Author Topic: Best portable 4ch scope  (Read 2041 times)

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Offline blueskull

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Best portable 4ch scope
« on: September 26, 2020, 12:30:26 pm »
As the title says, I need a suggestion on a 4ch portable scope for use ASAP (for working from home for the coming Chinese National Day from 10.1).

Therefore, I only consider established brands with good Chinese existence as if I was to get something like a CleverScope, the shipment won't make it.

Hard Requirements:

1. 100MHz+/4ch
2. Battery operation

Good to Have:

1. Channel-to-channel deskewing
2. Segmented memory
3. Isolation
4. Higher sample rate

Candidates:

1. Micsig STO1104C
    Goods: cheap, large memory, true FPGA architecture, can also be used as a desktop scope
    Bads: only 1gsps shared by 4 channels, bad LCD viewing angle (sort of IPS, but not true 178 degree IPS), no deskewing, no segmented memory

2. Fluke 190-204
    Goods: quad isolated channels, higher sample rate (2.5Gsps/2ch, 1.25Gsps/4ch), ruggedized
    Bads: expensive, only 10kpts memory, computer software is paid, no deskewing (not found in manual, presumed), no segmented memory (presumed)

3. PicoScope 2408B
    Goods: powerful software, good memory depth, SDK available, in-the-middle price
    Bads: no isolation, only 1gsps shared by 4 channels

Any other suggestions and any user's experience from either devices?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 12:32:42 pm by blueskull »
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 01:25:04 pm »
As the title says, I need a suggestion on a 4ch portable scope for use ASAP (for working from home for the coming Chinese National Day from 10.1).

Therefore, I only consider established brands with good Chinese existence as if I was to get something like a CleverScope, the shipment won't make it.

Hard Requirements:

1. 100MHz+/4ch
2. Battery operation

Good to Have:

1. Channel-to-channel deskewing
2. Segmented memory
3. Isolation
4. Higher sample rate

Candidates:

1. Micsig STO1104C
    Goods: cheap, large memory, true FPGA architecture, can also be used as a desktop scope
    Bads: only 1gsps shared by 4 channels, bad LCD viewing angle (sort of IPS, but not true 178 degree IPS), no deskewing, no segmented memory

2. Fluke 190-204
    Goods: quad isolated channels, higher sample rate (2.5Gsps/2ch, 1.25Gsps/4ch), ruggedized
    Bads: expensive, only 10kpts memory, computer software is paid, no deskewing (not found in manual, presumed), no segmented memory (presumed)

3. PicoScope 2408B
    Goods: powerful software, good memory depth, SDK available, in-the-middle price
    Bads: no isolation, only 1gsps shared by 4 channels

Any other suggestions and any user's experience from either devices?

Blueskull,

I have Micsig and Picos. Some quick observations..

1. Micisig works real well. Good battery life, 5+ hours.  Low noise front end. Digital filtering on channels. No search on anything. No segments. Decoding is either in text mode (table) or on screen. You can't switch back and forth with already captured data.  That being said text mode decoding works seems to have no limit on decode length. It is actually a special acquire/decode mode.
3. Picos have many protocols decodes. Many.  Very advanced math. Unlimited. Viewports like Lecroy. If you power it from unplugged laptop they are floating. SDK. Segmented mode and history mode. Capture, save, decode and analyse later. Good FFT implementation. Unfortunately, no DeepMeasure for 2000 series.

If you want to know something specific, just ask.

Regards,

Sinisa.

 
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Online Fungus

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2020, 01:25:18 pm »
Micsig!
 
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Online Bud

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 01:38:11 pm »
Blueskull, dear friend, holidays are for having rest, relaxation and drinking beer  :)
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 01:50:35 pm »
Blueskull, dear friend, holidays are for having rest, relaxation and drinking beer  :)

You're right. I don't expect to work 8 hours a day, but after a long day out for fun I do want to have something to tinker with. And I just need an excuse for one more scope.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2020, 01:59:24 pm »
If you want to know something specific, just ask.

Micsig!

Thanks for the suggestions. Here are two comments:

How is the viewing angle? I actually visited Micsig HQ yesterday, I took an afternoon off just for visiting them.

I evaluated their STO1104C, and the -E version, and the conclusion is that rest of performance issues, their screen is too dim and has a very bad viewing angle. At a specific angle (quite common if you sit on a couch or a bed and you use a laptop table on your bed to hold devices, roughly when the scope is at the same level of your eyes when the tilt stand is used), the screen has virtually zero contrast and once going past that angle you start to see things normally.

To see things clearly, I have to look down, so the table must be very short or I need to be 7 ft tall. That's really a bummer. For a normal work bench, the height is good, but not for a laptop desk on a bed.

Also, sample rate is a bit shabby for the Micsig. 250Msps means 4ns per dot, and that's way too long. From a Nyquist perspective, 250Msps is good for one channel, but in the case I need to exactly pin point timing delays between channels, this becomes a problem. The Pico has ETS, and the Fluke has at least 1.25Gsps guaranteed. One of my use case (a very important one) is to integrate voltage and current to calculate power, and having exact timing is critical. Also, observing phase-delayed (usually ns-level) signals is part of my job (current working on modulators for low-RF band PWM control for GaN devices, and dead times are literally in ns range).
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2020, 02:06:32 pm »
Also FYI, the reason I ever put the Fluke on the list is because I can get it for half MSRP (~$3000 tax included). Also take this into consideration. Fluke China mandates authorized distributors to sell a certain amount of products per month or they will strip their auothorization, so in the rough economy nowadays, they will sell at any price even losing money to keep their license.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2020, 02:50:31 pm »
Blueskull, dear friend, holidays are for having rest, relaxation and drinking beer  :)

Playing with a new toy doesn't count as recreation?  :-//

 

Online Fungus

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2020, 02:53:36 pm »
To see things clearly, I have to look down, so the table must be very short or I need to be 7 ft tall. That's really a bummer. For a normal work bench, the height is good, but not for a laptop desk on a bed.

To be fair: "Using it in bed" wasn't on the list of requirements.

(and I hope that requirement also clears up Bud's concerns...)
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2020, 03:06:44 pm »
Blueskull,

Thank you for details.

1. Micsig screen does have limited contrast from below. But as you said I am 196cm tall, so looking from above most of the time. I see how it can be problem to others.

2. Taking into account what you explained, and knowing you, in your place I would take Pico. All the math you mention is there in software. And math on math, on math .... Plus SDK, and Matlab and Labview drivers..
If you can, get 3000 series. It goes to 200 MHz, and 20GS/sec ETS. Trigger jitter is specified at 3 ps.
Also those get DeepMeasure, a statistical analysis of capture. An than you can export that and further analyse. You capture something and save it. Next day you open, and than do math and whatever you want.
I'm completely addicted to those Picos . :-DD

 
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Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2020, 03:12:36 pm »
1. Micsig screen does have limited contrast from below. But as you said I am 196cm tall, so looking from above most of the time. I see how it can be problem to others.

Well, I'm 178cm. That's a bummer.

2. Taking into account what you explained, and knowing you, in your place I would take Pico.

Too bad, I can only get 2000B series without international ordering. But I'll give the 2408B a shot. I'll get the distributor to bring all three and pick the one I feel the best.
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2020, 03:17:58 pm »
1. Micsig screen does have limited contrast from below. But as you said I am 196cm tall, so looking from above most of the time. I see how it can be problem to others.

Well, I'm 178cm. That's a bummer.

2. Taking into account what you explained, and knowing you, in your place I would take Pico.

Too bad, I can only get 2000B series without international ordering. But I'll give the 2408B a shot. I'll get the distributor to bring all three and pick the one I feel the best.

That's a good plan.
Good luck!
 

Online bdunham7

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2020, 03:37:35 am »
Also FYI, the reason I ever put the Fluke on the list is because I can get it for half MSRP (~$3000 tax included).

That would be tempting.  I haven't used that model of scopemeter, but I would guess that it probably has a ton of special functions but is not so strong in the general functions  you are looking for.  It probably doesn't have deskewing because it is intended for use mostly with its included probes and probably in applications that aren't as high-bandwidth.  I don't know how they deal with current probes and power measurements, though.  It is what I would want if I were working on some giant industrial power supply that could incinerate me, but maybe not in a lab. 

If you do get one, or get to try one, perhaps measure the difference between the four channels with the included probes.  I'd be curious to know how close they are right out of the box.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 03:43:59 am by bdunham7 »
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2020, 01:38:15 pm »
Also FYI, the reason I ever put the Fluke on the list is because I can get it for half MSRP (~$3000 tax included).

That would be tempting.  I haven't used that model of scopemeter, but I would guess that it probably has a ton of special functions but is not so strong in the general functions  you are looking for.

This. That meter looks like it's not a good general purpose oscilloscope. Phrases like "....deep memory up to 10,000 samples per channel" are particularly worrying.

It exists (and it's expensive) because of people who need an oscilloscope down the bottom of a mine in a watery CAT IV environment, not people who want to use on in bed.

I'd do a lot of investigation before buying one.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2020, 01:43:15 pm »
I ended up with the Fluke. It actually has segmented memory, or should I say, it has ONLY segmented memory mode. It automatically records 100 previous triggers regardless of settings. Deskewing is no a huge problem because it saves CSV, so I can align data in post processing.

I just got to have a fully magnetically isolated scope since I got bitten before by Keysight, which uses capacitive isolation and is horrible at high dv/di, and my curiosity mandates me to try out a scope with the other technology.

As for the shallow memory, well, being a long term Keysight user, I know how to deal with little memory using clever trigger settings and segmented memory. 3kpts*100*4ch is not too shallow anyways.

Detailed review coming soon.
 
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Offline blueskull

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2020, 01:44:20 pm »
It exists (and it's expensive) because of people who need an oscilloscope down the bottom of a mine in a watery CAT IV environment, not people who want to use on in bed.

I do also work with high power. I make a living for developing power electronics. Though not measuring them in bed.
 
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2020, 01:58:20 pm »
I ended up with the Fluke. It actually has segmented memory, or should I say, it has ONLY segmented memory mode. It automatically records 100 previous triggers regardless of settings. Deskewing is no a huge problem because it saves CSV, so I can align data in post processing.

I just got to have a fully magnetically isolated scope since I got bitten before by Keysight, which uses capacitive isolation and is horrible at high dv/di, and my curiosity mandates me to try out a scope with the other technology.

As for the shallow memory, well, being a long term Keysight user, I know how to deal with little memory using clever trigger settings and segmented memory. 3kpts*100*4ch is not too shallow anyways.

Detailed review coming soon.

Thanks for update.
 

Offline profanum429

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2020, 05:49:25 pm »
I have the older Fluke 199C and it works fantastic for me for portable uses; I think the 190-204 will be a good tool. Too bad R&S wasn't in the running (they took 6 weeks to ship to us even in the US so definitely not short lead time things); we've got one of the 4 channel 500MHz ScopeRiders at work with all the software options and that thing is amazing. It's like having a nice bench scope in a portable, isolated form. I love using it.
 

Online _Wim_

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2020, 05:05:28 pm »
Looking forward to hear what you think of the Fluke Fluke 190-204. I regularly use a Fluke 199c at work, and while it is nice to poke around in an industrial environment, I would not use it for electronics development, as it is really a very very basic scope. Due to safety constraints, scopes must be rated CAT IV, which pretty much rules out anything else, so hoping Fluke finally did a decent upgrade with the 190-204, as I would really love to have some more triggering options.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 05:11:05 pm by _Wim_ »
 

Offline kaz911

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2020, 09:04:02 pm »
I have the Fluke 190-202 and Rohde RTH.

Rohde RTH is the best for screen and usage by miles - I use it on outside without issues.

Only issue I have is screen visibility from above - that is not great. Every other direction is fine. And it has protocol decodes (expensive if not through the PK1 expansion) and logic probe option.

/k
 

Online _Wim_

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2020, 09:18:53 pm »
I have the Fluke 190-202 and Rohde RTH.

Rohde RTH is the best for screen and usage by miles - I use it on outside without issues.

Only issue I have is screen visibility from above - that is not great. Every other direction is fine. And it has protocol decodes (expensive if not through the PK1 expansion) and logic probe option.

/k

Thanks. I did not realize this RTH was also CAT IV rated. Hopefully we can fit one of those in when the annual budget "must" be spent before the end of this year...
 

Offline profanum429

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2020, 10:17:55 pm »
I have the Fluke 190-202 and Rohde RTH.

Rohde RTH is the best for screen and usage by miles - I use it on outside without issues.

Only issue I have is screen visibility from above - that is not great. Every other direction is fine. And it has protocol decodes (expensive if not through the PK1 expansion) and logic probe option.

/k

Thanks. I did not realize this RTH was also CAT IV rated. Hopefully we can fit one of those in when the annual budget "must" be spent before the end of this year...

Yes, the RTH is like using their lab scopes but in a Scopemeter form factor., whole bunch of decodes, triggering options, other fun little toys (if the appropriate packs are bought, base model is a bit sparse). Ours is a wonderful bit of kit, wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if we needed it.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2020, 10:49:41 pm »
I realize this thread started focusing on the Fluke, but I'm looking at the Micsic and since several people with experience on that scope are already subscribed it seems a quick way to reach everyone.

I'm coming up on a period of time where I'll be doing on-water development of a product for installation in watercraft, so I need a truly battery operated scope. I've been watching threads, videos, and comments about the Micsig STO1104C for quite a while knowing this need might arrive. I very much prefer a knob-based interface (as opposed to being totally touchscreen or using multi-function softkeys for everything). 100MHz is more than enough bandwidth for this in-field work but four channels and good triggering are a must. Memory depth is sufficient for the intended use.

My specific questions are:

1) I see mention of a "STO1104E" or "E Plus" version. How does that differ from the original "C" version? EDIT: I finally found some data which suggests the differences are memory depth (28Mpts vs. 70) and capture rate (80K vs. 130K). Anything else?

2) Regarding the viewing angle issues reported in this thread... it's not clear to me if straight-on viewing works, or if you must be "above" a straight-on viewing angle. Can someone be a bit more specific, please? If this thing were flat on a table, where would your line of sight have to be in order to see the screen clearly?

3) Overall impressions, hopefully after ownership for a period of time. Does it hold up to travel if treated politely? Do you continue to like using it or are there things that just nag and nag until the frustration causes you to leave it unused on the shelf?

4) Recommended vendor for the US?

Thanks for any assistance!
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 10:57:44 pm by IDEngineer »
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2020, 11:20:02 pm »
I realize this thread started focusing on the Fluke, but I'm looking at the Micsic and since several people with experience on that scope are already subscribed it seems a quick way to reach everyone.

I'm coming up on a period of time where I'll be doing on-water development of a product for installation in watercraft, so I need a truly battery operated scope. I've been watching threads, videos, and comments about the Micsig STO1104C for quite a while knowing this need might arrive. I very much prefer a knob-based interface (as opposed to being totally touchscreen or using multi-function softkeys for everything). 100MHz is more than enough bandwidth for this in-field work but four channels and good triggering are a must. Memory depth is sufficient for the intended use.

My specific questions are:

1) I see mention of a "STO1104E" or "E Plus" version. How does that differ from the original "C" version? EDIT: I finally found some data which suggests the differences are memory depth (28Mpts vs. 70) and capture rate (80K vs. 130K). Anything else?

2) Regarding the viewing angle issues reported in this thread... it's not clear to me if straight-on viewing works, or if you must be "above" a straight-on viewing angle. Can someone be a bit more specific, please? If this thing were flat on a table, where would your line of sight have to be in order to see the screen clearly?

3) Overall impressions, hopefully after ownership for a period of time. Does it hold up to travel if treated politely? Do you continue to like using it or are there things that just nag and nag until the frustration causes you to leave it unused on the shelf?

4) Recommended vendor for the US?

Thanks for any assistance!

Hi!

To answer to questions:

1. E Plus has more acquisition memory.  C has 28MS total, E plus has 70 MS total. To me not worth doubling the price. All else is same AFAIK.
2. Best view angle is at right angle or slightly above.  It has stand in the back that puts it at proper angle when on desk.
3. It feels sturdy and good quality. Encoders are nice and firm. It has no major problems, but it's basic scope. It has no AC RMS measurement. It has no measurement statistics. You have table mode for decodes but only full screen. So it's ether graphic mode with waveform or table mode. You can't switch between graphic and table decoding without loosing data. There is no segmented memory. CAN is only basic CAN, there is no CAN FD.

All in all, what i has works very well, it is good quality, battery runs for 5+ hours and is well worth the money for what it is. Question is : is it enough of the scope for you?

Feel free to ask specific questions about use, I will answer if I can...

regards,
SiniĊĦa
 

Offline IDEngineer

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Re: Best portable 4ch scope
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2020, 12:16:12 am »
1. E Plus has more acquisition memory.  C has 28MS total, E plus has 70 MS total. To me not worth doubling the price. All else is same AFAIK.
Then I agree. Not worth the price just for extra memory and waveform acq speed. Thanks for the confirmation.

Quote
2. Best view angle is at right angle or slightly above.  It has stand in the back that puts it at proper angle when on desk.
If the stand has it "leaning back" from straight up and down, then they presume your head will be above the scope, correct? Hence the comments about being "tall enough". I think I understand. The poor visibility would occur if your line of sight is below perpendicular of the screen. Do I have that correct?

Quote
3. It feels sturdy and good quality. Encoders are nice and firm. It has no major problems, but it's basic scope. It has no AC RMS measurement. It has no measurement statistics. You have table mode for decodes but only full screen. So it's ether graphic mode with waveform or table mode. You can't switch between graphic and table decoding without loosing data. There is no segmented memory. CAN is only basic CAN, there is no CAN FD.
That's OK, not buying it for protocol decode (have other solutions for that when necessary).

Quote
All in all, what i has works very well, it is good quality, battery runs for 5+ hours and is well worth the money for what it is. Question is : is it enough of the scope for you?
Sounds like it will do the job! I need a digital storage scope with four channels that can display analog waveforms to a few 10's of MHz. Traditional triggering is adequate. The ability to capture four signals and then zoom in/out and back/forth pretty much covers it. And it runs on a battery for 50%+ of a working day. If it's rugged enough to last a while - and it sounds like you think so - then we have a winner.

Any chance you can plug in a USB stick and grab screenshots? That's mighty useful and I don't want to have to connect up a laptop via USB or Ethernet just to capture screenshots. It says you use a mouse so I presume it has at least one USB port.
 


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