (SPI communication, etc)

It certainly will. That's exactly what it's for, to see how things are (or aren't) working.

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but I don't think I will ever really use it to troubleshoot any circuits?  (ie. how do clock signals work and understanding digital circuits and how they interact with the clock, etc)

Ah, so you're expecting your projects to work the first time you power them on? Not likely. So, your scope will get used. No worries.

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For example, my projects include building a Bluetooth to USB HID keyboard controller (WIZnet chip + ATmega32u4 which uses SPI), interfacing with home automation systems (RS232), etc.

Sounds like a good fit to me.

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I know it's hard to give advice, but if anybody has anything that might be useful please let me know :)

Not hard. You should have a scope. Being able to afford a DSO and getting it at 20% off is a great way to get started.

Quote
(EDIT: I'm currently using a Fluke 87 V multimeter but again, I though the osciliiscope could help me learn how things work more than having any other purpose)

The scope will enable you to see so much more than your multimeter. They're different tools and have their uses. Both are worth having on the bench. You'll see.
I TEA.
 

Offline sofakng

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Thank you so much everybody for the advice.  You have convinced me to keep the scope.  I've done some research and it sounds like the Rigol is decent but others recommend the Siglent SDS1102X   and other meters but they cost a little bit more.  Hopefully the Rigol DS1054Z is still a good choice?

Also, a little off topic but is that $12 Saelae clone really worth anything?  Will it decode at least somewhat decent?
 

Offline tautech

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Thank you so much everybody for the advice.  You have convinced me to keep the scope.  I've done some research and it sounds like the Rigol is decent but others recommend the Siglent SDS1102X   and other meters but they cost a little bit more.  Hopefully the Rigol DS1054Z is still a good choice?

Also, a little off topic but is that $12 Saelae clone really worth anything?  Will it decode at least somewhat decent?
Correction: X-E's are where it's at.  ;)
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Offline james_s

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Everybody has opinions, and any scope you can afford is going to be a compromise in some regards but the Rigol is a good little unit and will do what you need. Don't worry too much about which scope you have, but focus on learning to use and make the most of it. That Rigol is WAY more capable than anything that was affordable to a hobbyist when I first got into electronics. I remember how excited I was to finally have a 15MHz analog scope.
 

Offline IonizedGears

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I've personally never used the clone as I have the Saleae Logic 8. The clones sample at 24MHz which should give you a limit of 6MHz digital signals or 4.8Mhz on the safe side if you want to keep up to the 5th harmonic for those square edges. 4.8MHz should be enough for most UART, I2C, and SPI busses.

It looks like people are now saying to use sigrok + pulseview which looks to just be a clone and pulseview software instead of "illegally" using Saleae's software. I personally don't care because people that buy clones aren't exactly in the market for the hefty Saleae price tags and if they really didn't want their software to be open to everyone they wouldn't make it open to everyone. If you were face to face with a compassionate Saleae employee I bet they would be hard pressed to tell a starter that they couldn't use their software. /End rant

I recommend researching on your own so you could decide for yourself if you want/need it. I also recommend to try it first with the Rigol after you hack in the serial decode options to see if you're okay with that interface before you buy a logic analyzer.

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Offline neil t

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Offline Wimberleytech

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I've personally never used the clone as I have the Saleae Logic 8. The clones sample at 24MHz which should give you a limit of 6MHz digital signals or 4.8Mhz on the safe side if you want to keep up to the 5th harmonic for those square edges. 4.8MHz should be enough for most UART, I2C, and SPI busses.


The Saleae Logic 8 saved my butt three 1/2 years ago, so I have a special place in my heart for them.
 

Offline IonizedGears

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I've personally never used the clone as I have the Saleae Logic 8. The clones sample at 24MHz which should give you a limit of 6MHz digital signals or 4.8Mhz on the safe side if you want to keep up to the 5th harmonic for those square edges. 4.8MHz should be enough for most UART, I2C, and SPI busses.


The Saleae Logic 8 saved my butt three 1/2 years ago, so I have a special place in my heart for them.
I absolutely love the Saleae Logic 8. I kind of regret not getting the Digilent Digital Discovery for the amount of inputs and the speed but I can't really say that working with the Saleae software is difficult in really any way.

IX

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Offline JS

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I think you did good, now all DS1054Z are coming with all options included as sale from rigol directly and all sellers are working with the same offer, plus your cupon, that should do for you as it comes with the serial decoders as standard, rather to having to buy the expensive options (or the well known alternative)

I've just got mine few days ago and I'm quite happy with it, already successfully debugged a few devices, one of which official support had rejected the fix, and it was just a bad placed connector by someone poking around  :o

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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Guess what is the best tool for debugging embedded software (aka firmware)?

An oscilloscope.

You're playing with Arduinos, which are embedded firmware platforms. You'll soon be controlling an I/O pin with your software and something won't be working properly... and you can connect up your scope and know for certain exactly what is happening on that pin. And the circuitry it's connected to. The scope's multiple channels will allow you to correlate your signals with what is happening elsewhere in your circuit. And on and on.

You just made the single best investment in hardware+software development. In a few months you'll wonder how you could have ever gotten by without it.
 

Online Old Printer

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I've been trying to learn more about electronics but typically experiment with microcontrollers (Arduino, Teensy, etc) and digital signals/communication.  However, I've been looking to learn more and have purchased ATmega 328 chips and 32u4 chips trying to program them without Arduino so I can learn more about the platform and electronics, etc.

Anyways, eBay had a 20% off coupon last weekend and I impulse purchased a Rigol DS1054Z for about $300 shipped which seemed like a steal.  I've been waiting to purchase one until a deal came around but now I'm wondering if I should have even purchased it at all?  (or should I return it?)

I am hoping the oscilloscope can help me learn electronics and see how things are working (SPI communication, etc) but I don't think I will ever really use it to troubleshoot any circuits?  (ie. how do clock signals work and understanding digital circuits and how they interact with the clock, etc)

For example, my projects include building a Bluetooth to USB HID keyboard controller (WIZnet chip + ATmega32u4 which uses SPI), interfacing with home automation systems (RS232), etc.

I know it's hard to give advice, but if anybody has anything that might be useful please let me know :)

(EDIT: I'm currently using a Fluke 87 V multimeter but again, I though the osciliiscope could help me learn how things work more than having any other purpose)

I stupidly inserted my post into the OP's quote :(  So here was my question:

Did you buy it from an factory authorized dealer? The thing I worry about is that the factories tend to push warranty claims back on the dealer. The 20% off would be great, but not at the expense of a warranty hassle with a grey market seller.  Does that mean ebay pays the seller the 20%? I have never seen a coupon like that.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 11:37:49 pm by Old Printer »
 

Offline rstofer

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This is a true story, the names have not been changed...

A couple of days ago I was working with a Beaglebone Black and a UDEMY course on how Linux works on the board.  Good course, by the way!

I bought a USB->Serial cable with 3.3V output but I needed to PROVE that the green wire was TXD because it would be a really bad idea to stuff my TX output into the board TX output (something is going to get hot!).  So, I connected my scope to the wire and used minicom to send characters.  Sure enough they showed up on the scope.  I then shorted green to white (TX -> RX) to form a loopback and made certain that echoed characters display on the terminal.

Then I safely connected the gadget to the board and everything came out fine.  All the boot messages were on the screen and the keyboard could send console commands - just the way it was supposed to work.  No "I guess..." involved!

No point to the story except to say that without a scope, this kind of testing can be real hard to do.  Maybe a logic probe (which I have buried around here somewhere) but the scope is right there on my bench.  Of course I'm going to use it.

Scopes are unbelievably handy and the DS1054Z is a good example of an entry level scope.
 

Offline rstofer

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For a simple project with the Arduino, look in File->Examples->Servo and pick Sweep.
Connect your 10x probe to pin 9 and your probe ground to one of the ground connections.

Then press the Auto button.

After the scope displays an image you may need to shut down other channels - press their button twice.
You may need to center the display vertically, press the Position knob (the small one above the Volts/Div knob).
You may want a single pulse image, turn the Scale knob (lower right) to get 500 us/div as shown in the upper left of the screen.

Now you should have a single pulse starting at the middle of the screen.  The pulse width will vary.

Servo pulses are varying width 1.0 ms to 2.0 ms (servo center is 1.5 ms) repeating about 20 times per second (50 Hz).  The Arduino seems to overrun both ends, my scope shows 0.5 ms to 2.5 ms  You should see something very close to 50 Hz in the freq counter display in the upper right corner of the screen.

There, your first useful scope project.  There are a number of other issues like x1 or x10 probe selection.  Press the channel button and there will be a button associated with Probe - select that button then use the top left 'Intensity' button to select the x10 setting to match the probe.  Push the knob to select it.

In the end, you probably want 5.00V in the Volts/Div display  in the lower left corner of the screen.


 

Offline IDEngineer

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Oh man, I just can' t help it.  >:D

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Then press the Auto button...

...and no more twiddling, right? Oh, wait, you'd better actually know how to use a scope because:

Quote
After the scope displays an image you may need to shut down other channels - press their button twice.

...and you'd better know about the vertical amplifiers, because:

Quote
You may need to center the display vertically, press the Position knob (the small one above the Volts/Div knob).

...and you'd best be familiar with the horizontal timebase too, because:

Quote
You may want a single pulse image, turn the Scale knob (lower right) to get 500 us/div as shown in the upper left of the screen.

...so that finally, after compensating for that so-called "Auto" button with several manual adjustments:

Quote
Now you should have a single pulse starting at the middle of the screen.

Hopefully, the user will have played around (and I do really mean PLAYED around) with the scope for a while so that he doesn't have to rely solely on the so-called "Auto" button.

To the original poster: There is another thread on here arguing about the supposed worthlessness of analog scopes, particularly since digital scopes have the magic "Auto" button. But this post I'm replying to perfectly illustrates why the "Auto" button is not the end-game for scopes. My advice is to utterly ignore the "Auto" button and just PLAY with your scope for a while so you get a nice feel for its basic operation. Then nobody will have to tell you about fixing the "Auto" button's bad guesses because you'll already have the display you want, no "Auto" button required. It will become second nature to you, and you'll have a great time learning and doing it.

Apologies for the minor thread hijack, but I just couldn't let this one go.  :horse:
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Oh man, I just can' t help it.  >:D

That's unfortunate.

Then press the Auto button...

...and no more twiddling, right?

rstofer never said that. His approach for getting a new digital scope user's feet wet clearly illustrates that the Auto button is simply a starting point. He even explains why you're twiddling the other controls on the front panel. It's a good tutorial for a first-timer so that they quickly get initial results and can explore further.
I TEA.
 

Offline rstofer

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Hopefully, the user will have played around (and I do really mean PLAYED around) with the scope for a while so that he doesn't have to rely solely on the so-called "Auto" button.


I have been using a scope for more than 60 years so I do have a small acquaintance with how to drive them.  And I still use the Auto button more often than not.  I will always use the Auto button rather than go through the effort to twist a bunch of knobs to get a first image on the screen.  Just me, being lazy.

Yes, I know what Time/Div it takes and I certainly know the Volts/Div and if I was using an analog scope I would just dial them in - more or less - and then twiddle them to get the display I want.

I paid extra for that Auto button, I own that Auto button and I plan to use that Auto button every chance I get.

I never said the Auto button was the end-all be-all of scope controls.  Quite the contrary, I said to use it to get a squiggly line on the screen and then exactly how, why and which knobs to twist to refine the image.  As noted above, a simple little introduction to a brand new user.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 05:00:36 am by rstofer »
 


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