Author Topic: Purchased an oscilloscope but did I make a mistake? (re: newbie + Arduino, etc)  (Read 4525 times)

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Online bitseeker

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rstofer's next t-shirt: "It's my Auto button and I'll press it if I want to!"
I TEA.
 

Offline JS

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Oh man, I just can' t help it.  >:D

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Then press the Auto button...
:palm:
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...and no more twiddling, right? Oh, wait, you'd better actually know how to use a scope because:

...
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.
...  :horse:

First thing I did when I got mine, disable auto button (DS1054Z has an option to do so, all should) So I don't hit it accidentally while clearing the display or running after a single shot (big "AUTO" button right in the middle of the frequently used ones). Quite a hassle to press it, once you get a bit used to it, just disable and learn to use it properly. You never know what's going to show but you know is not what you need...

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

Offline mtdoc

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Yeah, I agree with others that beginners should be discouraged from using the Auto button (and why an analog scope is a good idea to learn with first).

I remember teaching an electrophysiology course many years ago - where students had Tek 2225s to use (pre DSO days).  They always wanted me to find their signal for them. But if I did that then time and time again they would ask me to do it. I was their "Auto button". It was only by forcing them to think through the process of setting the timebase,vertical gain and trigger settings themselves did they finally get to that "Aha" moment of understanding exactly what the scope was doing, how it worked, and how to properly use it.   

I fear that encouraging use of the Auto button - is a short term feel good solution that will only delay learning how to properly use a scope.  It's like encouraging use of a calculator for simple calculations before leaning how to do basic math first.
 

Offline JS

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As a test in the metrology class we had to setup the scope entirely without triggering and then hit run once to get a perfect, single cycle filling all the screen. It was an easy signal to trigger as a low noise sine wave or something. For many was hard as shit and they were asking in the hall how to do so.

Now, today I was trying to trigger a data bus to identify the traces (many data bus on a single flat ribbon so hard to tell which was which before hand) triggering one of the signals as reference was hard enough with advanced trigger options but I got a reasonable steady signal in the screen and I was able do distinguish the independent sync data lines. Now, learn how to use the scope, know where all the tweaks are and how to use them one by one. Having a signal gen helps (your phone would do, I can recomend an app) so you can trigger the signal when you need it. Edge triggering is usually not enough and auto will have quite a hard time to deal with that. Also, you need to know the acquire mode the scope scope is in or you'll trip more than once thinking your signal is something that isn't. As a rule of thumb I always start with normal and if I see a certain type of consistency and need lower noise I'd switch to a more convenient one. DS1054Z is a powerful modern scope, has almost as many options as there is for one, but learning how they work is useful and pays back quite fast.

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

Offline malagas_on_fire

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A good starting point for a oscilloscope learning is using LRC circuits with frequency and a old analog scope, with manual controls and no auto setting button. I remeber using those scopes on college and when i go to university i saw digital scopes that scrambled my mind but there was the auto. Most of my mate would use the auto button but fortunally i used the manual controls.

Nowadays i only use the auto button if i now if the expected signal is stable,  but doing manual ranging helps to leaning how to measure the desired signal, has well perform math operations.

Check the beginner section for scopes here, which is long but good video.
If one can make knowledge flow than it will go from negative to positve , for real
 

Offline nfmax

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The OP is far better off having a DSO with an 'auto' button than not having a DSO without one.  :)

 

Offline HoracioDos

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It is also possible to decode many protocols with sigrok/pulseview and DS1054Z if it gets too messy.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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The OP is far better off having a DSO with an 'auto' button than not having a DSO without one.  :)
As noted by JS, he'd be even better with a DSO without an Auto button (or an Auto button that has been disabled). Speaks volumes that the Auto button can be disabled...!
 

Offline Karlo_Moharic

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You should have gone with Siglent , same shit as Rigol , but you get more for your money
 

Offline nfmax

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A serious question, since I don't own a Rigol: Is there a menu button to 'undo' AutoSet like there is on Agilent/Keysight DSO's?
 

Offline rstofer

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A serious question, since I don't own a Rigol: Is there a menu button to 'undo' AutoSet like there is on Agilent/Keysight DSO's?

Yes....

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Undo: cancel the automatic settings and restore the parameters set by users lastly.

And it actually works!  I used Auto to get the default trace(s) wiping out all the manual settings given above (500us, 5.0V).  It changed to 5ms, 5.0V.  Then I pressed the Undo button on the menu and got my original trace back.  Pretty cool!

The menu with Undo comes up after having pressed Auto.
 

Offline Old Printer

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You should have gone with Siglent , same shit as Rigol , but you get more for your money
I have been studying the new Siglents since they came out, and the 1054 for the last year, in preparation for buying my first non-usb digital scope. It's just not as black and white as that. The huge user-base and maturity of the Rigol can mean a lot to a beginner. I am very curious to see if Rigol updates the 1054 soon to more level the field.
 

Offline rstofer

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You should have gone with Siglent , same shit as Rigol , but you get more for your money
I have been studying the new Siglents since they came out, and the 1054 for the last year, in preparation for buying my first non-usb digital scope. It's just not as black and white as that. The huge user-base and maturity of the Rigol can mean a lot to a beginner. I am very curious to see if Rigol updates the 1054 soon to more level the field.

It took a couple of years for the DS1054Z to go through enough firmware revisions to become acceptable.  Siglent is pushing through the curve right now.  By all accounts they are working hard to solve the issues.  And, no, I haven't been following along.

The new SDS1104X-E (4 channel 100 MHz) costs about $500 compared to the unlocked DS1054Z at $349.  The Siglent is newer, purported to have a better UI and might have some other features (I haven't studied the specs) but it costs $150 more for essentially the same number of channels and bandwidth.  The 2 channel variant, SDS1102X-E is just slightly more than the Rigol but only has 2 channels.  The version I want, 200 MHz 4 Channel, is $759 -  a little pricey since I already have the Rigol and a 350 MHz Tek 485.

I'm not sure it pays to be an early adopter.
 

Offline sofakng

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I just wanted to say thanks again to everybody for their opinions and advice.  I've watched a few videos on introductions to oscilloscopes (including Dave's) but I could still use more information.  Can anybody recommend any other videos or tutorials/guides?

(Also, somebody was wondering about my eBay 20% off;  I purchased the scope from eBay but the seller was TEquipment;  eBay themselves pay for the 20% discount and TEquipment receives the full sale price before discount so I should have a valid warranty, etc).
 

Offline rstofer

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Tequipment is a great place to do business, no worries there.

There is a 'sticky' thread at the top of this forum "Oscilloscope training class (long)" by w2aew.  His tutorials are excellent!  I haven't watched this particular series but I imagine it will be quite helpful.

Google for 'how to use ds1054z' and you will turn up a lot of videos.
 
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Offline mtdoc

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I just wanted to say thanks again to everybody for their opinions and advice.  I've watched a few videos on introductions to oscilloscopes (including Dave's) but I could still use more information.  Can anybody recommend any other videos or tutorials/guides?

Tektronix XYZs of Oscilloscopes
 

Offline JS

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The OP is far better off having a DSO with an 'auto' button than not having a DSO without one.  :)
As noted by JS, he'd be even better with a DSO without an Auto button (or an Auto button that has been disabled). Speaks volumes that the Auto button can be disabled...!
Just a pain having the spare button which only displays a function blocked sign on the display when pressed. It should be resigned to a more useful function, at least when user disables the auto.

A serious question, since I don't own a Rigol: Is there a menu button to 'undo' AutoSet like there is on Agilent/Keysight DSO's?

Yes....

Quote
Undo: cancel the automatic settings and restore the parameters set by users lastly.

And it actually works!  I used Auto to get the default trace(s) wiping out all the manual settings given above (500us, 5.0V).  It changed to 5ms, 5.0V.  Then I pressed the Undo button on the menu and got my original trace back.  Pretty cool!

The menu with Undo comes up after having pressed Auto.

I haven't seen the undo button, but as said, before I pressed I went and disabled it... Even having the undo is a pain to miss and press that after being quite a while getting descent triggering on an odd signal. And when the signal is easy enough so the auto works, might be faster to do it manually as auto takes a while.

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

Offline rstofer

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I haven't seen the undo button, but as said, before I pressed I went and disabled it... Even having the undo is a pain to miss and press that after being quite a while getting descent triggering on an odd signal. And when the signal is easy enough so the auto works, might be faster to do it manually as auto takes a while.

JS

The Undo is a soft button, the bottom button on the right column of soft buttons.  It only appears after activating Auto.  There are six buttons (bottom to top): Undo, Back, Falling Edge, Rising Edge, Increase Time/Div, Decrease Time/Div.  You get to press exactly one button before the menu goes away and you're back in the Channel menu.
 

Offline JS

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One thing I forgot to mention and comes to this topic theme, learning how to correctly use a scope and all the advantages it has not only helps to learn how to use the device and being able to do measurements but it helps a lot to understand signals in the time domain, which is even more useful than knowing how to use a particular device. Something similar happens with spectrum and network analyzers but in the frequency domain.

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

Offline Old Printer

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(Also, somebody was wondering about my eBay 20% off;  I purchased the scope from eBay but the seller was TEquipment;  eBay themselves pay for the 20% discount and TEquipment receives the full sale price before discount so I should have a valid warranty, etc).
That was me. Thanks for the response. I think that is a great opportunity backed by a good dealer. You should be as safe buying from them as anybody.
 

Offline tggzzz

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I just wanted to say thanks again to everybody for their opinions and advice.  I've watched a few videos on introductions to oscilloscopes (including Dave's) but I could still use more information.  Can anybody recommend any other videos or tutorials/guides?

General principle: if X is a mistake then you will be able to define the reasons it isn't sufficient. If you can't define reasons, then it is OK for your current purposes.

As with any instrument, don't trust what you see at first. Play around, experiment, look at known signals to make sure that what you see is what you expect. Perturb things, and make sure the new measurements correspons to the perturbations. When, not if, you find something unexpected, work out whether it is a peculiarity of the instrument, your understanding or your experimental technique.

With a scope, the probes and probing technique are at least as important as the instrument. Use the right probes for the job, and assess how they will affect the circuit you are testing.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline rbm

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Tektronix XYZs of Oscilloscopes
Some other resources for beginners:
NJARC Oscilloscope School a.k.a. "Scopes For Dopes"  video on Youtube.  Search for its identifier  8ZKMrzTGxLQ

Tektronix "Concepts" Series Books
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 01:06:35 pm by rbm »
- Robert
 

Offline mathsquid

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Buying an oscilloscope, especially a 1054z for $300, is a great move. I put off buying an oscilloscope for a long time. The thing that pushed me over the edge was when I was using an atmega328 to control my TV by IR, and I just couldn't get it to work. An hour after the scope was delivered I knew exactly what the problem was. (Fuse settings affecting clock speed and thus the IR signals.)

Online james_s

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A scope is one of those things where when you need one, there is no substitute. In most cases *any* scope is better than none at all, without one you are flying blind. As I think I mentioned already, the most important thing is learning how to use it, great things have been accomplished with rather terrible scopes and a little creativity. The modern low cost DSOs are massively better than just about anything on the market a few decades ago.
 

Offline tggzzz

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As I think I mentioned already, the most important thing is learning how to use it, great things have been accomplished with rather terrible scopes and a little creativity.

Precisely; as per the aphorism in my .Sig :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 


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