Author Topic: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?  (Read 9215 times)

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Offline TimFox

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #75 on: August 03, 2019, 01:22:05 pm »
Going back to the original question, here is my approach for troubleshooting with an oscilloscope:
If I don't have a clue, inititally, what the problem is, I use the analog CRO.
Once I know what's going on, and need to make a measurement or a single-sweep capture, I use the digital unit.
 
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Offline 001

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #76 on: August 03, 2019, 02:00:09 pm »
Thanx a lot! Yours opinions are great hope to me.
It is slightly esoteric but I mean what some sort of medieval era is coming. I.e. electronics became "timeless science"  :-+
 

Online chris_leyson

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2019, 06:41:18 pm »
No not anymore. Used a Tek 7854 up until 2017, not bad for a 400MHz analog scope and you get the benefit of a 10-bit digitizer. You also get the benefit of having to repair them several times a year.
 
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Offline 0culus

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #78 on: August 03, 2019, 09:17:29 pm »
At least it's repairable. I have my doubts as to whether the current cream of the crop test equipment will remain serviceable for as long. Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2019, 09:33:21 pm »
Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.

Yeah, but what's going to break? There's no high voltage, a simple switch-mode supply only a couple of power rails, a single PCB with a handful of chips on it...

A lot of them use standard chips, too. Off the shelf FPGAs, RAM and ADC. Avoiding the ASICs isn't difficult.

Plenty of old boat anchors have custom chips, too.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2019, 09:54:38 pm »
Many of the older Tek scopes are full of custom chips and other esoteric parts made of pure unobtainium. The CRT too, nobody is making or rebuilding those anymore and they have a finite life and are easily damaged. You can substitute any other display for the CRT in an analog scope.

One benefit of the modern stuff is it's far cheaper than the old gear was when new so it's produced in larger numbers and is cheap enough that it can be replaced if not repaired.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2019, 09:59:28 pm »
At least it's repairable. I have my doubts as to whether the current cream of the crop test equipment will remain serviceable for as long. Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.
Judging by the TEA thread you could go through a lot of analogue device repairs before you ever run into a digital device one.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2019, 10:25:42 pm »
At least it's repairable. I have my doubts as to whether the current cream of the crop test equipment will remain serviceable for as long. Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.
Judging by the TEA thread you could go through a lot of analogue device repairs before you ever run into a digital device one.

That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline james_s

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2019, 10:28:46 pm »
Sure but that's a hobby in itself. I don't really enjoy repairing my gear, I want to use it to debug/repair other things. Occasionally I'll pick up a broken instrument to tinker with but generally I'm just really hoping my scope doesn't break because they're all a bit fiddly to work on and any decent scope is going to have some esoteric parts in it.
 
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Offline DaJMasta

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2019, 10:44:29 pm »
That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.

The one where even the block diagram isn't spelled out for you but you trace out the fault, ID the part, and fix the behemoth  ;)


It's definitely easier to repair gear with bigger parts and full schematics, but you run into the same issue with unobtanium parts on old gear as you do on new, and often newer stuff isn't driven as hard to achieve its performance, so even solid state bits can last longer.  The bigger thing is that I don't think even the designers of ye olde premium test equipment of yore expected their gear to be serviceable or have replacement parts after 40 years of service (the Tek 7854 launched in 1980).... so why is it an expectation that my Keysight or R&S gear from 2010 will have replacement parts or assemblies available in 2050?

Maybe by then they'll release some service manuals too  ;D
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2019, 10:49:09 pm »
That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.
Neither, as I'm not looking for projects to be added on the pile when I'm trying to finish others.  :) Oscilloscopes are a means and not an end. By that metric gear that breaks most often would be best. It may be to some but that's not for me.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2019, 11:07:00 pm »
Going back to the original question, here is my approach for troubleshooting with an oscilloscope:
If I don't have a clue, inititally, what the problem is, I use the analog CRO.
Once I know what's going on, and need to make a measurement or a single-sweep capture, I use the digital unit.
Maybe you have never used a DSO with a decent toolbox of fault finding tools.

There's not much that will escape Persistance and color grading for you to then adjust trigger settings to reliably catch any event.
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Online tautech

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2019, 11:59:04 pm »
That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.
Sure, while the already diminishing pool of parts mule CRO's still exists. Costs for them are rising as the demand for replacement bits increases.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #88 on: August 04, 2019, 12:28:39 am »
That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.
Sure, while the already diminishing pool of parts mule CRO's still exists. Costs for them are rising as the demand for replacement bits increases.

Shrug. So what; even where true that does not invalidate my statement. It does tend to reduce the need to buy a new low-end DSO, e.g. a Siglent (chosen for reasons given under your name on the left of the window)

Besides, why pick on CRTs? There are plenty of other failure mechanisms.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline 0culus

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #89 on: August 04, 2019, 12:53:42 am »
Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.

Yeah, but what's going to break? There's no high voltage, a simple switch-mode supply only a couple of power rails, a single PCB with a handful of chips on it...

A lot of them use standard chips, too. Off the shelf FPGAs, RAM and ADC. Avoiding the ASICs isn't difficult.

Plenty of old boat anchors have custom chips, too.

Sure, but 30 years down the road, who the heck knows? Computers (which most TE these days really is, a computer with some expensive peripherals) regularly fail in under a decade from the original purchase.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #90 on: August 04, 2019, 01:11:31 am »
That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.
Sure, while the already diminishing pool of parts mule CRO's still exists. Costs for them are rising as the demand for replacement bits increases.

Shrug. So what; even where true that does not invalidate my statement. It does tend to reduce the need to buy a new low-end DSO, ....
Yes but it should not be seen as the cheapest option as age of these old gears is now taking its toll.
If your particular bent is for the higher end CRO's then the additional cost of parts mules cannot be overlooked.

Quote
Besides, why pick on CRTs? There are plenty of other failure mechanisms.
I never mentioned CRT's in particular but yes how you mention it they are also common failure point.
The EHT supply and its associated componentry are typically under some heat stress where divider networks drift to let the scope go out of Cal. Plate output amps also fail as the HV also stresses them and typically the BJT's used back then weren't given much voltage headroom. On several occasions I've uprated CRT output amps to a more capable BF259.
Oxidising contacts and pot wipers are a relatively small inconvenience but still an annoyance that the modern DSO doesn't suffer.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #91 on: August 04, 2019, 01:26:11 am »
At least it's repairable. I have my doubts as to whether the current cream of the crop test equipment will remain serviceable for as long. Certainly once it breaks, you will be faced with a broad array of unobtainium parts and boards that are intended to be replaced rather than repaired.
Judging by the TEA thread you could go through a lot of analogue device repairs before you ever run into a digital device one.

That's because when you have a fault on a modern digital scope, you look at it and realise repair is impractical at best - and give up. With a classic analogue scope you feel that can puzzle out a fault and rectify it. So you do, or at least have a good crack at it.

Guess which is more interesting and satisfying.

I still repair all my old equipment, including my DSOs and I do find some satisfaction in it.       



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Offline nigelwright7557

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #92 on: August 04, 2019, 05:02:24 am »
While I design USB scopes I rarely use them in every day work.
My test equipment consists of Hitachi 15Mhz scope and a sig gen.
Scope was about £40 second hand and sig gen was about £25 second hand.
Had them for many years now.

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Offline Gyro

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #93 on: August 04, 2019, 10:42:00 am »
Just curious, who do you design USB scopes for? Pico?
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Offline LapTop006

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #94 on: August 04, 2019, 11:10:40 am »
Another thing I like about analog CROs: control inputs are immediate, and tactile. I get to spend time with two expensive digital scopes at work...I have a Tek TDS5k series 1 GHz DPO on my desk and there's a Keysight MSO-X 6k down in the lab. While both are amazingly capable, I absolutely despise having to navigate menus to find functions.  :wtf: Plus, control inputs have an annoying amount of latency between input and effect.
That's strange as Keysight's Megazoom oscilloscopes are famed for their immediate hardware accelerated response to inputs and not slowing down when more features are enabled. Does the 6K series run an additional "desktop" Windows layer?
I don't think it does; when it boots there is zero sign of windows. It absolutely is faster at responding to inputs than the DPO, which runs windows 2k.  :-DD But I can still feel that it's just not quite as immediate as my analog 'scopes at home. IMO, YMMV.  :-+

The current Keysight 6k scopes run embedded Windows. Other than taking a little while to boot they're very responsive, but yes still slower than an analog scope.

That said, I can't imagine using an analog scope for anything other than XY these days.
 
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Offline bob91343

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #95 on: August 04, 2019, 03:22:27 pm »
An analog 'scope is my main method of test.  I use the digital when I want precise readings but it's much more cumbersome to make casual measurements.

With the analog I have direct control over sensitivity and sweep speed.  Not the case for digital, where the aliasing as well can cause spurious display.

Both units are of great use to me.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #96 on: August 05, 2019, 02:17:43 am »
The custom parts in old oscilloscopes are usually not a reliability problem.  Mechanical issues are far more common.
 
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #97 on: August 05, 2019, 09:47:56 am »
FWIW for a quickie 'one off' test or measurement, I can get things rockin in a flash, on just about any analogue oscilloscope, without stuffing about with DSO menus
and especially my pet meh of shared controls on 4 channel DSOs  |O

and "Dude, where's my external trigger socket n controls gone..?!"  :-//

and "is this really supposed to be X-Y ?!!"   :palm:


That said, if I need to capture something elusive, the DSO comes into it's own  :clap:   

And then there's the gone but not quite forgotten analogue storage oscilloscopes with variable persistence,
and some lower bandwidth jobs with split screens etc (anyone remember those awesome beasts?)
that fit somewhere between the two above. 

Hey, if you can afford the extra dollars and bench space (or use them upright on the floor), why not have both an analogue and DSO oscilloscope and cover most bases ?

As far as repairs go, if the DSO goes belly up past the corporat pushed designer planned 'hurry up and use it, then buy another' date  :D, you may as well flog or donate it for parts
or get in a free pump with the dusty sledge

The analogue cros have a better chance of being Frankenfixed, assuming you have a service manual and reluctant parts donor  :scared:

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #98 on: August 05, 2019, 10:05:55 am »
And then there's the gone but not quite forgotten analogue storage oscilloscopes with variable persistence,
and some lower bandwidth jobs with split screens etc (anyone remember those awesome beasts?)
that fit somewhere between the two above. 

Don't forget the dual beam (not channel) analogue storage scopes. If you are capturing a fast single-shot event, alt mode will miss it and chop mode will mutilate (at best) it. Dual beam removes that dilemma :)

The related dilemma with DSOs is ADCs that are shared between channels.

Having said that, nobody used analogue storage scopes because they liked them. You used them when nothing else would capture your problem.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Do You still use analog oscilloscopes in 2019?
« Reply #99 on: August 05, 2019, 10:18:31 am »
I forgot about mentioning the dual beam  :palm: only because I could not source one (or afford it..)
and I had a forgotten  :-// workaround/poor mans dual beam arrangement using a pair of same model oscilloscopes one on top of the other
with a mutual trigger arrangement. i.e. it worked great but I can't remember how I did it =  :horse:

Yep, dual beam rules, two channels, no alternating or chop to think about, and basically WYSIsort ofWYG  8)

« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 10:26:12 am by Electro Detective »
 


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