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New lab; looking around for various cables

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Hello EEVBlog community,

My 1st post! So I've been scouring Ebay and Craigs List the past few months working on building my own home lab, the lab at school always seems to be locked when i need it, haha! I've got quite a few pieces of gear already; HP3312A, HP5316A, Tek2245A, and some Tenma 72-6153 DC supply that i cant find much info about but it powers up and goes 0-20v flawlessly and was only $20 so i couldn't pas it up... The only problem is all my gear only came with power cables and the HP counter didn't even come with a power cable!

I've been looking around for quite a while at ways to acquire a set of cables or something, but have found nothing except DMM kits. I'm looking for at least 2 1x/10x scope probes, a few BNC to alligator, a few BNC-BNC, and various banana's.

Anyone know of any company that makes just kind of a package deal that comes with a bunch of equipment cables? Or even a good site that would be able to sell all of those individually?

Mike Matheson

surely you can find generic scope probes and cables on ebay ? I got a nice pair of 1X/10X cables for £25 and there was a whole load of cables available

I haven't seen many BNC kits but you can find all of the various leads and adapters on ebay or any of the major distributors (digikey, mouser, newark, etc.).

Of course a lot of the ebay stuff ships out of china so it may (will) be a bit slow, someplace like jameco or electronics express might be a bit cheaper (just search for BNC). They should all carry generic 100MHz probes that will work with that Tek as well.

Remember to get BNC Couplers, "T"s (Tees), and terminators (50ohm). Also be mindful of male and female connectors, else you may need more adapters or wires to hook everything up  :)

Scope probes are actually far more complex to make than you'd think, so I would get decent quality, and preferably OEM (used ones not expensive compared to decent new third-party probes). Cables and adapters are less critical, but if you're doing anything with frequency components above a few hundred MHz or high accuracy, I would make sure to get good quality. Not the kind used for 10base2. There are variations in shielding, variations in impedance, attenuation, noise (at low levels), and I believe there's also something about the PVC contaminating the cable after a while, though I'm not sure how much of that is real and how much is marketing. Good quality HF connectors can be surprisingly expensive (high-grade BNC to SMA adapter was something like $50).

I think Jim Williams (?) talked about this in his books, how all those cables and adapters are insanely expensive, but you need them to do any work.

I'm not aware of any kits, except the expensive kind that includes every adapter they make (Pomona has some of those). My recommendation is get plenty of BNC and banana cables, some adapters/cables that convert between these two, and attachments like alligators and grabber hooks (I prefer the latter). I like the modular approach of using banana-banana or BNC-banana cables, and connecting grabber hooks with banana jack to them, but BNC to grabber hook cables also work. For BNC, get some T/Y adapters (splitters), terminators, male-male and female-female couplers, and (depending on your type of work) attenuators and a feed-through terminator ($$). Everything should be 50ohm, unless you work with telecom/video, they use other impedances. I've not seen them much on ebay, but electronic distributors usually have a good range.

I've noticed that probes over 150 MHz snd/or X100c are expensive anywhere and have come to understand that's the way it is due to higher manufacturing costs of these parts, luckily my limit is 100 MHz at the moment so most stuff it ok


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