Author Topic: Purchased an oscilloscope but did I make a mistake? (re: newbie + Arduino, etc)  (Read 4571 times)

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Offline IDEngineer

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great things have been accomplished with rather terrible scopes and a little creativity
An excellent observation! Remember, what we scoff at as "junk" today would have been witchcraft even as recently as the 70's and 80's. Yet we were building microwave communication gear, landing men on the moon, etc. despite the "limitations" of the test equipment of those eras. Ever look into what they called "storage scopes" back then? Camera hoods on CRT scopes... hyper-complex CRT bottles with lots of weird grids, strange phosphors, etc. A minor miracle some of that stuff could even be physically manufactured, let alone in any volume, but that was the only option back when they didn't have ultrafast monolithic flash A/D's and ASIC/FPGA to handle the resulting bandwidth to memory - or even that much memory, at the necessary speeds!

If someone handed you a spec sheet for one of those scopes today, you'd dismiss it as worthless. Yet much of what we take for granted technologically today is BASED on things accomplished with such tools. That's why I'm slow to say that an older, or less capable, piece of R&D equipment has no value. Most of us don't usually work on projects where we need, or can tell, the difference between an 8-bit and a 10-bit A/D scope... or a 0.001% DMM... or a power supply with under 50uV of noise.

I have an Agilent Cell Test unit, a sort of all-in-one box that includes a scope, spectrum analyzer, sweep signal generator, demodulator, etc. Everything tops out at about 1GHz because it was meant for the days of analog cell service. Its original price was $40-60K depending upon configuration, it was state of the art, and my HP buddies tell me they sold thousands of them. Today its specs are dated but guess what - physics hasn't changed so it can do just as good a job today as when it was SOTA. I'm not tossing it out just because there's something better out there.

Back in the late 70's while in high school I paid $1400 for my Phillips PM3214 25MHz dual trace delayed timebase scope. Thanks to inflation a dollar then was worth a whole lot more than a dollar today, and yet today the OP purchased twice the bandwidth, twice the channels, with storage and memory, far more flexible and better triggering, probably 2/3rds less weight and volume, for about one-fifth the numeric dollars and even fewer adjusted dollars. And 50MHz probably covers 75% of the projects discussed on this site! Freakin' remarkable.

What I'm trying to say is "terrible" is a relative term. "Terrible" today was the bleeding edge a few years ago!
 

Offline rstofer

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And 50MHz probably covers 75% of the projects discussed on this site! Freakin' remarkable.

And there probably isn't a DS1054Z that hasn't been unlocked to 100 MHz.  The OPs scope will come with all the features except bandwidth and it won't be long before he Googles 'riglol' and fixes that.

It's an amazing piece of equipment for the price.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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And there probably isn't a DS1054Z that hasn't been unlocked to 100 MHz.  The OPs scope will come with all the features except bandwidth and it won't be long before he Googles 'riglol' and fixes that.
Another good point. Seriously, four channels of 100MHz for $300. The rest of the specs almost don't matter at that price. I've spent far more for a portable scope, for business trips, that has FAR less bandwidth, much poorer user interface, and frankly isn't all that much smaller. Toss this sucker in a TEquipment padded shoulder bag and away you go.

I wonder what the power supply looks like, and how difficult it would be to power it from a LiPo pack for truly portable operation. Would be nice to skip the whole AC inverter stage and just present DC to the scope. Maybe its power supply is (semi) modular and could be removed to make room for a LiPo right in the case, perhaps with a one-off PCB to generate the original output voltages. Cut an XT30 connector into the side for recharging.

I might have to pick up one of these things just to tear into it and turn it into the ultimate road warrior scope. How can you go wrong for $300?!?

EDIT: Just checked Dave's teardown at to get a view of the power supply, and sure enough at 12:00 he openly wonders if the power supply could be swapped out for some sort of battery replacement. There's MORE than enough room in there, far more than I expected. Has anyone pursued this? I'd much rather buy than build if someone has already taken the trouble....
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 11:08:58 pm by IDEngineer »
 

Offline bitseeker

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Yes, there has been success in battery powering the 1054Z. I believe one project powered it with DC through the existing power supply, whereas another went directly to the main board. The former would be good for easily switching between battery and mains operation while the latter could be more compact (LiIon or LiFePO4 inside) for permanent DC operation. It's been a while, so I don't remember the exact details of the projects, but there are threads on it around here.
I TEA.
 

Offline sofakng

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Hey guys ... I received my DS1054Z and I've checked the built-in function generator (to compensate the probes) and each channel.  What else should I check before I rip up the boxes?  (ie. how can I verify everything is OK with the scope)
 

Offline malagas_on_fire

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Check the probes in modes x1 and x10, compensate the probes in mode x10, with calibration input so the square wave becomes crisp, Then try the waveform generator with modes x1 and x10
- Auto mode

- Normal mode using trigger menu and trigger level :D


Aquire waveforms from the waveform generator, ( try diferent frequencies)


Try the front USB port ( save waveform in bitmap).

Connect to a computer with given software
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Offline rstofer

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I gave you a sample Arduino PWM project above (Servo).  You can repeat it for each of the four channels or you can run 4 different PWMs, one per channel.  Get used to the controls.

You can bang together a few resistors and make an DAC like this:https://www.hackster.io/Arduino_Scuola/build-a-simple-dac-for-your-arduino-4c00bd

 

Offline rstofer

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Then try the waveform generator with modes x1 and x10

I don't think the DS1054Z has a waveform generator.  Well, I'm pretty sure it doesn't because I have the scope.

It does have the compensation output but that's about it.

A lot of waveforms can be produced with an Arduino.
 

Offline malagas_on_fire

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Ok only the model DS1074Z-S has buitin function generator . Sorry


Use the rstofer sugestion about arduino. You can build some triangle waveforms with PWM, using passive components :

http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/Square-to-triangle-wave-converter-circuit.php

Sinusoidal can be read using a 230 AC transformer voltage to a lowest voltage, which can be found in some old radios, power supplies without regulation.

But check also if all ports are working.
 
If one can make knowledge flow than it will go from negative to positve , for real
 

Offline alsetalokin4017

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Hey guys ... I received my DS1054Z and I've checked the built-in function generator (to compensate the probes) and each channel.  What else should I check before I rip up the boxes?  (ie. how can I verify everything is OK with the scope)

Don't rip up the boxes!

I strongly recommend leaving the scope turned on for a long period of time, like overnight. If the Options time out you can just unlock everything using the standard method.

If it is going to fail in any way you want it to fail within the _vendor's_ warranty period (which was 30 days for my purchase). This will make replacement a lot easier if there should be something wrong. It took three tries before I got a fully functional scope. First one had an intermittent glitch on CH4, that I finally proved by using the Mask Test function, leaving the scope on with no inputs to anything. Returned to TEquipment for a replacement. The replacement had the unusual "freeze bug" where, with certain settings, it would become completely unresponsive to controls (except the hard power switch of course.) This one had to go back to Rigol USA for a replacement. SO I'm now using the third unit, which has been fine in all respects. (To their credit, Rigol USA actually _asked_ me to send them the freezy unit, after they saw my videos on the bug. And they sent me a replacement before I returned mine, so I could test them both side-by-side for a weekend.) So I'm sorry, I am not one of the folks who will diss Rigol CS.

Moral of the story: Don't rip up the boxes! 
The easiest person to fool is yourself. -- Richard Feynman
 

Offline IDEngineer

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Don't rip up the boxes!
That's good advice, definitely don't at least until the warranty expires. Many higher end equipment warranties specifically require that you return the device(s) in their original shipping boxes. Ostensibly this is because the boxes were specifically designed to protect that specific piece of equipment, but the unspoken truth is it's just an additional barrier to warranty claims.

I always retain such boxes for at least the warranty period and often well beyond, just in case. It's paid off a couple of times. You can always nest smaller boxes inside others to save space.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Having the original box and packaging is also useful if you sell it later.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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To their credit, Rigol USA actually _asked_ me to send them the freezy unit, after they saw my videos on the bug. And they sent me a replacement before I returned mine, so I could test them both side-by-side for a weekend. So I'm sorry, I am not one of the folks who will diss Rigol CS.
I definitely second this opinion! I bought my 4024 scope new straight from Rigol and a few months later it froze during bootup. Their CS folks were top-notch, working me through the magic secret handshake process to reach the bootloader and get the scope up and running. Then, in the same phone call, the guy asked me to let them swap it out for a second new scope just because this one had glitched that one time. They sent the new one while I kept the existing one to use, and just had me drop the old one in the new box using a paid-for UPS label. Could not have been easier or more professional. The replacement has been flawless ever since.

I have nothing but praise for Rigol's Customer Service!  :-+
 

Offline malagas_on_fire

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How's the learning curve and testing of the new scope? I just have opened my uni-t 81b to check the fuses and they are glass 250V 0.5A for mA/uA and 10A / 10 range.

The most strange part is that they don't fill the metalic contacts of fuse holder and for that it would require a 25mm wide fuse, maybe a 6x25mm fuse, but in the local stores the 5x20mm is more easy to get... Well hope they last under warranty :P

Most important during warranty is testing all functions off the device to be in spec with the given manual. Also check if there is any leakage on the ground pin to the mains, cause i found that my tv of the kitchen was leaking 117Vac to the chassis ( HDMI / RF ground to earth), because i got electric shock on the TV of my room and when i approached the grounds it was doing a small spark. The solution was using an old travel converter (220V /110V) to isolate it from mains.. but should i mess up with warranty with this issue?
If one can make knowledge flow than it will go from negative to positve , for real
 


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