Author Topic: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!  (Read 5133 times)

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Offline ROFLCat

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I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« on: October 17, 2020, 08:24:35 pm »
Hi everyone! :D

So I'm a 18 y/o EE who likes working with precision parts. I mostly design switchmode PSUs and precision low-noise voltage references for fun. Will be going to a university hopefully this year to study EE.

I already have a pretty nice kinda hard-to-find GW Instek GDM 450A DMM which is a 20,000 count meter with very good accuracy (I believe around 0.05%).
What my poor man's lab is missing is a low-end/mid-range oscilloscope. Now this being Iran with the awful inflations, it's super expensive for us to buy a $350 DS1054Z. Luckily, I was able to sell my graphics card to get around $270. But it's still not enough to buy and import a DS1054Z as it would cost north of $600 to do so. But I found a very reasonably priced Hantek DSO1062B for about $370 which is a 60MHz (lower than a hacked DS1054Z with 100MHz), 1GS/s sample rate (the same), and 2 channels (compared to Rigol's 4). It also has a built-in DMM with capacitance measurement which makes it pretty much a Chinese Fluke ScopeMeter. It's portable, affordable and an added bonus for a portable meter, FFT! I doubt it's powerful, but for my low frequency uses it should be just fine.

There's also this Iwatsu SS-7635 350MHz, 4Ch analog/digital scope for about $470. Great value, but too expensive for me. :(

I'm kinda stuck scratching my head honestly. Can anyone help me choose a decent scope for my purposes?

Thank you! :3
 

Online ataradov

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2020, 09:36:54 pm »
I would do whatever I can to avoid those all-in-one button-only control portable things. They all universally terrible and frustrating to use. Their specs and performance are also questionable in many cases.

I personally would take way lower speced ,but a real scope any time. Something like Hantek DSO5072P or DSO5102P.  Their only real limitation is the memory depth.
Alex
 
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Online bob91343

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 09:51:03 pm »
Why not consider an older, used unit?  You can get a good Tektronix 465 for instance, for very little money.  I use one regularly and love it.  I have others but that's my main one.  Even my very old 453 is perfectly useful.

My digital unit does FFT but not in such a way as to be useful for most purposes.  I have spectrum analyers for that.
 
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Offline battlecoder

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2020, 10:06:38 pm »
I see a future member of the TEA group in the making :-DD

I also come from a country where buying test equipment is rather expensive, and there's not many options to acquire good gear without having to sell your organs to afford them.
My first scope was a Rigol DS1052E (which I still think is an amazing entry level scope -especially if you hack it to unlock 100 Mhz bandwidth-) that I bought 10 years ago, and I kinda burned all the money I had at the time on that purchase.

If you only want to see waveforms and do basic measurements, an analog scope is definitely an option (and I love them, they are beautiful things), but since you mentioned that you like working with precision and low-noise stuff, I guess it would be useful to you to be able to capture glitches, measure jitter, etc. With that in mind I think a digital scope would be a better option.

I normally would advice against handheld scopes for a "main" scope (they are fine as a secondary or "field" tool) because they usually have pretty awkward controls, lack features (limited triggering options, limited storage capabilities, poor measurement capabilities, barely meet specs, etc) BUT that Hantek scope you mentioned seems to be fairly decent on paper (I went through the manual and looks fine, BUT I'm yet to see a review showing if it meets its specs, and all the features actually work, though).

There's a recent review from Defpom on a budget scope that looked pretty promising:

That instrument seems to be exactly the same as the OWON SDS1102, which is available even here in my country at a reasonable price (still higher than its standard price, but definitely cheaper than the Rigol I purchased as my first scope) Maybe it's also something you can get where you live?

Aggressively stalking local auction sites is also recommended  :D. Hopefully the second hand market in your country is bigger than here, though. Apparently VERY few people in my country worked on electronics in the past couple of decades, so it takes a miracle to find good used instruments at decent prices.


« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 10:08:23 pm by battlecoder »
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 10:30:53 pm »
What my poor man's lab is missing is a low-end/mid-range oscilloscope. Now this being Iran with the awful inflations, it's super expensive for us to buy a $350 DS1054Z.

How much is a Rigol DS1052E there?
 

Offline ROFLCat

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 02:58:16 am »
Why not consider an older, used unit?  You can get a good Tektronix 465 for instance, for very little money.  I use one regularly and love it.  I have others but that's my main one.  Even my very old 453 is perfectly useful.

My digital unit does FFT but not in such a way as to be useful for most purposes.  I have spectrum analyers for that.
Yeah there were a few second hand 465s for sale but they were ridiculously priced TBH and actually Tek scopes are kinda rare. Common analogs in here are mostly Japanese stuff and mostly 20MHz, which I think is a bit too low.
 

Offline ROFLCat

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2020, 03:10:17 am »
I normally would advice against handheld scopes for a "main" scope (they are fine as a secondary or "field" tool) because they usually have pretty awkward controls, lack features (limited triggering options, limited storage capabilities, poor measurement capabilities, barely meet specs, etc) BUT that Hantek scope you mentioned seems to be fairly decent on paper (I went through the manual and looks fine, BUT I'm yet to see a review showing if it meets its specs, and all the features actually work, though).

There's a recent review from Defpom on a budget scope that looked pretty promising:

That instrument seems to be exactly the same as the OWON SDS1102, which is available even here in my country at a reasonable price (still higher than its standard price, but definitely cheaper than the Rigol I purchased as my first scope) Maybe it's also something you can get where you live?

Aggressively stalking local auction sites is also recommended  :D. Hopefully the second hand market in your country is bigger than here, though. Apparently VERY few people in my country worked on electronics in the past couple of decades, so it takes a miracle to find good used instruments at decent prices.

I honestly had not thought about the awkward controls of handheld scopes until you and ataradov mentioned it.

I had seen these Owons and they're pretty common but I had doubts since I had only seen Dave's review of one and IIRC, it wasn't good. xD
But to be honest, at such a low budget there's not much choice to get a decent entry scope. I'll check out these Owons to see if there are any suitable models for me.

Oh I'm always on a website similar to Ebay checking the test equipment section every single day. I'm OK with a second-hand scope even if it has cosmetic damage, just need it to perform well according to the specs.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2020, 05:28:36 am »
Why not consider an older, used unit?  You can get a good Tektronix 465 for instance, for very little money.  I use one regularly and love it.  I have others but that's my main one.  Even my very old 453 is perfectly useful.

My digital unit does FFT but not in such a way as to be useful for most purposes.  I have spectrum analyers for that.

In Iran? I have no idea what the market is like there but I would not expect used instruments to be nearly as plentiful there, especially A-list American brands.
 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 10:45:53 am »
Maybe the FNIRSI-1013D (tablet oscilloscope) is also an option. There is a long thread about it with comments from people who bought it:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/fnirsi-1013d-100mhz-tablet-oscilloscope/msg3022032/#msg3022032

I think it is a better choice compared to a handheld 'automotive style' or analog oscilloscope because in the end it offers more features. Then again I wouldn't spend more than US $200 on it including shipping.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline battlecoder

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2020, 12:32:43 pm »
How much is a Rigol DS1052E there?

I second this recommendation. It's an "old scope" by now, but it's a pretty solid option; good performance, can be hacked to 100 Mhz, and it's simple to use but powerful, and with enough features for most use cases. As I mentioned, this was my first scope, and it took me nearly 10 years of tinkering with electronics to need something slightly more powerful and feature-rich.
 

Offline ROFLCat

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 02:48:16 pm »
Why not consider an older, used unit?  You can get a good Tektronix 465 for instance, for very little money.  I use one regularly and love it.  I have others but that's my main one.  Even my very old 453 is perfectly useful.

My digital unit does FFT but not in such a way as to be useful for most purposes.  I have spectrum analyers for that.

In Iran? I have no idea what the market is like there but I would not expect used instruments to be nearly as plentiful there, especially A-list American brands.
Actually, I think there are lots of them and brands like Tek and HP are well-know, but the problem is that the owners would never let such good instruments go. That's why they only pop-up occasionally and at high prices.
 
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Offline ROFLCat

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 02:52:18 pm »
What my poor man's lab is missing is a low-end/mid-range oscilloscope. Now this being Iran with the awful inflations, it's super expensive for us to buy a $350 DS1054Z.

How much is a Rigol DS1052E there?
There is a website that has it in stock and for about $300.
 

Offline ROFLCat

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2020, 03:14:35 pm »
From what I've seen, the other options compared to a DS1052E are, bad. xD
The desktop Hanteks and Owons probably have smoother UIs and more modern hardware, but their memory depths are really bad. Like a Hantek 100MHz or a 70Mhz model has 40kpts and an Owon 100MHz model has 10kpts, you kidding me?! Is it that hard to implement 1Mpts or something? Rigol did it over a decade ago LOL.

Anyway, I'll probably save up a bit for the DS1052E and 100% put on a hacked firmware. Too bad I can't afford a DS1054Z, the 2 extra channels could be pretty damn useful.

Thanks everyone for your input! :D
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2020, 04:12:57 pm »
Is it that hard to implement 1Mpts or something? Rigol did it over a decade ago LOL.

Maybe it is. They could be using the RAM inside an FPGA which is usually very limited. Adding an external RAM chip could cost a lot more.
 

Online tautech

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2020, 06:26:11 pm »
Anyway, I'll probably save up a bit for the DS1052E and 100% put on a hacked firmware. Too bad I can't afford a DS1054Z, the 2 extra channels could be pretty damn useful.
If you can get by with just 2 channels maybe a SDS1202X-E can better suit your needs but might be at the top end of your budget.
At least it has some reasonable memory depth (14 Mpts), 7" display, better sensitivity than most others in this class and a suite of decoders.
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Offline Fungus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2020, 06:38:09 pm »
Anyway, I'll probably save up a bit for the DS1052E and 100% put on a hacked firmware. Too bad I can't afford a DS1054Z, the 2 extra channels could be pretty damn useful.
If you can get by with just 2 channels maybe a SDS1202X-E can better suit your needs but might be at the top end of your budget.
At least it has some reasonable memory depth (14 Mpts), 7" display, better sensitivity than most others in this class and a suite of decoders.

Or there's the new 2-channel Rigol DS1052Z, which is even cheaper.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001268857855.html

 

Offline nctnico

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2020, 07:16:14 pm »
OP's biggest problem is his/her location. As stated there is a near 100% premium on top of importing something.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline tv84

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2020, 07:59:54 pm »
What about a GW Instek GDS-1000B Series? Since the OP has a GW Instek DMM maybe that brand is easier to find...
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2020, 09:34:46 pm »
What about a GW Instek GDS-1000B Series? Since the OP has a GW Instek DMM maybe that brand is easier to find...

They're not easy to find even here in Europe.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2020, 10:19:23 pm »
What about a GW Instek GDS-1000B Series? Since the OP has a GW Instek DMM maybe that brand is easier to find...

They're not easy to find even here in Europe.
Nonsense. There are several webshops where you can buy them. Even RS sells these: https://nl.rs-online.com/web/p/oscilloscopes/1233540/ (at an inflated price as you can expect from a distributor).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline battlecoder

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2020, 11:02:04 pm »
Anyway, I'll probably save up a bit for the DS1052E and 100% put on a hacked firmware. Too bad I can't afford a DS1054Z, the 2 extra channels could be pretty damn useful.

That's what I thought when I upgraded my oscilloscope a few years ago. Turns out I've only used channel 3 once. Channel 4 remains untouched :-DD. Bear in mind that enabling extra channels reduce your sampling rate and memory, so having more than 2 channels is not *that* great. For a bunch of logic signals (which is what I look at the most) a logic analyzer is more practical anyway. Even a cheap Saleae clone (which is what I have) works wonders.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2020, 11:50:41 pm »
That's what I thought when I upgraded my oscilloscope a few years ago. Turns out I've only used channel 3 once. Channel 4 remains untouched :-DD.

I use mine for looking at Arduino pins. It's great to be able to put out pulses when you're debugging things.

Bear in mind that enabling extra channels reduce your sampling rate and memory, so having more than 2 channels is not *that* great. For a bunch of logic signals (which is what I look at the most) a logic analyzer is more practical anyway. Even a cheap Saleae clone (which is what I have) works wonders.

The problem is that those don't have a real time display of the signals. You have to press "record" and then go back and analyze.

(unless you have some software that I don't...)

I just got an Analog Discovery 2 and that does have real time display (16 digital channels, 2 analog). Maybe a 2-channel 'scope would be OK for me now.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 12:17:48 am by Fungus »
 

Offline 0culus

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2020, 12:02:30 am »
Real time display of logic signals is often not wanted anyway...you want to record and go back to study what happened in detail. This is normal behavior for every logic analyzer I've used.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2020, 12:02:54 am »
@Fungus: please fix the quotation. I didn't write the text you attribute to me.

@Oculus: A logic analyser is for different kinds of measurements. The ones where the signals in the analog domain are known to be good.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline battlecoder

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Re: I Need Help With Choosing a Budget Oscilloscope!
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2020, 12:07:44 am »
@Fungus: please fix the quotation. I didn't write the text you attribute to me.

I guess we are now one and the same.  :-//
 


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