Author Topic: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics  (Read 3379 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
 

Offline 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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Online 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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Online 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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Online 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
 

Offline 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.....
 

Online 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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Offline 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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Online 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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Online tautech

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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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Online 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.
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM               >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
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Online 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.
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM               >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
Oszilloskopen: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 
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Online tautech

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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.
 

Online 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?
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM               >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
Oszilloskopen: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 
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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.
 


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