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I just used a fully digital oscilloscope for the first time

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Fried Chicken:
A Tektronix 1072b made for the education market.  I have to preface this:  Tektronix did a fantastic job with the interface.  The whole thing has an intuition to it that's fantastic.  The different colors are presented beautifully.  The fact that the knob has a light that indicates it needs to be used to change the settings is really clever.  Seeing the instantaneous measured frequency onscreen is similarly fantastic, and having a live FFT is the meat and potatoes.  Seeing a slow signal populate across the screen;  fantastic.  Same with the silent design.  No fan, no heat, just signals.

I say all that, because.  Wow is it a pain in the ass to use compared to my analog/solid state 2230.  Just from startup: the 2230 is on in about 5 seconds, the tektronix.... sit back, relax, there's a full boot sequence waiting to happen.  The interface on this digital thing is also a total disaster.  Manually setting a scale hunting a signal; it easily takes 5 seconds for the scale to update.  It's so easy to fly past the scale setting you want.  It's the same story with every. single. function.  There's no obvious indicator that the trigger is set to channel 2.  Trying to decipher that takes forever.  For a lot of things (AC vs Ground vs DC) requires going into a submenu that again, 5 seconds every time you do anything.  There is no guess and check, there is know, push, and wait.  Getting the beam centered around zero, I couldn't find a quick way to do it, and the ridiculously slow update meant trying to set it back where you wanted could put an autistic person over the edge and into the facilities.  There's no fast way of knowing what the current settings on the scope are.  There's no fast way to do anything with this scope.  On the 2230, it's a matter of seconds between starting the scope, click click click, boom I have the signal onscreen.  The buttons are all physical, the screen updates at the literal speed of light, if I get completely lost, I can quickly try each and every setting to see what/where it's at and go from there.  It's easier MUCH easier to pick up small nuances in a signal or what you're measuring.

Unreal, and this doesn't even get into the whole feel of using the thing.  I know that doesn't matter in this day and age, but it just didn't feel right.

Idk.  I was expecting better.  There's very little information on which digital scopes are actually good.  Can I hook my 2230 up to a computer and quickly/easily do any of the math I might want?

ataradov:

--- Quote from: Fried Chicken on April 20, 2024, 06:52:56 pm ---No fan, no heat, just signals.

--- End quote ---
Unless those signals are digital and not periodic, then you are screwed.

You got a new tool and could not figure out how to use it in 5 minutes, so the tool must be bad?

alm:

--- Quote from: Fried Chicken on April 20, 2024, 06:52:56 pm ---Idk.  I was expecting better.  There's very little information on which digital scopes are actually good.  Can I hook my 2230 up to a computer and quickly/easily do any of the math I might want?

--- End quote ---
Sure, if you have the RS-232 or GPIB option in the scope and a way to interface with them on your computer. You'll probably have to write your own software since I doubt there's anything that works on modern PCs that supports this scope. And you'll be limited to the 20 MS/s sample rate (about 4 MHz usable analog bandwidth), compared to 1 GS/s. Let's not talk about record length: record length is bare minimum on both the 2230 and TDS1000B series (this says more about the TBS1000B series than about how competitive the 2230 is, though).

There's no denying that the old front panel with one control per function was easier to use, until the number of features start exceeding what you can reasonably cram into a front panel. Have a look at the Tek 7000-series dual trace and dual timebase plugins for examples of that. That's why modern scopes (starting in the late eighties with the Tek 11000 series) use a different UI with a smaller set of controls and soft menus. Imagine what the front panel would look like with buttons for all 30 or so automated measurements, FFT window, average mode, trigger conditions, trend plotting, etc.

It certainly takes some getting used to to figure out which option is in which soft menu and which icon indicates what, but in the older Tek TDS scopes I used, which had a pretty similar UI, this was fairly easy after spending some time playing with them. Something like which channel the trigger is set on is generally clearly indicated. For example looking at the screenshot on page 1 of this datasheet, I'd say trigger is on channel 1 rising edge at a level of 2.62V (bottom right), and the displayed waveform is at 2V/div vertical and 1 ms/div horizontal. You're looking at the edges of the screen rather than at the knobs and enunciators on older scopes. But yes, changing trigger coupling takes more button presses than on an older scope with a physical knob/switch to do this. Especially if you are not still in the trigger soft menu because you switched to doing something else. But after a while you'll develop a muscle memory for the frequently used functions like press trigger button, then third soft button from the top, then first. Just like with any new tool.

bdunham7:

--- Quote from: Fried Chicken on April 20, 2024, 06:52:56 pm ---On the 2230, it's a matter of seconds between starting the scope, click click click, boom I have the signal onscreen. 

Idk.  I was expecting better.  There's very little information on which digital scopes are actually good.  Can I hook my 2230 up to a computer and quickly/easily do any of the math I might want?

--- End quote ---

Yes, if you just want to simply look at a signal for some reason, the 2230 will be faster as well as easier if you are used to it.  I believe there was an available parallel interface that would allow you to download data in one form or another, but it won't be very much data nor very fast compared to a reasonable modern DSO. 

There's all sorts of threads here about entry level DSOs that you can read.  I doubt the TBS1000 series would be recommended in any of them due to a lack of any advanced features and very small memory.  I haven't used that model specifically, but on every modern DSO I've seen (even the bad ones) the information you want should be on the screen and it shouldn't take 5 seconds for scale changes or anything else.  And there's always the autoset button and a few scopes even have dual (YT) continuous autoranging.

nctnico:
I have some hands-on experience with the TBS1000 series. Nothing wrong with it to look at signals. Nice crisp display and it works well. The only problem is that Tektronix should have put a touchscreen on it. In most cases it is reversed, but the UI on the TBS1000 would work better as a touch UI instead of using function buttons / knobs. Having owned the 2230 as well, I'd certainly choose the TBS1000 over the 2230.

edit: I meant the TBS2000 series which is nicer. The TBS1000 series is older (still not bad but rather dated).

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