Author Topic: A competitor for the Rigol?  (Read 27645 times)

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Offline DJPhil

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A competitor for the Rigol?
« on: June 22, 2010, 07:21:49 am »
Discussion in an adjacent thread turned up an interesting scope from Instek. It seems like a decent competitor for the Rigol scope we all know and love, aside from the bandwidth hack of course. Instek's got a whole webpage dedicated to their jibba jabba about their sampling system, and I think it'd be enlightening to see it put to the test against the Rigol. Perhaps for some (most?) of us the difference (if there is one) would be enough to justify the lower bandwidth. Of course, I'm still a newb, and the whole thing might be moot. :D

I think this may be the first case of another manufacturer attempting to put up a fight in the low end market aside from Owon's somewhat underpowered offerings. I think that tequipment.net might be the only folks with comparable pricing on the Instek so far, as a quick scan online shows the same Instek model up near $700US everywhere else.

I think it would make for an interesting review, so I thought I'd throw it up here in the suggestions section. Maybe tequipment will help out again with a demo unit to review!

What do you guys think?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2010, 07:42:40 am »
I think that Instek would be more of a competitor to the faster update rate Rigol 1000A series instead of the cheaper 1000E series.
Lifetime Warranty?
$415 sounds like a terrific price!
http://www.tequipment.net/InstekGDS-1062A.html

Dave.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 09:56:52 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2010, 11:24:02 am »
I'm all for it.  One thing I like besides the spec, is the position of the power cord and the folding handle.  The 1052E has tiny feet, nearly useless, to change the tilt.  In a bench at certain angles, the Rigol needs to be propped up a bit for better view.

The Instek handle is a time tested equipment handle able to adjust to a large number of positions. It also has the power cord coming off the back, while the Rigol annoyingly comes off the side.

Also the Manual and support docs on the Instek are very high quality. 

Lifetime warranty is fantastic but that also means folks, don't Mod me and goof because tata warranty!  ;D
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2010, 12:09:51 pm »
Hmm, I just can't help but think at this almost giveaway price from Tequipment, this Instek has the Rigol beat hands down.
2Msamples @ 1GS/s for almost the same price as the Rigol that only has 16K @ 1GS/s can't be beat. And it can supposedly do 1GS/s on both channels (at 1Msamples) which the Rigol can't
And yeah, the big tilting bail looks to have that old world feel to it.

If the Aussie $ wasn't low I'd trade my Rigol for it.

Dave.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 10:00:11 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline cybergibbons

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 12:28:05 pm »
I thought the Rigol had 1Mpoint. Glad I went for the Instek then!

 

Offline ngkee22

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2010, 01:49:12 pm »
Does anyone know how good Instek's quality and service is?
 

Offline cybergibbons

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Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2010, 02:25:18 pm »
They have a solid reputation; I didn't know much of them personally, but more experienced EE know them well for good quality and support.  They are a Taiwanese company that began in 1975 with factories mostly in Taiwan and some in PRC.  Rigol is no where as old, and a pure PRC company.

You can read of them here:

http://www.gwinstek.com/en/about.aspx

My experience with them in a recent purchase is here:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=633.msg7553#msg7553




Does anyone know how good Instek's quality and service is?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 02:36:29 pm by saturation »
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Offline ngkee22

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2010, 03:33:33 pm »
I am glad they have a good reputation.  All I have used is Agilent and Tektronix in college.  I hadn't heard about most of these companies till I started reading this blog a few months ago.

Out of curiosity, what about some other companies.  I have seen scopes, multimeters, and power supplies by BK Precision and PtoTek.  I first saw these at a local electronics store.  What kind of quality/reputation do these companies have?
 

Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2010, 06:15:15 pm »
B&K had been around since the 1950s, but my personal experience with them was in school in the 1970s-80s.  They are based in CA. Protek began in the mid 1990s, I know little or have experience with them, as they are relatively younger and based in NJ.  They are both reputable, but I would rate B&K higher; it has weathered many economic storms and is still around.

However, both are less OEM or factories for equipment, I don't know if they do any design of their own, but much of their equipment come from ODM or OEM.  Some are fairly obvious, some are not.

In the 1980s, BK sold analog oscilloscopes made by Kenwood, still known as Trio in Asia, then an upcoming Japanese brand that is now well established as a brand name, Kenwood gear is sold mostly in Asia as top brand.

My experience is BK knows how to choose ODM, so often its a marker of a good upstart. For example, these LCR meters, both branded by Agilent and BK of another ODM:







I am glad they have a good reputation.  All I have used is Agilent and Tektronix in college.  I hadn't heard about most of these companies till I started reading this blog a few months ago.

Out of curiosity, what about some other companies.  I have seen scopes, multimeters, and power supplies by BK Precision and PtoTek.  I first saw these at a local electronics store.  What kind of quality/reputation do these companies have?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 06:19:33 pm by saturation »
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Offline ngkee22

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2010, 07:11:26 pm »
Thanks for all the information. 

I have been trying to decide what is my best option for getting some new equipment.  I like the price on the Rigol scope, but not too impressed with the information on their website and I can seldom find much about their equipment.  I do like Instek and BK Precision.  Atleast their websites have more information available and their products seem to be a little better made and have a more extensive and established line of products. As for Protek, I am still researching them.  From what I have been reading, I am leaning towards getting Instek equipment.
 

Offline RayJones

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2010, 07:57:56 pm »
I personally find tilting bails a pain in the butt especially when you need to stack a CRO on a sig gen etc.. They just always get in the way.

This of course is not much of an issue with a unit that is not so deep though unless you like seeing test equipment tumble to the ground.  :'(
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2010, 10:10:07 pm »
B&K had been around since the 1950s, but my personal experience with them was in school in the 1970s-80s.  They are based in CA. Protek began in the mid 1990s, I know little or have experience with them, as they are relatively younger and based in NJ.  They are both reputable, but I would rate B&K higher; it has weathered many economic storms and is still around.

However, both are less OEM or factories for equipment, I don't know if they do any design of their own, but much of their equipment come from ODM or OEM.  Some are fairly obvious, some are not.

In the 1980s, BK sold analog oscilloscopes made by Kenwood, still known as Trio in Asia, then an upcoming Japanese brand that is now well established as a brand name, Kenwood gear is sold mostly in Asia as top brand.

My experience is BK knows how to choose ODM, so often its a marker of a good upstart. For example, these LCR meters, both branded by Agilent and BK of another ODM:

I am glad they have a good reputation.  All I have used is Agilent and Tektronix in college.  I hadn't heard about most of these companies till I started reading this blog a few months ago.

Out of curiosity, what about some other companies.  I have seen scopes, multimeters, and power supplies by BK Precision and PtoTek.  I first saw these at a local electronics store.  What kind of quality/reputation do these companies have?

BK Precision used to design and manufacture their own gear in the USA, but like everyone have since outsourced a lot of that. But they still do their own in-house design on gear where they have the expertise. Like all these companies (like Extech) that have massive diverse ranges of gear, they can't possibly have expertise in all those areas.
I've been talking with them recently and they are sending me their new model LCR meter which they have redesigned.
That model LCR meter was designed by Escort which used to be rebadged under many brands until Agilent bought out Escort. BK Precision obviously still had some sort of rights to it, but have since redesigned it. Their new model is coming out in a few weeks.

Dave.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2010, 10:44:00 pm »
The Rigol 1052e doesn't sit well to be stacked since the off/on switch is on top.  Both these DSOs are narrow but the Instek is flat on top and the power switch is upfront, so it can be stacked. I don't own this Instek scope but I have one of their frequency generators; the bail can be folded completely backward so the top is clear, and its designed so it does not require rear clearance beyond what already projects off the rear case, in the FG its just the AC cable socket.


The limited lifetime warranty of this scope is misleading, as far as lifetime is concerned.  I just read the terms:

Good only for the original owner

"Lifetime" means the product lifetime.  If the product model line is discontinued by Instek, which is inevitable given the speed new models are introduced, the warranty ends 5 years later.  

Shipping to the repair is paid for by the owner.

Warranty is void if the scope is purchased from a non-authorized dealer.

So in toto, the warranty is longer than the usual 3 years Instek warranty.


I personally find tilting bails a pain in the butt especially when you need to stack a CRO on a sig gen etc.. They just always get in the way.

This of course is not much of an issue with a unit that is not so deep though unless you like seeing test equipment tumble to the ground.  :'(
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Offline allanw

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2010, 11:09:10 pm »
Tek's "lifetime" warranty on their cheap line of scopes is pretty similar though:

http://www.tek.com/service/warranties/tds1k_2k/faq.html

Just with the minimum guarantee of 10 years.
 

Offline ngkee22

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2010, 12:18:20 am »
I read the Limited Lifetime warranty too.  I noticed the catches in the warranty also.  It has a very limited lifetime warranty.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2010, 02:20:59 am »


Cheesy, but you get a little look inside Instek.
Why don't companies ever shoot real behind the scenes video so customers can see what really goes on?
A video camera and some friendly faces is all it takes to make companies much more appealing to their customers.

Dave.
 

Offline allanw

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2010, 02:27:07 am »
You've got to be kidding me, their other videos demoing their scopes use TTS as narration.
 

alm

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2010, 04:44:30 am »
Even Fluke does it, seven years after it's discontinued, but at least ten years. Ever wonder why companies introduce minor -B or -V revisions of their products? ;)
 

Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2010, 10:04:30 am »
Yes, its like at least Flukes and Teks, so no different from key makers in the industry.  A key thing is in 5-10 years something better would likely be around so it may not be worth going through the hassle of repairing.

Note the LCD is warranted only for 1 year, regardless.

I read the Limited Lifetime warranty too.  I noticed the catches in the warranty also.  It has a very limited lifetime warranty.
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Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2010, 10:05:33 am »
The video and more info helps, but the best look inside Instek is dissecting their gear and seeing how they put it together.



Cheesy, but you get a little look inside Instek.
Why don't companies ever shoot real behind the scenes video so customers can see what really goes on?
A video camera and some friendly faces is all it takes to make companies much more appealing to their customers.

Dave.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline slburris

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2010, 03:37:03 am »
So has anyone picked up one of these scopes yet?

I have to admit the better specs tempt me to sell my
DS1052E and upgrade....

Scott
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2010, 04:23:29 am »
The video and more info helps, but the best look inside Instek is dissecting their gear and seeing how they put it together.
http://welecw2000a.sourceforge.net/docs/Hardware/GW_Instek_GDS-1152A.pdf
The pictures are far from complete (can't see what CPU is used, for instance - it's probably on the other side of the main board or on the display board), but what there is looks good. It overclocks the ADCs just like the Rigol does. The FPGA is an EP3C16 series, which I believe is a higher end part than the EP3C5 in the Rigol. The Instek uses SD cards while the Rigol uses more versatile USB drives.
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Offline saturation

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2010, 11:28:11 am »
A fantastic review! I wonder why I never bothered google-ing it, it comes up as a top search URL.

I like that Instek did not attempt to erase the chip markings like Rigol did.  The soldering is perfect, looks all machine done, and the minor bug the reviewer found in the FFT can easily be fixed with a firmware upgrade ... let Instek be aware of it so they can work on it.

I much prefer that tilting bale than the useless Rigol 1052E feet.

Although they appear similar in design and function, and even the ADC are similar, the interiors show its not a copy of the Rigol, or vice versa.

To refresh memories, you can compare some of the circuit boards from here:

http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/12/eevblog-37-rigol-ds1052e-oscilloscope-teardown/

Other comparisons do exist from prior models:




The Rigol remains good value particularly as a hacked version.  But as is, at Tequipment's price offering to date, on paper and looking at Instek's assembly quality, its a winner as a 50 Mhz.


The video and more info helps, but the best look inside Instek is dissecting their gear and seeing how they put it together.
http://welecw2000a.sourceforge.net/docs/Hardware/GW_Instek_GDS-1152A.pdf
The pictures are far from complete (can't see what CPU is used, for instance - it's probably on the other side of the main board or on the display board), but what there is looks good. It overclocks the ADCs just like the Rigol does. The FPGA is an EP3C16 series, which I believe is a higher end part than the EP3C5 in the Rigol. The Instek uses SD cards while the Rigol uses more versatile USB drives.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 01:25:42 pm by saturation »
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Offline cybergibbons

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Re: A competitor for the Rigol?
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2010, 11:50:51 am »
I've only taken mine apart to a superficial level, as in the PDF. I didn't notice there were only 4 dual channel ADCs at 100MS - I saw the markings and assumed 5 of them.

Still 100->125MS is a much smaller jump than the 40->100MS (is that right?) found in the Rigol.

The bug with the cursors does not exist on mine - in fact, the only bug I know that still exists concerns the zoom window, and it is easy to workaround.
 


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