Author Topic: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics  (Read 3712 times)

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Offline sparky480

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Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« on: October 06, 2019, 02:52:22 am »
I have been looking for a simple oscilloscope for my 14 year old's birthday coming next week. I realize that I could never get anything in time but would at least say it is on its way. Originally, he was looking on ebay for these $50 oscilloscopes. The idea was to familiarize himself with a basic scope before spending more money on a digital model.  Following his lead, I too started on ebay was hoping to find something and surprise him but even as an electrician for 20+ years, oscilloscopes are still outside my knowledge base.

I have been looking for 20Mhz analog scopes usually Tektronics(these seem to get expensive), BK, HP and Instek. My main problem is 1) I have no or limited idea what I am looking most of time and 2) I am afraid of buying something that doesn't work.

What brands should I be looking for and how much should I pay?

Thanks so much,
Dirk Stubbs
 

Online ledtester

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 03:12:57 am »
Depending on where you are in the US you might find something on craigslist in that price range. Advantages are that you can inspect the unit and pick it up locally.

 
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Offline ataradov

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 03:15:27 am »
What is the price limit?

Depends on the area of interest, of course, but I would not get an analog scope. Especially if he is interested in digital electronics and microcontrollers.  You will get familiar with the principles, not a problem. But using them for actual debugging of digital circuits is a bit painful, especially if you are a novice.

I personally would prefer one of those  cheap and cheezy DSOs over an analog scope.
Alex
 
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Offline edavid

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 04:08:43 am »
Bear in mind that you could get him a brand new, professional level digital scope for $312 after EEVblog discount:

https://www.tequipment.net/Instek/GDS-1054B/Digital-Oscilloscopes

That's way more scope than he needs, but he could grow into it over the next few years.

Or if he doesn't stick with the hobby, it would be easy to resell.
 
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Offline DaJMasta

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2019, 04:20:33 am »
What about something like a Rigol DS1052E?  Not all that high performance or anything, and if he gets into it he may outpace it without too much time, but it's a time tested, functional scope that's reasonably compact and it looks like the going rate for a used one is about $150 or a bit less.

Looks like there are some similar but more modern Siglent scopes going for under $200 used as well.


It's hard to say as to "how much you should pay", if you actually go with an analog scope then definitely under $100 and probably under $50 for a basic unit, picking up locally is almost always the best bet given the weight, since the shipping could easily be half the price online.  If you're going with a digital scope... the entry level starts right around $300 and it's been that way for a while, so older scopes hold their value pretty well and often don't go for a ton less.  That said, $350-$400 gets you a VERY capable entry level digital scope and would take some real requirements to outgrow.  Something like the DS1054Z or the SDS1104X-E are popular fully featured entry level scopes that are consistently recommended, but there are others in the category too.
 
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2019, 04:41:40 am »
What is the price limit?

Depends on the area of interest, of course, but I would not get an analog scope. Especially if he is interested in digital electronics and microcontrollers.  You will get familiar with the principles, not a problem. But using them for actual debugging of digital circuits is a bit painful, especially if you are a novice.

I personally would prefer one of those  cheap and cheezy DSOs over an analog scope.

I would strongly disagree if you mean things like a DSO138, which are little better than a PC soundcard.
Even the Hantek 6022BE is quite limited in performance, quite apart from its ongoing firmware problems.
 
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Offline ataradov

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 04:45:29 am »
I would strongly disagree if you mean things like a DSO138, which are little better than a PC soundcard.
I'm not saying they are great or even good, but for digital troubleshooting they will be better than analog scopes.

I'm currently playing with FNIRSI-5012H, and it is a neat device with decent analog performance (for what it is), but it has very limited triggering.

Ultimately, it is hard to get a useful piece of equipment for less than $200-300.
Alex
 
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Offline sparky480

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 05:01:10 am »
We live in the country out in Alpena,Arkansas. Little Rock is about 3 hours away and Kansas City is 4.5 hours
 

Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 05:03:23 am »
I'm one of those who still sees value in using an analog scope, it forces a person to understand what they're seeing and what the display on the scope represents. There are also tons of old analog scopes out there for little money. Tektronix tends to carry a substantial premium for the name and reputation, they were absolutely top notch in their day, Tek practically invented the modern oscilloscope BUT none of this really matters for someone who is new and just wants a cheap scope to play with. Most of those really low cost digital scopes are pretty much junk, as others have said, buying new it's hard to get anything really useful for less than a few hundred bucks, oscilloscopes are expensive instruments.
 
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Offline sparky480

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2019, 05:07:56 am »
I completely understand what you are saying. $300 is a bit out of our price range in fact, all I heard from him was he could get an oscilloscope for $100 which is all he saved. I figured this would be a nice birthday present. Maybe I should just give him money for his birthday and he can put it with his savings and buy a nicer oscilloscope once he has enough
 

Offline sparky480

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2019, 05:20:42 am »
Looking real quickly I found a Siglent Technologies SDS1202X and Rigol DS1054Z at about same price . One is dual channel at 200Mhz and the other is 4 channel at 50Mhz. Is is better to get the dual channel one because it is 200Mhz? I suppose it all depends on what he will be doing.

So many choices out there.....
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2019, 05:23:12 am »
DS1054Z can be upgraded to 100 MHz for free. There are serial number generators, no need to open the scope. And I think Rigol automatically unlocked them at some point anyway.

Other than this,  opinions will vary on whether Rigol or Siglent is better. I personally prefer 4 channels.
Alex
 
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Online tautech

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2019, 05:28:50 am »
Looking real quickly I found a Siglent Technologies SDS1202X and Rigol DS1054Z at about same price . One is dual channel at 200Mhz and the other is 4 channel at 50Mhz. Is is better to get the dual channel one because it is 200Mhz? I suppose it all depends on what he will be doing.

So many choices out there.....
Both these are popular entry level scopes particularly if you want to get into something better than bargain basement.
A correction if I may, SDS1202X-E !

As far as one vs the other, the Siglent is a newer design with some features the Rigol doesn't have and vice versa.
The more powerful processor the Siglent uses removes UI latency and allows the likes of better FFT performance.

Now you have found both these popular models use the forum Search to find the many threads of one vs the other.
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Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2019, 05:36:19 am »
Ask 100 different people which one of those two to choose and you'd probably find them split about 50/50 with passionate fans on either side. Frankly I don't think it really matters, they're both popular because they both have a lot to offer for an affordable price, don't get too hung up on the details, the limitations of either one are not likely to matter for a long time.
 
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Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2019, 07:28:42 am »
Looking real quickly I found a Siglent Technologies SDS1202X and Rigol DS1054Z at about same price . One is dual channel at 200Mhz and the other is 4 channel at 50Mhz. Is is better to get the dual channel one because it is 200Mhz? I suppose it all depends on what he will be doing.

Yes you should get a digital and avoid wasting money on an analog first.

The Rigol DS1054Z you can put a code in to unlock the 100Mhz and other advanced software features. Normally it's meant to be paid for, but most people just generate their own code for free. Personally I prefer 4 channels if you are doing ANY type of signal debugging (modern electronics). Two 2 channel oscilloscopes does not make a 4 channel oscilloscope. Most people have had these scopes for a few years now and from all indications they are very reliable. They have a 3 year warranty and have been the most popular oscilloscope for the last 4 years or so. Excellent value for a 4 channel oscilloscope (especially with all features enabled).

Tautech sells Siglent oscilloscopes and works closely with them so since he is a salesman I automatically ignore everything he says about Siglent as some form of obfuscation of the truth. :)

Edit:

The other thing people do not immediately realize is the Rigol DS1054Z comes with 4 probes, 2 extra probes is about $70 in value. If you buy a Rigol DS1054Z from tequipment.net you can use the Eevblog discount code and get 6% off the price and they also should do free shipping, ask for it here.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 07:50:36 am by Shock »
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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2019, 08:03:52 am »
Tautech sells Siglent oscilloscopes
Yes, this is plainly clear in my profile message and my website link, your point is ?

Quote
and works closely with them so since he is a salesman I automatically ignore everything he says about Siglent as some form of obfuscation of the truth. :)
Really, go on Rigol fanboy point out what I said wasn't true !

So you don't have to look it up I'll spare you the trouble:

As far as one vs the other, the Siglent is a newer design with some features the Rigol doesn't have and vice versa.
The more powerful processor the Siglent uses removes UI latency and allows the likes of better FFT performance.

:popcorn:


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Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2019, 09:16:38 am »
As far as one vs the other, the Siglent is a newer design with some features the Rigol doesn't have and vice versa. The more powerful processor the Siglent uses removes UI latency and allows the likes of better FFT performance.

Sure, I've highlight the keyword in your statement that missed any facts.

So tell us what the Rigol does better than the Siglent or additional features it has (might as well include the options as everyone unlocks theirs which is partly the reason it's so popular), start with the immediately obvious differences and be sure to list absolutely everything. Bonus points on the uses of 4 channel scopes that would be impractical on a 2 channel scope. Make sure you cover all the connectivity/management and included software as well.

Then in turn you can list what the more expensive Siglent model your comparing does better than the Rigol. Make both lists comprehensive though.

Then list the Siglent models you would never recommend to anyone and what brand they should buy instead (don't consider price just consider better). That is unless Siglent is so rock solid it has perfect products.
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Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2019, 09:38:28 am »
Sparky480, also make sure he has a multimeter and soldering iron first and the interest to make purchasing any oscilloscope worthwhile. If he is programming or doing any electronics design or education even if it's on his own, an oscilloscope will be a serious boost especially if he is considering it a career in electronics/robotics etc. As they say, you can't invest enough in your children.

It's just that some people buy them and they gather dust, only you will be able to gauge his seriousness or ability. But even absorbing the manual and learning about all the features is worth a few hundred bucks in my opinion.
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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2019, 10:26:01 am »
Then in turn you can list what the more expensive Siglent model your comparing does better than the Rigol.
:-//
SDS1202X-E vs DS1054Z

To quote the OP's findings:
Looking real quickly I found a Siglent Technologies SDS1202X and Rigol DS1054Z at about same price .
I added a correction as only the SDS1202X-E is 'about the same price'.^^^

Then as pointed out, there are many threads about each model sparky480 can research to find the info for himself at his own pace and without further pressure form either brand supporters.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2019, 01:16:08 pm »
I have been looking for a simple oscilloscope for my 14 year old's birthday coming next week.

All tools have a learning curve. A beginner benefits from a short learning curve, which implies a simple tool without too many config variables.

Analogue scopes are simpler than digitising scopes. There are fewer things to tweak, and everything is visible on the front panel (not buried in some menuing system).

I would consider getting a cheap and working analogue scope, for about £1/MHz. Yes, he will probably outgrow it, eventually, but by then he will know what he needs in the next scope.

A 20MHz analogue scope will be fine for audio and mechatronic circuits, and will be adequate for digital circuits. (Avoid analogue storage scopes like the plague!)

If you want to capture one-off transients (e.g. a PSU startup) then a digitising scope is necessary. But it is often possible to make whatever you are looking at repetitive, in which case an analogue scope is sufficient.

Don't forget to include the cost of probes.

Don't forget that a scope chassis and therefore the probes' screen must be directly connected to earth. Touch that to the wrong point and there will be noises and smells in the air :( Consider buying a simple bench PSU, to isolate the UUT from the mains.

If you can get an educational discount, then consider the Digilent Analogue Discovery. It is surprisingly capable, and includes other useful instruments (function generator, pattern generator, logic analyser). It is not suitable for general purpose use with high voltages, but is great for anything up to, say, +-20V.
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2019, 01:31:14 pm »
I would strongly disagree if you mean things like a DSO138, which are little better than a PC soundcard.
I'm not saying they are great or even good, but for digital troubleshooting they will be better than analog scopes.
Nope.

I have a DSO138 and it's a clunky pain to use ... and has no redeeming features when working with digital signals.  The comparison to a PC soundcard is not far off the mark - except that better software alternatives are an option [edit] for a sound card.

I just picked up a BWD 539A and while this oldie is pretty basic, it's streets ahead of a DSO138.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 01:36:14 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2019, 01:34:36 pm »
I'm not saying they are great or even good, but for digital troubleshooting they will be better than analog scopes.

I'm currently playing with FNIRSI-5012H, and it is a neat device with decent analog performance (for what it is), but it has very limited triggering.

Ultimately, it is hard to get a useful piece of equipment for less than $200-300.
Those cheapies are moderately useful at best when you know what to expect but for a beginner learning the ropes they're a terrible experience.
 

Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2019, 01:57:53 pm »
Then as pointed out, there are many threads about each model sparky480 can research to find the info for himself at his own pace and without further pressure form either brand supporters.

You are the brand supporter in this conversation. I only own one Rigol product which just happens to be the DS1054Z, I also currently own Philips, Iwatsu, Lecroy and a few Tektronix oscilloscopes. The Lecroy is out of his price and bandwidth range and the Rigol DS1054Z is better than the 2 channel Tektronix digital scope I had. So no brand pressure here I'm just talking about personal experience from a tool I use.

Like I said you have to watch these sneaky salesmen I've been labelled as a Rigol fanboy and I'm actually a Lecroy fanboy. Now not only has he labelled me a fanboy he is calling it brand pressure. :)

The reason I suggest certain products in case you haven't worked it out is they are cheap, great value and very reliable. I'm not selling Rigol or any other brand here just making recommendations based on products I've used or well acquainted with.

Apparently thousands of other users are happy here with their 4 channel Rigol DS1054Z though as well, who would have thought?
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Offline edavid

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2019, 05:09:49 pm »
The GW Instek GDS-1054B that I mentioned is currently cheaper than either the Rigol or the Siglent, and I think it's a better scope (better UI, fewer quirks and bugs).

But if you can't afford it, I guess you'll have to take your chances with an eBay scope.

The problem is that if you've never owned (or repaired) a scope before, it's hard to sort through the ads.  Even people with a lot of experience often end up disappointed.
 
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Offline sparky480

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2019, 05:20:54 pm »
Sparky480, also make sure he has a multimeter and soldering iron first and the interest to make purchasing any oscilloscope worthwhile. If he is programming or doing any electronics design or education even if it's on his own, an oscilloscope will be a serious boost especially if he is considering it a career in electronics/robotics etc. As they say, you can't invest enough in your children.

It's just that some people buy them and they gather dust, only you will be able to gauge his seriousness or ability. But even absorbing the manual and learning about all the features is worth a few hundred bucks in my opinion.

I bought him a Hakko station about 2 years ago. In regards to multimeters, he has 3 - 1 Fluke and 2 little cheapies Aneng. He also has a cheap hot air station but he hasn't done too much SMD.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2019, 05:25:34 pm »
You might try specifically posting something like "wtb: <$50 working oscilloscope" or something and see if you find anything. I've given away 2 or 3 mostly working scopes in the past so someone else may have something. The biggest problem is that most of these older scopes are going to be relatively bulky and heavy so unless it's nearby you can end up spending more to ship it than the scope is worth even if it's free.

Another thing to consider is you can get a long way in electronics without an oscilloscope. They are neat toys and definitely useful but it's only really in the last couple decades that they have been affordable to any but the most serious hobbyists. Back in the 70s-80s a basic 20MHz analog scope was the equivalent of several thousand dollars today so most hobbyists got by without them. A beginner is probably going to spend several years learning the basics before reaching a point where not having a scope is really holding them back.

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2019, 05:32:50 pm »
Another thing to consider is you can get a long way in electronics without an oscilloscope.

A beginner is probably going to spend several years learning the basics before reaching a point where not having a scope is really holding them back.

That should be writ large on a billboard.

With thought and understanding you can do a lot of fun things and get a long way with a multimeter, PSU, LEDs, soldering iron, switches and a potentiometer :)

I built my first computer (6800, 128bytes, switches, LEDs) from scratch including etching the PCBs without an oscilloscope.
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Offline Gyro

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2019, 07:48:56 pm »
Sparky480, also make sure he has a multimeter and soldering iron first and the interest to make purchasing any oscilloscope worthwhile. If he is programming or doing any electronics design or education even if it's on his own, an oscilloscope will be a serious boost especially if he is considering it a career in electronics/robotics etc. As they say, you can't invest enough in your children.

It's just that some people buy them and they gather dust, only you will be able to gauge his seriousness or ability. But even absorbing the manual and learning about all the features is worth a few hundred bucks in my opinion.

I bought him a Hakko station about 2 years ago. In regards to multimeters, he has 3 - 1 Fluke and 2 little cheapies Aneng. He also has a cheap hot air station but he hasn't done too much SMD.

Ok, that gives us an understanding of what equipment your son already has. The next question is what has he actually done with them? What projects has he built?

The worry is that many beginners buy a scope (too) early and find that they have no signals to look at because they haven't built anything where it would be useful. They often seem irresistibly drawn to trying to scope the mains, sometimes with catastrophic results (particularly dangerous for a 14 year old).

It will also give a better idea of what type/level of scope would be most appropriate at this stage.
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Offline jancumps

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2019, 08:27:01 pm »
... part of the excitement with a hobby is lusting for test gear. Dreaming about it for long long time. Looking it up again and again.
Getting everything handed out may dilute the excitement.
An iron, a meter, solder and a little budget for components will do.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2019, 08:35:15 pm »
I'm one of those who still sees value in using an analog scope, it forces a person to understand what they're seeing and what the display on the scope represents. There are also tons of old analog scopes out there for little money. Tektronix tends to carry a substantial premium for the name and reputation, they were absolutely top notch in their day, Tek practically invented the modern oscilloscope BUT none of this really matters for someone who is new and just wants a cheap scope to play with. Most of those really low cost digital scopes are pretty much junk, as others have said, buying new it's hard to get anything really useful for less than a few hundred bucks, oscilloscopes are expensive instruments.
Quite so James but when it comes to your first scope being a analog one there is considerable risk that it might fail such is the age of them now. Then not insubstantial knowledge and tools are required to fix it and keep it maintained something that can be a big ask for the newbie.

This is where I started and later after much experienced was gained bought and repaired CRO's until I discovered DSO's and the features they offered. My first were Teks, TDS2012B that I bought SH locally as they offer USB file save capability and then later had TDS210 and TDS1002B both needing somewhat simple repairs before being on sold to feed my growing scope addiction and somewhat later gaining an equipment distributorship.

However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.
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Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2019, 12:12:17 am »
I bought him a Hakko station about 2 years ago. In regards to multimeters, he has 3 - 1 Fluke and 2 little cheapies Aneng. He also has a cheap hot air station but he hasn't done too much SMD.

That is great he sounds mostly setup then, really all you need to decide then is take a hit on obsolescence, size and used (analog) vs new expense, warranty and modern features (digital). Like I suggested personally I prefer not to spend money twice.

After that for signal sources he can use the Aneng if he has that model or pickup a Chinese transistor/esr/LCR tester either in kit of assembled form, some models have a signal generator built in. These are about $20 or so.

Before using an oscilloscope on a circuit he should learn that the ground clip on an oscilloscope probe is actually grounded. This clip should never be placed on a part of a circuit that measures an AC/DC voltage to ground (ground referenced). It makes a short circuit and will damage the scope or circuit. The hook or probe tip is for the measurement, though the scope will have input voltage limitations.

Anyway a little battery powered kit or bread boarded circuit that is not connected via USB or the mains is ideal to learn on for scope probing. Make sure he understands the implications of grounding before starting to probe with the scope or ask questions.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2019, 01:43:42 am »
I'm one of those who still sees value in using an analog scope, it forces a person to understand what they're seeing and what the display on the scope represents. There are also tons of old analog scopes out there for little money. Tektronix tends to carry a substantial premium for the name and reputation, they were absolutely top notch in their day, Tek practically invented the modern oscilloscope BUT none of this really matters for someone who is new and just wants a cheap scope to play with. Most of those really low cost digital scopes are pretty much junk, as others have said, buying new it's hard to get anything really useful for less than a few hundred bucks, oscilloscopes are expensive instruments.
Quite so James but when it comes to your first scope being a analog one there is considerable risk that it might fail such is the age of them now. Then not insubstantial knowledge and tools are required to fix it and keep it maintained something that can be a big ask for the newbie.

This is where I started and later after much experienced was gained bought and repaired CRO's until I discovered DSO's and the features they offered. My first were Teks, TDS2012B that I bought SH locally as they offer USB file save capability and then later had TDS210 and TDS1002B both needing somewhat simple repairs before being on sold to feed my growing scope addiction and somewhat later gaining an equipment distributorship.

However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.

Early DSOs are nearly as old as mainstream analogs, & older than some secondary manufacturers of analogs.
"Tedious"210s are, in my opinion very overpriced on eBay.
Admittedly, so are many analogs.

I would suggest prowling around a few Hamfests, & other such events to get more realistic prices.

If the OP was in Oz, I would pack up my little "Digitech" 10MHz analog, but (1)postage/ freight to the USA
would inflate the price too much ( from zero )  & (2) It is designed for 230v supply, with no 120v option.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 01:45:53 am by vk6zgo »
 

Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2019, 01:57:20 am »
The TDS200 scopes are absurdly overpriced on ebay. They are decent low end scopes but they have nothing to offer over the modern low cost stuff like the Rigol and Siglent offerings you can get for about the same price. A TDS200 series would be a fair deal at $100-$150 IMO, I would not pay more.
 

Offline rjp

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #33 on: October 07, 2019, 02:33:39 am »
The other option is those Agilent Analog Discovery things, somewhat overpriced without a student discount - but you do get a get a basic scope plus a logical analyzer, and a few other cute helper  tools all in a neat usb desktop forrm.
 

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2019, 03:03:07 am »
The TDS200 scopes are absurdly overpriced on ebay. They are decent low end scopes but they have nothing to offer over the modern low cost stuff ...........
Except for the newbie they are easier to get to grips with and don't have multiplexed controls.

I know for the one I had after replacing a busted BNC input socket and beefing up the mounting of the others it sold like the proverbial hot cake here in NZ.
Similar for the TDS1002B I scored with a dead backlight that cost cents to fix with a new cap in the backlight inverter RC circuit, it too went out the door at a rate of knots.
Here we rarely ever see them available yet there must be hundreds of them still operating, many in learning institutions.

Quote
A TDS200 series would be a fair deal at $100-$150 IMO, I would not pay more.
That puts them ~$2/MHz ~ double the going rate of a CRO and when you look at pricing this way the 200 MHz SDS1202X-E for just $379 is certainly attractive.
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Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2019, 03:21:00 am »
A TDS200 series would be a fair deal at $100-$150 IMO, I would not pay more.
That puts them ~$2/MHz ~ double the going rate of a CRO and when you look at pricing this way the 200 MHz SDS1202X-E for just $379 is certainly attractive.
[/quote]

They're a lot more compact than an analog CRO which has some value, and they are proper DSOs with all the advantages of those. The bandwidth is quite low but for a low end DSO they are good dependable instruments. They generally seem to fetch $250+ though with many people asking significantly more and that's too much IMHO, but if it's worth it to some people I guess I don't really have an issue with that.

The TDS300 series is another good low end older DSO, I picked up a few of them with various minor issues for <$100, functionally they are very similar to the TDS200 series except being CRT based they are physically much larger. They use the same chassis as the TDS400 series with far more compact internals so there is a large amount of wasted space.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2019, 08:17:37 am »
However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.

Early DSOs are horrible, much less usable than equivalent vintage analogue scopes. It is only in the past few years that cheap DSOs have become suitable for general purpose use.

Some Tek DSOs have completely inadequate trace length, and don't have the "delayed timebase" present on analogue scopes. Hence you can't zoom in on fine details that occur long after the trigger.

Some Tek DSOs use CCDs to capture the signal. That means you cannot observe signals faster than the sampling rate, and so completely miss fast noise on a slow signal. Modern DSOs avoid that to some extent by displaying the mean and peak signal at each display point.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 08:19:24 am by tggzzz »
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2019, 08:24:52 am »
The other option is those Agilent Analog Discovery things, somewhat overpriced without a student discount - but you do get a get a basic scope plus a logical analyzer, and a few other cute helper  tools all in a neat usb desktop forrm.

Yes, as I pointed out earlier :)

You also get a signal/function generator and a pattern generator.

You don't get something that is safe to use with high voltages, but I hope that not is an issue in this case.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2019, 08:29:29 am »
Quite so James but when it comes to your first scope being a analog one there is considerable risk that it might fail such is the age of them now.

Indeed, but if you pay $20 for a working 20MHz scope it can be considered to be a disposable learning tool.

The OP would learn a lot with that, and would then be in a better position to know what they need.

They could also spend the other money on other tools - it is rare that someone needs a scope and nothing else.
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Offline rjp

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2019, 09:36:53 am »
The other option is those Agilent Analog Discovery things, somewhat overpriced without a student discount - but you do get a get a basic scope plus a logical analyzer, and a few other cute helper  tools all in a neat usb desktop forrm.

Yes, as I pointed out earlier :)

You also get a signal/function generator and a pattern generator.

You don't get something that is safe to use with high voltages, but I hope that not is an issue in this case.

Sorry, missed that in the Siglent vs Rigol religious wars.

None of them are particularly safe with High Voltages without knowing how to make them safe at High Voltages anyway.
 

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2019, 09:57:07 am »
However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.

Early DSOs are horrible, much less usable than equivalent vintage analogue scopes. It is only in the past few years that cheap DSOs have become suitable for general purpose use.

Some Tek DSOs have completely inadequate trace length, and don't have the "delayed timebase" present on analogue scopes. Hence you can't zoom in on fine details that occur long after the trigger.

Some Tek DSOs use CCDs to capture the signal. That means you cannot observe signals faster than the sampling rate, and so completely miss fast noise on a slow signal. Modern DSOs avoid that to some extent by displaying the mean and peak signal at each display point.
Sure but let's keep things in context, dad's a sparky and the son is looking for his first scope so highly unlikely neither would know what a delayed timebase even was.
My first CRO had one and I used it occasionally but would trade it in a flash for a scope that has zoom or can capture a waveform.
IMO it's more valuable to learn the power of a basic DSO and then go onto something more modern with all the bells and whistles.

To address your point about missing fast spikes at a slow timebase, rubbish, a modern DSO can capture this stuff easily if you know how to drive one. Advanced trigger setting can allow you to trigger on just them once you know they're there after using color grading which can also allow persistence to be applied, even infinite if you want.
Sure some CRO phosphors offer extended persistence and they pale in comparison to color grading and the several persistence settings in the modern DSO.

Yes you can do so much with a CRO, it's just a DSO can do more.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2019, 10:13:51 am »
However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.

Early DSOs are horrible, much less usable than equivalent vintage analogue scopes. It is only in the past few years that cheap DSOs have become suitable for general purpose use.

Some Tek DSOs have completely inadequate trace length, and don't have the "delayed timebase" present on analogue scopes. Hence you can't zoom in on fine details that occur long after the trigger.

Some Tek DSOs use CCDs to capture the signal. That means you cannot observe signals faster than the sampling rate, and so completely miss fast noise on a slow signal. Modern DSOs avoid that to some extent by displaying the mean and peak signal at each display point.
Sure but let's keep things in context, dad's a sparky and the son is looking for his first scope so highly unlikely neither would know what a delayed timebase even was.
My first CRO had one and I used it occasionally but would trade it in a flash for a scope that has zoom or can capture a waveform.

They would rapidly find and use the delayed timebase, since it is very visible on the front panel (cf DSO menuing systems)

Many fast early DSOs simply couldn't zoom effectively - that was a fundamental limitation of the CCD.

Quote
IMO it's more valuable to learn the power of a basic DSO and then go onto something more modern with all the bells and whistles.

If you wrote "it's more valuable to learn the power of a basic oscilloscope and then go onto something more modern with all the bells and whistles", I would agree wholeheartedly.


Quote
To address your point about missing fast spikes at a slow timebase, rubbish, a modern DSO can capture this stuff easily if you know how to drive one. Advanced trigger setting can allow you to trigger on just them once you know they're there after using color grading which can also allow persistence to be applied, even infinite if you want.
Sure some CRO phosphors offer extended persistence and they pale in comparison to color grading and the several persistence settings in the modern DSO.

Which bit of "Modern DSOs avoid that" did you misread?

The effectiveness of low end modern DSOs display techniques are better than older DSOs, but that's all.

High end DSOs are much better but not relevant to this thread.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2019, 02:25:56 pm »
However these early Tek DSO's are a good first stepping stone into modern DSO's where beyond basic usage the UI is far more complex and as sparky480 is in the land of great choice of SH equipment any would be a good stop gap DSO and likely return their investment when it comes time to upgrade.

Early DSOs are horrible, much less usable than equivalent vintage analogue scopes. It is only in the past few years that cheap DSOs have become suitable for general purpose use.

Some Tek DSOs have completely inadequate trace length, and don't have the "delayed timebase" present on analogue scopes. Hence you can't zoom in on fine details that occur long after the trigger.

On fairness, many  cheap analog 'scopes don't have that facility, either.

I wouldn't buy an analog 'scope without "delayed timebase" to use for serious work, as once having used it, I always feel "bereft" if using a 'scope without it.

Luckily, my Tek 7613 is still hanging in there!

Quote
Some Tek DSOs use CCDs to capture the signal. That means you cannot observe signals faster than the sampling rate, and so completely miss fast noise on a slow signal. Modern DSOs avoid that to some extent by displaying the mean and peak signal at each display point.

Most of my experience with DSOs was with the very early ones.

Tek & HP would come in to demonstrate them, we would try to look at analog video signals with them & give them the "thumbs down".
The very early ones couldn't even reproduce line rate signals, & even some years later, were incapable of dsplaying video at field rate.

This was because of the very small memory.
If you went to quite slow time / div settings, the sample rate dropped, so as to keep the number of samples low enough to store in it.
This reduced the sample rate below  the higher video frequency components.of the video signal, resulting in alasing.
 

Offline artag

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2019, 03:08:54 pm »
I would definitely go for analog if you want to keep the cost low. You learn far more about the real world from an analog scope : i'd also say it's really worth having one early on. I pretty well always go for the scope before the multimeter because it tells you so much more about the signal. Sure, you can manage without - but if you're enlightened enough know what it's good for, you'll find it incredibly valuable.

Yes, replace the analog scope with a decent digital once he's a bit older and more experienced. But you need a GOOD digital scope to beat an analog. The little $50 ones aren't good  : they will confuse  more than they educate. the time for those is when you know the limitations of a digital scope and can tell when it's fooling you (but need the portability).

Something like a Rigol is OK - not top quality but good enough to be useful. But don't get an old digital, or a cheap digital. Analog are better than those.
 

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2019, 09:22:43 pm »
Lots of old digital scopes are superb, the thing is, that applies to stuff that was high end and cost as much as a nice new car in their day, fortunately technology marches on and it tends to be a lot more affordable today.

I do agree about the useful experience of starting with analog but that's almost a religious debate at this point so whatever. Analog has always felt more "real" to me, while a decent digital scope is far more powerful and versatile once you learn how to use it properly, but the learning curve is much steeper.
 

Offline Shock

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2019, 04:59:06 pm »
Rigol now seems to be bundling 4 of the options for free, and some retro license packs are up on tequipment.net for one cent! Was $350 or $745 total if brought individually.

"All options now come standard and preinstalled with any new 1000Z Oscilloscope including serial decode, deep memory, record mode, and advanced triggering."

https://www.rigolna.com/products/digital-oscilloscopes/1000z/

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/rigol-bnd-msods1000z-license-clearance-one-penny-at-tequipment-net/
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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2019, 07:32:31 pm »
Yes to address marketplace pressure that other brands offer the same options free !
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2019, 08:56:23 pm »
Some good suggestions all around. A similar scenario was posted in another forum (as well as many other threads around here) and my inputs can be seen at:
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/investing-in-an-oscilloscope.162467/page-3#post-1425168

In addition to that, you may want to look at the clearance bin of Rigol and Siglent at:
https://www.rigolna.com/clearance/
https://siglentna.com/products/clearance/
(just be absolutely sure the terms and conditions of sale, warranty, etc. meet your expectations)
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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2019, 09:37:05 pm »
Yes to address marketplace pressure that other brands offer the same options free !

Tek did this with their TDS3000 scopes, features that were originally options became standard features in later firmware. It's standard practice with this sort of thing as a design becomes older and has to compete with newer offerings on the market. The popular Rigol scopes have been around for quite a while now, it's natural that they'd need to bump things up a notch to keep it viable as long as possible.

I still think a lot of people are losing sight of the fact that this is someone asking about a scope for their 14 year old kid. When I was 14 I felt extremely fortunate to have an ancient Tek 531A that I got from a neighbor. It was a beast and had a few issues but I still learned a lot and got a lot of use out of it. I don't even remember if it had delayed sweep or not, if it did I never used it. The 465B that I got later has it but even then I very rarely use it. A beginner looking for something cheap doesn't need a lot of fancy features, they'll figure out what they need later.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2019, 09:59:27 pm »
I still think a lot of people are losing sight of the fact that this is someone asking about a scope for their 14 year old kid. When I was 14 I felt extremely fortunate to have an ancient Tek 531A that I got from a neighbor.
At 14 I was extremely fortunate to be able to use my dad's ICE supertester 680R analog VOM - an oscilloscope was completely out of reach for hobbyists. And with that (and a few other test bits and bobs from magazine kits) we assembled gobs of things.

However, times have changed and not only electronics but also the tools and their relative prices eroded quite a lot. Any simple microcontroller kit has multi-MHz communications channels that are quite interesting to look through the eyes of a graphing tool such as the oscilloscope. That makes defining what goes on a beginner's toolbox a much harder task. 
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Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #50 on: October 09, 2019, 10:09:22 pm »
In most cases I would say that a low cost logic analyzer is superior to an oscilloscope for working with microcontrollers, sure it won't help you sort out signal integrity issues but I rarely find that to be an issue with the frequencies involved. What it will do is let you monitor numerous digital signals at once, which is what you need when you're trying to debug things like SPI.

A scope is certainly nice, and it's far more within reach to a hobbyist than ever before. Anyone who is serious about electronics should have one sooner or later but IMHO if funds are tight it's the sort of thing one can save up for and buy themselves when they get their first job. Otherwise you get what you can afford, if that's a tired 10MHz CRO with some wonky switches and one dead channel, hey it's better than nothing. Hence my advice of either spend <=$50 on a working analog scope, or keep saving and buy one of the relatively inexpensive modern DSOs. Or get lucky and take whatever someone is willing to give you for free and make the best of it.
 
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #51 on: October 09, 2019, 10:18:58 pm »
In most cases I would say that a low cost logic analyzer is superior to an oscilloscope for working with microcontrollers, sure it won't help you sort out signal integrity issues but I rarely find that to be an issue with the frequencies involved. What it will do is let you monitor numerous digital signals at once, which is what you need when you're trying to debug things like SPI.
100%. A logic analyzer is a cheap ticket for digital debugging. :-+
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #52 on: October 09, 2019, 10:20:25 pm »
However, times have changed and not only electronics but also the tools and their relative prices eroded quite a lot. Any simple microcontroller kit has multi-MHz communications channels that are quite interesting to look through the eyes of a graphing tool such as the oscilloscope. That makes defining what goes on a beginner's toolbox a much harder task.

If looking at digital comms, then the best tools are printf() statements and a logic analyser.

If you don't know what you need, then it doesn't matter what you buy. Well, that's an exaggeration to make the point, but it indicates that the "what do I need?" question is probably the wrong question.

The right question would be "how do I work out what I need?".

One strategy would be to buy something that does everything - but that would probably be too complex for a beginner (and too expensive).

Another strategy would be to buy something cheap and simple, use it, determine where it is holding you back, and then you know what you need.

I prefer the latter.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2019, 12:21:05 am »
In most cases I would say that a low cost logic analyzer is superior to an oscilloscope for working with microcontrollers, sure it won't help you sort out signal integrity issues but I rarely find that to be an issue with the frequencies involved. What it will do is let you monitor numerous digital signals at once, which is what you need when you're trying to debug things like SPI.

A scope is certainly nice, and it's far more within reach to a hobbyist than ever before. Anyone who is serious about electronics should have one sooner or later but IMHO if funds are tight it's the sort of thing one can save up for and buy themselves when they get their first job. Otherwise you get what you can afford, if that's a tired 10MHz CRO with some wonky switches and one dead channel, hey it's better than nothing. Hence my advice of either spend <=$50 on a working analog scope, or keep saving and buy one of the relatively inexpensive modern DSOs. Or get lucky and take whatever someone is willing to give you for free and make the best of it.

This is just the point I was going to make.
I have used a 'scope with one faulty channel various times at work, back in the day.
If one channel works, it is still a useful "single channel" oscilloscope.

I have even used (at home) a BWD single channel with faulty triggering to look at the pulses out of a car (Ford Falcon) "Engine Management Module".
OK, the signals didn't stay still but at least I could see them!

By the way, the problem was an intermittent connector at the input of the distributor (1988 model ).
Multiple mechanics couldn't find it, & kept swapping "the computer"! |O
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2019, 03:15:26 pm »
Quote
a low cost logic analyzer is superior to an oscilloscope for working with microcontrollers

Oh boy, yes. Definitely used to be the case  :-+

Nowadays, not so much - there is little that appears outside the plastic so there's not much to hook onto. Almost any digital scope has serial debug built in and with four channels you can cover SPI, and if you don't mind looking at one direction at a time you can do it with two channels. Got a 96-chan HP job here which was invaluable the last time I used it (debugging new-build motherboard PCI), but that was near a decade ago and it hasn't been powered up since. A Logic8 sorts most stuff that has four or more related signals, and whilst that's expensive you can get clones for peanuts.

The scope, OTOH, I'd be lost without it. Often it is just quicker and sufficient to have a gander with the scope. As t'chap above notes, most comms (and other) issues get fixed via printf once the hardware signalling (that is, the analogue stuff) has been sorted.

In my opinion/experience, anyway :)
 
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Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2019, 03:18:22 pm »
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The scope, OTOH, I'd be lost without it

And, in fact, thinking about this... say the office burned down and I need some tools, no insurance, etc. Offer me a 1054Z or Logic16 and I wouldn't hesitate to snatch the scope with your arm still attached. The LA would come after a meter, soldering kit, hand tools, etc.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2019, 06:38:40 pm »
Sparky480, also make sure he has a multimeter and soldering iron first and the interest to make purchasing any oscilloscope worthwhile. If he is programming or doing any electronics design or education even if it's on his own, an oscilloscope will be a serious boost especially if he is considering it a career in electronics/robotics etc. As they say, you can't invest enough in your children.

It's just that some people buy them and they gather dust, only you will be able to gauge his seriousness or ability. But even absorbing the manual and learning about all the features is worth a few hundred bucks in my opinion.

I bought him a Hakko station about 2 years ago. In regards to multimeters, he has 3 - 1 Fluke and 2 little cheapies Aneng. He also has a cheap hot air station but he hasn't done too much SMD.

Ok, that gives us an understanding of what equipment your son already has. The next question is what has he actually done with them? What projects has he built?

The worry is that many beginners buy a scope (too) early and find that they have no signals to look at because they haven't built anything where it would be useful. They often seem irresistibly drawn to trying to scope the mains, sometimes with catastrophic results (particularly dangerous for a 14 year old).

It will also give a better idea of what type/level of scope would be most appropriate at this stage.

Has the OP left the building?  :-\
Chris

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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2019, 06:40:10 pm »
Tek did this with their TDS3000 scopes, features that were originally options became standard features in later firmware. It's standard practice with this sort of thing as a design becomes older and has to compete with newer offerings on the market. The popular Rigol scopes have been around for quite a while now, it's natural that they'd need to bump things up a notch to keep it viable as long as possible.

I still think a lot of people are losing sight of the fact that this is someone asking about a scope for their 14 year old kid. When I was 14 I felt extremely fortunate to have an ancient Tek 531A that I got from a neighbor. It was a beast and had a few issues but I still learned a lot and got a lot of use out of it. I don't even remember if it had delayed sweep or not, if it did I never used it. The 465B that I got later has it but even then I very rarely use it. A beginner looking for something cheap doesn't need a lot of fancy features, they'll figure out what they need later.
The computers we use every day were beyond supercomputer territory when some of us were younger. No one would dare suggesting that young folks should use a Pentium II.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2019, 05:55:43 am »
The computers we use every day were beyond supercomputer territory when some of us were younger. No one would dare suggesting that young folks should use a Pentium II.

If a decent modern computer was $1,000 and the person could only afford a Pentium II then I would, I mean why not? Millions of kids (and adults) are using Raspberry Pis for things, the early versions of which are similar to a PII. I still use lots of computers much older and less powerful than that, they're just as powerful as they ever were and if you don't need to surf the web it doesn't really matter. I can type up a document on my SE/30 that looks just as good as one typed up on a modern machine. I can play a game on my Amiga or IIe that's just as fun as it was when I was a kid. The first computer I owned was a cast off 10 year old PC/XT and I learned a tremendous amount by struggling along with that. The hardware was simple enough to understand in depth and interface to directly.

Kind of a lame analogy anyway though since an oscilloscope is not a PC and scopes have not changed anywhere near much as computers. A 60 year old scope of sufficient bandwidth will display the same signal a brand new one will. Maybe a better comparison is something like a telescope, sure if you spend $1k you'll get a much better experience then if you spend $100 or even less, but some of the cheap ones are usable and certainly better than nothing. Ultimately you get by with what you can afford or otherwise get your hands on. Then armed with some experience and a better understanding of your actual needs you upgrade to better tools as budget allows.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2019, 07:00:28 am »
A Raspberry Pi is obviously nothing like a Pentium II. You already mention one massive difference and that's internet connectivity and associated support. The world has changed and therefore the tools have too. Oscilloscopes aren't much different and too have changed a lot. DSOs are the name of the game now and CROs have been relegated to the background. I'd rather have a Beetle than walk across a continent but I'd really rather have a modern car.
 

Offline borjam

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2019, 07:14:28 am »
If considering an oscilloscope I would definitely recommend a modern, budget DSO. Religious wars aside, check Rigol's DS1000Z and Siglent SDS1000X-E series.

DSOs are useful for many purposes. If your son is going to experiment with microcontrollers and/or embedded systems, an oscilloscope can be incredibly helpful. Countless projects have been completed without access to one (in the past oscilloscopes were outrageously expensive!) but an oscilloscope makes troubleshooting much more convenient and, more important in my opinion, looking at the actual signals involved can help gain better insight on what's going on, which means it's good for learning.

CROs are obsolete. I know many people love them because especially the latest, sophisticated models, were outstanding engineering achievements and indeed their creators deserve awe and respect. But the world has moved on and nowadays an electronics hobbyist is more likely to work with digital interfaces.

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2019, 07:45:36 am »
CROs are obsolete. I know many people love them because especially the latest, sophisticated models, were outstanding engineering achievements and indeed their creators deserve awe and respect. But the world has moved on and nowadays an electronics hobbyist is more likely to work with digital interfaces.

I don't know why you refer to "CROs", since the display technology is irrelevant. I have DSOs that use a CRO to display the waveform and settings. What matters is whether the front end is analogue or digitising.

I don't know what you might mean by "more likely to work with digital interfaces", but any such concept is unimportant. You are looking at waveforms!

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2019, 07:51:08 am »
Ultimately you get by with what you can afford or otherwise get your hands on. Then armed with some experience and a better understanding of your actual needs you upgrade to better tools as budget allows.

Precisely. That attitude is commercially very valuable.

Simple observation about pushing the engineering limits. If you are creating the world's fastest oscilloscope, what scope do you go and buy to test it?

I've run into that kind of question throughout my career, and working out how to answer it has been great fun and very remunerative :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online tautech

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2019, 08:32:29 am »
If considering an oscilloscope I would definitely recommend a modern, budget DSO. Religious wars aside, ...........

CROs are obsolete. ........
Unbeknownst to you you've just rekindled 2 religious wars, brand vs brand and CRO vs DSO !

CRO's are where I started and I wouldn't dream of turning back the clock and as you well know borjam with your embracement of modern tools they can do so much more.

Hell, even for the novices right of passage of building their first PSU how can they check for power ON overshoot with a CRO ? CRO Single shot mode ?  ::)

Dad the sparky keeps an eye on discussions here as he had a look yesterday and despite his comments about scopes being outside his field of knowledge you can bet your boots he'll be involved with his son getting up to speed on what scopes have to offer the novice. What he lacks in scope knowledge he will already know about basic waveforms whereas the son mostly won't. They'll make a good pair adventuring into electronics with him tempering the lads enthusiasm and adding his caution and wiser grey matter while the lads inquisitive mind will that drag them both along together.
A not to be missed father son bonding time that I had with my youngest too.
Hell that was 15+ yrs back as he was 30 yesterday !  :o  :wtf:
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Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #64 on: October 11, 2019, 06:08:30 pm »
Hell, even for the novices right of passage of building their first PSU how can they check for power ON overshoot with a CRO ? CRO Single shot mode ?  ::)

Again that's certainly a "nice to have", but I built a lot of power supplies without having a scope capable of measuring the power on overshoot, that didn't stop me from building power supplies and it wouldn't stop me today. I have a rather nice scope because today I can afford it, as well as I'm not bothered by gambling on older equipment and possibly having to repair it. If I only had $100 to work with though I would not simply throw up my hands and give up on the hobby, I would find tools to get me by, use what I could get to the best of my abilities and keep saving up for something better. That's all I've been suggesting doing here.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #65 on: October 11, 2019, 11:55:59 pm »
I don't know why you refer to "CROs", since the display technology is irrelevant. I have DSOs that use a CRO to display the waveform and settings. What matters is whether the front end is analogue or digitising.

I don't know what you might mean by "more likely to work with digital interfaces", but any such concept is unimportant. You are looking at waveforms!

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
A modern glass cockpit is fully digital which in many regards is very similar to a DSO. That the GUI is derived from or borrows from earlier schemes doesn't change much, it just shows that it's a superset of what was and display the same data in various ways.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #66 on: October 11, 2019, 11:58:45 pm »
If considering an oscilloscope I would definitely recommend a modern, budget DSO. Religious wars aside, ...........

CROs are obsolete. ........
Unbeknownst to you you've just rekindled 2 religious wars, brand vs brand and CRO vs DSO !

CRO's are where I started and I wouldn't dream of turning back the clock and as you well know borjam with your embracement of modern tools they can do so much more.

Hell, even for the novices right of passage of building their first PSU how can they check for power ON overshoot with a CRO ? CRO Single shot mode ?  ::)
Hardly a "killer" application!
I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have had to do this over the years, but if I had to, there is a "workaround" which worked OK when DSOs were "but a glint in the eye" of some crazy design Engineer.

Set the CRO for a very low free running speed, turn up the intensity, dim the room, operate the PSU "On" switch, watch the overshoot---done!

OK, it doesn't give you a nice permanent record, unless you have a "CRO camera" (If you did, you could leave out "dim the room")
Polaroid film is probably "unobtainium" these days, but with a decent digital camera, you can probably "bodge" something up.

Of course, I would probably just use the 7613's analog storage function these days, which would make taking a pic easier.
Quote
Dad the sparky keeps an eye on discussions here as he had a look yesterday and despite his comments about scopes being outside his field of knowledge you can bet your boots he'll be involved with his son getting up to speed on what scopes have to offer the novice. What he lacks in scope knowledge he will already know about basic waveforms whereas the son mostly won't. They'll make a good pair adventuring into electronics with him tempering the lads enthusiasm and adding his caution and wiser grey matlter while the lads inquisitive mind will that drag them both along together.
A not to be missed father son bonding time that I had with my youngest too.
Hell that was 15+ yrs back as he was 30 yesterday !  :o  :wtf:
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2019, 12:06:06 am »
I have been looking for a simple oscilloscope for my 14 year old's birthday coming next week. I realize that I could never get anything in time but would at least say it is on its way. Originally, he was looking on ebay for these $50 oscilloscopes.

What brands should I be looking for and how much should I pay?
Do what my father did: get something decent. Spending money to allow your kid to learn something is never wasted. GW Instek GDS-1054B, Micsig TO1074 or Siglent SDS1104X-E are good choices. IIRC the price ranges from about US $350 to $750. The Rigol DS1054Z (although popular) is very outdated and technically inferior to the other options.

By all means don't get an old analog scope. I'd given my left nut if I would have gotten one of the DSOs I listed when I was 14.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 12:14:22 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2019, 01:29:27 am »
"Something decent" is not within the stated budget so it's not really a valid option. It doesn't matter how much better something is if a person doesn't have the budget to afford it. This is not someone looking for a tool they need in order to earn a living, this is an educational toy for a kid. A sensible person doesn't overextend themselves to buy a non-essential toy.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2019, 09:40:43 am »
I don't know why you refer to "CROs", since the display technology is irrelevant. I have DSOs that use a CRO to display the waveform and settings. What matters is whether the front end is analogue or digitising.

I don't know what you might mean by "more likely to work with digital interfaces", but any such concept is unimportant. You are looking at waveforms!

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
A modern glass cockpit is fully digital which in many regards is very similar to a DSO. That the GUI is derived from or borrows from earlier schemes doesn't change much, it just shows that it's a superset of what was and display the same data in various ways.

Maybe I didn't make the point clearly enough.

The point is about what the pilot sees, the display, not about how the information is collected and processed.

Consider the picture below. I guarantee any pilot will be principally interested in:
  • the location and angle of the boundary between the blue and brown sections
  • the angle of the light blue line
plus, equally importantly, how they are changing.

If they are relaxed and have the luxury of tweaking things, they may pay attention to the digits.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 09:44:11 am by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2019, 10:04:37 am »
"Something decent" is not within the stated budget so it's not really a valid option. It doesn't matter how much better something is if a person doesn't have the budget to afford it. This is not someone looking for a tool they need in order to earn a living, this is an educational toy for a kid. A sensible person doesn't overextend themselves to buy a non-essential toy.
Well the OP has expressed the budget isn't fixed and saving for longer period is an option. His son could also opt to ask money for his birthday from everyone and that may lead to enough money to get a decent piece of equipment. That is how my kids usually save up for something expensive. However getting a piece of test equipment is not yet-another-stupid-game so as a parent I'd really see what I can do. Tinkering with electronics at home definitely gives his son a head start when looking for a job in electronics (or most technical jobs). It simply is a good investment.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 10:08:14 am by nctnico »
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2019, 10:05:40 am »
Maybe I didn't make the point clearly enough.

The point is about what the pilot sees, the display, not about how the information is collected and processed.

Consider the picture below. I guarantee any pilot will be principally interested in:
  • the location and angle of the boundary between the blue and brown sections
  • the angle of the light blue line
plus, equally importantly, how they are changing.

If they are relaxed and have the luxury of tweaking things, they may pay attention to the digits.


The point was that analogue display systems display things in their format only and digital systems can display them any way they want which includes any analogue format. The added flexibility is why it's rapidly become the standard.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2019, 10:19:54 am »
Maybe I didn't make the point clearly enough.

The point is about what the pilot sees, the display, not about how the information is collected and processed.

Consider the picture below. I guarantee any pilot will be principally interested in:
  • the location and angle of the boundary between the blue and brown sections
  • the angle of the light blue line
plus, equally importantly, how they are changing.

If they are relaxed and have the luxury of tweaking things, they may pay attention to the digits.

<gif omitted>
The point was that analogue display systems display things in their format only and digital systems can display them any way they want which includes any analogue format. The added flexibility is why it's rapidly become the standard.

Whose point was that?

It certainly wasn't my point, it ignores the key aspects of my point, and is not a counterargument to the key aspects of my point. You are confusing capture and processing with display - those are very different.

Here is a repeat of my point, which you have chosen to snip from the context...

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2019, 11:03:42 am »
Whose point was that?

It certainly wasn't my point, it ignores the key aspects of my point, and is not a counterargument to the key aspects of my point. You are confusing capture and processing with display - those are very different.

Here is a repeat of my point, which you have chosen to snip from the context...

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
Let's back up a bit here. What actually was the point you tried to make? Repetition doesn't seem to do much in the way of clarifying. :)
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2019, 12:29:22 pm »
Whose point was that?

It certainly wasn't my point, it ignores the key aspects of my point, and is not a counterargument to the key aspects of my point. You are confusing capture and processing with display - those are very different.

Here is a repeat of my point, which you have chosen to snip from the context...

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
Let's back up a bit here. What actually was the point you tried to make? Repetition doesn't seem to do much in the way of clarifying. :)

Highlighted above, for extreme clarity. N.B. "display", not capture and processing.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 12:32:17 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline borjam

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #75 on: October 12, 2019, 01:36:39 pm »

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
Let's back up a bit here. What actually was the point you tried to make? Repetition doesn't seem to do much in the way of clarifying. :)

Highlighted above, for extreme clarity. N.B. "display", not capture and processing.
Interesting. So you claim that digital oscilloscopes display arrays of numbers (which seems to be what you call "digital display" instead of drawing waveforms, which would be an "analog display"?
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2019, 02:01:18 pm »
Highlighted above, for extreme clarity. N.B. "display", not capture and processing.
I'm not being facetious when I say the point still isn't clear. Repetition doesn't really help. Judging by borjam's confusion I'm not alone. Even if we were discussing just displays those can show anything you want although a CRT could arguably too. As we are discussing the benefits of DSOs it only seems reasonable to include capture and processing too.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 02:03:53 pm by Mr. Scram »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2019, 04:13:15 pm »

There is a fetish that a digital display is better than an analogue display. In some cases that is valid, but in other cases it is completely incorrect. Simple example from a different world: if you were in a cockpit, which would you rather see: a rotating ball showing the horizon moving, or digits (0,0), (8, -10), (15, 0), (25, 10).... BTW, are the instruments in a modern "glass cockpit" analogue or digital? :)
Let's back up a bit here. What actually was the point you tried to make? Repetition doesn't seem to do much in the way of clarifying. :)

Highlighted above, for extreme clarity. N.B. "display", not capture and processing.
Interesting. So you claim that digital oscilloscopes display arrays of numbers (which seems to be what you call "digital display" instead of drawing waveforms, which would be an "analog display"?

No, I don't.

A digital display is a display of digits.
Alternatively, if you see numbers it is a digital display, if you see a wavy line it is an analogue display!

How the information "gets to" the display is an orthogonal issue.
Whether or not the display is composed of discrete pixels is also an orthogonal issue.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2019, 04:23:59 pm »
Highlighted above, for extreme clarity. N.B. "display", not capture and processing.
I'm not being facetious when I say the point still isn't clear. Repetition doesn't really help. Judging by borjam's confusion I'm not alone. Even if we were discussing just displays those can show anything you want although a CRT could arguably too.

There's no "arguably" about it. Until recently all DSOs had CRTs.

Quote
As we are discussing the benefits of DSOs it only seems reasonable to include capture and processing too.

That is why I specifically referred to "digital display" not to "digitising sampling oscilloscope".

Before you complain about "digitising sampling", my fastest sampling scope (a Tektronix) does not digitise the samples; it is analogue throughout.

Also, my fastest digitising scope (a LeCroy) has a CRT. That clearly demonstrates "DSO" vs "CRT" is meaningless!

And to go back further, the first sampling scope I saw used an XY pen plotter as the the display device, servos wires wheels and all :)

Plus my fastest sampling scope retains that ability; one of the plugin output devices is a thermal chart recorder, the other allows external XV pen plot to be made. Since I don't have a pen plotter, I use my slow digitising scope to capture that output :)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 04:43:48 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2019, 05:58:11 pm »
No, I don't.

A digital display is a display of digits.
Alternatively, if you see numbers it is a digital display, if you see a wavy line it is an analogue display!

How the information "gets to" the display is an orthogonal issue.
Whether or not the display is composed of discrete pixels is also an orthogonal issue.
I think that's where the confusion arose as you seem to be talking about the UI rather than the physical display itself. A character display or what you call a digital display is very uncommon if not nonexistent in oscilloscopes so people obviously didn't make the connection. A wavy line on a pixel or non CRT screen obviously has nothing to do with analogue signals. It's graphical style is derived from earlier analogue technology but has separated from it in pretty much every sense.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2019, 07:11:52 pm »
No, I don't.

A digital display is a display of digits.
Alternatively, if you see numbers it is a digital display, if you see a wavy line it is an analogue display!

How the information "gets to" the display is an orthogonal issue.
Whether or not the display is composed of discrete pixels is also an orthogonal issue.
I think that's where the confusion arose as you seem to be talking about the UI rather than the physical display itself. A character display or what you call a digital display is very uncommon if not nonexistent in oscilloscopes

Not true. Many analogue scopes have digital displays, and have done since the 80s; look at a Tek 24x5 screen.

But the display device is unimportant in this discussion.

Quote
so people obviously didn't make the connection. A wavy line on a pixel or non CRT screen obviously has nothing to do with analogue signals.

Que? None of that makes sense!

If nothing else, what about "a wavy line or pixel on a non CRT screen"? They still exist.

Quote
It's graphical style is derived from earlier analogue technology but has separated from it in pretty much every sense.

Given the flaws in your contentions, it isn't surprising your conclusion is flawed.
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 Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2019, 07:43:49 pm »
Not true. Many analogue scopes have digital displays, and have done since the 80s; look at a Tek 24x5 screen.

But the display device is unimportant in this discussion.

Que? None of that makes sense!

If nothing else, what about "a wavy line or pixel on a non CRT screen"? They still exist.

Given the flaws in your contentions, it isn't surprising your conclusion is flawed.
Regardless of which particular and peculiar set of definitions is applied to this discussion the point of all this still isn't clear. What does any of this have to with the question sparky480 asked or with how DSOs are modern tools for the job? Surely it's not some academic jostle to congratulate oneself for a job well done while OP has quietly beaten the retreat?
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2019, 08:07:24 pm »
Not true. Many analogue scopes have digital displays, and have done since the 80s; look at a Tek 24x5 screen.

But the display device is unimportant in this discussion.

Que? None of that makes sense!

If nothing else, what about "a wavy line or pixel on a non CRT screen"? They still exist.

Given the flaws in your contentions, it isn't surprising your conclusion is flawed.
Regardless of which particular and peculiar set of definitions is applied to this discussion the point of all this still isn't clear. What does any of this have to with the question sparky480 asked or with how DSOs are modern tools for the job? Surely it's not some academic jostle to congratulate oneself for a job well done while OP has quietly beaten the retreat?

Definitions and clarity of thought are important, especially when a beginner might be confused by loose terminology - in this case confusingly intermixing front end and back end  (display) technology.

You picked up and ran with a passing comment of mine, with some incorrect observations.
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 Mr. Scram

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2019, 11:02:46 pm »
Definitions and clarity of thought are important, especially when a beginner might be confused by loose terminology - in this case confusingly intermixing front end and back end  (display) technology.

You picked up and ran with a passing comment of mine, with some incorrect observations.
Save the incorrect observations you're correct. It's therefore best to abstain from using ambiguous loose terminology like "digital display", especially when it's effectively unrelated to the intended purpose of the thread.
 
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Offline Marck

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2019, 11:11:37 pm »
I just went through the analog vs digital decision. I am an electronics new starter but also a telecommunications professional so the basic concepts are within my grasp.  When I first started looking into an oscilloscope the advice from a learned friend was to buy a good quality analog oscilloscope with good probes.  But in Australia thats easier said than done.  After a little bit of rationalisation I decided to get a secondhand Rigol DS1052e

The main reasons for this where.

1. Availability of second hand test equipment in QLD is a little limited so choice of older scopes was limited by the cost of shipping them here vs value of the unit.

2.  My Boy is 12 now and old enough to take an interest in electronics if he wants to and he like most kids now is technology focused and has been pulling apart and putting together a couple of old PC’c so I think the interest is real.  I am a firm believer that for young people just having access to Books / Music / Tools / Whatever is good for them it at least gives them a chance to try different things . Thats why I have a garage full of routers, switches, radios, old laptops, cables, batteries that I have gathered for little or no money for him to play with.   And I hope he will take an interest in electronics as another thing we can do together.   Now the reason for the DSO is that if he gets involved he will be learning on newer technology. I am far from qualified to even have an opinion on which is better for what use but learning / playing on devices that have an interface and mode of operation that he will be more likely to come across as his education advances I think would be more useful to him than knowing how to run an older unit.   

I might not be able to teach him even a 10 percent of what a DSO can do but when or if he gets to the point that he is in front of someone that can he might be comfortable with the devices and technology that are used. 

And if he gets involved and it looks like an analog scope is more what he needs i will find one for him because you can never have too many toys.  Sorry i mean tools. 

M

 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #85 on: October 13, 2019, 03:34:14 am »
No, I don't.

A digital display is a display of digits.
Alternatively, if you see numbers it is a digital display, if you see a wavy line it is an analogue display!

How the information "gets to" the display is an orthogonal issue.
Whether or not the display is composed of discrete pixels is also an orthogonal issue.
I think that's where the confusion arose as you seem to be talking about the UI rather than the physical display itself. A character display or what you call a digital display is very uncommon if not nonexistent in oscilloscopes so people obviously didn't make the connection. A wavy line on a pixel or non CRT screen obviously has nothing to do with analogue signals. It's graphical style is derived from earlier analogue technology but has separated from it in pretty much every sense.

In fact, the wavy line has everything to do with analogue signals, as that's what Oscilloscopes are for whether they are analogue, digital, or trained Quokkas with marking pens.
(Although Quokka technology showed much early promise, it was limited in frequency response, the pens needed changing, & the Quokka poo removed, so it fell by the wayside) ;D

The numerical display versus continuous display thing is another argument, altogether.

Are hour meters driven by analog electric motors digital?
How about the old "General Radio" audio oscillators I used years ago which had a mechanical dial which displayed frequencies as a line of numbers behind illuminated windows?

Numerical displays were all the go, back in the 1980s, with most watches having such displays.
People liked the old clock hands, & most modern watches, nor matter how "digital" the guts are, have either
mechanical hands, or (very good) rendered displays of such things.
Car speedometers also flirted with numerical displays in the 1980s, only to go the same way as watches did.

A very interesting case is the "S"meter/power meter on Amateur Radio transceivers.
These were originally moving coil meters, but were, for a time, replaced with "bar graphs" either of a group of LEDs, or LCD displays like the bargraph on a DMM.

Hams didn't much like them, so some manufacturers went back to moving coil meters.
Ultimately, they went to exquisitely rendered  representations of the original "analog" electromechanical meters.
It is quite hard to distinguish them from the real thing!

Another example of such a "rendered" display is the clock on my iPad.
It is a perfect representation of a mechanical clock, right down to the shadows under the hands.

One thing that annoys me about DSOs, is the seeming lack of standardisation of the information blocks around the active screen.
A person with a problem presents a screenshot of their 'scope, asking for help.
Firstly, I have to try to work out what the volts/div & time/div are.

This is probably OK, if you have that particular piece of equipment, but  if you don't, it is:

"Is that value the usecs/div, or the length of the total display, or is it the duration of a cycle of the signal?
Or something else again?"

After seeing enough DS1054 screenshots, I can "sort of" work it out, but hit me with a Hantek, & I'm "all at sea"!
So it would be nice if people posting screenshots would add the basic information separate from the screenshot for us dinosaurs who still "count squares".

« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 03:37:16 am by vk6zgo »
 

Online tautech

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #86 on: October 13, 2019, 08:55:40 am »
One thing that annoys me about DSOs, is the seeming lack of standardisation of the information blocks around the active screen.
A person with a problem presents a screenshot of their 'scope, asking for help.
Firstly, I have to try to work out what the volts/div & time/div are.

This is probably OK, if you have that particular piece of equipment, but  if you don't, it is:

"Is that value the usecs/div, or the length of the total display, or is it the duration of a cycle of the signal?
Or something else again?"
100% so !

This infuriates me too when a poster comes crying for help not giving the full picture and expects you to be some clairvoyant !
The info captured on a DSO screenshot might not seem so important to some but it is a very valuable record to study and share to a mentor or the forum for better understanding. There is so much info that can be portrayed in this record but few manufacturers choose to maximize it.
While many of us here can glance at a screenshot and instantly spot usage errors or something that just doesn't make sense the more info displayed helps us all.
While some mightn't like the depth of menu structures in the modern DSO and prefer buttons or knobs for everything the capability a DSO demands that they must be put together this way and yet many brands fall short of basic info offered in the GUI.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #87 on: October 13, 2019, 02:37:43 pm »
One thing that annoys me about DSOs, is the seeming lack of standardisation of the information blocks around the active screen.
A person with a problem presents a screenshot of their 'scope, asking for help.
Firstly, I have to try to work out what the volts/div & time/div are.

This is probably OK, if you have that particular piece of equipment, but  if you don't, it is:

"Is that value the usecs/div, or the length of the total display, or is it the duration of a cycle of the signal?
Or something else again?"
100% so !

This infuriates me too when a poster comes crying for help not giving the full picture and expects you to be some clairvoyant !
The info captured on a DSO screenshot might not seem so important to some but it is a very valuable record to study and share to a mentor or the forum for better understanding. There is so much info that can be portrayed in this record but few manufacturers choose to maximize it.
While many of us here can glance at a screenshot and instantly spot usage errors or something that just doesn't make sense the more info displayed helps us all.
While some mightn't like the depth of menu structures in the modern DSO and prefer buttons or knobs for everything the capability a DSO demands that they must be put together this way and yet many brands fall short of basic info offered in the GUI.
I sometimes, after trying to help someone by offering what seems a logical investigative process, I just give up, whilst the original poster in the thread continues to post more & more irrelevant screenshots.

Obviously, if we were there in person, we would fiddle with the 'scope & fairly quickly work out what the display is saying, (& probably find the original problem), but being at that one remove of just looking at a screenshot makes it much harder.

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be more able to "catch on" to what a screenshot from a Siglent or Rigol is telling me than one from a Hantek, which seems to have been designed deliberately to confuse.

I don't own any of these brands, or indeed a DSO of any kind, but that is just how it seems to me, as an "outsider".
 

Online tautech

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Re: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics
« Reply #88 on: October 14, 2019, 02:23:49 am »
I sometimes, after trying to help someone by offering what seems a logical investigative process, I just give up, whilst the original poster in the thread continues to post more & more irrelevant screenshots.

Obviously, if we were there in person, we would fiddle with the 'scope & fairly quickly work out what the display is saying, (& probably find the original problem), but being at that one remove of just looking at a screenshot makes it much harder.

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be more able to "catch on" to what a screenshot from a Siglent or Rigol is telling me than one from a Hantek, which seems to have been designed deliberately to confuse.

I don't own any of these brands, or indeed a DSO of any kind, but that is just how it seems to me, as an "outsider".
Yep all that.
As some example, a screenshot with all the relevant info as part of the default GUI:
SDS1104X-E


Sampling, mem depth, frequency, Ch #, H pos, V pos, V/div, s/div, trigger type, trigger level, input coupling and probe attenuation are all there as default. This screenshot is a bit faint on graticules as I should've brightened them up some  :palm: so the amplitude is a bit difficult to read accurately we can still get the idea of what was being captured.
When necessary a relevant menu can also be selected for further portrayal of info when/if required.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 02:25:44 am by tautech »
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