Author Topic: Scope: Instek GDS-1102A-U, Rigol DS1102E, Owon SDS7102, Hantek DSO5102B, Other?  (Read 32004 times)

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Offline marmad

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@jneumann:

BTW, I've used and compared a Rigol DS1052E, Owon SDS7102, and a Hantek DSO5062B - and in terms of UI, reliability, and 'doing what they claim' - the Rigol is the clear favorite.

Unfortunately, the tiny screen on the Rigol 1000E series was a deal breaker for me - and the Owon is definitely NOT the scope to get for design and debugging (it's a good deal if you do mostly repair work) - and the Hantek was a little too buggy and had the feel of low build quality.

I understand your concern about 'price creep' - slowly justifying spending more and more on an electronic device. But as I've written elsewhere, I returned all of the scopes above because I felt each one was frustrating in some respect - and that if I kept any of them, I would need another DSO within a couple of years. So the question became - is it more of a savings to buy a $300-$500 DSO now (and then another a couple of years down the line) - or spend an extra $300-$500 now for something I will be happy with for several years? I believe the difference in quality and features that the jump from $300-$500 DSO to $800-$1000 DSO gets you is substantial.
 

Offline saturation

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You certainly give this issue a great deal of thought, kudos to your diligence.

I agree fully with marmads viewpoint. 

Most low end scopes take measurements from the screen, I can confirm 100% the Rigol 1052e does this.  It does hold to its published accuracy of ~0.4%, see spec sheet for details.  Like typical analog scopes, measurement is most accurate when waveforms fill the screen without overshoot, and you have at least 3-4 cycles on screen.  If you play with amplitude and/or number of cycles, keep auto measurement on, you can watch the measures change dynamically, starting with the LSD of the values.

On the smaller screen of Rigol, you can always turn off menus to get the biggest screen real estate possible, toggling in and out as needed.   You can also pan and scan captured waveforms before and after the trigger point.

The only issues I would find with long term usability in the smaller Rigol screen size is if it were 4 analog channels and/or with digital signals, but I can work with it.  Here's a sample of the screen at its most crowded in the D version of the Rigol.  I think they put the real estate to maximum good use.



As it is, the Rigol 1052e can display 4 waveforms simultaneously, 2 analog, math and a reference waveform.
However, working it is not an issue.  When I need to time a waveform, I view only one channel.  If a need a relationship, I use both analog channels, flip the other one off to measure one channel better.  If I need FFT or math, I view 1 or 2 source channels and FFT to insure all is well, then use FFT alone to get maximum resolution.

The only hardware issues with the scope reported in the past 2+ years are the encoders get dirty with time, act erratically, some knobs crack spontaneously, and rarely folks seem to damage the On/OFF switch knob [ very commonly if you open the case.]  Hellene and others reported much higher base noise than most models.

Firmware 2.05+ have mixed bug reports, depending on which firmware version you have.  Google Rigol problems.  My guess is in an attempt to twart hacking, they've introduced bugs that didn't exist in older firmware versions, so whomever you buy it from insure its easy to return it too.

http://hardcoreforensics.com/blog/2011/01/15/rigol-ds1052e-gash-product/

See eevblog archive posts for photos too.  The only issue I've had is the erratic encoder switch but its not bad enough I'd want to disassemble the unit and clean or replace it as others have, my firmware is 2.04.



...

Can any owners of a Rigol 1052 or 1102 with recent firmware confirm or deny this behavior?  Do measurements on a single-shot recording change as you zoom in and out on it?   Since part of the purpose of this thread is to try to get up to date info on these changing scopes I think this will be helpful in general as well as helpful for me.

Thanks!

Jacob
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 04:53:44 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline tlu

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@jneumann:

BTW, I've used and compared a Rigol DS1052E, Owon SDS7102, and a Hantek DSO5062B - and in terms of UI, reliability, and 'doing what they claim' - the Rigol is the clear favorite.

Unfortunately, the tiny screen on the Rigol 1000E series was a deal breaker for me - and the Owon is definitely NOT the scope to get for design and debugging (it's a good deal if you do mostly repair work) - and the Hantek was a little too buggy and had the feel of low build quality.

I understand your concern about 'price creep' - slowly justifying spending more and more on an electronic device. But as I've written elsewhere, I returned all of the scopes above because I felt each one was frustrating in some respect - and that if I kept any of them, I would need another DSO within a couple of years. So the question became - is it more of a savings to buy a $300-$500 DSO now (and then another a couple of years down the line) - or spend an extra $300-$500 now for something I will be happy with for several years? I believe the difference in quality and features that the jump from $300-$500 DSO to $800-$1000 DSO gets you is substantial.

I would have to agree with Marmad on this. I would rather have a scope that would last me several years for a few hundred bucks more than to have to get a new one. The specs of the Rigol DS2072 looks very good. I'm considering one right now. I had to return the Hantek DSO5062B due to some major lock up that happened recently.

tlu
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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1) I believe this is a non-issue - with most - if not all - lower-end DSOs doing it.
....
2) With his image, he's comparing the noise level of a $4300 DSO to that of a $840 one.
....
3) This sounds to me like a sample length problem (i.e. if the memory depth is set correctly, this wouldn't happen).
This supposed 150000 wfrm/s of the UTD2102CM is clearly nonsense - or the 'honest mistake' of a typo. .... There is NO way I would believe what it's rate was unless verified by someone who wasn't selling it!

...why on Earth would you buy it when you can get a Rigol DS2072 (excellent build quality, beautiful display, 2GSa/s, 500uV, 50k wfrm/s, SCPI commands, etc) for $250 more??
@jneumann:

BTW, I've used and compared a Rigol DS1052E, Owon SDS7102, and a Hantek DSO5062B - and in terms of UI, reliability, and 'doing what they claim' - the Rigol is the clear favorite.

Unfortunately, the tiny screen on the Rigol 1000E series was a deal breaker for me - and the Owon is definitely NOT the scope to get for design and debugging (it's a good deal if you do mostly repair work) - and the Hantek was a little too buggy and had the feel of low build quality.

...So the question became - is it more of a savings to buy a $300-$500 DSO now (and then another a couple of years down the line) - or spend an extra $300-$500 now for something I will be happy with for several years? I believe the difference in quality and features that the jump from $300-$500 DSO to $800-$1000 DSO gets you is substantial.
Thank you for all your input, Marmad.  If many of the low-end scopes do it, apparently including the Agilent based on the "measurements and math functions are performed on displayed data" quote, then it sounds like it's nothing to be alarmed about.  Learning more every day.

I appreciate your respect of my attempt to avoid price creep.  So far no one had really tried to convince me to move from the $400-$500 range to the $800-$1000 range.  I guess I wasn't completely sure of myself as now I'm second-guessing whether my situation is different from yours.  I am expecting to use this device for maybe 5-10 years and it would defeat my attempt to save money if I ended up deciding to upgrade before that time.  On the other hand, though $400-$500 isn't peanuts it's also not so expensive I can't step up from it as better scopes are released and performance/price increases.  Spending twice that today would lock me in for a good long time, though, and be a lot more of a commitment for me.  I do believe you're quite right about the jump in quality and features being substantial, unfortunately haha.  Oh well - more to think about.

https://www.mortoncontrols.com/blog/files/category-oscilloscopes.html
Siglent SDS1102DL/CNL/CML  and atten's oscilloscope which maybe ODM by siglent.
Thanks for the link and scope ideas, Herman.  The article was interesting.

You certainly give this issue a great deal of thought, kudos to your diligence.

I agree fully with marmads viewpoint. 

Most low end scopes take measurements from the screen, I can confirm 100% the Rigol 1052e does this.  It does hold to its published accuracy of ~0.4%, see spec sheet for details.  Like typical analog scopes, measurement is most accurate when waveforms fill the screen without overshoot, and you have at least 3-4 cycles on screen.  If you play with amplitude and/or number of cycles, keep auto measurement on, you can watch the measures change dynamically, starting with the LSD of the values.

On the smaller screen of Rigol, you can always turn off menus to get the biggest screen real estate possible, toggling in and out as needed.   You can also pan and scan captured waveforms before and after the trigger point.  The only issues I would find with long term usability in the smaller Rigol screen size is if it were 4 analog channels and/or with digital signals, but I can work with it.
....
As it is, the Rigol 1052e can display 4 waveforms simultaneously, 2 analog, math and a reference waveform.
....
The only hardware issues with the scope reported in the past 2+ years are the encoders get dirty with time, act erratically, some knobs crack spontaneously, and rarely folks seem to damage the On/OFF switch knob [ very commonly if you open the case.]  Hellene and others reported much higher base noise than most models.
....
Thanks for writing again, Saturation.  I appreciate the kudos and helpfulness too vs shouting "ROLL THE DICE ALREADY!" haha.

I think I'm finally bending to the Rigol preference here, as it seems a reasonable and shared opinion (not to say smart people couldn't make a different choice).  Thanks for your perspective on whether the screen size is really an issue in daily use or not.  Though I've no doubt more than 4x the pixels would be nice, it doesn't seem like that would be a deciding factor for me anymore.  If I don't blow my budget out of the water here and go with a DS2000 or other scope in the $800-$1000 range I may finally be settling down on the DS1102E thanks to you and others here.

....I understand your concern about 'price creep' - slowly justifying spending more and more on an electronic device. But as I've written elsewhere, I returned all of the scopes above because I felt each one was frustrating in some respect - and that if I kept any of them, I would need another DSO within a couple of years. So the question became - is it more of a savings to buy a $300-$500 DSO now (and then another a couple of years down the line) - or spend an extra $300-$500 now for something I will be happy with for several years? I believe the difference in quality and features that the jump from $300-$500 DSO to $800-$1000 DSO gets you is substantial.

I would have to agree with Marmad on this. I would rather have a scope that would last me several years for a few hundred bucks more than to have to get a new one. The specs of the Rigol DS2072 looks very good. I'm considering one right now. I had to return the Hantek DSO5062B due to some major lock up that happened recently.

Well shucks.  With you, Marmad, and saturation all agreeing it would be better to have a better scope for several years than a scope that will "just scrape you by until an upgrade" maybe I'll have to revisit my budget.  I am sorry to hear of your problem with the Hantek, but I'm glad it came up now as I'd been pretty close to buying one myself.  Maybe another week and it would've been on order - after I decided what bandwidth to buy.  It may have just been a fluke problem but it might also mean not all the problems are gone - just emphasizing again the advantage Rigol holds in the "reliability" department.  Thanks for the update, anyhow!
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Offline tlu

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Hi Jneumann,

I'm curious as to where you are located as I'm in the states and in the process of considering the Rigol DS2072 as I've returned my Hantek DSO5062B due to some major lock up issues I've experienced. I'm trying to see which members on here who is also in the states are interested in the Rigol DS2072 so that we can come together somehow to do a group or volume purchase to get a discounted price.

I really have no clue on how to go about this and have asked a Rigol reseller by the name of John South to give any advice but have not heard back from him yet. As you may have already looked into the specs of the Rigol DS2072, it is very impressive for the price tag. And with all the built in hardware, it is a matter of hacking the firmware to get some of the higher end options enabled. Hopefully, some of the resident hackers on this forum like Tinhead is looking at this scope as I feel this is a great bargain. I'm also waiting on Marmad to do his review of this scope and give us his opinion as he is very knowledgeable and well verse in the ins and outs of dso.

tlu
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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I'm curious as to where you are located as I'm in the states and in the process of considering the Rigol DS2072 as I've returned my Hantek DSO5062B due to some major lock up issues I've experienced. I'm trying to see which members on here who is also in the states are interested in the Rigol DS2072 so that we can come together somehow to do a group or volume purchase to get a discounted price.
Fyi I posted on your other thread about this.  I'm in Indiana (USA).  Good luck getting a discount!

One specific project is the MSP430 $4.30 kit and associated DIP uC’s.  I’ve made a system to monitor and control my saltwater aquarium’s water levels but it has a few intermittent bugs and I feel so blind without a scope.  These uC’s have a 16MHz clock.  I’m sure I will want to work with other uC’s too hence the rounding to 20MHz.  I’m also interested in learning how to design simple PCBs so that will undoubtedly open up all kinds of new possibilities (I’ve heard breadboards are only good up to certain frequencies).  If you’re curious I’m looking at seeedstudio’s PCB service.  It starts at 9.90 USD total for 10 small boards which I can actually afford.
***In case I'm being an idiot, I'd like to show a bit of calculation on what the Hantek's smaller memory might mean for my example application.  For measuring a 16MHz digital clock, sampling at 500MS/s (dual-channel), I would have 31 samples per clock period (probably just fine for a square wave).  At a memory depth of 500k/channel I'd be able to store 1ms of samples which would cover 16,000 clock cycles.  Should the slower performance at max memory be an issue, I could reduce to 40k/channel.  In that case I'd be able to store 80us of samples which would cover 1,280 clock cycles.  From this I would conclude that maybe the shorter memory depth won't be much of an issue for me - or at least for this particular situation.  Feel free to yell at me if this conclusion seems fishy to anyone or I'm missing something.***
Would 2 channels, 100 MHz bandwidth, and 1 GS/s sampling rate fit my example application?  And does my rough calculation on what the Hantek's memory would mean for me look right and make sense?  Do I seem to be on the right track in terms of not only what's popular but what would fit my needs?  Asking for input on these things probably should have been my focus in the beginning.

Thanks for any feedback from that perspective.

So I have heard pretty good things about the DS2000 series.  Unfortunately to stay at 100 MHz bandwidth would cost me ~$1150 USD (DS2102), which is $300 more than the 70 MHz version (DS2072 at ~$840).  $300 isn't much short of the cost of the *whole scope* for a DS1102E, so to me that seems like a pretty big difference in cost.  Also, some of the more interesting and time-saving features of the 2000 series (like the serial decode) are priced at $222 USD.  Adding one such feature would either cost less than the 30 MHz upgrade in bandwidth and put me around $1050 total OR it would increase my total cost to ~$1400 if I added it to the 100 MHz scope!  $1000 more than I had in mind 3 days ago!!!  Yikes!!!!!

So I guess my point is, would anyone like to please comment on what bandwidth they think would be appropriate for what I'm thinking I'll mainly be using the scope for - ie, projects like the one quoted above?  20, 50, 100, 500 MHz? ???

Thanks again saturation for already commenting on this - I'm just asking because before I was looking at entirely 100 MHz scopes and now I'm trying to find out if it would really be worth the extra $300 to stay at 100 MHz versus move down to 70.  That's the "clean" trade off.  A slightly more complicated comparison is between the 70 MHz AND serial decode for $100 less than the 100 MHz and no serial decode.

This is just for the DS2000 series.  I'm opening a whole new can of worms even looking at scopes in this price range so there may be other series and brands I should look at too before I get too far ahead of myself.  For $850-$1150 I wouldn't be surprised if I could even get 4 channels or if it's a whole different playing field.

Thanks for anyone's comments on what bandwidth I should realistically be looking at as a minimum.  I'm flirting with the idea of going way above my budget and in that category I wouldn't be able to afford any overkill on bandwidth. (I know, I know - as if "overkill" was possible on bandwidth right? :P)
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Offline tlu

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Hi Jneumann,

Sorry I missed that from my other post about you being in the states as well. The more bandwidth the better according to Dave. Myself being a new player I think 70Mhz is plenty for me at the moment and I'm not messing with uC yet so serial decoding isn't necessary for now either but I do plan on uC in the future.

Being a student, budget is very tight for me. I'm just starting out in EE but I plan to pursue a life long career in it so a scope that would last me many years is a plus even if I have to shell out a little more than I wanted to.

A Tequipment.net there is a 5% discount for purchasing 5 or more Rigol brand. This is why I'm so adamant at gathering a group together. I do not know if there is an educational discount for students but I've emailed them about it and waiting on their feedback.

I would love to have 100Mhz or more dso if I can afford it but seeing how the BW can be upgraded with the Rigol DS2000 series, I'm just sticking to the base model and upgrade when needed. This a nice options and who knows, maybe in the future the upgrades will be cheaper?

tlu
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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A Tequipment.net there is a 5% discount for purchasing 5 or more Rigol brand. This is why I'm so adamant at gathering a group together. I do not know if there is an educational discount for students but I've emailed them about it and waiting on their feedback.

I would love to have 100Mhz or more dso if I can afford it but seeing how the BW can be upgraded with the Rigol DS2000 series, I'm just sticking to the base model and upgrade when needed. This a nice options and who knows, maybe in the future the upgrades will be cheaper?
Np on missing my post tlu - the timing was pretty close.

IRT bandwidth being upgradable on the Rigol DS2000 series, where did you read/hear that?  I haven't been able to find anything and Dave seems to think it's not possible (around 2:45):
http://youtu.be/TRy755StMak?t=2m38

It's a shame the BW can't be upgraded as the 200 MHz version is another $500 over the 100 MHz and there's simply no way I can spend $1600 this year.  That would be doubling my budget twice haha.  I could see in another 3-5 years pulling together another $500 though for that kind of upgrade if it was available.

Back to the question about what bandwidth, sampling rate, and memory depth are most appropriate for what I'm thinking I'll use the scope for, though:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/product-reviews-photos-and-discussion/scope-instek-gds-1102a-u-rigol-ds1102e-owon-sds7102-hantek-dso5102b-other/msg158283/#msg158283

Scope independent, *only considering my application* (not even necessarily what standard specs are available), what specs do people think I could get by with - without risking being "penny smart pound foolish"?

I do want to make sure whatever I get is useful and up to the task, and I may be convinced to scrape together the extra money to get a scope that will be the better long-term choice versus trying to go as cheap as possible and ending up with a useless scope (of course wasting money and in the end defeating my purpose for buying a scope).  When I'm already looking at doubling my budget though I can't be spending yet more 100's of dollars on top of doubling it unless that's where the facts lead.  Even then I may not have the actual spare dollars to spend that kind of money.  My wife has been quite supportive so far - even in considering a scope twice my initial budget - but I don't want to push her right up to the limit.

Thanks again to everyone, and I continue to hope I'm not the only person your input is helping.

Jacob
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Offline marmad

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IRT bandwidth being upgradable on the Rigol DS2000 series, where did you read/hear that?  I haven't been able to find anything...
It's not official,  but at least one knowledgeable 'insider' has hinted that it will come: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog-specific/eevblog-360-rigol-ds2000-oscilloscope-teardown/msg154787/#msg154787
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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IRT bandwidth being upgradable on the Rigol DS2000 series, where did you read/hear that?  I haven't been able to find anything...
It's not official,  but at least one knowledgeable 'insider' has hinted that it will come: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog-specific/eevblog-360-rigol-ds2000-oscilloscope-teardown/msg154787/#msg154787
Thanks for pointing that out, marmad!

It feels like a bit of a risk, given that the feature isn't available yet.  Even if the ability to upgrade BW is released (next year?  two years?) it may be limited to scopes produced after a certain date, or with a certain hardware revision.  Besides that the pricing is an unknown.  Though the DS2102 is ~$300 more than the DS2072 I'd guess the BW upgrade will cost more than that (or they'll never sell another DS2102 again).  It may be reasonable but it could also be $600.  Anyhow, if I knew BW was upgradable and at reasonable cost I'd be much more comfortable picking up a DS2072 sooner than later.

The question still remains as to what BW, sampling rate, and memory would be "reasonable" or the "minimum without missing the point of having a scope" for my application.

Depending on the answer to the above, or possibly in addition to it, another question will probably be "which scope is the best buy for $800-$1100 USD".  This may be best for another thread, since my title and first post are all geared towards the <$500 range, so I'd rather feel like I have a consensus on the first question first.

Thanks again everyone,
Jacob
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Offline marmad

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Depending on the answer to the above, or possibly in addition to it, another question will probably be "which scope is the best buy for $800-$1100 USD".
Jacob - I just posted a review of the Rigol DS2072 here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/product-reviews-photos-and-discussion/first-impressions-and-review-of-the-rigol-ds2072-ds2000-series-dso/
I'm quite impressed with the scope.
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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Jacob - I just posted a review of the Rigol DS2072....I'm quite impressed with the scope.
Great!  Thanks for hooking me up the minute you posted it!  I (and probably hundreds of others) appreciate the time you take to make and post these.
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Offline saturation

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One can always buy more capability and hold more bandwidth in reserve.  A problem however, is the bandwidth vs cost of scopes jump, so given the future has brought better devices, and or lower prices, you're best off if you need most of the devices functionality today to justify higher costs.  If you do the math, and compare other brands or lower bandwidth, you'll find 100 MHz for $400 probably the highest bang for buck.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline tlu

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True, but IMHO as technology evolves, the pricing should come down for older/legacy equipments. So, in the future, when the option opens up for BW upgrade for the DS2000 series line, this should ideally be cheaper. I could be wrong on this point but it would be bad business for the manufacture if they diverge from this route.
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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An update:

I've been busy with other things and thinking realistically about just when I'll have the time to actually use whichever scope I purchase.  There are a few projects my wife would like done so we can put cars back in the garage (it's starting to frost overnight and we leave for work before sunrise so we'll both like that).  Holidays are coming up, etc, so it's been a good opportunity for a "cooling off period".

This is still on my mind though and everyone's input will go to use as I definitely still plan to purchase a scope within the next 1-2 months.  At minimum I'll update again once I've decided and to say how I like it once it arrives.  In the meantime more input is of course welcome and I hope other people with similar requirements for a scope will find the thread useful in their own research.

...you're best off if you need most of the devices functionality today to justify higher costs.  If you do the math, and compare other brands or lower bandwidth, you'll find 100 MHz for $400 probably the highest bang for buck.
Thanks saturation.  I'm convinced you're right - 100 MHz for $400 is about the best price point for BW/$ out there right now for a "reasonable" scope.  If I really ought to get 100 MHz minimum and would be making a mistake by going down to 70 MHz, I'd probably get the lower-end Rigol DS1102E (if I were buying today).  If I wouldn't be shooting myself in the foot to only get 70 MHz, though, marmad's review has convinced me to give the DS2072 strong consideration and if buying today I'd probably spend the extra $400 over the 1102E to buy it.

True, but IMHO as technology evolves, the pricing should come down for older/legacy equipments. So, in the future, when the option opens up for BW upgrade for the DS2000 series line, this should ideally be cheaper. I could be wrong on this point but it would be bad business for the manufacture if they diverge from this route.
That's a great point tlu.  They can't charge outrageously for the BW upgrade or people won't see it as a real feature.  They also can't charge less for it though than the price difference in scopes.  I could see them charging $450+ for the 70 MHz > 100 MHz upgrade (vs $300 cost up front) and $1000+ for the 70 MHz > 200 MHz upgrade (vs $800 up front).

On the other hand, once a customer is out $850 they are "at the mercy of Rigol" for upgrade cost (especially with upgrade pricing not announced).  Even if the upgrade to 100 MHz is ridiculous at $600+, will the customer really go out and spend $1000+ on a new 100 MHz DS2102-equivalent scope to avoid paying it?  No that would not make sense.  And no matter what upgrade costs are, they are all assuming the scope can even be upgraded.  Trusted sources or not, I haven't seen an announcement from Rigol itself and that makes it a gamble (lol, even straight from Rigol itself may not be 100% guaranteed).  Hardware sold before a certain revision might not even be eligible for or compatible with a potential upgrade, since we can't be positive the different models are truly 100% the same hardware (though they look to be extremely similar).  Anyhow, my point is that I appreciate the intel on how BW may become upgradeable (or even hacked) but at this point I can only see it as a "possible perk" and must decide based on the idea that my 70 MHz scope would always be a 70 MHz scope.

I can't come up with a better analogy at the moment but I think most people understand I don't want to get a car with great sound system, heated seats, bluetooth, 20 cup holders etc but has a 50 HP engine (too low BW).  I also don't want a car with 400 HP and wood seats, no cruise control, no radio etc if I'll only ever drive on residential streets and never have need to "floor it" (settling for inferior other features to get more BW than I'll use).  Of course 70 MHz / 100 MHz and 1 GS / 2 GS aren't *that* far apart but I hope everyone understands me anyways.

That's why I'm so interested to hear what people think my true BW, sampling rate, and memory depth needs are:
Back to the question about what bandwidth, sampling rate, and memory depth are most appropriate for what I'm thinking I'll use the scope for, though:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/product-reviews-photos-and-discussion/scope-instek-gds-1102a-u-rigol-ds1102e-owon-sds7102-hantek-dso5102b-other/msg158283/#msg158283

Scope independent, *only considering my application* (not even necessarily what standard specs are available), what specs do people think I could get by with - without risking being "penny smart pound foolish"?
(and thanks again for your comment on this IRT the 100 MHz scopes being sufficient, saturation)

Thanks again everyone!  Jacob
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Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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This is pretty old now and almost not worth posting in again, but I wanted to give a final update in case anyone was still interested or curious.

As I've added to the top of the first post, I've fallen victim to spec creep.  I'm blaming it on the Rigol DS2072 (2-channel, 70MHz).  This scope was so clearly superior to the DS1102E (2-channel, 100MHz) in every aspect except bandwidth that it seemed well worth the ~840 USD cost (vs the 1102E at ~400 USD).  I was sorely tempted to buy the DS2072, despite being so close to finally deciding on the DS1102E.

It made me think quite a bit more about bandwidth, though.  100MHz versus 50MHz for ~$70 was an easy choice (DS1052E at ~330 USD).  $300 for the DS2000 series 70MHz > 100MHz upgrade was much harder to swallow.  I wondered if 70MHz would really be enough.  In the end, I found even 100MHz was a little "risky" as I researched more on the importance of bandwidth.

Looking at rise times, frequency components/Fourier transforms, "rules of thumb" (BW 5x the highest clock frequency), and noting that any signal or component even approaching the 3dB BW would be significantly attenuated it seemed that even a 100MHz BW could really be limiting.  That was especially true after increasing my digital area of interest to the 8MHz to 80MHz range from my original 20MHz cap.

The Rigol DS2202 (2-channel, 200MHz) was just too darn expensive though at ~1600 USD.  I noticed another scope in this price range and my spec creep was complete!  The Rigol DS1204B is a 4-channel, 200MHz scope selling for ~1400 USD.  Though the DS2000 series is quite amazing, I was going to have a hard time paying more for a 2-channel scope than a 4-channel scope of the same BW.

All of the sudden I was seriously considering 4-channel, 200MHz scopes at 3x the cost of the original 2-channel, 100MHz DS1102E front-runner.  Sure the DS1204B has a much worse display, waveform update rate, memory, and several other features, but it had the key features that mattered most: channels and BW (with sampling rate to match).

I wrote Rigol concerning the crazy $800 cost for the 70MHz > 200MHz, DS2072 > DS2202 upgrade (at least, compared to the $400 cost in the DS1000 and DS4000 series that flank the DS2000 series in the Rigol line up).  As expected they didn't have much to say about the pricing.  One representative echoed the importance of bandwidth, saying generally you can make due with less channels and features (with some frustration) but not less bandwidth.  They thought I'd probably be happiest purchasing the DS1204B, with the confidence of an easy return process within 30 days if the small screen, memory, waveform update rate, etc, etc were really too bothersome.  They were really quite helpful.

I then discovered used Agilent equipment.  Not old analog scopes, their new DSOX2000 and DSOX3000 series scopes!  With warranty and calibration, even.  I'm currently within maybe a week or so of buying an MSOX2024A (4-channel, 200MHz, 8 digital) for ~$2000.

The Agilent X2000 series is inferior to the Rigol DS2000 series in several ways, perhaps most notably in lack of memory depth and segmented memory.  However, for a $400 premium over the Rigol DS2202 I'd be getting a 4-channel, mixed-signal scope.  On top of the key features of two more channels and the digital inputs, I'd be getting a true made-by-Agilent scope, and the brand does carry some weight with me.  I think the $2k could be a good buy and worth it to me.

I've written Rigol again to see if they offer certified used scopes with warranty and calibration but haven't heard back yet.  If they do, and offer their used equipment at a similar discount, perhaps I can spring for a Rigol DS4024 4-channel, 200MHz scope for less than the Agilent.  It wouldn't have the digital inputs, but that isn't so important to me and the other features like memory, update rate, etc would make up for it.

So there it is.  I still have a little voice in the back of my head saying "Buy the DS1102E.  Save your money and buy a 4-channel Rigol DS2000 series if/when it comes out.  Or save it to buy whatever comes out 5 years from now.  Or save your money and put it towards something responsible like the mortgage.  Or save your money and do anything else with it - just don't blow $1600 more than you need to."

I don't know.  I think the MSOX2024A is worth 5x the DS1102E.  Twice the bandwidth, 3x the channels (counting 8 digital as worth 2 analog), 100x the update rate, 5x the pixels, the Agilent name, etc.  But does that mean I should buy it?

Anyhow, there's my last update for this thread.  People are still welcome to post here if they find something relevant to them, especially about the less expensive scopes mentioned in older posts, but please use the new thread I'll make shortly to make any comments about the new scopes I'm looking at.

Thank you all again for all your input.  It certainly hasn't gone to waste, and as I wrote in the first post I'm positive I'll be much happier with the purchase I make as a result of the discussion and your ideas.

Even writing things out and having to come up with words to explain what I'm thinking has been a helpful exercise.  Thanks for humoring me as I've worked my way through it.

Jacob
My display name changed June 6th from "jneumann" to "Yaksaredabomb"
 

Offline saturation

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It can be confusing if a purchaser hasn't clearly defined the specifications of their need.  If you are clear on it for today's use, not the future, its easier to choose.  FWIW, a recent buyer from tequipment.net got the 1052e for $300, delivered, see the forum thread.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline YaksaredabombTopic starter

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It can be confusing if a purchaser hasn't clearly defined the specifications of their need.  If you are clear on it for today's use, not the future, its easier to choose.  FWIW, a recent buyer from tequipment.net got the 1052e for $300, delivered, see the forum thread.
Yes, I'm sure it's nearly as frustrating for others as it is for the buyer his or herself.  Unfortunately there is not one specific task I have in mind so it did/does make it harder.

I do want some flexibility and to account for some unknowns in the future, which led towards maybe over-specing for what I really need.  Waiting this long has allowed me to save some more money, though, so that helps.  Or perhaps just makes it worse haha - before I really, really should've stuck in the $500 range, whereas now I have more room to breathe and that allows more possibilities.  Thanks again for your several inputs, Saturation.
My display name changed June 6th from "jneumann" to "Yaksaredabomb"
 


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