Author Topic: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?  (Read 52930 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline WaveyDipoleTopic starter

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 851
  • Country: gb
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #100 on: October 20, 2022, 09:35:44 am »
I don't rate the signal generator on the MSO5000, it sort of may do 5V if you can work out how, today it seemed intent on only outputting 1.25V, totally random. Just get a proper sig gen.

Max. amplitude is +/- 2.5V at high Z and +/-1.25V on 50Ohms.
This it now and this was it when I´ve bought mine in 2018.

Ah, so perhaps Simon inadvertently has the output on the 50Ω setting. Still, if at Hi-Z one can generate ±2.5V, that means it should be able to generate a 5V square wave, right? I do have a couple of sig gens so the built-in one is a bit of a bonus rather than a must have in any case. It wouldn't matter to me if the scope didn't have it, although it might be convenient for bode plots. The LA features are more important to me.

Ok, is test device XXX overkill for hobby use?
That depends on your income, how much use it's going to get, and what you're trying to build.
It also depends on the device, eg. I could live with a $25 multimeter but I probably wouldn't want to live with a $200 oscilloscope.
So the answer is: "It depends".

Yes, this.
A new 4CH $400 DSO provides so much functionality difference to a 2nd hand old scope or a new 2CH $200 cheapie no-name digital that it's a no-brainer to fork out the extra cash.
Not so much for say a new $800 scope vs the $400 ones, but it might offer something extra nice like a bigger screen or some specific extra function you really need.
Once you get into the 4 digit price category then it can be argued that you are now "overkill" compared to the cheaper models for general hobbyist use.
So yeah, I'd draw the line at the $799 MSO5000 as being the upper end before "overkill" kicks in for hobby use.

Yes, that again is helpful. Thank you. I have difficulty justifying +$999 for a hobby scope and was/am struggling with the thought of spending $850. However the larger screen would be beneficial as would bode plotting and the LA. Not so much the sig gen as already mentioned. I am already persuaded that forking out for a new scope would be more practical and sensible than looking for old scopes. The Rigol 1054Z was in that $400 bracket when I purchased it and I have never regretted the purchase.

I already own a Rigol 1054Z which has been adequate for messing around with micro-controllers and vintage computer repairs and catching transients.
*snip*
b) which of the scopes should I get rid of and which one to keep?
c) should I simply stick to and be content with what I have?

I missed that you already have a 1054Z. The MSO5000 is a decent step up, but you wouldn't want both, so I'd sell the 1054Z if you upgraded. What is the local ebay market like?

That's why I asked the question. If I consider it an upgrade, would it make sense to keep both? What would others do? I think that has now been answered. Perhaps like mwb1100, I might also have difficulty letting go, but this has given me food for thought. On the local eBay market (UK) I am seeing these sell used for perhaps 180GBP to 250GBP. Some have sold for a little more. A brand new one costs 354GBP (which is not far off from what I paid for it). I have disregarded the inflated listings priced at > 400GPB, some even over 700GPB!

Again: it doesn't make sense to set arbitrary limits on what is justifiable or not. Just spend what you think is reasonable. I have spend larger amounts on hobbies because I  wanted to concentrate on the hobby and not make do. A hobby is supposed to give you pleasure so having some comfort is ok

Zooming out of OT:

My opinion is that a MSO5000 is not "overkill" if you are going to use it! That's the main issue. As nico says, a hobby should bring you good memories and not be a nightmare. If every time you turn it on you'll remember the OLED TV that you didn't bought, then...

For me it was definitely OVERKILL because it has been kept in the box for the last 2 or 3 years!!  |O |O |O

Both of these are good points. There is no point having it just sit in its box, and, on the other hand, constantly regretting not having  purchased something that could have been useful and made things easier and more pleasant. I can confidently say that it will get used. The MSO features will certainly see plenty of use, as well as the LA once I sort out a probe pod for it.

BTW: make sure to do some tests on the MSO5000 when you get it. Especially if you can live with thick/ noisy traces. I used to own a DSO that had fat traces and that got rather annoying at some point. But this is a very personal preference.

I know what you mean. When I first got the 1054Z, that was one of the things that initially troubled me, especially when comparing to traces on my analog scope, however I got used to it. Someone also explained to me why that is the case and how to work around it if need be, but I have rarely (if ever) felt the need to do so. Some of the additional functions have also proved to be invaluable and I could not have performed some tasks on the analog scopes. I saw the MSO5000 on display at the recent Ham-fest in Newark (UK) and the traces didn't look any worse/thicker than on the 1054Z. Thank you for pointing this out though.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2022, 09:41:12 am by WaveyDipole »
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #101 on: October 20, 2022, 10:26:14 am »
Yes, that again is helpful. Thank you. I have difficulty justifying +$999 for a hobby scope and was/am struggling with the thought of spending $850. However the larger screen would be beneficial

A touch screen is a massive plus as well. After owning a Micsig for a year or so I don't think I'd like to go back to using a twisty knob for menu navigation.

I missed that you already have a 1054Z. The MSO5000 is a decent step up, but you wouldn't want both, so I'd sell the 1054Z if you upgraded. What is the local ebay market like?

Oscilloscopes keep their price really well. If you've looked after it you can probably sell it for almost what you paid for it.

That's why I asked the question. If I consider it an upgrade, would it make sense to keep both?

I can't think of any reason you'd want both.

BTW: make sure to do some tests on the MSO5000 when you get it. Especially if you can live with thick/ noisy traces. I used to own a DSO that had fat traces and that got rather annoying at some point. But this is a very personal preference.

I know what you mean. When I first got the 1054Z, that was one of the things that initially troubled me, especially when comparing to traces on my analog scope, however I got used to it.

In reality it's the Analog 'scope that's lying to you. They're not capable of showing the noise that's inherent in most signals.

The MSO5000 noise will only affect you if you can't make the overall signal as big as the screen. ie. If you're looking at 5V then it's no problem. It's only when you're down at mV level and can't increase the vertical gain any more to fill the screen.

If "working at mV level" doesn't sound like you then it won't be a problem.

I could live with it and many owners have probably never even noticed it. There's also settings you can apply in a pinch to reduce the noise.
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w

Online 2N3055

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6821
  • Country: hr
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #102 on: October 20, 2022, 11:26:43 am »
Yes, that again is helpful. Thank you. I have difficulty justifying +$999 for a hobby scope and was/am struggling with the thought of spending $850. However the larger screen would be beneficial

A touch screen is a massive plus as well. After owning a Micsig for a year or so I don't think I'd like to go back to using a twisty knob for menu navigation.

I missed that you already have a 1054Z. The MSO5000 is a decent step up, but you wouldn't want both, so I'd sell the 1054Z if you upgraded. What is the local ebay market like?

Oscilloscopes keep their price really well. If you've looked after it you can probably sell it for almost what you paid for it.

That's why I asked the question. If I consider it an upgrade, would it make sense to keep both?

I can't think of any reason you'd want both.

BTW: make sure to do some tests on the MSO5000 when you get it. Especially if you can live with thick/ noisy traces. I used to own a DSO that had fat traces and that got rather annoying at some point. But this is a very personal preference.

I know what you mean. When I first got the 1054Z, that was one of the things that initially troubled me, especially when comparing to traces on my analog scope, however I got used to it.

In reality it's the Analog 'scope that's lying to you. They're not capable of showing the noise that's inherent in most signals.

The MSO5000 noise will only affect you if you can't make the overall signal as big as the screen. ie. If you're looking at 5V then it's no problem. It's only when you're down at mV level and can't increase the vertical gain any more to fill the screen.

If "working at mV level" doesn't sound like you then it won't be a problem.

I could live with it and many owners have probably never even noticed it. There's also settings you can apply in a pinch to reduce the noise.

Everything in your post is valid statements. The bolded thing is not necessarily untrue but you have to explain what you mean by it. If you mean that by using HIRES   then it is also true in a way but with caveats: it works by lowpass filtering signal. Meaning that 350MHz scope BW isn't 350MHz anymore, but 20MHz or 5MHz depending on settings and implementation. OP does work with RF and it is important to say that. You have to be careful when advising other people by informing them partially and/or selectively.  It should be their decision, not your or mine...
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #103 on: October 20, 2022, 12:45:18 pm »
Everything in your post is valid statements. The bolded thing is not necessarily untrue but you have to explain what you mean by it. If you mean that by using HIRES   then it is also true in a way but with caveats:

That's why I say "in a pinch".

it works by lowpass filtering signal. Meaning that 350MHz scope BW isn't 350MHz anymore, but 20MHz or 5MHz depending on settings and implementation.

The MSO5000 has 8GHz sample rate to play with:

If you're only looking at 1 channel you can do 8x oversampling and still have a 350MHz 'scope.

With 2 channels/8x oversampling or 1 channel/16x oversampling you'll still have a 200MHz 'scope.

You'll have to turn on a lot of channels and filtering to get down to 20Mhz.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 37826
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #104 on: October 20, 2022, 12:45:23 pm »
That's why I asked the question. If I consider it an upgrade, would it make sense to keep both?
What would others do? I think that has now been answered.

Unless you have two benches or some other scenario where the old one could be used, no, not worth keeping at all. You'll find it will just gather dust.
And as someone who uses multiple scopes in the lab, it annoying to swap back and forth with different models with different usability.
Better bet to sell it and stick the money into crypto or something as a gamble  ;D (or buy some other useful tool for the lab)
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w

Online 2N3055

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6821
  • Country: hr
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #105 on: October 20, 2022, 01:25:53 pm »
Everything in your post is valid statements. The bolded thing is not necessarily untrue but you have to explain what you mean by it. If you mean that by using HIRES   then it is also true in a way but with caveats:

That's why I say "in a pinch".

it works by lowpass filtering signal. Meaning that 350MHz scope BW isn't 350MHz anymore, but 20MHz or 5MHz depending on settings and implementation.

The MSO5000 has 8GHz sample rate to play with:

If you're only looking at 1 channel you can do 8x oversampling and still have a 350MHz 'scope.

With 2 channels/8x oversampling or 1 channel/16x oversampling you'll still have a 200MHz 'scope.

You'll have to turn on a lot of channels and filtering to get down to 20Mhz.

"In a pinch" comment is hiding data by being cute.
The rest of explanation is what I had in mind.

8x will yield limited improvements. With it MSO5000 will barely be en par with some other 8 bit scopes and still worse than Micsig STO1104, Siglent SDS110X-E etc.. But user will see positive difference using it and if they don't need lowest noise scope, it might be just fine.
 

Offline mwb1100

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 529
  • Country: us
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #106 on: October 20, 2022, 03:28:39 pm »
Perhaps like mwb1100, I might also have difficulty letting go, but this has given me food for thought.

I have world-class procrastination skills.  Too bad that's not marketable.

On the local eBay market (UK) I am seeing these sell used for perhaps 180GBP to 250GBP. Some have sold for a little more. A brand new one costs 354GBP (which is not far off from what I paid for it).

In my quick look at US eBay, it looks like all the offerings are at or higher than just buying a new one.  Maybe any that come up for a reasonable price get snapped up quickly?
 

Offline alm

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2903
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #107 on: October 20, 2022, 04:18:27 pm »
That's how things often work on eBay. Anything that's there for long is overpriced, and anything reasonably priced sells quickly. Try searching for sold listings.
 
The following users thanked this post: mwb1100

Offline WaveyDipoleTopic starter

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 851
  • Country: gb
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #108 on: October 20, 2022, 04:58:45 pm »
BTW: make sure to do some tests on the MSO5000 when you get it. Especially if you can live with thick/ noisy traces. I used to own a DSO that had fat traces and that got rather annoying at some point. But this is a very personal preference.

I know what you mean. When I first got the 1054Z, that was one of the things that initially troubled me, especially when comparing to traces on my analog scope, however I got used to it.

In reality it's the Analog 'scope that's lying to you. They're not capable of showing the noise that's inherent in most signals.

The MSO5000 noise will only affect you if you can't make the overall signal as big as the screen. ie. If you're looking at 5V then it's no problem. It's only when you're down at mV level and can't increase the vertical gain any more to fill the screen.

If "working at mV level" doesn't sound like you then it won't be a problem.

I could live with it and many owners have probably never even noticed it. There's also settings you can apply in a pinch to reduce the noise.

Everything in your post is valid statements. The bolded thing is not necessarily untrue but you have to explain what you mean by it. If you mean that by using HIRES   then it is also true in a way but with caveats: it works by lowpass filtering signal. Meaning that 350MHz scope BW isn't 350MHz anymore, but 20MHz or 5MHz depending on settings and implementation. OP does work with RF and it is important to say that....

In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?

Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?

That's why I asked the question. If I consider it an upgrade, would it make sense to keep both?
What would others do? I think that has now been answered.

Unless you have two benches or some other scenario where the old one could be used, no, not worth keeping at all. You'll find it will just gather dust.

I do, as a matter of fact, have two small benches. The repair work and heavier duty stuff (vintage radio etc) gets done in the "workshop" (i.e. shed), but mucking about with Arduinos, MCUs and computer stuff gets done next to the PC workstation in a cleaner environment indoors in a small utility room. I have limited space in both areas and didn't want Arduino projects cluttering up the repair workspace. The PM3094 has the greater bandwidth and is much larger, but the 1054Z has more advanced functions. The modern scopes are light and portable enough to move around easily per requirements at each desk which would be an advantage. Hence a bit of a dilema. Of course, I can only be working at one desk at any one time. If I had the one work area then the decision would be that much simpler.

And as someone who uses multiple scopes in the lab, it annoying to swap back and forth with different models with different usability.

I regularly switch between a digital and old analog scopes so I do take your point on that. It doesn't bother me too much, but thinking about it, I do see that there would be an advantage to sticking to one instrument that one learns to use and knows well.

Perhaps like mwb1100, I might also have difficulty letting go, but this has given me food for thought.

I have world-class procrastination skills.  Too bad that's not marketable.

You are not alone! I have some health issues that can sometime furnish me with an excuse, but I can be a bit of a hoarder, not willing to let go of something because it might, just might, be useful sometime in the future. I have to get strict with myself from time to time and have a clearout of "stuff". Acting too rashly can also lead to poor decisions made in haste. I am not sure which is the worse....

That's how things often work on eBay. Anything that's there for long is overpriced, and anything reasonably priced sells quickly. Try searching for sold listings.

alm, I know that was in reply to mwb1100 and that is exactly what I also did. It seems to provide a more realistic estimate of what buyers are actually willing to pay as opposed to what some would like to sell for. There is no shortage of the 1054Z's and its still a current model so there seems to be no reason for anyone to be paying above the manufacturers RRP. I presume there must be a market, otherwise dropshipping would not work, although it seems to me that such tactics are designed to catch out those who haven't done their homework. Anyway, I am wandering of-topic....
« Last Edit: October 20, 2022, 05:14:32 pm by WaveyDipole »
 

Online 2N3055

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6821
  • Country: hr
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #109 on: October 20, 2022, 05:59:08 pm »

In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?

Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?


Yeah go back there and read where there is explanation why it is not so...
 

Offline WaveyDipoleTopic starter

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 851
  • Country: gb
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #110 on: October 20, 2022, 06:41:48 pm »
Yep, will have another look tomorrow to see if I can find it.
 

Offline thm_w

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6521
  • Country: ca
  • Non-expert
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #111 on: October 21, 2022, 01:00:32 am »
That's how things often work on eBay. Anything that's there for long is overpriced, and anything reasonably priced sells quickly. Try searching for sold listings.

I already gave OP the going rate for 1054Z on ebay uk based on sold listings.
$200-300, definitely worth selling.

Maybe try to sell locally first if you are patient.
Profile -> Modify profile -> Look and Layout ->  Don't show users' signatures
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #112 on: October 21, 2022, 02:05:13 am »
I already gave OP the going rate for 1054Z on ebay uk based on sold listings.
$200-300, definitely worth selling.

Maybe try to sell locally first if you are patient.

I sold mine via. the EEVBLOG forum's "Buy/Sell/Wanted" section.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 37826
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #113 on: October 21, 2022, 06:25:24 am »
Couldn't resist.

 
The following users thanked this post: rsjsouza, Fungus, WaveyDipole, Martin72, intelogic

Offline WaveyDipoleTopic starter

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 851
  • Country: gb
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #114 on: October 21, 2022, 10:04:30 am »
I think I found it:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/rigol-mso5074-or-siglent-sds2104x-plus/msg3293874/#msg3293874

Posts 21 to 23. There's a link to this signal amplifier:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000267287145.html

Anyone know what that N02 device on the board might be? It doesn't look terribly difficult to make something like that in a small Edison box.

Couldn't resist.



Didn't imagine that my humble question would be video worthy, but thank you. :-)
Some interesting replies already on YT.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 11:04:22 am by WaveyDipole »
 
The following users thanked this post: Fungus

Offline trampas

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 44
  • Country: us
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #115 on: October 21, 2022, 03:25:30 pm »
The MSO5074 is good scope.  I have one that has been hacked to be MSO5354

I now have some python scripts that control AWG and reads data for doing some transducer impedance measurements.  I love the scope, number of samples it can capture and so forth.   It is a great scope for general embedded. 

I have the logic analyzer probe, but never used it.  The Saleae logic analyzer I have works too well to even try the one on the scope.

Over all the only things I do not like about this scope is the bit depth and noise floor.  I brought the scope in August and considering getting rid of it and getting an HDO4000 as I am doing more low noise stuff and the old 35670A is showing its age.

However for $800 it is a hell of a scope and worth the money.
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w

Offline WaveyDipoleTopic starter

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 851
  • Country: gb
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #116 on: October 21, 2022, 06:44:57 pm »

In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?

Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?


Yeah go back there and read where there is explanation why it is not so...

Thanks for the reply, but the post I found (see link in the post above) only mentions and gives a link to the amplifier gizmo (so I now know what it looks like at least)  but gives no explanation. I looked checked the rest of ther thread and looked for your post. I did find one, but on another topic. If there is another reference somewhere (I am still searching) then I would appreciate some indication where it is please.
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #117 on: October 21, 2022, 07:05:24 pm »
In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?


There's a whole series about building/using amplifiers here:



Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?

Obviously any device inserted in the pathway has the potential to do that. It'll depend on the device.

I do, as a matter of fact, have two small benches. The repair work and heavier duty stuff (vintage radio etc) gets done in the "workshop" (i.e. shed), but mucking about with Arduinos, MCUs and computer stuff gets done next to the PC workstation in a cleaner environment indoors in a small utility room. I have limited space in both areas and didn't want Arduino projects cluttering up the repair workspace.

For "Arduino" I find my Micsig to be perfect in terms of desk space and abilities. Much better than the Rigol DS1054Z I had before that, :)

(Arduino is what I mostly do)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 07:09:53 pm by Fungus »
 

Online 2N3055

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6821
  • Country: hr
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #118 on: October 21, 2022, 08:11:45 pm »

In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?

Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?


Yeah go back there and read where there is explanation why it is not so...

Thanks for the reply, but the post I found (see link in the post above) only mentions and gives a link to the amplifier gizmo (so I now know what it looks like at least)  but gives no explanation. I looked checked the rest of ther thread and looked for your post. I did find one, but on another topic. If there is another reference somewhere (I am still searching) then I would appreciate some indication where it is please.

I disagree it is viable strategy...
Fungus keeps repeating this all the time...
I don't know why.
He can explain how he thinks it works.
 

Offline hans

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1650
  • Country: nl
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #119 on: October 21, 2022, 08:25:32 pm »
I watched the video, haven't read this whole thread, but I think it's an interesting proposition.

For a friend setting up his lab for 1kEUR a year back, obviously fitting in a 800euro scope isn't going to work. So instead, I recommended him a Rigol 1054Z. I got the quite similar  1074Z-S for about 700euro in 2014 IIRC..

The question is, what features make a scope overkill?

- >=100MHz BW?
- >=1MPts of memory?
- intensity graded display and/or >1k wfm/s?
- >= 2 analog channels?
- mixed signal scope?
- serial decode/triggering in software or even hardware?
- hi-res mode?
- high resolution ADC/low noise frontend?

To be honest.. I don't think a lot of hobbyists really need all of this. Well maybe the 4ch analog channels is the one exception.. but other than that.

Bandwidth: what signals are you going to measure? Maybe harmonics of digital signals, e.g. signal integrity of digital buses, at best? But is a hobbyist going to design the next-gen high speed serial bus standard? Or route SQI/HyperRAM microcontroller/FPGA boards every day?
Memory depth: anything in kpts range is limiting.. but at some point (I'd say around Mpts) the scope can capture such long signals that it's almost impractical to analyze manually on a small screen with a limited user interface. My PC has far more controls and I can use scripts if need be. Similarly, I wouldn't recommended upgrading scope for MSO functions. Just get a logic analyzer instead IMO.
Anything acquisition related: intensity grading, update rate, hi-res, low noise.. Sure this is all nice and better. It may also catch the very hard to trace bug in your design. But what projects are you working on? Something for fun to keep you busy, or something that is on-par with your professional work?

So I do wonder at what level a typical hobbyist is working at. Sure you have a mix people, e.g. professional engineers that work on a whole range of things (from FPGAs to IoT to PSU stuff). Those projects will be quite different. But perhaps also makers that want to test their gadgets or test signals on their drone. But then to summarize: I think a majority will spend time on debugging a MCU board, test some power supplies (sequencing, overshoot, ripple), look at some LF analog signals (<=8MHz), check if a crystal oscillator is running.. and  maybe check some signal buses (I2C, SPI) for signal levels and perhaps edges.
If stuff is getting more crazy, like digital protocols, there are better tools to intensely work with than a scope.

I personally think that, thanks to the familiar asian vendors, cheap oscilloscopes have outpaced the speed at which a typical hobbyists would work with. Designs with 50MHz+ digital signals aren't so straight forward. Or PCBs that need to process sub-mV signals carefully. A scope that has more BW, memory, features and knobs is nice but to some degree more gadget-y IMO.

Now don't get me wrong.. I am amazed at the bang/buck available. It seems like 300-400$ is the threshold for which I would consider getting a new scope. It gets you 4ch, 50-100MHz, serial decode, advanced triggers, thousands of waveforms/second, hi-res mode, and USB/ethernet connections. That MSO5000 more than doubles on some specs, so that makes it seem more than worth it.

In terms of future proofing.. I don't know. My Rigol 4ch model was also around 800EUR, which seems like a neat price point at which hobbyists are still willing to pay for a bang/buck scope. But don't forget that technology will always move forward fast. Rigol recently released those HDO scopes for a bit more money with a focus on analog while dropping some (read: quite a bit) of the tailoring towards digital designs. Well, when will we see that merge into a general purpose analog/digital scope that say has a 4ch 4-8GS/s 10/12-bit ADC, hundreds of MPts of memory, hundred-k's of wfms/s, for <1k$ (minus inflation)? I bet it's going to happen in 5-10 years time. It's a logical progression of capitalism where competition is going to catch up, so in order to keep retail prices up they need to innovate.

In 30 years time we probably will have affordable 1GHz 8ch scopes with 16-bit ADCs and an optional brain-machine interface so that we can see more than 30fps worth of display data visualized in more than 3 dimensions. So much for "lasting a lifetime"  :scared: :-//
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 08:34:45 pm by hans »
 

Online nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 27082
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #120 on: October 21, 2022, 09:05:18 pm »

In connection with that, I saw a comment on another thread that mentioned that one can get a $5 amplifier gizmo that can allow one to work around very low amplitude signals by amplifying them to a range that the scope can better handle. Unfortunately the comment didn't go into any further detail. Doers anyone know what this might have been talking about and what would I need to look for?

Also, since such an amplifier would be inserted into the signal path. wouldn't have an impact on the usable bandwidth of the channel it is connected to? Might it also affect the signal in other ways that one should be aware of? For example, would a $5 gizmo have a sufficiently low noise characteristic to make a difference?


Yeah go back there and read where there is explanation why it is not so...

Thanks for the reply, but the post I found (see link in the post above) only mentions and gives a link to the amplifier gizmo (so I now know what it looks like at least)  but gives no explanation. I looked checked the rest of ther thread and looked for your post. I did find one, but on another topic. If there is another reference somewhere (I am still searching) then I would appreciate some indication where it is please.
The first step is to determine what input signal levels & frequencies you are dealing with. The link you copied seems to be an MMIC based RF amplifier. The noise figure of 2dB isn't stellar though.

IMHO the whole discussion about what is overkill or not is entirely moot. There are people spending > $5k on mountainbikes, dirt bikes, audio gear or even a BBQ. Somebody I know, spend like 30k euro on an audio amplifier and a couple of speakers.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 09:26:22 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Martin72

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5964
  • Country: de
  • Testfield Technician
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #121 on: October 21, 2022, 09:16:37 pm »
Hi,

Quote from: hans
To be honest.. I don't think a lot of hobbyists really need all of this.

Yepp, mostly they´ve been told they needed it.
And somekind of funny, it not long ago scopes costs really vaste amount of money, now you can get usable ones for appx 400 bucks.
But somehow it´s expected they´re performing as well as the expensive ones.

Offline tautech

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 28569
  • Country: nz
  • Taupaki Technologies Ltd. Siglent Distributor NZ.
    • Taupaki Technologies Ltd.
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #122 on: October 21, 2022, 10:03:05 pm »
IMHO the whole discussion about what is overkill or not is entirely moot. There are people spending > $5k on mountainbikes, dirt bikes, audio gear or even a BBQ. Somebody I know, spend like 30k euro on an audio amplifier and a couple of speakers.
Nailed it, 100% !
None of us can quantify another's spend as overkill, none of us !

The hobbyist skier, sportsman, racer, engineer would all look on a $800 scope spend as chump change.
Hell, when I was young I spent more on a shotgun just for claybird shooting.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist.   Come visit us at EMEX Stand #1001 https://www.emex.co.nz/
Siglent Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@SiglentVideo/videos
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #123 on: October 21, 2022, 10:03:48 pm »
I disagree it is viable strategy...
Fungus keeps repeating this all the time...
I don't know why.
He can explain how he thinks it works.

I'll explain it right after you explain how "noise" magically stops right at the point where Siglent oscilloscopes run out of vertical gain.  :-//

But ... you never explained it last time around, and we've already been warned to stay on topic in this thread.

The only reason I answered is because amplifiers might make an interesting video topic for Dave. Is a $5 Aliexpress amplifier going to make a difference?

(...except he already sent back his MSO5000  :-\ )
 

Offline Fungus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16726
  • Country: 00
Re: Is a Rigol MSO5000 overkill for a hobbyist?
« Reply #124 on: October 21, 2022, 10:13:16 pm »
IMHO the whole discussion about what is overkill or not is entirely moot. There are people spending > $5k on mountainbikes, dirt bikes, audio gear or even a BBQ. Somebody I know, spend like 30k euro on an audio amplifier and a couple of speakers.
Nailed it, 100% !
None of us can quantify another's spend as overkill, none of us !

Sure we can.

We've been mocking the $2k speaker cable buyers since at least the 1970s.

If a $5k mountain bike doesn't buy much over a $1k bike then we can mock the $5k bike buyers as idiots.

Maybe the time of the $800 oscilloscope is here.

(for the "hobbyist" user - there's always going to be a small percentage of people who need extra...no argument there, but it's not everybody)
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf