Author Topic: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me  (Read 10823 times)

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Offline meltbox360

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Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« on: June 02, 2013, 11:20:39 pm »
Hi everyone! I have been lurking around these forums for a few weeks now reading about different scopes. I'm looking to buy one myself that is under $600 and preferably under $500 but $650 is pretty much the firm limit. I've looked through everything from the Owon SDS series to the Instek scopes and I've noticed there are a few tradeoffs that are generally found.

1. Screen size

There are no real "legitimized" players offering large screens in my price range. The Owon is somewhat legitimate but it seems that Rigol has it beat there perhaps due to Agilent rebranding their scopes?

2. wfms/s

This one is really bothering me. I am having trouble finding numbers for this anywhere except that the Owon is pretty bad except for at higher memory depths.

3. Quality of build / internals

Internals are hard to judge but build quality seems to be pretty bad with Hantek and good with Owon with Rigol coming in between. Not sure about Instek.

Those are just three things off the top of my head. Please correct me if what I am saying is blatantly false. I'm looking for a scope to help me with my latest hobby of motor controller design. I am mostly concerned about getting a scope that shows me an accurate waveform without distortions. After that I am torn between higher memory the owon offers and other scopes with potentially higher wfms/s although I'm not sure if I will need it in motor controller design. Essentially I am looking on advice on what I should prioritize in a scope and why. If you have any specific suggestions they are welcome. If you have a place I can buy with warranty in the US that would be even better.

Scopes I am looking at now:
Owon sds7102
Rigol DS1102E
Instek GDS1102A-U
Atten ADS1102CAL

Scopes I looked at in addition:
Hantek 5102B

Thanks!
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 02:09:39 am »
Perhaps I should have mentioned that I will also use this scope for other things afterwards like simple power supplies and the such. I should also mention I have no idea what I'm talking about and what I said in my previous post might not make sense in places but I'm doing the best I can with my limited knowledge. Thanks.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 02:18:18 am »
I'd say the most important thing you've brought up is the warranty. You'd be silly to make a $500 purchase with no recourse if something goes wrong, especially since none of the budget scope manufacturers are especially well known for incredibly high build quality.

You will have trouble finding waveform/sec information. That's part of why so many scope reviews attempt to measure it. Hopefully there are people here who know numbers (or can be bothered to look them up :)) who can chime in with them, because I really don't know.

As for screen size, I don't think it's really that important, but that's subjective of course. I do most of my work on a daily basis on an analog scope with a 12x10cm screen and I don't think I've really ever wished for bigger; as long as you can turn off the menus on the digital scope with a quick button press I think you'll find the same thing. I'm sure there are applications for larger screens (more sophisticated scopes with serial decode features and whatnot, for one), but I'd reconsider that.

I can't really speak about build quality. The only one I've ever been inside is the Rigol. I was generally impressed.
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Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 03:02:11 am »
A little off topic. Is there a thanks button on this forum?

The only thing that I am unsure of in terms of the Rigol is overclocked and interleaved ADCs. That and I hear the Owon actually is a bit better in terms of hardware. I would order either of these two from Saelig so there would be a warranty. I really want to go with the Owon but I'm a little put off by the super low wfms/s across the board. Although it does perform well at high memory depths. That and I hear that the Rigol interface is much better laid out.

Did you find the Rigol was ever inadequate in use and if so in what situations? I'm assuming most people have another scope for these situations but for at least the next 4.5 years I will most likely not so this is kind of a difficult purchase. I suppose I'll learn to use it no matter the circumstance. I really do like that the Rigol isn't so light that is slides around during use though. Owon has that against it.
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 03:06:30 am »
I had... Instek GDS-1102A-U

was the best in that class/range...
also better than Uni-T 2xxx series.
& has lifetime warranty.

Fan was noisy, Probes were not exactly x10, and scope didn´t had fine probe compensation, probes were x5.5,  but scope only had x5.0 "useless for high voltage measurement, 120vac was displayed as 140v or something." 600vac was like 700vac., but worked no problems.
self-calibration was needed often "each week" or when moving it too much, or if room temperature was very different.

cpu/gpu was slower when doing ftt,
internal clock was very accurate, the frequency counter was the best things.
1mV per Div, very low self noise floor, but sensible to bad Ac power like all, "don´t blame the scope if you have a zillion SwitchMode PSUs connected to the same AC power line."

Sold it because all depends on the purpose.
for a 100Mhz 1GSa/s was very nice, better than any hand held Fluke, and is very portable...
but the stuff i wanted to measure was not enough.

was great for doing most stuff... 555, etc...
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 03:39:53 am by JuanPC »
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 03:14:32 am »
Thanks Juan. Are you saying the probe was x5.5 instead of x10? Was there no x1? Does it have something like pass fail for trying to find periodic bugs? I know its a lot to ask of scopes of this price range to be good at this on top of everything else but maybe... just maybe.
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 03:19:56 am »
the probes had x1 & x10, but x10 was way off :-/O , i guess that´s why there are $5OOOusd. probes.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 03:21:44 am »
Did you find the Rigol was ever inadequate in use and if so in what situations?

Looking at very small signals. The noise floor is a bit high. Par for the course for an inexpensive digital, remember that, though it did irritate me. I don't know how it compares to its cousins but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find something a bit quieter, if noise floor is important to you. Beyond that, nothing that wasn't defined by its class (I certainly wished for more bandwidth and channels sometimes, but "only two channels" can hardly be called a drawback of a two-channel scope.)

Quote
I really do like that the Rigol isn't so light that is slides around during use though. Owon has that against it.

Yes, it is solid. It doesn't quite have a "Tektronix/Agilent aura", but it still gives me the feeling of good build quality, both inside and out. The overclocked ADCs feel a bit dodgy, but they do work.
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Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 03:48:49 am »
Okay well lets bring it to the Rigol and Owon only now. Yes I know there are other threads like this but since I would buy either from Saelig the question here is mostly about the following factors:

-Noise
-Accuracy of waveforms
-WFMS/S at different settings
-Quality of probes (From what I gather Owon does a little better here.)
-Interface
-Build quality

Just listing things as a suggestion for people to talk about if they have experience with either scope. Other factors are also more than welcome in the discussion. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far and touched on these points.
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 03:56:44 am »
Okay well lets bring it to the Rigol and Owon only now. Yes I know there are other threads like this but since I would buy either from Saelig the question here is mostly about the following factors:

-Noise
-Accuracy of waveforms
-WFMS/S at different settings
-Quality of probes (From what I gather Owon does a little better here.)
-Interface
-Build quality

Just listing things as a suggestion for people to talk about if they have experience with either scope. Other factors are also more than welcome in the discussion. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far and touched on these points.

Electric Noise or Acoustic Noise?
forget about WFMS/S in that price range.
Most important is clock accuracy, when measuring Frequency & Time signals...

for example:



the Instek GDS-1102A-U when measuring FTT was >8k accurate, and when measuring a MasterClock, signal displayed was steady as a rock.
*Yellow is the Built-in SquareWave Generator of the Oscilloscope,




12.228MHz.SQR

« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 04:32:24 am by JuanPC »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 03:57:23 am »
-Quality of probes (From what I gather Owon does a little better here.)

Oh yeah. I f-ing hate the Rigol probes. Stupid little flimsy shrouds on the BNC plugs that come right off (no problem if they do, because they're pointless wanky decorative shit anyway), stiff BNC plugs that need to be jammed onto the connectors with enough force to pulverize stone (and even more to extract them), stiff cables and a X1-X10 switch that sticks out like nothing you've ever seen, just ready to be hit when you're not paying attention. Oh, and a stupidly long ground lead, making work around anything above 80 MHz or so an exercise in futility unless you improvise an alternate probe. I've got some cheapass $20 Chinese probes I got on Amazon that make these hang their heads in shame.  :rant:

I don't think you should judge the scope by its probes though. Probes are easy to replace.

-Interface

I find the Rigol's UI quite navigable and intuitive, and this is coming from someone who usually chooses to live deep in analog-land and thinks menus are the devil.
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Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 05:03:32 am »
Hah c4757p your post was quite entertaining in its wording. Juan I am a little unsure of what those videos were showing. I was talking about electrical noise though. We're they showing the accuracy of for example frequency measurements?

Also good point probes are replaceable. Juan is being rather convincing. I found the instek on tequipment.net Can anyone comment on the vendor. Were they offer a discount to forum members or was that someone else?
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 08:21:12 am »
Also be careful soldering to things near where the a rigol probe is clipped to.
The plastic bit that the hook pushes against will melt very easy if heat transfers through the hooked wire.
It will ruin the probe hook attachment pretty quickly.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 08:22:54 am by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 09:11:01 am »
Hah c4757p your post was quite entertaining in its wording. Juan I am a little unsure of what those videos were showing. I was talking about electrical noise though. We're they showing the accuracy of for example frequency measurements?

Also good point probes are replaceable. Juan is being rather convincing. I found the instek on tequipment.net Can anyone comment on the vendor. Were they offer a discount to forum members or was that someone else?

http://www.tequipment.net/InstekGDS-1102A-U.html
http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/instek/oscilloscopes/gds-1102a-u.htm
http://www.amazon.com/Instek-GDS-1102A-U-Display-Oscilloscope-Bandwidth/dp/B009D6OAFS/ref=sr_1_1?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1370250455&sr=1-1&keywords=Instek+GDS-1102A-U
http://www.testequity.com/products/4234/

i bought from eBay, i guess it was testequipmentdepot, or could be testequity or tequipment, cant remember.
 

Offline Yaksaredabomb

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 11:49:58 am »
Evan of Tequipment.net posted this is in the General Chat section:
Special Price FOR EEVblog Members
 
I sent him a PM for the code last Saturday (6/1) and haven't heard back yet, but then I didn't/don't expect a response until business hours this week.
My display name changed June 6th from "jneumann" to "Yaksaredabomb"
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2013, 07:36:36 pm »
Depending on the possible discount I would consider a more expensive scope. Do you have any idea what kind of discounts people have gotten. Although I doubt doubt markup on these scopes is huge.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 07:50:01 pm »
Also be careful soldering to things near where the a rigol probe is clipped to.
The plastic bit that the hook pushes against will melt very easy if heat transfers through the hooked wire.
It will ruin the probe hook attachment pretty quickly.

Soldering? I had an overheating transistor do that...  ::)
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Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2013, 12:03:56 am »
Yea.... Definitely buying new probes if I get a the Rigol... Does anyone have any thoughts on the Instek? From what I understand they are good quality and there is US support. How good is Tequipment with helping if something breaks? And finally a question to Juan, what would you say the shortcomings of the scope are? Thanks again.
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2013, 04:50:47 am »
Yea.... Definitely buying new probes if I get a the Rigol... Does anyone have any thoughts on the Instek? From what I understand they are good quality and there is US support. How good is Tequipment with helping if something breaks? And finally a question to Juan, what would you say the shortcomings of the scope are? Thanks again.

I don´t understand what you mean by the shortcomings of the scope?,
 the only thing to be aware was that horizontal knobs were too sensible, stepped but the steps were soft, not as hard step as other stepped knobs, so getting in between steps is easy & that can make the scope values change.
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2013, 05:36:03 am »
I mean I there anything you wished it had other the higher sample rate or frequency. Usage type stuff wfms related stuff included. As a side note does it have a pass fail mask option?
 

JuanPC

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2013, 06:38:12 am »
I mean I there anything you wished it had other the higher sample rate or frequency. Usage type stuff wfms related stuff included. As a side note does it have a pass fail mask option?

do you mean the GO/NOGO Function?
http://www.gwinstek.com/en/product/productdetail.aspx?pid=3&mid=7&id=1298
{MORE}
Quote
Go/NoGo testing function check whether the incoming signal violates the user-defined template.Users can easily define this template by setting the tolerance ratio to determine violation conditions.Go/NoGo testing can either keep counting violation number or stop testing when violation conditions are met.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 06:46:04 am by JuanPC »
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2013, 01:45:05 pm »
Yes! Forgot the name  |O
Did you find that ever useful or that it worked well if you did use it?
 

Offline Yaksaredabomb

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2013, 03:27:06 pm »
Evan of Tequipment.net posted this is in the General Chat section:
Special Price FOR EEVblog Members

I sent him a PM for the code last Saturday (6/1) and haven't heard back yet, but then I didn't/don't expect a response until business hours this week.
Depending on the possible discount I would consider a more expensive scope. Do you have any idea what kind of discounts people have gotten. Although I doubt doubt markup on these scopes is huge.
Evan wrote me back this morning and also updated the above thread.  The discount is 6%.  Send him (tequipment) a pm for the code.  He is allowing members to share the code, so you can ask me for it too if you'd like.

Also, it sounds like the update to their site is going to be substantial and pretty impressive compared to today's version.  More info to come from him in the next couple months.
My display name changed June 6th from "jneumann" to "Yaksaredabomb"
 

Offline meltbox360

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2013, 03:32:45 pm »
He pmd me quick. Thanks. Can you apply multiple codes? Their website has been 5% code on it.
 

Offline Yaksaredabomb

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Re: Help Pick A Scope Right For Me
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2013, 05:04:02 pm »
He pmd me quick. Thanks. Can you apply multiple codes? Their website has been 5% code on it.
I'm guessing you can only do one code at once.  Also, note codes cannot be used on the website when paying with PayPal.  They'll still give the discount but you need to get a special quote/contact them about it to make it work.
My display name changed June 6th from "jneumann" to "Yaksaredabomb"
 


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