Author Topic: Looking for oscilloscope for son beginning electronics  (Read 3501 times)

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Offline 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.

 

Online 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.
 

Offline 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 »
 

Offline 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.
 

Offline tautech

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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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Offline 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.
 

Online 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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Online 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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Online 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.
 

Offline tautech

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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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Online 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.
 

Offline james_s

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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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Offline tautech

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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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Offline james_s

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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. 
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 


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