Author Topic: Are old digital scopes worth the money?  (Read 19522 times)

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Online coppice

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #75 on: March 31, 2016, 06:43:17 am »
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But my guess is that 90% of the sold scopes are below 8k.
90% is a bit high but I guess some 65% might be right, especially when including the hobbyist/startup/one man shop market.
The low end of the Rigol range of scopes is getting pretty common in the research labs of large organisations. It wouldn't surprise me to find that 90% of all units shipped are less than $8k. People need lots and lots of simple tools, even when they are doing leading edge work.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #76 on: March 31, 2016, 07:16:22 am »
All of my scopes are old.  Actually, all of my equipment is old.  Even the things I bought brand new are now pretty old.  As a hobbyist, I can't afford new.

There's nothing wrong with "old" in itself.

The question is: Should a new hobbyist be out there looking for used/old gear?

I say it depends on whether or not you:
a) Live somewhere where there's plenty available and you can get good prices.
b) Know what to look for
c) Don't mind replacing capacitors, knobs, switches, etc.
d) Have plenty of bench space
e) Are prepared for the occasional lemon.
f) Don't mind the smell


 

Online Kjelt

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #77 on: March 31, 2016, 07:20:28 am »
Let's say I know how what their products can do, I know what products from other big brands can do, and I know how they compare against each other.
What terms like "LeCrap" tell me is that whoever ushers the term is probably around twelve years old and unlikely to know much about any scopes, even less so about LeCroy. It's the same category as "KeyShite", "Micro$oft", "Windoze", "Linsux", "Luser", "libtard" and similar adolescent terminology. And the clearly bogus and obviously made up stories that generally accompany this terminology just confirms that it's best case a way to re-dress the own incompetence or most case pretty much just hot air. In my experience, the truth content is absolutely minuscule.
:-DD I will tell him, he is 55, almost 30 yrs industry experience.
I don't recall all the events with LeCroy he keeps on complaining about but fact is that in 10 yrs and three LeCroys he keeps losing his scope to the repair dept for at least four times, mostly mechanical issues like knobs, probe connector not recognizing the correct probe setting that kind of issues and he just loves Tek (stating that the trigger is better blabla).  Oh yeah and the incredible noise they made (the models 7 years ago), it was if you were walking on an airplane field in rush hour in that department (30+ scopes on whole day).
I have no complaints myself about LeCroy except that I think they are quite high in price for what they offer.

I must say that their service is excellent if you happen to have 40 of their highend scopes in one building, they flew two engineers from Switzerland to do some board upgrades on site.
Still very disappointing to see a $200 pc motherboard with too little RAM inside a $10k scope (talking about 8 years ago now).

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Yes, but this is purely from a hobbyist point of view. I doubt many businesses buy lots of 20+yr old general purpose scopes for their labs.
No ofcourse not but that was not my point. My point is that if 15yr old scopes are up to the majority of tasks that engineers need today that there has been a sort of innovation freeze.
Just like PC's nowadays, if you bought an i7 pc 5 years ago it is still very good to work with, while 20 yrs ago you almost needed a new pc every year or the latest software was awfull to work with.
So the whole point is that there is not much innovation to scopes the last 10 yrs making it not as much neccessary to upgrade (unless as we agree you need the higher bandwidth).
The only "innovation" you saw is that digital scopes have taken absorbed logic analyzer functionality, integrated that into one device. 


« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 07:25:32 am by Kjelt »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #78 on: March 31, 2016, 07:37:54 am »
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Yes, but this is purely from a hobbyist point of view. I doubt many businesses buy lots of 20+yr old general purpose scopes for their labs.
No ofcourse not but that was not my point. My point is that if 15yr old scopes are up to the majority of tasks that engineers need today that there has been a sort of innovation freeze.
Either that or there's really not much more you can add to a device that draws wiggly lines on a screen.

...and 15 years ago only large companies could afford what a hobbyist can afford today

...and they were much bigger/hotter than they are now
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #79 on: March 31, 2016, 07:48:14 am »
The low end of the Rigol range of scopes is getting pretty common in the research labs of large organisations.

I very much doubt that. Maybe that's the case in China and Hongkong, but certainly not in the Western world. At least not in labs that want to be taken seriously.

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It wouldn't surprise me to find that 90% of all units shipped are less than $8k. People need lots and lots of simple tools, even when they are doing leading edge work.

That may or may not be true, but what people who do this type of work professionally usually want are reliable and dependable instruments. Rigol fails on that as much as other B-brands like Siglent, maybe they're even worse (just look at the "Yaigol" debacle, a clear statement of utter incompetence in hardware design). You really think stuff like that has a place in a serious research lab?

But the various bugs and design flaws are only part of the problem. There's other stuff like the fact that Rigol doesn't even have proper Service Manuals for their gear (which mean any calibration facility will have difficulties calibrating Rigol kit). Or that they don't really have a decent support infrastructure with life cycle management in place. Or can you tell me how long Rigol will support the DS1000z? The DS2000? The DS4000? Or the ridiculously overpriced DS6000? No, you can't, because even Rigol doesn't know.

Considering that the big brands regularly pretty much fall over themselves to throw equipment at education and research facilities at ridiculously low prices, if your budget really affords you Rigol kit only then I'd question if your budget is really approriate for what you want to do, and chances are you'll run out of money anyways.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 07:50:51 am by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Online coppice

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #80 on: March 31, 2016, 08:24:27 am »
The low end of the Rigol range of scopes is getting pretty common in the research labs of large organisations.
I very much doubt that. Maybe that's the case in China and Hongkong, but certainly not in the Western world. At least not in labs that want to be taken seriously.
I've seen a surprising number of Rigols in US R&D labs, but only the low end models, like the DS1054Z. For more sophisticated needs people choose something like Keysight.
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It wouldn't surprise me to find that 90% of all units shipped are less than $8k. People need lots and lots of simple tools, even when they are doing leading edge work.

That may or may not be true, but what people who do this type of work professionally usually want are reliable and dependable instruments. Rigol fails on that as much as other B-brands like Siglent, maybe they're even worse (just look at the "Yaigol" debacle, a clear statement of utter incompetence in hardware design). You really think stuff like that has a place in a serious research lab?

But the various bugs and design flaws are only part of the problem. There's other stuff like the fact that Rigol doesn't even have proper Service Manuals for their gear (which mean any calibration facility will have difficulties calibrating Rigol kit). Or that they don't really have a decent support infrastructure with life cycle management in place. Or can you tell me how long Rigol will support the DS1000z? The DS2000? The DS4000? Or the ridiculously overpriced DS6000? No, you can't, because even Rigol doesn't know.
Nobody knows how long they will support anything. It all depends how well things sell. People like HP and Tek have canned support very early for things which didn't live up to their expectations in the marketplace. Life cycle management can be a very flexible concept. :) As for bugs, you seem to have had much better experience with big name brands than I have.
Considering that the big brands regularly pretty much fall over themselves to throw equipment at education and research facilities at ridiculously low prices, if your budget really affords you Rigol kit only then I'd question if your budget is really approriate for what you want to do, and chances are you'll run out of money anyways.
They fall over themselves to get kit into university research departments. The Rigols I have seen have been in the US R&D labs of major corporations, where people are expected to pay.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #81 on: March 31, 2016, 08:57:19 am »
I can imagine that a low end Rigol scope ends up in an R&D lab. It is cheap enough so that nobody in upper management needs to sign off on it and it is good enough to look at some signals.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Kjelt

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #82 on: March 31, 2016, 09:10:20 am »
Indeed , we had multiple Rigols in our labs but not the HW labs but the SW labs, they often had to measure some loops and than you don't need a ns resolution, 10us is more then enough resolution for a SW engineer. The main sellingpoint was its size, it should be small enough to fit on a sw desk and make no noise  ;)
 

Offline borjam

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #83 on: March 31, 2016, 09:19:06 am »
I can imagine that a low end Rigol scope ends up in an R&D lab. It is cheap enough so that nobody in upper management needs to sign off on it and it is good enough to look at some signals.
It's easy to explain anyway. With the high prices of traditional brands, there are plenty of applications for which an oscilloscope would be nice, even though not mandatory. Of course it might make your life easier, but at what a cost!

Now there are cheap oscilloscopes available. You won't expect the reliability or accuracy of a top end one, but these cheap instruments can still be extremely useful. The price barrier has just gone much lower.  The same has happened in other cathegories. There are really affordable VNAs and spectrum analyzers that can certainly get some jobs done.

Is it often much quicker to use an oscilloscope when, for example, timing code in a microcontroller? Yes. But could you justify a 4 digit figure for such an usage case? Probably not. What if you remove one digit?
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #84 on: March 31, 2016, 10:22:14 am »
:-DD I will tell him, he is 55, almost 30 yrs industry experience.

Being old or having spent 30 yrs somewhere doesn't prevent one from talking nonsense.

"Experience", although valuable to some extend, is something that happens to you, not an achievement on it's own. I've seen enough cases where people with long "experience" are doing pretty much the same job in the same way for the last 20 years.

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I don't recall all the events with LeCroy he keeps on complaining about but fact is that in 10 yrs and three LeCroys he keeps losing his scope to the repair dept for at least four times, mostly mechanical issues like knobs, probe connector not recognizing the correct probe setting that kind of issues and he just loves Tek (stating that the trigger is better blabla).

If he really believes Tek is great or has better Triggers then it's clear that the most modern Tek scope he's ever used must still have been some analog boat anchor.

And if he really had all this complaints, I wonder (OK, not really) why he kept with them for 10 years.

It's of course possible that he got a lemon, a scope that just keeps on failing for some reason. Lemons exist for every big name. If you end up with one then the vendor will usually just replace it with another scope, if you complain to them, that is.

Sounds pretty much a case of someone missing the days of analog scopes.

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Oh yeah and the incredible noise they made (the models 7 years ago), it was if you were walking on an airplane field in rush hour in that department (30+ scopes on whole day).

Yes, the high end scopes (WavePro, WaveMaster, LabMaster, WaveExpert) are noisy. Very noisy. Considering that there's a lot of very fast stuff in them that gets very hot and needs cooling, this shouldn't be surprising. And singling out LeCroy for noise just tells me that this person has never been near a similar high end scope from any other brand, because otherwise he'd known that they pretty much all are noisy as hell. My DSO90k at work is like a jet engine. Bummer.

The smaller scopes (WaveRunner, WaveSurfer) aren't noisy, and while they are certainly no silent scopes, they also produce roughly the same amount of noise like any other comparable scope from any other brand.

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I have no complaints myself about LeCroy except that I think they are quite high in price for what they offer.

Really? Considering that they are regularly the least expensive ones, can you give some example where you believe they are expensive and what a better price/performance alternative would be?

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I must say that their service is excellent if you happen to have 40 of their highend scopes in one building, they flew two engineers from Switzerland to do some board upgrades on site.
Still very disappointing to see a $200 pc motherboard with too little RAM inside a $10k scope (talking about 8 years ago now).

But that cheap $200 intel mainboard will still be supported by LeCroy for at least 7 years after the scope is no longer in production, and very likely for even longer. Plus these intel boards were pretty good and reliable, unlike some other mobo brands back then.

But yes, LeCroy did skimp a bit on RAM and CPU back then (a cheap Celeron in a $10k+ scope? Seriously?). Still, they were the fastest scopes back then, pretty much outperforming anything else that Agilent and Tek threw on the market. And CPU and RAM can easily be upgraded.

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Yes, but this is purely from a hobbyist point of view. I doubt many businesses buy lots of 20+yr old general purpose scopes for their labs.

No ofcourse not but that was not my point. My point is that if 15yr old scopes are up to the majority of tasks that engineers need today that there has been a sort of innovation freeze.

There hasn't been an innovation freeze. It's just that the progress is made predominantly in the upper mid-range and high-end, not in the low end. Don't forget that the scopes were're talking about here weren't exactly entry-level scopes back then when they were new, they were pretty pricey mid-range (HP 54500, 54600) or even high-end (LeCroy 9300) scopes costing an arm and a leg. It's just because they are so old and have been obsolete for a long time that they are now in the same bottom price bracket as a new bottom-of-the-barrel scope. Which, leaving the bugs aside for now, still does offer more features and performance than at least the old HP 54500/54600 mid-range scopes, and that at a lower price.

That those old scopes are still useable for many tasks is just testament to the simplicity of the tasks at hand than to the lack of development in scope technology. Plus they have the advantage of being mature products made by a reputable company, while most of the B-brands exhibit a number of poor and ridiculous hardware and/or software bugs.

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So the whole point is that there is not much innovation to scopes the last 10 yrs making it not as much neccessary to upgrade (unless as we agree you need the higher bandwidth).
The only "innovation" you saw is that digital scopes have taken absorbed logic analyzer functionality, integrated that into one device.

There's a lot more than glorified MSO capabilities. For a start, in the last 16 years we went from 5Ghz real-time and 20GSa/s to 100GHz real-time and 240GSa/s. That alone is an enormous achievement. We also got fast scopes with true 14bit resolution (without oversampling or other crap), and very high waveform update rates, plus a ton of signal and waveform analysis capabilities which make a modern advanced scope a versatile signal analyzer.

Even the low-end has seen progress, although I admit the differences are much smaller here. But still, aside from vastly lowered price of entry (sub-$400 instead of >$1000 as it was back then), even a bottom-of-the-barrel scope offers deep memory, FFT and maths, plus most of them at least optionally also offer serial decode and logic analysis. That's quite some progress from a >$1500 2ch scope with 100MSa/s, monochrome low res LCD and a handful points of memory, or an analog scope (which was still a common entry level scope back then).
 

Online coppice

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #85 on: March 31, 2016, 10:29:47 am »
:-DD I will tell him, he is 55, almost 30 yrs industry experience.

Being old or having spent 30 yrs somewhere doesn't prevent one from talking nonsense.
If his experience was from the 80s, it wouldn't be nonsense. Its a long time since I made serious use of a LeCroy scope, and I understand they are now pretty good. They used to be high end performance with a very low end build quality.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #86 on: March 31, 2016, 10:47:27 am »
I've seen a surprising number of Rigols in US R&D labs, but only the low end models, like the DS1054Z. For more sophisticated needs people choose something like Keysight.

As I said, that contradicts my experience. I wouldn't even dare to suggest Rigol or most of my customers would laugh me out of the room.

Having said that, I could well imagine that they find some use in some startups which are often notoriously cash-strapped.

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Nobody knows how long they will support anything. It all depends how well things sell. People like HP and Tek have canned support very early for things which didn't live up to their expectations in the marketplace. Life cycle management can be a very flexible concept. :)

Not really. I know exactly how long I will get support for a Keysight, R&S or LeCroy scope. Last time I had to do with Tek they were the same. That means if I invest in a scope today, I know how long I will get support for it, i.e. software updates, repairs and spares.

With Rigol, you don't even know if there will be a next firmware update. Once a model is no longer sold, you have no idea how long you will be able to get spares or have it repaired.

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As for bugs, you seem to have had much better experience with big name brands than I have.

Maybe, but then I probably see a lot more test equipment than most people here, so there's a pretty large amount of basic data I can rely on.

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Considering that the big brands regularly pretty much fall over themselves to throw equipment at education and research facilities at ridiculously low prices, if your budget really affords you Rigol kit only then I'd question if your budget is really approriate for what you want to do, and chances are you'll run out of money anyways.
They fall over themselves to get kit into university research departments. The Rigols I have seen have been in the US R&D labs of major corporations, where people are expected to pay.

Again, that's the kind of labs I'm usually around (US and Europe), and not a single Rigol in sight. Also, most corporations have certain support requirements before investing in equipment, some even only buy from a small list of preferred vendors.

And cash-strapped businesses can rely on refurbished/remanufactured kit (which is a lot cheaper than new), recertfied 2nd hand (even more cheap), plain 2nd hand (again a lot cheaper) or, especially if equipment is needed for a short time only, rental/leasing companies.

I can see that the DS1054z is cheap enough to be considered as "consumable" (i.e. throw away) and worth it for some really basic tasks, but in research where reliability of your test equipment and documentability of results is pretty much everything, relying on kit (which can't be properly calibrated) from a third-class B-brand that is clearly incapable to build something simple like an oscillator without screwing up would be idiotic. You can't have an erratic instrument like a Rigol in what should be a controlled environment. Plus it's a cost issue, an engineer just wasting one hour because of a buggy scope can easily mean a loss much bigger than the difference between a Rigol and a proper scope.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #87 on: March 31, 2016, 11:15:30 am »
Quote from: coppice
If his experience was from the 80s, it wouldn't be nonsense. Its a long time since I made serious use of a LeCroy scope, and I understand they are now pretty good. They used to be high end performance with a very low end build quality. 
Yeah well, I'm from the 80s (and earlier) and agree totally with Werthrschtenn.. grrr that W guy !! I also worked in govt and university labs, and it was considered
the ultimate goal to own LeCroys, I had and have a few !! They were built and still are (not commenting on the 3rd party models) absolutely to precision.
I've dismantled and modified them many times. Triggering and ease of use is unsurpassed. And yes, I had a few of the other "name brands" and pretty much
ditched them all, as useless. So, now we have another contradicting opinion, maybe I'm the one who is nonsense?
Hello <tap> <tap> .. is this thing on?
 

Offline marty

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #88 on: March 31, 2016, 11:30:52 am »
The key is to have patience and wait. I bought a Tektronix 2225 for $20 for scope and $30.00 shipping, just needed a little repair cost me $7.00 in parts. Works dandy now I've added a 2mhz sweep function generator for $30.00 total and a 80mhz frequency counter for $40.00. Deals are out there is if you have patience .
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #89 on: March 31, 2016, 11:53:42 am »
:-DD I will tell him, he is 55, almost 30 yrs industry experience.

Being old or having spent 30 yrs somewhere doesn't prevent one from talking nonsense.

If his experience was from the 80s, it wouldn't be nonsense. Its a long time since I made serious use of a LeCroy scope, and I understand they are now pretty good. They used to be high end performance with a very low end build quality.

Which ones should that be?

The 9400 and 7200 (both from the '80s) are built like tanks, literally.

LA Series: analog Iwatsu scopes rebadged by LeCroy. Excellent build quality.

The 9300 wasn't as robust as 9400/7200 but it's problems were limited to falling off plastic knobs (which became somewhat of a trademark of LeCroy) and failures of the autosensing circuit in the PSU, shutting down the scope(there's a service note for that). The outer plastics housing was also susceptible to cracks if the scope was handled harshly. And the internal printer sometimes died. All issues were covered under warranty.

ScopeStation: based on the LW410/420 AWG hardware and like this is built like a tank.

The LiteRunner LP was an Iwatsu rebadge, and as pretty much any Iwatsu scope the build quality was great.

The LC Series, essentially a 9300 Series with color screen and faster CPU, lost the plastics housing (only the front remained plastics) which made it more robust against mishandling. It inherited the falling off knobs, the occasional autosense failures and the occasional dead printer. Otherwise reliable.

The WaveRunner LT, WaveRunner2 LT and WavePro 900 were manufactured by Iwatsu, with a excellent build quality. And since WR2 LT and WP900 knobs finally stayed put.

WavePro 7000/7000A and WaveMaster 8000/800A were pretty much of the same excellent build quality as the WaveRunner LT and WavePro 900 Series. Only weak point was the plastics front bezel which after many years usually develops some small crack in the lower right corner.

WaveRunner 6000/6000A: pretty much the same as the WavePro 7k/WaveMaster 8k: built like a tank, and it even didn't suffer from the front bezel crack issue.

The WaveSurfer 400: first 'suitcase-style' scope, made by Iwatsu. Build quality is as good as it can get.

The WaveJet 300: an Iwatsu rebadge, very good build quality as typical for Iwatsu.

WaveSurfer (M)Xs and WaveRunner (M)Xi: initial batches were built by some Malaysian provider which did a pretty poor job in terms of build quality. From poor paint to breaking off handles, delaminating screen protector to heat-related stress damage on the front end connectors. Production was subsequently moved to the USA which dramatically improved build quality. Older scopes were retrofitted/fixed when they reached LeCroy service (they even got a new, black handle!).

WaveSurfer (M)Xs-B and WaveRunner (M)Xi-A: good build quality, plastics front is a bit sensible to scratching.

WavePro 7zi/WaveMaster 8zi: overall very good build quality. Early models occasionally suffered from contact problems with the detachable front panel. Fixed in later production runs, and for affected scopes through LeCroy service.

WaveRunner 6zi/WaveRunner HDO: very good build quality, however on earlier batches the 'Super knob' tends to fall off. Fixed in production and affected scopes through support.

WaveAce 100/200/1000/2000: Siglent rebadges, some firmware issues but good build quality.

WaveSurfer 3000: hardware produced by Siglent, very good build quality.

WaveSurfer 10: as with it's predecessors the build quality is very good.

LabMaster 9zi/10zi: very good build quality, although the rim of the front bezel of the digitizer modules is a bit scratch prone.

Tl;dr: the only LeCroy scopes with poor build quality have been early production runs of the WR(M)Xi and WS(M)Xs. And even these have been fixed later on (hint for those that are considering one: check the handle - black = fixed, blue = unfixed). And both scopes were made from approx 2005 to 2008 and not 30 years ago.

So which scopes are you talking about?
 
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Online Kjelt

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #90 on: March 31, 2016, 12:19:27 pm »
Just asked some guys here what their LeCroy problems were:
remind you that scopes here are turned on at 7,30 and turned off (if turned off) at 17.00 so 10 hours a day, year in year out and average temperature in the office is 28o:( .

6000 series: too slow , falling asleep esp. with some math calculations. Some motherboard issues and AD issues (replaced by LeCroy on site). But to be honest relatively not that many issues.

Then came the disaster that made them call it LeCrap:
WR-Xi44 series: all that were once delivered (about 40 or so) are now dead and scrapped, oldest survived 5 years with 1 repair that was the best one.
Each one failed at least once in two years costing between €1000-2500 for repair. No courtesy discount nothing.
Main cause: bad internal connectors/connections, between inputboard and mainboard, low budget china motherboard with bad ram simm connectors. Caused a lot of pc boot issues.

The ones they have now HDO 6000 series are nice, the 4000 not that good.

Personally most of them would prefer Keysight: much faster.

 

Online coppice

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #91 on: March 31, 2016, 04:00:58 pm »
:-DD I will tell him, he is 55, almost 30 yrs industry experience.

Being old or having spent 30 yrs somewhere doesn't prevent one from talking nonsense.

If his experience was from the 80s, it wouldn't be nonsense. Its a long time since I made serious use of a LeCroy scope, and I understand they are now pretty good. They used to be high end performance with a very low end build quality.

Which ones should that be?

The 9400 and 7200 (both from the '80s) are built like tanks, literally.

Have you ever looked at the build quality of a tank? Its quite reminiscent of the LeCroys I remember. Massive heavy construction, let down by a number of dumb weak points.

LA Series: analog Iwatsu scopes rebadged by LeCroy. Excellent build quality.

I've never used an Iwatsu badged as a LeCroy, but I have used a couple sold as Iwatsu machines. They seemed excellent. I don't see the relevance of anything from Iwatsu to what I said about 80s LeCroy scopes, though. As far as I know they didn't work together until the mid 90s. Try to stay on topic.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #92 on: March 31, 2016, 06:04:40 pm »
Just asked some guys here what their LeCroy problems were:
remind you that scopes here are turned on at 7,30 and turned off (if turned off) at 17.00 so 10 hours a day, year in year out and average temperature in the office is 28o:( .

6000 series: too slow , falling asleep esp. with some math calculations. Some motherboard issues and AD issues (replaced by LeCroy on site). But to be honest relatively not that many issues.

Yes, the WR6k (non-A) was a bit laggy, especially with early software versions. Part of it was due to the slow P4 Celeron LeCroy gave these scopes. Upgrading the scopes to Windows XP and the related X-Stream software made this a lot better, though.

And it's lag is really nothing compared with the slowness of comepting Windows scopes of that time.

I'm not aware of any exceptional failure rate of the mainboards, but like any complex device stuff occasionally fails.

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Then came the disaster that made them call it LeCrap:
WR-Xi44 series: all that were once delivered (about 40 or so) are now dead and scrapped, oldest survived 5 years with 1 repair that was the best one.
Each one failed at least once in two years costing between €1000-2500 for repair. No courtesy discount nothing.
Main cause: bad internal connectors/connections, between inputboard and mainboard, low budget china motherboard with bad ram simm connectors. Caused a lot of pc boot issues.

Yes, the early WR(M)Xs and WS(M)Xi that were made by a contractor in Malaysia were truly very poor in terms of build quality (not performance, though). Aside from various mechanical issues (poor front bezel paint, delaminating screen protector sheet, poor quality press-in nuts in internal chassis, weak carrying handle that breaks off) it suffered from thermal stress induced connector failure of the Hosiden connectors between front end and acquisition board (not the connectors to the mainboard, which were connected to the acquisition board via ribbon cables; also, the mainboard is not some cheap China crap but an industrial mainboard, RAM made by PNY). LeCroy later moved the production to the US which alleviated the problems. The Malaysia made scopes were fixed during repair (which included a fan upgrade and a stronger black handle).

So yes, I can understand the pain. What I can't understand however is how they can supposedly spend a couple of grands on repairs within two years on scopes that are covered by three year manufacturer warranty. And even beyond that, buying additional warranty would have cost a lot less than any repair.

But thanks for asking, it's always interesting to hear the background, and in case of the WRXi I can certainly understand the disappointment (at least to a certain degree).

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The ones they have now HDO 6000 series are nice, the 4000 not that good.

What's the problem with them?

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Personally most of them would prefer Keysight: much faster.

You think so?

Agilent's competitor to the WaveRunner 6000 (which came out in 2001/2002) was the Infiniium 54800, with the 1GHz 54832B the fastest variant that was still somewhat within the WR's price bracket. So let's see:

- the WR6100 (the 1GHz variant) offers 10GSa/s (5Gsa/s in quad channel mode), up to 24Mpts (12Mpts/ch) memory, a max waveform update rate of >100k wfms/s, and a 2GHz P4 Celeron CPU running Windows 2000.
- Agilent's 1Ghz 54832B offers 4GSa/s (2Gsa/s half-channel), up to 16Mpts memory (up to 8M/ch), a max waveform update rate of 7800 waveforms/s, and a slow Pentium3 866MHz processor running Windows98.

There also were a 1.5GHz and a 2.25Ghz variant (54845B, 54846B), which offered 8Gsa/s (4GSa/s quad channel), a whooping 64kpts (32k per channel) of sample memory, and a max waveform update rate of lowly 1700 waveforms/s.

If that sounds slow, I can tell you it is. Pretty much anything that is slow on a WR6k takes literally forever on a 54800 Series scope, and that provided the Agilent does even have that functionality available. The scopes were slow, not because of the weak CPU but because of the poor architecture using Agilent's own ASICs. Besides, these early Infiniiums weren't the most reliable scopes. We send them back via truck load, literally, because the early versions were horribly unstable, and even later ones often died because of the crap mainboard (not even industrial, it's a cheap-ass FIC consumer mainboard) and because of ADC and interface board failures.

Let's see about that that poorly build WaveRunner (M)Xi, which came out in 2005. Agilent's counterpart of that time was the Infiniium 54830D: 600MHz or 1GHz, up to 4GSa/s, 4MB (2MB/ch) standard, up to 128MB (64MB/ch) optional. The CPU was now a 1GHz Pentium3 (in 2005!) running WindowsXP, the max waveform update rate was 8800 wfms/s. The WR(M)Xi offered up to 2Ghz at 10Gsa/s (5Gsa/s quad channel), 25Mpts (12.5Mpts/ch) memory, and a max waveform rate of 1.25M waveforms/s. The pretty much only thing the Agilent had going for it is the large optional sample memory. It didn't help the scope's performance, which was still sluggish.

And that's not even touching all the other differences, i.e. available software options, the screens (8.4" SVGA and 10.2" SVGA touch vs 8.4" VGA), the UI (touch vs mouse operated) and so on.

If you really believe that Agilent scopes were any faster then I'm sorry but you're deluding yourself. They do make the fastest entry-level/lower mid-range scopes, but it took a very long time until Agilent did a Windows scope right (DSO9kA), and even today their Windows scopes are pretty slow compared with other alternatives (a few thousand waveforms/s vs 1M wfms/s with pretty much any LeCroy Windows scope). That doesn't make them bad scopes, but they're really slow.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 06:17:45 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Online Kjelt

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #93 on: March 31, 2016, 07:11:12 pm »
Quote
The ones they have now HDO 6000 series are nice, the 4000 not that good.
What's the problem with them?
I haven't written it down, but from memory:
- aliasing problems
- scope itself overrides the user setting for memorydepth and samplerate (they called it cheating/lying) don't know the exact details though sorry
- and the display lacks a feature some cheaper scopes from competitors have standard, i can't remember the exact term sorry, was it persistence, nah it was (I think) what the old analog scopes with phosphor screens had that you could have different intensity and becomes more intense as it is overwritten multiple times.
Sorry I have been a SW engineer for the past decade, although graduated EE I haven't been playing with the newer scopes for some time unfortunately. So all is hearsay from the HW eng. dept.
Not that they have all the wisdom.

Concerning the Agilent/Keysight vs leCroy debate, you're right they mean if they had to choose today, now. So indeed says nothing about the past. I think that they did decide back then to buy LeCroys says enough  ;)
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Are old digital scopes worth the money?
« Reply #94 on: March 31, 2016, 09:03:49 pm »
Quote
The ones they have now HDO 6000 series are nice, the 4000 not that good.
What's the problem with them?
I haven't written it down, but from memory:
- aliasing problems
- scope itself overrides the user setting for memorydepth and samplerate (they called it cheating/lying) don't know the exact details though sorry

I see. If they bought the scopes early then they might still be running an old X-Stream version. With LeCroy Windows scopes checking regularly for an update of the X-Stream software is worth it, as it not only contains bug fixes but often many other improvements or new functionality. The software is unified, i.e. there's a single software stack for all X-Stream scopes, and from that they generate the 32bit (older scopes), the 64bit (newer scopes, i.e. the ones in black housings) and the X-Stream lite package (for the WaveSurfer 3000). The latest version is 7.9.0.1 from Nov 2015. There's also a BIOS update for the HDO4000 which corrects a display and boot problem.

Quote
- and the display lacks a feature some cheaper scopes from competitors have standard, i can't remember the exact term sorry, was it persistence, nah it was (I think) what the old analog scopes with phosphor screens had that you could have different intensity and becomes more intense as it is overwritten multiple times.

I guess that's WaveStream, a mode where the scope pretty much behaves like an old analog scope. But yes, the HDO4000 doesn't have that mode unfortunately. It does of course have the normal persistence mode like any other normal scope, including color, 2D and 3D modes.

I have to say it's the first time I heard that anyone ever used that mode aside from a first play  ;)

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Sorry I have been a SW engineer for the past decade, although graduated EE I haven't been playing with the newer scopes for some time unfortunately. So all is hearsay from the HW eng. dept.

Well, I have to say I wish all hearsay was that precise.

Quote
Concerning the Agilent/Keysight vs leCroy debate, you're right they mean if they had to choose today, now. So indeed says nothing about the past. I think that they did decide back then to buy LeCroys says enough  ;)

I guess so. One thing I often notice, especially on this forum, is that many people (not just you) think Keysight scopes are fast because they have some fast entry level and mid-range scopes (i.e. DSOX). And yes, these scopes are fast, there's no doubt about that (even when that comes at a price, not just in financial terms). And I understand that this is pretty much the price range most people here focus on because that's what's still somewhat affordable to an individual. What they miss is that if you go above the DSOX line with MegaZoom then their scopes aren't really as fast comparatively as their lower-end cousins.

Which just shows why it's important to test drive every scope that is a contender before committing a lot of money into one.
 


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