Author Topic: Purchased an oscilloscope but did I make a mistake? (re: newbie + Arduino, etc)  (Read 4566 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.

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(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?
 

Online 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.

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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
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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.
 

Offline 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.
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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 »
 

Offline bitseeker

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

Online 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.)

Offline 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
 

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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