Author Topic: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise  (Read 12716 times)

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Offline stejo780

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5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« on: November 16, 2015, 03:47:55 pm »
Hello,

First, I would like to thank Dave for his fantastic videos, which I have been following for a while and the rest of you for a great forum!

Secondly, I would appreciate some help when it comes to selecting a 5 GSample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope. The bandwidth and sample rate is not written in stone, but around this range. So far, I have been looking at:

  • R&S RTE1104
  • Tektronix MDO4104B-6
  • Keysight MSOX4104A

Which all of course have different pros and cons. But which one would you select and why?

Personally, I'm a bit sold on the R&S scopes, but I'm struggling a bit to find reviews on them. Dave sounded a bit disappointed in both the MDO4000 and the X4000 series review. How do you think the RTE series would stand up?

I have been using the MDO4000 series a bit and really like the pan & zoom functionality on these for example, and the spectrum analyzer is a nice add on indeed.

Thanks and Kind Regards,
Stefan

« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 04:08:23 pm by stejo780 »
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, 03:59:46 pm »
I like my MSOX3104A. It's one of those tools that 'just works', and I rarely have to think about it.

The 4000X series is quite a bit more expensive, and really doesn't offer much more for the money. I suspect that's why it received a disappointing review; it's not that it's a bad scope at all, but there are few reasons to justify the cost over and above the cheaper 3000X series.

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 04:03:15 pm »
I would appreciate some help when it comes to selecting a 5 GSample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope. The bandwidth and sample rate is not written in stone, but around this range. So far, I have been looking at:

  • R&S RTE1104
  • Tektronix MDO4104B-6
  • Keysight MSOX4104A

Interesting list.

Any reason you omitted LeCroy?

Quote
Which all of course have different pros and cons. But which one would you select and why?

That is hard to say without knowing what it is for, but if it has to be from that list then I'd take the R&S RTE hands-down. The Keysight is a good scope but the DSOX Series is pretty expensive for what it offers and comes with some silly limitations (i.e. tiny sample memory). The Tek is pretty slow, the UI isn't great, plus you pay for a integrated spectrum analyzer with very poor specs. Plus based on my experience their support isn't as good as it once was.

Quote
Personally, I'm a bit sold on the R&S scopes, but I'm struggling a bit to find reviews on them. Dave sounded a bit disappointed in both the MDO4000 and the X4000 series review. How do you think the RTE series would stand up?

From what I've seen the RTE should stand up quite well against the other two contenders, although R&S' UI can take a while getting used to.

In any case, for that money you should get some loaners inhouse and try them out in your environment. Don't spend the money blindly.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 04:05:13 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Online nctnico

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 04:04:35 pm »
Don't spend the money blindly.
I agree. For this kind of money do thourough hands-on testing.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 04:17:19 pm »
I would appreciate some help when it comes to selecting a 5 GSample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope. The bandwidth and sample rate is not written in stone, but around this range. So far, I have been looking at:

  • R&S RTE1104
  • Tektronix MDO4104B-6
  • Keysight MSOX4104A

Interesting list.

Any reason you omitted LeCroy?

Quote
Which all of course have different pros and cons. But which one would you select and why?

That is hard to say without knowing what it is for, but if it has to be from that list then I'd take the R&S RTE hands-down. The Keysight is a good scope but the DSOX Series is pretty expensive for what it offers and comes with some silly limitations (i.e. tiny sample memory). The Tek is pretty slow, the UI isn't great, plus you pay for a integrated spectrum analyzer with very poor specs. Plus based on my experience their support isn't as good as it once was.

Quote
Personally, I'm a bit sold on the R&S scopes, but I'm struggling a bit to find reviews on them. Dave sounded a bit disappointed in both the MDO4000 and the X4000 series review. How do you think the RTE series would stand up?

From what I've seen the RTE should stand up quite well against the other two contenders, although R&S' UI can take a while getting used to.

In any case, for that money you should get some loaners inhouse and try them out in your environment. Don't spend the money blindly.

Thanks a lot for the feedback everyone.

No other reason to omit LeCroy than that I'm not familiar with their products, I have never seen them or worked with them. And I don't know if there's a local supplier.

R&S are coming here for a demo and we have some older (but similar) Tek and Agilent scopes in house to play with. But the order is a but "urgent" for reasons that some of might guess this time of year.

The x4000 seems very expensive indeed. Almost double the price if I compare the offers I've have received on the two other scopes listed. Seems lite Tek and R&S are able so give me some pretty good deals (demo equipment, year-end sale and so on) but probes and options will pretty much rocket the price anyway.
 

Offline robert_

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 04:35:07 pm »
I recently had a MSOX4000T as a demo unit, and i was quite disappointed mostly about it lacking 1 and 2mv/div. The range exists, but its just digital zoom of 5mv/div, resulting in about 5 steps per div. at 1mv/div, which is close to useless. I do need these ranges however... Apart from that, it doesnt look too bad, much better user interface than anything Tek currently offers. Other weak points: limited FFT size, non-adjustable record length, noise.
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 04:42:56 pm »
I recently had a MSOX4000T as a demo unit, and i was quite disappointed mostly about it lacking 1 and 2mv/div. The range exists, but its just digital zoom of 5mv/div, resulting in about 5 steps per div. at 1mv/div, which is close to useless. I do need these ranges however... Apart from that, it doesnt look too bad, much better user interface than anything Tek currently offers. Other weak points: limited FFT size, non-adjustable record length, noise.

Yes, I absolutly agree. That Keysight don't have a 1mV or 500uV range is almost a showstopper for me. I think this will be very useful when measureing low noise power supplies for example and if I go for a R&S scope I will seriously consider the HD 16-bit option.
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2015, 04:48:08 pm »


That is hard to say without knowing what it is for, but if it has to be from that list then I'd take the R&S RTE hands-down. The Keysight is a good scope but the DSOX Series is pretty expensive for what it offers and comes with some silly limitations (i.e. tiny sample memory). The Tek is pretty slow, the UI isn't great, plus you pay for a integrated spectrum analyzer with very poor specs. Plus based on my experience their support isn't as good as it once was.


If you forget about my list and select freely, but in the same range, what would you chose?

Thanks,
Stefan



 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 05:00:53 pm »
What application do you have in mind that requires measuring noise down in the mV, but a bandwidth in the GHz?

I'm struggling to think of the use case. If you're measuring power supplies on high speed digital logic, then I completely agree that you need the bandwidth, and quite likely an active probe too. But you'll have noise margins in the 10's of mV at least, so I don't see how a 1mV range is really necessary.

Or, if you're doing analog design, and need to measure much lower noise levels, then it's unlikely you'll need the bandwidth. A lower bandwidth scope and a pre-amplifier would be a better combination, and probably cheaper too.

Do also bear in mind that the apparent noise of a scope is a function of bandwidth; the phrase "noise bandwidth" doesn't seem to get mentioned anything like as often as it should. A GHz scope will always look noisier than, say, a 100 Mhz scope, simply because both are showing all the noise from DC-100MHz, but the faster scope is adding the noise from 100 MHz - 1 GHz as well.

Offline tggzzz

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2015, 05:21:33 pm »
If you're measuring power supplies on high speed digital logic, then I completely agree that you need the bandwidth, and quite likely an active probe too.

Sometimes spectrum analysers are better for that, especially for EMI/EMC compliance testing.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2015, 06:06:26 pm »
I recently had a MSOX4000T as a demo unit, and i was quite disappointed mostly about it lacking 1 and 2mv/div. The range exists, but its just digital zoom of 5mv/div, resulting in about 5 steps per div. at 1mv/div, which is close to useless. I do need these ranges however... Apart from that, it doesnt look too bad, much better user interface than anything Tek currently offers. Other weak points: limited FFT size, non-adjustable record length, noise.

Yes, I absolutly agree. That Keysight don't have a 1mV or 500uV range is almost a showstopper for me. I think this will be very useful when measureing low noise power supplies for example and if I go for a R&S scope I will seriously consider the HD 16-bit option.

When I need to measure down this far, I shove a preamp in front of it.    Maybe you could get away with this for your measurements.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2015, 06:36:01 pm »
No other reason to omit LeCroy than that I'm not familiar with their products, I have never seen them or worked with them. And I don't know if there's a local supplier.

I see. I don't know about local suppliers (but I'd avoid resellers and deal directly to the manufacturers anyways, no matter which of the big brands) but I'd recommend to at have a look at them, considering that they make some of the most advanced scopes on the market and that their pricing is often better than for Keysight and Tek.

All scopes are roughly in the $17k-$19k range ('naked') so lets assume that as a ballpark figure. In that price range LeCroy offers the WaveRunner 610zi:

http://teledynelecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopeseries.aspx?mseries=352&capid=102&mid=504

Datasheet:
http://cdn.teledynelecroy.com/files/pdf/waverunner-6zi-datasheet.pdf

That's a 1GHz 20GSa/s scope with up to 128M sample memory, a large touch screen that can be used in landscape and portrait mode, and a really huge range of options.

However, if we just take your basic specs (1GHz, 4Ch, 5GSa/s) then there's also the LeCroy WaveSurfer 10:

http://teledynelecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopeseries.aspx?mseries=470

Datasheet:
http://cdn.teledynelecroy.com/files/pdf/wavesurfer10-datasheet.pdf

This one only comes with 10GSa/s and 16M memory, however at $10k it is even cheaper than a 500MHz Keysight DSOX3054T.

Quote
If you forget about my list and select freely, but in the same range, what would you chose?

I'd take one of the LeCroys, simply because in my opinion they offer the most bang for the buck, plus even the WaveSurfer 10 offers more capabilities than the Keysight or the Tek (aside from the spectrum analyzer). There's also support, LeCroy gurantees support for all their scopes for 7 years after end of production, and on a best effort basis after that (they still repair 9300 Series scopes, and these are from the '90s).

My second choice would be the R&S RTE. Good scope with a versatile but often somewhat confusing UI and decent specs.

The Keysight is pretty much a blown up DSOX3000A, and while not a bad scope for what it can do (and what not) it is in my opinion vastly overpriced. Tek, well, you pay a lot for the spectrum analyzer and the name (which they build up during the analog scope days), and in my opinion the rest of the scope isn't exactly spectacular. What would also worry me with them is the support.
 

Offline branadic

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2015, 06:45:21 pm »
I recommend HDO6000 series, I'm very very happy with my HDO6054-MSO and it's strong Matlab based math. Write your own Matlab skript and let it running on life data. It's an absolut winner  :-+
I had R&S, Agilent and LeCroy here on the same exercise and was disappointed by R&S and Agilent. The 12bit vertical resolution is brilliant.
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Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2015, 04:29:38 pm »
Thanks a lot for the feedback!

The increased resolution is nice two have when qualifying power supplies to high-speed digital, or to find when small discrepancies on a high voltage signal. A preamp can solve some of the cases I guess, at least the power supply measurement, but it is just more convenient to have it directly available.

Perhaps the spectrum analyzer of the MDO4000 is not the best, but the nice thing about it is the time correlation between analog/digital/RF...

The Lecroy scopes do look interesting I have to admit! I have requested some prices to see if they are competitive.
 

Offline robert_

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2015, 05:07:40 pm »
I just got a HDO6054 as a demo unit on my desk today...
Definitely the best scope i have ever used.
Huge screen, FAST (rather responsive even at 250Mpts, really fast FFT) , low (electrical) noise and best user interface ive seen yet, surprisingly easy to use even though it does have a lot of features. Native 12bit IS an improvement, no "HiRes" mode comes close. LabNotebook is a nice feature too, as is the graphical math programming.

Its quite loud and power hungry, and needs a while to boot/shutdown though. Also, 2.5Gs/s is all you can get with an 12bit ADC at the moment. Below 10ns/div its good to have a stable trigger and enable RIS.

Price: 12k-ish for the basic 350Mhz version is what i heard. The HDO4k isnt much cheaper.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2015, 05:19:49 pm »
The increased resolution is nice two have when qualifying power supplies to high-speed digital, or to find when small discrepancies on a high voltage signal. A preamp can solve some of the cases I guess, at least the power supply measurement, but it is just more convenient to have it directly available.

The HDO Series is great, plus it's a true 12bit ADC not some oversampled ones like in the current R&S scopes or the olde Keysight DSO9000H.

If you want to qualify switch-mode power supplies then have a look at LeCroy's PMA2 option (which is available for the WaveRunner 6zi):
http://cdn.teledynelecroy.com/files/pdf/lecroy_pma2_datasheet.pdf

There's the PMR package (slightly less functionality than PMA2) which is available for WaveRunner 6zi, WaveSurfer 10 and the HDO Series:
http://cdn.teledynelecroy.com/files/pdf/power_analyzer_datasheet.pdf


Quote
Perhaps the spectrum analyzer of the MDO4000 is not the best, but the nice thing about it is the time correlation between analog/digital/RF...

True, and if you need the full bandwidth that the built-in spectrum analyzer offers all in one unit then the MDO4000 is the scope to buy. However, considering that you're looking at a 1GHz scope, the FFT functionality that comes in these scopes might even be enough for your purposes (and there's also the Spectrum Analyzer option for the LeCroy scopes which turns them into a VSA).
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2015, 06:09:56 pm »
BTW: please let us know when you've decided what you finally bought and what made you buy it.
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2015, 09:21:05 pm »
Had a guy from R&S in last week and he lended me a RTE1104 to play around a with. Looks pretty good to me  :-+
 

Offline robert_

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2015, 01:43:06 am »
So, i sadly had to return the HDO6k this week. We had R+S show up, and now i have a RTE1054 to try out for a while.
Impression is so-so, i really dislike the fact that i have tons of small boxes etc covering up waveform display area, and some of them cant be moved out at all, with the channel/timebase boxes not even being transparent. From experience (DPO3k/4k) this will end up blocking exactly the part of the waveform i want to see later... Also opening some menu results in several semi-transparent windows covering each other, making it really hard to read and tell apart which text belongs to which layer. While i could adjust to both Agilent and LeCroy UI within minutes, i still struggle with the R+S way after a whole day.
I ran the same tests i did on the HDO and well, its a plain 8bit system, a good one but still 8 bits. 1Mhz 1Vpp Square plus 10mVpp 20Mhz sine is a nice test... On the HDO in its standard mode its instantly visible there is something, and after zooming in theres a nice clear 20Mhz sine to see. Any 8bit system shows the usual noisy square, if you dont know theres something to look for, you miss it. If you know what to look for, with added lowpass filtering ("HD mode" "16Bit" marketing BS) i can see the sine, but only with intens/colour grading, it still is mostly buried under noise on a single shot acq. If its not synchronous (in real life some ripple rarely will be), a single shot acq is your only chance to get it.
Oh by the way, 500uV/div isnt. I counted approx. 125 steps for full 8div, so its just software zoom on 1mv/div.
RTE doesnt have any nice spectrum app, which the lower-end RTM does have (paid option). I really cant explain that decision from RS to leave out this app on the higher end models... With stgandard FFT as math function, its about as hard to use as on most older scopes, with turning knobs for timebase, memory depth and fff options at the same time, iteratively until the display looks right. NOT good.
Spectrum mode on the HDO is so much easier to use, just like a spectrum analyzer. After all im not interested in the FFT as math function, but rather in doing spectrum analysis.
Good points for the RTE is price, lower (acoustical) noise, colourful leds everywhere (TOO bright though!), 5Gs/s, support by R&S, price, better triggering and umm, price again.
Im trying to justify the HDOs extra price to my boss, but it will not be easy...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 01:52:09 am by robert_ »
 

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2015, 01:48:58 am »
I like my MSOX3104A. It's one of those tools that 'just works', and I rarely have to think about it.
The 4000X series is quite a bit more expensive, and really doesn't offer much more for the money. I suspect that's why it received a disappointing review; it's not that it's a bad scope at all, but there are few reasons to justify the cost over and above the cheaper 3000X series.

I would concur with that. You need to have a use for one of the decoders in the 4000X to make it worthwhile.
The 3000T has the nice touch zone triggering.

The MDO scopes are nice bang-per-buck with the spectrum analyser, but they are as slow as wet week. I would not want to use one for everyday use.
 

Offline robert_

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2015, 02:01:18 am »
I like my MSOX3104A. It's one of those tools that 'just works', and I rarely have to think about it.
The 4000X series is quite a bit more expensive, and really doesn't offer much more for the money. I suspect that's why it received a disappointing review; it's not that it's a bad scope at all, but there are few reasons to justify the cost over and above the cheaper 3000X series.

I would concur with that. You need to have a use for one of the decoders in the 4000X to make it worthwhile.
The 3000T has the nice touch zone triggering.

The MDO scopes are nice bang-per-buck with the spectrum analyser, but they are as slow as wet week. I would not want to use one for everyday use.

Wasnt too thrilled about the MSOX3k/4k. No real 1/2mV/div, quite short memory on the 3k (2M/ch for 4Ch), FFT length limited to 64k, etc. They seem to be developed purely for waveforrms/sec and nothing else.

MDO3k have the same annoying issiue with the encoders reacting in strange ways as on most DPO3k. You turn the knob one step clockwise, you sometimes get 3 steps backwards. As if the decoding misses one edge. On some instruments its really annoying with some knobs doing this every other time, on some it only fails a few times a day. Is it too hard to get the debouncing done properly?
Plus, Tek comes with Danaher grade non-support. Just forget about reporting firmware bugs, they DONT CARE at all, and they wont fix anything.
Only good point about DPO/MSO/MDO 2k/3k/4k is you get the fully optioned highest-bandwidth model for the base price, as all of these are fully hackable with minimum effort.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 02:03:46 am by robert_ »
 

Offline KE5FX

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2015, 04:55:04 am »
Wasnt too thrilled about the MSOX3k/4k. No real 1/2mV/div, quite short memory on the 3k (2M/ch for 4Ch), FFT length limited to 64k, etc. They seem to be developed purely for waveforrms/sec and nothing else.


In the real world, 2 MS is a lot of sample data, 64K is a long FFT record, and sub-millivolt signals are often best observed with said FFT.

And at least Keysight's firmware devs know how to read an optical encoder.   :palm:  I can't imagine anything that would get a scope put back in its shipping box and returned to the seller faster than that.   I'd even pay extra for FedEx, just to get it out of my sight.  Sic transit gloria Tektronix if their scopes are behaving that way.
 

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2015, 11:34:15 am »
Wasnt too thrilled about the MSOX3k/4k. No real 1/2mV/div, quite short memory on the 3k (2M/ch for 4Ch), FFT length limited to 64k, etc.
It may not be ideal if you're limited by the memory depth but the averaging and hires acquisition modes both top out at 12 bits and give a very useful 10uV resolution in the memory which would be around 200uV per division equivalent.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2015, 11:43:28 am »
In the real world, 2 MS is a lot of sample data, 64K is a long FFT record, and sub-millivolt signals are often best observed with said FFT.

Not in 2015, no, and even less so for a 1GHz+ scope with sample rates in excess of 4GSa/s. 2Mpts memory was pretty good (not stellar, though) 15 years ago, however even back then 64k FFT was pretty poor.

To offer a scope like the Keysight DSOX4k in the price range it sits in with 4M memory and 64k FFT is a pretty bad joke in this day and age.

Quote
And at least Keysight's firmware devs know how to read an optical encoder.   :palm: 

I guess you haven't had to use their high end scopes (i.e. the DSO90k) where some firmware versions suffered from jumping encoders, wrong indications (i.e. showing channels as set to GND when they weren't) and other silly things. Granted, these problems were have been fixed, but Agilent didn't exactly rush out to squash these bugs.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 12:17:30 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2015, 12:14:48 pm »
So, i sadly had to return the HDO6k this week. We had R+S show up, and now i have a RTE1054 to try out for a while.

Interesting choice to say at least, as the RTE isn't a very attractive offering. It's *very* expensive (500MHz 4ch for $15k, 1GHz 4ch for roughly $18k) which is pretty close to the much more capable RTO (600MHz 4ch for $18k, 1GHz 4ch for $21k), but the RTE is 5GSa/s only and pretty much lacks all the analysis features of the RTO (including VSE support which is R&S' equivalent to Keysights 89600B VSA software).

Quote
Impression is so-so, i really dislike the fact that i have tons of small boxes etc covering up waveform display area, and some of them cant be moved out at all, with the channel/timebase boxes not even being transparent. From experience (DPO3k/4k) this will end up blocking exactly the part of the waveform i want to see later... Also opening some menu results in several semi-transparent windows covering each other, making it really hard to read and tell apart which text belongs to which layer. While i could adjust to both Agilent and LeCroy UI within minutes, i still struggle with the R+S way after a whole day.

Yes, the UI of RTE/RTO isn't very intuitive, and a bit cumbersome (that's pretty much the case on most R&S gear). It works great if you do signal analysis where you can drag the various windows around to give you all the information you need. It makes sense on the RTO because of its capabilities but I can't see the point on the RTE.

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I ran the same tests i did on the HDO and well, its a plain 8bit system, a good one but still 8 bits. 1Mhz 1Vpp Square plus 10mVpp 20Mhz sine is a nice test... On the HDO in its standard mode its instantly visible there is something, and after zooming in theres a nice clear 20Mhz sine to see. Any 8bit system shows the usual noisy square, if you dont know theres something to look for, you miss it. If you know what to look for, with added lowpass filtering ("HD mode" "16Bit" marketing BS) i can see the sine, but only with intens/colour grading, it still is mostly buried under noise on a single shot acq. If its not synchronous (in real life some ripple rarely will be), a single shot acq is your only chance to get it.

Well, that's not surprising, since as you say their "HD mode" is simple software (oversampling, the same Agilent tried did its DSO9kH). What's worse is that R&S offers that as a paid-for option, which isn't worth the money.

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Oh by the way, 500uV/div isnt. I counted approx. 125 steps for full 8div, so its just software zoom on 1mv/div.

That is indeed very disappointing.  :--

Considering how much R&S loves to tout its low noise ADC.

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RTE doesnt have any nice spectrum app, which the lower-end RTM does have (paid option). I really cant explain that decision from RS to leave out this app on the higher end models... With stgandard FFT as math function, its about as hard to use as on most older scopes, with turning knobs for timebase, memory depth and fff options at the same time, iteratively until the display looks right. NOT good.
Spectrum mode on the HDO is so much easier to use, just like a spectrum analyzer. After all im not interested in the FFT as math function, but rather in doing spectrum analysis.

I'm actually surprised that a 'spectrum analyzer UI' isn't available for more scopes, as I guess it's much more straight-forward to use than the traditional FFT math function.

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Good points for the RTE is price,

Is it? The RTE seems to be very expensive for what it offers:
http://www.testequity.com/products/5188/

Now compare that with the RTO:
http://www.testequity.com/products/4980/

The RTO is priced in the same range as it's competition but the RTE is pretty expensive.

I'm sure you can get some discounts from R&S but then you should get the same from any other vendor.

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lower (acoustical) noise, colourful leds everywhere (TOO bright though!),


If I remember right the brightness of the LED indicators can be dimmed so that it doesn't burn your retina  ;)

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5Gs/s, support by R&S, price, better triggering and umm, price again. Im trying to justify the HDOs extra price to my boss, but it will not be easy...

Well, if you can live with 8bit, how about a WaveSurfer 10 then? 1GHz 10GSa/s for S10k:
http://teledynelecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopeseries.aspx?mseries=470

Even the WaveSurfer 10M is cheaper:
http://teledynelecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopemodel.aspx?modelid=9615&capid=102&mid=504
(and it comes with spectrum analyzer mode)

In the same price range as the RTE1054 there's also the WaveRunner 606zi:
http://teledynelecroy.com/oscilloscope/oscilloscopeseries.aspx?mseries=352

Considering the available alternatives, not sure why one would want to buy a RTE.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 12:37:53 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2015, 12:46:23 pm »
... comes with Danaher grade non-support.

That's a bit harsh, I'm sure they'll be working on it:   ;)

 

Offline robert_

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2015, 01:02:26 pm »
As for the RTE, we had an offer (for 350Mhz) that was well below 7k, so its quite cheap, just 1k extra on the RTM. And a good 3.5k below a HDO6k.
Sadly, as always, bosses decide only on numbers, guess why i have a 100Mhz DPO3k on my bench every day. Its f.ing cheap but well it DOES suck.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2015, 01:30:25 pm »
As for the RTE, we had an offer (for 350Mhz) that was well below 7k, so its quite cheap, just 1k extra on the RTM.

EUR or US$? But I guess after taxes the EUR amount comes out at roughly the same as the US$ figure anyways.

Depending on how much it is below $7k (i.e. the 4Ch 350MHz WaveSurfer 3034 costs around $5.5k without any discounts, just as a comparison) the price might be good, but don't forget that you're still stuck with the interface and other niggles. Depending on what you need, you might even be better off with an RTM (which has a simpler and more intuitive interface, plus can have the spectrum option).

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And a good 3.5k below a HDO6k.
Sadly, as always, bosses decide only on numbers, guess why i have a 100Mhz DPO3k on my bench every day. Its f.ing cheap but well it DOES suck.

Well, you could try to remind your boss that your time costs money as well, and if you have to fight your tool then any savings on purchase can quickly be offset by time wasted.
 

Offline KE5FX

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2015, 10:24:32 pm »
In the real world, 2 MS is a lot of sample data, 64K is a long FFT record, and sub-millivolt signals are often best observed with said FFT.

Not in 2015, no, and even less so for a 1GHz+ scope with sample rates in excess of 4GSa/s. 2Mpts memory was pretty good (not stellar, though) 15 years ago, however even back then 64k FFT was pretty poor.

Curious, what do you tend to work on (either at home or work) that frequently needs longer sample records and larger FFT kernels?

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To offer a scope like the Keysight DSOX4k in the price range it sits in with 4M memory and 64k FFT is a pretty bad joke in this day and age.

How the memory is used is much more important than how much there is, in my experience.  Everyone's application is different, but from what I've seen in the scope business, it is far too easy to get caught up in "bench racing" and specsmanship.  You end up with a crappier instrument, albeit one with larger numbers on the sell sheet. 

It's much like the thread on microscopes, where Rupunzell points out that quality can't really be inferred from the specs alone.  I don't care that much about my microscope, but I rely on my oscilloscope to cover my own shortcomings as an engineer, so it's almost literally a part of me.  :)

Parameters like record length aren't limited only by marketing considerations in the Agilent/Keysight scopes, the way they are in everyone else's.  They are limited by the ASICs that they use to process and display data.  The sample record is shorter in my MSO6000-series scope than it would be in an optioned-out Tek MDO, but the fact that I don't have to fiddle with it to get the display I want counts for a lot.  Let's see, which button do I press now?  Do I want a "fast acquisition" or a "long acquisition"?  Gee, I dunno.  How about you just show me the signal?

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I guess you haven't had to use their high end scopes (i.e. the DSO90k) where some firmware versions suffered from jumping encoders, wrong indications (i.e. showing channels as set to GND when they weren't) and other silly things. Granted, these problems were have been fixed, but Agilent didn't exactly rush out to squash these bugs.

This is true.  I've been lucky so far, in that I've been able to stick with the last generation of Agilent scopes to run VxWorks.  The controls are responsive and reliable (if not the best-feeling.)  Not many firmware bugs, either.  I don't look forward to "upgrading" to a scope running a heavyweight desktop OS...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 10:28:27 pm by KE5FX »
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2015, 11:32:25 am »
Curious, what do you tend to work on (either at home or work) that frequently needs longer sample records and larger FFT kernels?

For example, I'm doing a lot of signal analysis of complex non-standard communication signals, which probably isn't a common use case.

But that's besides the point anyways, as larger sample memory is useful in lots of standard cases as well, as it means the scope will maintain a high sample rate at much longer timebase settings.

As for FFT, the number of points used decides the frequency resolution (RBW), which is inversely proportional to the sample length.

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To offer a scope like the Keysight DSOX4k in the price range it sits in with 4M memory and 64k FFT is a pretty bad joke in this day and age.

How the memory is used is much more important than how much there is, in my experience. 

Sometimes you can compensate or work around sample memory limitations to an extend, but at the end of the day if the sample memory is small then this will limit a scope's performance.

Also, don't forget that we're not talking about some bottom-of-the-barrel scope or some old 2nd Tek scope in this thread, we're talking about modern mid-range scopes priced between some $7k to over $20k. Heck, even a $3k WaveSurfer 3022 offers 10Mpts sample and 1M FFT.

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Everyone's application is different, but from what I've seen in the scope business, it is far too easy to get caught up in "bench racing" and specsmanship.  You end up with a crappier instrument, albeit one with larger numbers on the sell sheet. 

That is true to some extend (i.e. the larger Rigol scopes which have lots of sample memory but otherwise perform poorly), but generally dismissing progress made over the years is not the right answer.

The simple point is that Keysight's DSOX4k offers *today* certain specs like sample memory and FFT that were considered good for a scope in its class one and a half decade ago, at the same price or even above the price other competitors ask for while offering better specifications (and the small sample memory or the 64k FFT are not the only limitations of the DSOX4k).

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It's much like the thread on microscopes, where Rupunzell points out that quality can't really be inferred from the specs alone.

I certainly don't want to go deeper into what someone who regularly refers to analog scopes as "high fidelity" instruments stated but the validity of that statement pretty much depends on your definition of "quality" (the meaning of which can vary a lot).

At the end of the day, what scope specs give you is a set of parameters and limitations the manufacturer warrants its instrument to achieve in the defined environment. So in terms of "quality" of capturing and processing signals, the specs actually tell you quite a lot about how a scope will perform. It's up to you to weight them against each other in regards to your specific use case.

What specs don't tell you of course is how well the scope is built, how cumbersome the UI is, how the decoders "feel" and stuff like that. But a lot of that is subjective anyways, and not something that can be stated in the specs.

That's why for any expensive test equipment purchase one should always try to get a loaner of the instruments that are considered for purchase.

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I don't care that much about my microscope, but I rely on my oscilloscope to cover my own shortcomings as an engineer, so it's almost literally a part of me.  :)

Not sure if it's shortcomings or just a bit of lack of self confidence  ;) but I agree, a scope is one of the most important instruments for many EEs. Which is why doing the leg work and researching properly about all available alternatives before buying is important.

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Parameters like record length aren't limited only by marketing considerations in the Agilent/Keysight scopes, the way they are in everyone else's.  They are limited by the ASICs that they use to process and display data. 

I know, and Keysight have painted themselves into a corner here, but at the end of the day their scopes compete on a market with other scopes, and in this day and age there are enough better alternatives on the market so they have to up their game by quite some margin to become competitive. But I guess they'll try to milk the "Tek or HP/Agilent/Keysight only" crowds for a while longer. If that works for them, fair enough.

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The sample record is shorter in my MSO6000-series scope than it would be in an optioned-out Tek MDO, but the fact that I don't have to fiddle with it to get the display I want counts for a lot.  Let's see, which button do I press now?  Do I want a "fast acquisition" or a "long acquisition"?  Gee, I dunno.  How about you just show me the signal?

I agree, but that's not because of the longer memory but simply because the Tek's UI sucks. Other scopes manage memory automatically (which can be overridden by the user).

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I guess you haven't had to use their high end scopes (i.e. the DSO90k) where some firmware versions suffered from jumping encoders, wrong indications (i.e. showing channels as set to GND when they weren't) and other silly things. Granted, these problems were have been fixed, but Agilent didn't exactly rush out to squash these bugs.

This is true.  I've been lucky so far, in that I've been able to stick with the last generation of Agilent scopes to run VxWorks.  The controls are responsive and reliable (if not the best-feeling.)  Not many firmware bugs, either.

Yes, today. And that is only because they've seen a large number of firmware updates over the years to squash the many bugs these scopes came to market with. They weren't released in that state.

Don't get me wrong, I do like these VxWorks based scopes, once the major bugs were fixed they were great scopes at their time. I also liked the VxWorks based LeCroy WaveRunner2/WavePro 900 scopes, which could do a lot of advanced stuff that even today only few high end scopes can do.

But would I pay $7k (or whatever their original price was back then) for a new scope with the same specs today? Hell, no!

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I don't look forward to "upgrading" to a scope running a heavyweight desktop OS...

I don't know, I really like Windows scopes. They take a bit longer to boot obviously but having access to analysis tools directly on your instrument is great, plus there are all the small benefits like not being limited to FAT formatted USB sticks (being able to use USB hard drives or exFAT formatted sticks and memory cards is nice).

Truly embedded OSes like VxWorks and such are great for low-end and entry-level scopes but for a modern upper mid-range or high-end scope I'd not want anything else than a full Windows scope.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2015, 11:56:43 am »
Sometimes you can compensate or work around sample memory limitations to an extend, but at the end of the day if the sample memory is small then this will limit a scope's performance.

OK, convince me for a "typical case" user of an oscilloscope looking at the time-domain representation of a signal. Oscilloscope != spectrum/vector/network analyser.

If you have a long duration signal, when isn't is sufficient to digitise at the full rate? Provided you then present three values at each displayed point: mean, min and max so as to attempt to mimic the delightful informative "fuzziness" that can be seen on analogue scopes.

Background: I've been using analogue scopes for 40 years, and digital scopes for 25 years. I have my own opinions as to the advantages, disadvantages, and overlap of each. I like analogue displays, and eye diagrams (and similar "heat maps") when appropriate. I once (in ~1992) had a student build a deep digitiser for just your use case, analysis of comms signals. I'm a strong believer of debugging digital signals in the digital domain, and that almost all signals are analogue (except where we choose to interpret them as digital).

Hence I will claim that anything equivalent to using a scope to capturing and decoding, for example, the data on an serial peripheral interface (SPI) is misguided. After all, noise/thresholds/settings may cause the receiver to interpret the analogue signal in a different way. Use a scope to ensure signal integrity, then debug what the receiver reckons it has received.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2015, 03:34:55 pm »
Sometimes you can compensate or work around sample memory limitations to an extend, but at the end of the day if the sample memory is small then this will limit a scope's performance.

OK, convince me for a "typical case" user of an oscilloscope looking at the time-domain representation of a signal. Oscilloscope != spectrum/vector/network analyser.

Why should I need to "convince you" for a "typical case" (whatever that is). The simple fact is that more sample memory allows you to maintain a higher sample rate at longer time base settings. If that's of any use depends on what you want to do.

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If you have a long duration signal, when isn't is sufficient to digitise at the full rate? Provided you then present three values at each displayed point: mean, min and max so as to attempt to mimic the delightful informative "fuzziness" that can be seen on analogue scopes.

Just to give you an example, I use the large memory of my scope to sample an larger chunk of a non-standard communication signal that I can then pass through specific analysis functionality my scope offers. If the sample memory was smaller then I'd either have to sample a smaller time segment (which would be below the sample size which I require for analysis), or reduce the sample rate which means I'll lower my nyquist frequency (and depending on how small the sample memory was it might well be to an extend where it's no longer useful) and risk aliasing.

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Background: I've been using analogue scopes for 40 years, and digital scopes for 25 years. I have my own opinions as to the advantages, disadvantages, and overlap of each. I like analogue displays, and eye diagrams (and similar "heat maps") when appropriate. I once (in ~1992) had a student build a deep digitiser for just your use case, analysis of comms signals.

That is all fine and well but frankly pretty irrelevant to what mid-range scopes are available in 2015 (which is what this thread is about).

I'd also like to see your student building a digitizer that lets me do the same analysis as my high end scopes  ;)

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I'm a strong believer of debugging digital signals in the digital domain, and that almost all signals are analogue (except where we choose to interpret them as digital).

Well, there aren't really any digital signals, as all physical signals are by nature analog. What is digital is the information we assign to an analog signal with specific parameters, so yes, I agree.

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Hence I will claim that anything equivalent to using a scope to capturing and decoding, for example, the data on an serial peripheral interface (SPI) is misguided. After all, noise/thresholds/settings may cause the receiver to interpret the analogue signal in a different way. Use a scope to ensure signal integrity, then debug what the receiver reckons it has received.

Great, so instead of using one instrument which has the capabilities to thoroughly analyze the signal on the physical and logical level to make sure the input signal is really OK (and just looking on the signal integrity is a far cry from making sure it is!) you want to rely on a receiver which (especially if part of the UUT) might or might not work, and if not you can't really say if its a problem with the sink or the source because you don't know what's actually going in (and it's not just the physical signal where problems can occur). You could of course then try another receiver, and if it works then conclude that the first receiver is broken. But it might just be that there *is* a problem with the source, and the second transmitter just has a wider tolerance in some of its specifications (or a different firmware, or some other minor difference) which allows it to work where the first receiver didn't. Which means while you now believe that your transmission system is now working again there's still a problem, and it will stop working as soon as you replace the sink with one with slightly tighter specs. All while you could have just used the scope to listen to what's going on over the transmission line, which would have shown instantly that there's a flaw in some of the message formats sent by the source.

You stated that you have over 40 years experience with analog scopes, and please don't take this the wrong way but I think that shows. That example above is pretty much taken from reality (a case I witnessed where the EE relied on the receiver to verify if the transmission system was working when it really wasn't; as it turned out he did so because that's the approach he learnt many moons ago and he didn't really know how to work with the advanced features of the scope he had on his bench), and it reflects some of the problems I see pretty often with older engineers that have trained, learnt and spent most of their time on analog scopes and simple DSOs, and who don't really have a grip on how to make use of the advanced analysis capabilities of a modern mid-range or high-end DSO (which at the end of the day are pretty much signal analyzers). It doesn't mean they are bad engineers (a lot of them are actually pretty good) but quite often they waste time and effort working around things that with modern scopes no longer are a problem.

But enough of that.

I'd have used your approach of using the receiver if I was stuck in a time warp in 1999 or if the only scope available was an analog scope (or a primitive DSO), but in this day and age I'd rather use the capabilities of a modern high end DSO to make sure that the input signal is fine, and then focus on the actual area of the problem.

Anyways, that's all not really relevant to this thread.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 03:46:17 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2015, 10:16:46 pm »
OP,

If you want long recording memory, check out Rigol DS6104, 140Mpts. Warning: loud fan and some minor software bugs, no big issues though.

For fast waveform update, check out MSOX3k/4k. Warning: short memory, but with segmented memory this is not a very serious problem.

For "industry standard" UI and spectrum analyzer: MDO3k/4k. Warning: bad user experience. Generally I never felt Tek scopes easy to use.

For making Wuerstchenhund happy: LeCroy WaveRunner 3k. Warning: not widely used as HPAK or Tek, but specs look nice. I never used one.

-------------------------------- Personal experience --------------------------------

I returned my DS6102 1 week after received it. Good device, but firmware has minor bugs (ETS not working), and its fan is noisy.

I'm now using a MSOX3104A, with no apparent problems encountered yet. Does not have ETS, but I bet you do not need it.

I have access to some 200MHz DPOs and a 2GHz DPO. The 2G one is superb, but the price is not really in hobbyist range.

The 200MHz ones are next to crap. Long boot time, slow update rate, and highly incompatible active probe interface.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2015, 10:35:42 pm »
You acknowledge that you have a fairly specialised requirement, and I don't disagree with your assessment of the right tool for your job. I suspect I would come to the same conclusion as you.

My question, which you chose not to address, was about tools for less specialised, more general requirements.

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Hence I will claim that anything equivalent to using a scope to capturing and decoding, for example, the data on an serial peripheral interface (SPI) is misguided. After all, noise/thresholds/settings may cause the receiver to interpret the analogue signal in a different way. Use a scope to ensure signal integrity, then debug what the receiver reckons it has received.

Great, so instead of using one instrument which has the capabilities to thoroughly analyze the signal on the physical and logical level to make sure the input signal is really OK (and just looking on the signal integrity is a far cry from making sure it is!) you want to rely on a receiver which (especially if part of the UUT) might or might not work, and if not you can't really say if its a problem with the sink or the source because you don't know what's actually going in (and it's not just the physical signal where problems can occur). You could of course then try another receiver, and if it works then conclude that the first receiver is broken. But it might just be that there *is* a problem with the source, and the second transmitter just has a wider tolerance in some of its specifications (or a different firmware, or some other minor difference) which allows it to work where the first receiver didn't. Which means while you now believe that your transmission system is now working again there's still a problem, and it will stop working as soon as you replace the sink with one with slightly tighter specs. All while you could have just used the scope to listen to what's going on over the transmission line, which would have shown instantly that there's a flaw in some of the message formats sent by the source.

Well of course you have to examine the entire signal chain to determine where the fault is being introduced. That's statin' the bleedin' obvious! N.B. receiver != radio receiver, except in special cases.

I have seen cases where people have relied on the interpretation of a signal by a general purpose oscilloscope, thought they did (or didn't!) see any fault - only to find out that the real receiver was interpreting the signal in subtly different ways. In those cases the "added functionality" actively misled them and delayed their finding the problem.

Quote
You stated that you have over 40 years experience with analog scopes, and please don't take this the wrong way but I think that shows. That example above is pretty much taken from reality (a case I witnessed where the EE relied on the receiver to verify if the transmission system was working when it really wasn't; as it turned out he did so because that's the approach he learnt many moons ago and he didn't really know how to work with the advanced features of the scope he had on his bench), and it reflects some of the problems I see pretty often with older engineers that have trained, learnt and spent most of their time on analog scopes and simple DSOs, and who don't really have a grip on how to make use of the advanced analysis capabilities of a modern mid-range or high-end DSO (which at the end of the day are pretty much signal analyzers). It doesn't mean they are bad engineers (a lot of them are actually pretty good) but quite often they waste time and effort working around things that with modern scopes no longer are a problem.

You have omitted to recognise that I have been using digital scopes for 25 years.

You cannot possibly know that I have been working on novel instrumentation for 30 of the past 40 years, for many things from optical fibres through multiple LANs and wireless LANs to cellular phone systems (with diversions into road surfaces and building materials). Much of that was in HP Labs, including the RF departments of local universities and with the people that designed the front-ends for their most advanced scopes.

So yes, I am very familiar with understanding new tools' strengths, limitations, and how they can be misleading - just like all tools.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online nctnico

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2015, 11:14:56 pm »
I have seen cases where people have relied on the interpretation of a signal by a general purpose oscilloscope, thought they did (or didn't!) see any fault - only to find out that the real receiver was interpreting the signal in subtly different ways. In those cases the "added functionality" actively misled them and delayed their finding the problem.
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Being able to find the cause of a problem is a talent in itself and does not have much to do with the tools. More sophisticated tools only make is easier/faster to check/verify parts of a circuit but it is still the person operating it which needs to have the brains to work out where the problem is.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2015, 12:53:05 am »
I have seen cases where people have relied on the interpretation of a signal by a general purpose oscilloscope, thought they did (or didn't!) see any fault - only to find out that the real receiver was interpreting the signal in subtly different ways. In those cases the "added functionality" actively misled them and delayed their finding the problem.
Being able to find the cause of a problem is a talent in itself and does not have much to do with the tools. More sophisticated tools only make is easier/faster to check/verify parts of a circuit but it is still the person operating it which needs to have the brains to work out where the problem is.

Yes.

I would add that a more sophisticated/complex tool has more and more subtle ways of leading people astray. That's especially true if they are not already familiar with it and can't/won't take the time to learn what  it is doing and how to use it.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2015, 12:00:30 pm »
You acknowledge that you have a fairly specialised requirement, and I don't disagree with your assessment of the right tool for your job. I suspect I would come to the same conclusion as you.

Yes, my requirements are certainly special.

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My question, which you chose not to address, was about tools for less specialised, more general requirements.

I haven't ignored it, I just don't know what you mean with "general requirements", bearing in mind that this thread is essentially about choosing a upper mid-range 1GHz scope, not something for say a beginner who dabbles a bit in electronics.

In my experience, people don't invest that kind of money if their requirements aren't somewhat special.

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Well of course you have to examine the entire signal chain to determine where the fault is being introduced. That's statin' the bleedin' obvious!

It may be obvious, but as I said, for the stated example just checking the input signal integrity on a scope isn't sufficient to determine if there's a problem with the input signal or not. And my point was simply that a (somewhat) modern advanced mid-range or high-end scope allows you to check both the physical as well the logical layer to make sure the input signal is OK.

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N.B. receiver != radio receiver, except in special cases.

I didn't say anything about a radio.

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I have seen cases where people have relied on the interpretation of a signal by a general purpose oscilloscope, thought they did (or didn't!) see any fault - only to find out that the real receiver was interpreting the signal in subtly different ways. In those cases the "added functionality" actively misled them and delayed their finding the problem.

Yes, that happens sometimes, but that's pretty independent of the age and the complexity of the test equipment at hand (I've seen people being misled down the path with simple analog scopes or even a voltmeter, and I certainly wasn't immune to getting misled by silly mistakes, too). The important bit is to recognize the error, correct it and learn from it.

But the fact that people can sometimes let themselves misled by stuff is certainly no reason to not use the capabilities of a modern advanced scope.

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You have omitted to recognise that I have been using digital scopes for 25 years.

I recognized that, but while I certainly don't doubt your experience quite frankly it's not saying much. "Digital scopes" can very well mean something along the lines of HP 54600 Series scopes, Tek TDS200, TDS700 Series or any other similar simple scope (and especially Tek and HP didn't even come up with any notable advanced capabilities in their digital scopes until some 15 years ago).

Actually, had you stated something like "worked the last 3 years with a <insert some upper mid-range or high-end scope>" then this would have been way more relevant to the topics at hand.

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You cannot possibly know that I have been working on novel instrumentation for 30 of the past 40 years, for many things from optical fibres through multiple LANs and wireless LANs to cellular phone systems (with diversions into road surfaces and building materials). Much of that was in HP Labs, including the RF departments of local universities and with the people that designed the front-ends for their most advanced scopes.

Sounds like some great experience, but as you said right at the beginning I can't possibly know that, so I have to go from what I read on this forum.

I guess what you don't know about me is that aside from engineering I'm also spending a lot of time in directing various (mostly international) engineering projects, managing/guiding engineers, teaching/training and hiring engineering staff. And one thing I quickly noticed is that a lot of older engineers who spent most of their working life with analog scopes (and tout it as an advantage) have pretty much very little idea how to use a modern advanced scope properly. Not all of them of course, some did adapt, but there's a large number who essentially treats any DSO like an analog scope. We sometimes give them a simple problem to solve (i.e. give them a high end scope and something simple to measure, i.e. a communications link), and you can see when they start fiddling with cursors that they have no idea how to get all the right information out of that scope (and it's not a problem if they just can't operate that specific scope model, they're even allowed to ask i.e. how to enable certain functionality or where they find the setting for XYZ).

It doesn't necessarily mean they won't get hired, though, if they can demonstrate that they are still good engineers and not stuck in the past then they will just receive some additional training. But quite often I see some kind of reluctance to use that "newfangled stuff", and that's the point where it's clear it's not gonna work out. We're working in a very busy and challenging environment, and knowing your basics like how to do some analysis work on a high end scope is pretty much expected.

So forgive me when I'm a bit sceptical when someone touts 40yrs of experience with analog scopes and 25yrs with digital scopes in a thread about purchasing a new upper mid-range scope and believes that this is somehow an advantage, because in my experience more often then not it isn't (again, not doubting your experience of course). The last 15 years have brought large improvements what high end scopes can do, and frankly what happened back in the analog days or even in the early 90's in terms of digital scopes is not of much relevance for that.

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So yes, I am very familiar with understanding new tools' strengths, limitations, and how they can be misleading - just like all tools.

Good for you, and I agree. Especially the latter part can't be stressed enough.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2015, 12:06:09 pm »
I would add that a more sophisticated/complex tool has more and more subtle ways of leading people astray. That's especially true if they are not already familiar with it and can't/won't take the time to learn what  it is doing and how to use it.

Any professional should know his tools. Where I work it's pretty much expected that engineers take time and familiarize themselves with new equipment they might work with. That includes having a look at the manual, and taking say a new scope and play around with it for half an hour.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2015, 12:17:02 pm »
I would add that a more sophisticated/complex tool has more and more subtle ways of leading people astray. That's especially true if they are not already familiar with it and can't/won't take the time to learn what  it is doing and how to use it.
Any professional should know his tools. Where I work it's pretty much expected that engineers take time and familiarize themselves with new equipment they might work with. That includes having a look at the manual, and taking say a new scope and play around with it for half an hour.
I agree. If you get fooled by your tools then you need to learn how to use them first. When doing complicated measurements (trigger setups) I do some tests first to verify I got the test setup right so I know the results are meaningful.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2015, 04:13:07 pm »
If you want long recording memory,

Plus long nights searching through all that memory on a dog slow scope to find the event you need, because like all Rigol scopes the DS6000 has no sane search facility whatsoever, aside from some simple mask testing facility.  :--

The DSO6000 also not even anywhere close to be in the same performance ballpark as the other scopes discussed in this thread, as its essentially just a blown up DS4000 (which itself isn't exactly a shining beacon of a great entry level scope), plus there are the typical firmware issues, and the questionable Rigol support.

Why anyone would spend that much money on an inferior Chinese B-brand is beyond me.

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check out Rigol DS6104, 140Mpts. Warning: loud fan and some minor software bugs, no big issues though.

I'm not sure I'd call the fact that almost 5 years after the scope came out a major part of the functionality (ETS) still doesn't work a "minor software bug".   :palm:

But I guess the issues were still big enough for you to return your DS6102, didn't you?  >:D

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For "industry standard" UI and spectrum analyzer: MDO3k/4k

Not sure why you consider Tek's archaic UI "industry standard", as it's neither really a standard and even less so an "industry standard". A better word to describe it might be "retro", and even that would be overly generous. Most other scope UIs have developed a lot since the 90's. Tek obviously hasn't, but then that's true in other areas as well.

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For making Wuerstchenhund happy: LeCroy WaveRunner 3k.

Frankly, it would have made me more happy if you had at least looked at the actual requirements first, which were for a 1GHz 5Gsa/s scope where all contenders were pretty much in the >$14k range (so I'm not sure why you even list entry level scopes). Considering that the WaveSurfer 3000 is a 4GSa/s scope with a max bandwidth of 750MHz it's not even a contender.

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Warning: not widely used as HPAK or Tek

You might be surprised, especially when considering that the WS3k only came out in Q2/2014. It's eating very well into Keysight's DSOX3000 Series, and is pretty much one of the reasons why Keysight came up with the "new" DSOX3kT in the first place.

Anyways, that hasn't much to do with the topic at hand.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 04:16:11 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2015, 04:25:27 pm »
W,

The reason I say Tek is "std" is because in so many academic papers scope screen shots are Tek's. I never say I like it, and being said, I don't like Tek.
Sorry for suggesting the wrong product, because I have no idea about LeCroy's line up, and I've never seen one in real life. In my place it is pretty much all Tek and HPAK.
Rigol has segmented memory and advanced triggers, just not as good as other brands'. If you think thoroughly about the signal to be tested, and tailor a proper trigger condition for it, it will work just fine.

BTW, ETS is not the biggest reason I returned that unit. The reason is I found a $6000 MSOX3104A offer and the carelessness of Rigol quality control (angled BNC connector) and really loud fan.
I managed to measure phase delay with other methods, as usual, improvised tool works the best on its intended job.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2015, 07:03:37 pm »
The reason I say Tek is "std" is because in so many academic papers scope screen shots are Tek's.

That may well be (although that probably depends on the type of academic papers, i.e. science/physics its pretty much LeCroy due to their history there) but like in many other things education doesn't necessarily reflect what you find in industry.

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Sorry for suggesting the wrong product, because I have no idea about LeCroy's line up, and I've never seen one in real life. In my place it is pretty much all Tek and HPAK.

Well, as I said, it's a bit strange to find recommendation for what essentially are entry-level scopes in a thread like this.

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Rigol has segmented memory and advanced triggers, just not as good as other brands'. If you think thoroughly about the signal to be tested, and tailor a proper trigger condition for it, it will work just fine.

Yes, but segmented memory doesn't help when the search functionality is crap or better semi-nonexistent. And its not just memory search and triggers that are not as good as any other scope in that price range, there's also FFT which does what, 4k points or so?

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BTW, ETS is not the biggest reason I returned that unit. The reason is I found a $6000 MSOX3104A offer and the carelessness of Rigol quality control (angled BNC connector) and really loud fan.

Well, it's Rigol. As I said, why would anyone in their right mind spend that amount of money on an inferior Rigol scope when the same money could buy you a proper scope?

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I managed to measure phase delay with other methods, as usual, improvised tool works the best on its intended job.

That's true.
 

Offline H.O

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2015, 06:24:31 am »
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And its not just memory search and triggers that are not as good as any other scope in that price range, there's also FFT which does what, 4k points or so?

It's actually 2048 points according to the following app note: FFT data depth. Though, this app note says it's 700 for the 4k and 6k but in the brief FOR that app note it again says 2048:
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What data set size is used to calculate the FFT on the DS series of scopes?
The FFT is calculated using the displayed data set. DS1000E/D/B/CA series scopes = 600 Data points DS1000Z Series (Displayed) = 1200 (Memory) = 16,384 DS2000 Series = 2048 points DS4000 series = 2048 points DS6000 series = 2048 points
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2015, 10:27:09 am »
It's actually 2048 points according to the following app note: FFT data depth. Though, this app note says it's 700 for the 4k and 6k but in the brief FOR that app note it again says 2048:
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What data set size is used to calculate the FFT on the DS series of scopes?
The FFT is calculated using the displayed data set. DS1000E/D/B/CA series scopes = 600 Data points DS1000Z Series (Displayed) = 1200 (Memory) = 16,384 DS2000 Series = 2048 points DS4000 series = 2048 points DS6000 series = 2048 points

Wow, that's even worse than I thought! 2kpts FFT in a scope Rigol wants something in the region of $6k for?  |O

Anyways, it just shows that Rigol's DS6000 is pretty much a toy compared to what the big brands give you in that price class.
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #44 on: December 28, 2015, 05:53:46 pm »
Wow, the discussion did really go warm! Thanks again for all input.

I ended up with a R&S RTE1204, the extra bandwidth did not cost much extra and we did get a pretty good deal trading in an old scope and bought demo used probes. LeCroy did not have any opportunity to come and do a demo (it was very short notice...) and I did not want to order without first trying them out. Still think they look interesting, so will include them on the shortlist next time  :). The offer from LeCroy was also more significantly more expensive as mentioned above.

The scope has arrived now, but I'm away from work, so it's not yet unboxed.

Cheers,
Stefan
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2015, 06:19:42 pm »
I ended up with a R&S RTE1204, the extra bandwidth did not cost much extra and we did get a pretty good deal trading in an old scope and bought demo used probes.

Well done!

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LeCroy did not have any opportunity to come and do a demo (it was very short notice...) and I did not want to order without first trying them out.

A wise decision, no matter which manufacturer.

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The scope has arrived now, but I'm away from work, so it's not yet unboxed.

When you have used it for a while it'd be great if you could let us know your impressions and what you like and not. Even better would be a review  ;)
 

Offline stejo780

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2015, 04:51:26 pm »
I don't think I'll be able to give a full review, but I will definitely share my impressions when i have more experience with it.

So far, I can say that it's absolutely a huge upgrade to what I used to have on my bench. The LED intensity, which was mentioned earlier in the thread, can easily be adjusted, but the setting did not persist when the scope is rebooted. I will have to look in to presets to solve that, it was somewhat annoying since the LEDs are really intense in the original setting.

Another thing that I wanted in one occasion was to look at the quote between two RMS measurements. This is not possible according to the application engineer, but he will ask the development to look in to it. Should be a rather simple thing to implement one would imagine.

Cheers,
Stefan



 

Offline blueskull

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Re: 5 Gsample/s, 1 GHz, 4 ch scope advise
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2015, 05:02:32 pm »
It just popped up in my mind, would you want to try some PC solution? Say, a PicoScope 6404C? A 500MHz, 5Gsps scope with remarkably low noise. 170kwfms/s and HUGE sampling memory.

The lowest quote I've ever got is $5.5k, so not too expensive. Reports say even a 350MHz PicoScope can go up to 1GHz, just with higher attenuation. The 500MHz one should be much better, since its front end circuit is completely re-designed.

If high trigger rate and huge memory along with USB connectivity is your concern, consider it. It has built in ETS as well, and an even faster trigger mode for smaller sampling memory. Also, it comes with segmented memory, serial deciding and many other goodies for free, along with some very good quality probes.

The Chip Whisperer guy has a review video of its 350MHz little brother.
 


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