Author Topic: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent  (Read 6668 times)

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Offline Bouteille

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500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« on: January 05, 2019, 12:47:08 am »
Hello all,

time for me to get an oscilloscope. Yes another similar thread, sorry about that.

I work as hobbyist on various (modest) projects, from ebikes to microcontrollers programming.
I'll use my scope to develop/debug these projects but also to learn more about electronics basics (following tutorials and experimenting).

I dont think I will ever need to deal with frequencies above 50MHz (let's say 100MHz to be super safe).
Two channels is probably not a deal-breaker but I can already see situations where 4 channels would be more confortable.
Protocol decoding is interesting for me, not sure yet about all the other fancy options showing up in recent scopes.
Function generator... Useful for me ?

Budget around 500€/550$ max.

I have been following reviews and teardowns of main brands/models, and I ended up selecting a Siglent oscilloscope.
Before ordering I found two other candidates so I end-up with 3 very different options:

Siglent 1104X-E
Used Agilent DSOX1102G
Micsig TO1104+


Information I have so far:

Agilent is a leader brand from which I can expect a high-quality device with no lag and bugs.
Both Siglent and Micsig provide 4 channels units and good hardware quality but suffer from bugs or perfectible software.
Siglent seems to be the most innovative in term of functions while Micsig innovated mostly on the form factor (tablet+battery, which I like for working on ebikes).

Protocol decoding (UART, I2C...) seems much slower on siglent as compared to others.


Questions:

1. Can you confirm or argument against informations above ?

2. How is siglent reputation regading firmware updates, do they listen to customers and did they provide corrections for buggy functions ?

3. Same question for Micsig ? There was a lot of topics about it in 2015-2017 but nothing since then. Latest firmware update is Feb 2017... Abandonned product ?

4. It seems that agilent leashed the megazoom asic in this unit... Any interesting updates to be expected or announced ?


Thank you for your help.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 12:59:43 am »
I have a MicSig TO1104 myself and tested it very thouroughly. The firmware works as it should so there isn't really a need to do updates. Sometimes software doesn't get updated because there is no reason to do so. For working on vehicles the MicSig TO1104's battery would definitely be a plus. You can strap it to a bike and go drive around with it. The batteries really last for over 4 hours. The TO1104 also offers input filtering which might be useful to turn PWM signals back into 'analog' signals by filtering the high frequency content away.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 01:01:32 am by nctnico »
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Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 01:04:24 am »
I think you'll be happy with the Siglent. The Siglent is generally well reviewed here and IIRC you can fairly easily mod it for increased bandwidth and additional features. You'll need to dig around in the big thread for that.

For what I do, the Micsig TO1104 covers nearly everything I need. I can get access to other scopes for anything not covered. I'm happy with how it works and build quality is good. The firmware is a bit strange in places but nothing too bad and I've not hit any showstoppers. The large battery pack is very useful as it lasts for several hours and I've found the WiFi based iOS/Android remote app to be very handy on a few occasions.

3. Same question for Micsig ? There was a lot of topics about it in 2015-2017 but nothing since then. Latest firmware update is Feb 2017... Abandonned product ?
I think they've been busy with the ATO1000 version of the scope which added automotive diagnostics and the STO1000 version of the scope with adds a bunch of hardware controls. The latest firmware is v343 which came out around November 2018 to support the ATO1000 so it isn't abandoned. If you've got a TO1000 then you can unlock the automotive features with an additional license key. I've no idea how well the automotive diagnostics works but it seems to list a lot of different tests and options.

They usually roll out firmware for the Chinese site first and then once its been tested for a while, it'll get rolled out on the English site as well. You can just change the language on your scope to Chinese, do the web update and then change it back to English though if you don't want to wait. You can also download the update files directly and use a USB stick instead.
 

Online beanflying

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 01:11:32 am »
Hi,

unfortunately you are about to get 'the brand I use is the best' and here is all the problems with anything else. Rigol/Siglent is one of the normal battlefront at this price point.

Personally in this day and age I wouldn't swap a Brand name (I do own several bits of Agilent gear) for limiting myself to two channels so either look for a bit more budget if you want to look at an Agilent for features or performance and stay with four channels.

I do own a Micsig TO1104 but portability (I do some onsite work) and batteries were one of the factors in heading me away from Rigol/Siglent as choices at this sort of price point. It does all I want and need and a lot more I haven't needed yet. Given not needing portable then Rigol/Siglent/Micsig all have pluses and minuses you will just need to find your best fit.

For a function Generator go with an external one $50-150 gets you a lot of bang for your $ Feeltech or JDS you can later on if you need it spend more if you decide you need to. I am just going through the upgrade thing at present from a Feeltech 30mHz.

Have fun deciding  :)
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Offline jjoonathan

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2019, 01:36:59 am »
I love my Micsig. Being able to (easily) bring the scope to the work has been a game-changer.
 

Offline Bouteille

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2019, 11:40:40 am »
I have a MicSig TO1104 myself and tested it very thouroughly.

Yes and thank you for the great review you made, it convinced me that the micsig is an actual oscilloscope and not a toy.

Quote
The TO1104 also offers input filtering which might be useful to turn PWM signals back into 'analog' signals by filtering the high frequency content away.

Good point, I did not think about that.

I think you'll be happy with the Siglent. The Siglent is generally well reviewed here and IIRC you can fairly easily mod it for increased bandwidth and additional features. You'll need to dig around in the big thread for that.

For what I do, the Micsig TO1104 covers nearly everything I need. I can get access to other scopes for anything not covered.

Yes I think that additional options offered by Siglent are somewhat accessory for me. But marketing made its job and I wonder if I will miss segmented memory, pass/fail trigger (buggy in siglent anyway ?), or color gradient options at some point.

I think they've been busy with the ATO1000 version of the scope which added automotive diagnostics and the STO1000 version of the scope with adds a bunch of hardware controls. The latest firmware is v343 which came out around November 2018 to support the ATO1000 so it isn't abandoned. If you've got a TO1000 then you can unlock the automotive features with an additional license key. I've no idea how well the automotive diagnostics works but it seems to list a lot of different tests and options.

Ok I probably missed it, the latest update I could find on chinese website is 273. Do you have a direct link to 343 ?
Automotive is not a major requirement (I have dedicated hardware for that) but it could be interesting to try out.

Yes I saw the STO1000 on chinese version of the website, not sure about the layout and quality of knobs/buttons but it could be the "missing link" able to convince users of traditionnal oscilloscopes (or outdoor users wearing gloves). Is this going on the market soon ?

Rigol/Siglent/Micsig all have pluses and minuses you will just need to find your best fit.

For a function Generator go with an external one $50-150 gets you a lot of bang for your $ Feeltech or JDS you can later on if you need it spend more if you decide you need to. I am just going through the upgrade thing at present from a Feeltech 30mHz.

Have fun deciding  :)

Thank you :)
After reading messages Agilent is out and I start to have a preference for Micsig.

I think that I read all forum posts about it, and I am surprised to see no attempts for hacking it (just one message mentionning reverse engineering but nothing happened). Is there a linux heart beating in there ?
The form factor and hardware are very nice and I am sure that community could add precious features if micsig were keen to provide scripting or user-extension possibilities. As a developper I would love to work on 'improving' such device !


Thank you all for your messages, keep adding your thoughts, I might change my mind again ;)
 

Online beanflying

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 12:34:59 pm »
Given most if not all the options and performance were already unlocked on the Micsig for no $ there wasn't the reasons to hack it I guess unlike Rigol and Siglent selling firmware on much better hardware for extra $profits.

I have a clean W10 install in my shack I dropped their mirroring software on today and it hooked straight up with no fuss and drove the Tablet as expected. Via WiFi that was btw.

Lack of firmware upgrade shouldn't be seen as a problem more that the firmware was fairly mature when they released the last version and hasn't needed to many bugs removing since, certainly nothing major I have found or seen reported.

Still doesn't make it the perfect choice for everyone either  ;)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 12:57:37 pm by beanflying »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2019, 12:41:33 pm »
4. It seems that agilent leashed the megazoom asic in this unit... Any interesting updates to be expected or announced ?

They have a 4 channel unit being released this month, but it's more expensive.
No word on Megazoom V ASIC development, but the new scope won't have it I'm sure.

FWIT I'd rather use the Keysight for everyday signal use, it's just nicer and easier to use.
But the other offer much better bang-per-buck.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 01:12:53 pm »
BTW another unit in this price range is the GW Instek GDS1054B (around $350 IIRC). This can be uphacked (AFAIK) to have protocol decoding and more bandwidth using a key generator. The firmware is also solid on these units.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2019, 01:25:27 pm »
Ok I probably missed it, the latest update I could find on chinese website is 273. Do you have a direct link to 343 ?
Automotive is not a major requirement (I have dedicated hardware for that) but it could be interesting to try out.
You need to know what the current version is on your TO1104 as the first number is actually a hardware revision. Once you know that, you can go to http://www.micsig.com.cn/upgrade/config.xml and download the relevant file.

Yes I saw the STO1000 on chinese version of the website, not sure about the layout and quality of knobs/buttons but it could be the "missing link" able to convince users of traditionnal oscilloscopes (or outdoor users wearing gloves). Is this going on the market soon ?
No idea. I just know they're working on it. It looks to be a TO1104 but with extra knobs so I assume software development shouldn't be too complicated.

I think that I read all forum posts about it, and I am surprised to see no attempts for hacking it (just one message mentionning reverse engineering but nothing happened). Is there a linux heart beating in there ?
It does run Linux. It already does everything I need so there hasn't been any reason for me to hack it. I've poked around in the firmware updates for curiosity but that has been the limit of it.

Most people as shown in this thread just ended up buying the TO1104 so the 100MHz and 28M unlocks aren't necessary. The TO1104+ bundles have the most of the licensed features unlocked except for the automotive ATO1000 mode, ARINC 429 decoder and 1553B decoder. Micsig are/were offering free automotive keys for existing users. The two decoders are for avionics so I've never had any need to use them.

The form factor and hardware are very nice and I am sure that community could add precious features if micsig were keen to provide scripting or user-extension possibilities. As a developper I would love to work on 'improving' such device !
It would be nice if they finished the SCPI support and the web interface.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 01:27:05 pm by tsman »
 

Offline FERCSA

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2019, 02:27:43 pm »
I'm biased but one of the cheapest option is to buy an used EDUX model from Keysight, make the necessary hardware hack (or just go with the DSOX), then install the latest software hack too. It gives you a 2.5 channel, 200Mhz+ scope with a lot of decoder options and a super comfortable, intuitive, easy to use GUI.

If you don't wanna to muck around and you really need that fourth channel, just go with the siglent.

Also a built-in FG can be very useful sometimes, maybe you don't need it right now, but a lot of hobby project can benefit from it in the future.
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Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2019, 02:46:09 pm »
I'm biased but one of the cheapest option is to buy an used EDUX model from Keysight, make the necessary hardware hack (or just go with the DSOX), then install the latest software hack too. It gives you a 2.5 channel, 200Mhz+ scope with a lot of decoder options and a super comfortable, intuitive, easy to use GUI.
I thought the 200MHz mod had problems and wasn't recommended? You had offset issues and the firmware was buggy in 200MHz mode. Modding a EDUX frontend to DSOX involved a lot of component changes as well.
 

Offline FERCSA

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2019, 03:34:01 pm »
I thought the 200MHz mod had problems and wasn't recommended? You had offset issues and the firmware was buggy in 200MHz mode. Modding a EDUX frontend to DSOX involved a lot of component changes as well.

Nope, not anymore, just look around the forum.

The frontend mod is not hard at all if you have the necessary tools and a steady hand. Of course you can pay more and get the DSOX instead, in this case you don't have to open your scope at all! Just install the sw hack.
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Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2019, 05:03:35 pm »
Nope, not anymore, just look around the forum.
Ahh. I didn't see you had released a modified firmware that didn't have those flaws. Nice work!
 

Offline Bouteille

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 06:12:34 pm »
They have a 4 channel unit being released this month, but it's more expensive.
No word on Megazoom V ASIC development, but the new scope won't have it I'm sure.
Interesting, price drop to be expected for the 2 channels version ?


BTW another unit in this price range is the GW Instek GDS1054B (around $350 IIRC). This can be uphacked (AFAIK) to have protocol decoding and more bandwidth using a key generator. The firmware is also solid on these units.
It was in my list at some point but got dropped after seeing the teardown video and the UI which I did not like.
However I can get a "ISO-TECH 1054B" for cheap (300€) and I read somewhere that it should be a rebranded instek with compatible firmware... Correct ?


Quote
I think that I read all forum posts about it, and I am surprised to see no attempts for hacking it
I just missed the most active thread :palm:
After reading 12 pages I like it more and more.
Still some questions remains such as the 4ms vs 5ms weird timebase in 'normal' sampling mode, or question marks showing up in decoding. Solved by recent firmware ?


It does run Linux. It already does everything I need so there hasn't been any reason for me to hack it. I've poked around in the firmware updates for curiosity but that has been the limit of it.
Thank you for your update and the link to firmwares. I now follow your messages on the dedicated thread too ;)


It gives you a 2.5 channel, 200Mhz+ scope with a lot of decoder options and a super comfortable, intuitive, easy to use GUI.
Thank you for the suggestion, I am definitely not able to populate the mainboard myself... But what does the modified firmware add to a DSOX1102G ?
Sorry, I skipped reading messages about this hack after seeing hardware modifications :)
2.5 channels is 2 analog + 1 digital 'only' input (using trigger BNC) ?
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2019, 07:55:07 pm »
BTW another unit in this price range is the GW Instek GDS1054B (around $350 IIRC). This can be uphacked (AFAIK) to have protocol decoding and more bandwidth using a key generator. The firmware is also solid on these units.
It was in my list at some point but got dropped after seeing the teardown video and the UI which I did not like.
However I can get a "ISO-TECH 1054B" for cheap (300€) and I read somewhere that it should be a rebranded instek with compatible firmware... Correct ?
It sure looks the same. The UI is a matter of taste but I find it less fiddly compared to Keysight because the rows of buttons below and besides the screen on the GW Instek make configuring things like protocol decoding much easier. On the Keysight you have to navigate through several sub-menus.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Bouteille

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2019, 08:51:06 pm »
There is an interesting deal on ebay for the To1104 plus at 350€, free shipping from Hong Kong.
This does not seem to be the official Micsig distributor or store like they have on aliexpress.

If customs intercept it I'll have to pay additional ~25% of the price (VAT+customs), so roughly 440€ which is still cheaper than official aliexpress store (486€) or batronix (600€).

In case of a technical problem with the unit (or upgrade request), do you know if Micsig fullfills the warranty terms when bought from such source ?
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2019, 09:03:27 pm »
I'd buy a scope from a European distributor if I where you. Returning it for warranty will be easier. IIRC MicSig does seem to respond to direct warranty / repair requests but you likely need to ship your scope to China. Someone on this forum had a problem with the battery charger and he did manage to have it fixed but I don't know the details from the top of my head.

Also make sure you can return it for any reason. You already found my To1104 review in which I use a list with tests. It is good to have a list with tests / checks you'd like to try and see if an oscilloscope is to your liking.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2019, 09:09:23 pm »
There is an interesting deal on ebay for the To1104 plus at 350€, free shipping from Hong Kong.
This does not seem to be the official Micsig distributor or store like they have on aliexpress
Which one are you looking at?
 

Offline Bouteille

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2019, 12:41:08 am »
I'd buy a scope from a European distributor if I where you. Returning it for warranty will be easier. IIRC MicSig does seem to respond to direct warranty / repair requests but you likely need to ship your scope to China. Someone on this forum had a problem with the battery charger and he did manage to have it fixed but I don't know the details from the top of my head.
Seems reasonable. How about official Micsig store on aliexpress ?

Which one are you looking at?
https://www.ebay.fr/itm/8-TFT-LCD-Digital-Oscilloscope-100MHz-150MHz-2CH-4CH-100-240V-USB-WIFI-LAN-inm/183365247465?hash=item2ab16ba1e9:m:mcz-dkBnw7qqqF9pBt0Mzjw:rk:1:pf:0&autorefresh=true
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2019, 01:00:30 am »
They have a 4 channel unit being released this month, but it's more expensive.
No word on Megazoom V ASIC development, but the new scope won't have it I'm sure.
Interesting, price drop to be expected for the 2 channels version ?

I doubt it. But maybe at some dealers?  :-//
If you are considering the 1000X then worth waiting and seeing.
 
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Offline tsman

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2019, 01:01:47 am »
https://www.ebay.fr/itm/8-TFT-LCD-Digital-Oscilloscope-100MHz-150MHz-2CH-4CH-100-240V-USB-WIFI-LAN-inm/183365247465?hash=item2ab16ba1e9:m:mcz-dkBnw7qqqF9pBt0Mzjw:rk:1:pf:0&autorefresh=true
I'm not sure that comes with the protocol decoders. The TO1104+ bundles from the EU distributor all seem to include it but the ones coming from China don't say or explicitly say they're an optional purchase. The protocol decoder license for I2C/SPI/UART/CAN/LIN is ~40 EUR so that eBay auction is still cheaper.

I'd also suggest buying it from a EU distributor if possible for least amount of headaches. However, I know people who have ordered from eBay/Aliexpress and have had no problems. I bought mine from a UK distributor and at the time it included the protocol decoders + a carrying bag.
 

Online beanflying

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2019, 01:02:12 am »
I have dealt with that Seller several times before and not had an issue.

I did buy mine off Aliexpress and MICSIG directly and the once I contacted them reply was prompt and got me the answer I needed. With more Capital type items I prefer to go with the manufacturer over price providing they are in the ball park. You could try asking MICSIG to price match maybe Creality for example matched a landed price on my last couple of printers? Other than Paypal short term protection your backup options after buying are limited with most ebay sellers and factory backup tends to be harder to get.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2019, 01:03:10 am »
I'd buy a scope from a European distributor if I where you. Returning it for warranty will be easier. IIRC MicSig does seem to respond to direct warranty / repair requests but you likely need to ship your scope to China. Someone on this forum had a problem with the battery charger and he did manage to have it fixed but I don't know the details from the top of my head.
Seems reasonable. How about official Micsig store on aliexpress ?
The official store from MicSig should also work. MicSig usually responds to enquiries quickly. But be aware of the shipping costs, import paperwork costs (10 to 30 euros), import duties and VAT. Before ordering from China make sure you can't find a better deal taking all the extra costs into account. Usually a local (EU) dealer is cheaper all things considered.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline spadger

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Re: 500$ for Micsig or Siglent or Agilent
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2019, 07:57:36 am »
I have Micsig TO1152 and STO1104C. STO1104C is the latest model. It is more quiet then TO1152, because of adding fan control function.
The buttons and knobs are good complement for touch screen. Both knobs&buttons and touch screen worked well.
Battery is not necessary, because you can power it with power band and QC2.0(9V/12V) trigger cable.
I am planning to sell TO1152.
 


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