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Quality PC-Based oscilloscope?

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Hi All,

I know most PC-based oscilloscopes are pretty much garbage.  But I'm wondering, does anyone make a pc-based scope with pro-level electronics on par with Tek/Agilent/Rigol, etc?   To give an example: If I can't find an adequate PC-based one, my next choice would probably be a Rigol DS2072)

Since I'm a programmer I have only needed a scope to make sure microcontrollers were doing what they were told, baud rates were set correctly, etc.   But the projects I'm working on are getting faster, and I have some ideas for some projects that will require the ability to see accurate analog waveforms.   

I know what you're saying: Why not just get a regular DSO?   Well as I said I'm a programmer, so I spend most of my working life in front of 4 gigantic monitors and screaming fast development PCs.  And I'm much faster with a mouse than those buttons and knobs on a regular scope.  I'd love to have the quality capture abilities of a high-end scope without paying for the tiny scope display.

picoscope seems to be everywhere. and smartscope? they both have adverts on eevblog's main page.

Tiny screens? Well, if you pay enough you get oscilloscopes with large screens, too.

But let's stay with the entry level ones. They start with 8 bit DACs. That's 256 possible values. How much vertical resolution do you think you need to get 256 different values all nicely displayed?

But even then, you get entry level oscilloscopes with remote interfaces so you can operate them from a PC. Although the PC software is usually rubbish. You also get some with a monitor output.

And while you might be faster with a mouse, there is a big difference between having to adjust a value with a stupid slider (I hate sliders, even in normal applications), compared to a real knob. And really, when you prod around in some circuit do you think it will work out that you sit in front of your four screen tanning bed, reaching over to the circuit with one hand to probe something, watching your screens and the circuit  at the same time, cruising around with the mouse and typing something with your third hand?

As B@W said, you can control modern test instruments that have bus/network options, with a PC or use defacto standard Labview environment as a controller.  National Instruments is a segment leader.

Agilent has a few instruments here:

When monitoring data status, dedicated instruments provide a secondary portal, if not a control override, to confirm or control the data input shown via PC.  However, if your need includes data collection, clearly some PC approach is optimal, and if your need is fully focused on data collection over much time, a bus based device may save lab space and possibly cost. 

Dedicated instruments are faster to use in tasks were data collection is rarely required, like in hardware design, debug and repair and overall its popularity still shows as you can see from the offering of the big T&M makers like Agilent.


I bought USB scope Hantek 5200A some years ago and was very happy with it until it stopped working.  :--

You can get it on Aliexpress for 340$ with DHL delivery.

Teardown photos:

The specs:


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