Author Topic: Scope upgrade for ~1500€  (Read 2784 times)

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Offline MaxZ

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Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« on: October 25, 2020, 04:31:51 pm »
Hello,


Disclaimer with an eye on the "Newbies please read" note: I did read through a couple threads here but I haven't really seen a lot of comparisons between the models I have an eye on. No surprise to me because usually they are in completely different price ranges. However, under the conditions given below the models are much closer than usually, making a comparison more interesting. Also, I do value usability and how quick you get your measurement done quite a lot. This is something that's by far not discussed as much as bandwith, aquisition modes, etc.

I currently have a good old Rigol DS1102E. It has been serving me well for many years now but I do hit its limitations more and more often. Small screen, only 2 channels, very little memory (1M total, 512k with both channels enabled), ...
Long story short, I want a better scope and I want to keep it for a looong time. Features that I want to have: 4 channels, more memory, serial decoders, function generator, well designed UI/intuitive to use and a less noisier fan than the DS1102E. "Nice to have" and what I value: quick boot time and general speed of the device, bode plot, [other stuff I forgot].
The usage field is mainly power electronics and microcontrollers. While I have a logic analyzer for the DS1102E I actually never used it. I genuinely think 4 channels is enough for me as long as they can do all the digital stuff, too. I'm not into the super high bandwidth stuff; I've never wished for more than the 100MHz I had.
One note about the "well designed UI" point on my wishlist: Having a ton of features is nice, but most of them are only needed on rather rare occasions. However, no matter what you want to do with the thing, you always have to use the UI, the buttons, the menus, etc. No way around. And if they are annoying, every single time you use the scope will be annoying. Some people happily live with this and trade a well made UI for some extra features. I'm the other way around. I would rather not have a couple features if the remaining ones are a pleasure to use. If I truly need that missing feature, I'll save money to buy something else to do the job (and enjoy the well-designed scope for everything else).

So I've followed new scopes over the last two years and I've come up with the following candidates for an upgrade: Siglent SDS2000X-Plus, (used) Agilent/Keysight MSO-X 3000 and R&S RTB2000.
The Rigol MSO5000 is not on the list because I think I'll never get a friend of their current "designs". Additionally the 1:15min boot time would annoy me every single time I use the thing. I power my lab equippment up the moment I need it, not with the lights when entering the lab...

When I first saw the RTB2000 series, I did like them a lot. They seem to have put a lot of effort in the UI and the software in general which I do appreciate. Especially the 10s boot time really appeals to me and the way I currently use my scope (which is around 10s boot time, too). The only really annoying thing I've seen so far is that apparently the velocity control of the knobs is not great? I'm more of a knob guy than an on-screen-keypad guy.
With the options I want it was just way to expensive. Then I discovered the current eductation bundle from Batronix which brings it a lot closer to what I was willing to spend on a scope. The bundle ticks every point of my wishlist but it's still 700€ more than the Siglent... It is more than I actually wanted to spend on a scope but if that's what it takes to not regret the choice for the next 10 years, I'll happily stretch my budget.

Speaking of the Siglent - It seems to be the best bang per buck with some advantages over the R&S. But the somewhat limited function generator, the rather unusual memory management and other things I've read (and can't remember right now) made me doubt. I have the feeling that it may not be as well "thought through" and comfortable to use than the other two scopes on the list. Please tell me if that's nonsense.

And finally, the Keysight/Agilent scope... It's actually the only one I've used in reality, although for a very short time only (at university). I did like it and it pops up from time to time on ebay for <2k€. However it's quite a bit older and has significantly less memory.

Hence I'd be happy to hear about your thoughts. Are there any other new/used/hackable models that I should consider? What are your experiences with the models listed? What advantages and disadvantages have I missed?


Thank you!
Max
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 04:50:54 pm »
Never used that Siglent (I'm sure Tautech WILL chime in), neither the R&S, but I do have long experience with Keysight InfiniiVision IV platform.

I personally owned two 3000X series, one 6000X series, and the 4000X series is exactly the same hardware of 3000X series in a 6000X series chassis, so rest of the lower end series, I've owned all IV4 scope families, plus their PXI scopes which are basically a shrunk and headless version of the 3000X.

The impression is really simple: they are FAST, no UI lag, waveform updates instantly, which is not common on other scopes at all. The UI speed is unrealistically fast and smooth. They also have a low cost license bundles which enables most features at a reasonable cost (not on higher end series like DSO-S series where every option is paid separately and can add up quickly). But other than that, I'm afraid all are bad news.

They have short memory, they have expensive and non-backwards compatible (despite the physical interface is) active probe interface, and they have unreliable triggering when signal is too weak (despite barely exceeding trigger level). Also the building quality is not top notch (like coming with DOA accessories), besides they have this dreaded NAND flash data corrosion (and self bricking) problem that is greatly alleviated but still can bite unlucky souls.

Whether you can live with those is up to you. All I can say is despite knowing the shortcomings, I recently bought 4 DSOX3054As for my students, but if you are bothered by one of its limitations, YMMV.
 
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Online nctnico

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 05:05:46 pm »
Look at what GW Instek has to offer. GDS-2000E or  MSO-2000 series for example. The firmware is solid and they are very pleasant to use.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2020, 06:56:14 pm »
If you want something that just works right now, I agree with Nico. Take a look at GW Instek GDS2000E or one of MSO/MDO variants..
Very good scopes. Take a closer look at them. Don't read datasheet, it doesn't give it justice. Download user manual and prepare to be amazed what it can do.. They are also very responsive to commands and have very logical layout of buttons and menus.

Siglent SDG2000X+ is newest scope from Siglent, and is still being actively developed.. That means it might have some bugs, but also it might gain more powerful options in months to come.
What exactly will happen, it remains to be seen. I think it is most promising scope from B tier. It's up to Siglent to keep the promise, and they did some nice job so far. If they do, nothing will be even close in this price range.
But if you need scope right now, you need to see if current capability is sufficient to you. You cannot count of what will (might) be next year.

Built in siggens are crap on every scope. Period.  OTOH, they are fantastic for built in Frequency response analysis (FRA), and here Siglent has good implementation that is being actively developed and upgraded all the time. With Siglent, you can also get standalone Siglent AWG and use that one for FRA, directly from scope. That's a killer feature. If you need it, that is..

R&S RTB2000 is very fancy and has nice U/I. Some people love it, some people are just not very impressed. It has that premium product aura, and some very nice functions, but is deliberately limited in many ways. For decoding, for instance, it has very nice interface, etc etc. But you cannot search for I2C packets, or UART, or SPI... And things like that. So depending of what you do you might love it, or find it severely limiting... Also, user manual reveals more than datasheet, that is marketing sheet, not data sheet.

Actually, good advice is to make a list of things you want to do with it and then search a user manual to see how it's done.  Pay attention to triggering, segmented memory management (what can you do with it, only look at it or can you analyse, search, decode later etc etc)

Regards,
 
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Offline Noy

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2020, 07:19:27 pm »
1:15 min rigol Boot time?
My MSO5000 didnt have that.
And you know that good equipment needs to warm up (our big 30ghz scope at least 20-30min) to be in spec..
 

Online tautech

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 08:10:47 pm »
Never used that Siglent (I'm sure Tautech WILL chime in)
Now you're back in SZX you have little reason not to try one !  :P
10 minute train ride and 10 minute walk and you're at the factory.  ;)

Say the word and I'll arrange one for you to try.  :popcorn:
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Online blueskull

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 01:31:59 am »
Say the word and I'll arrange one for you to try.  :popcorn:

I'll go to take a look at the booth at the upcoming Electronica Shenzhen.
I went to visit Siglent once at the Electronica Shanghai, but I was visiting the show on a mission to find a suitable power supply for my lab, so I spent the majority of my time on power supplies and never had enough time on T&M sections, and I'll certainly visit that section this time.
 

Offline timchung2007

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2020, 03:59:53 am »
Seems like Keysight is launching a new oscilloscope on Nov 12, not sure if it is within you price bracket but should be the replacement for their 3000x series?

https://www.gapwireless.com/event/keysight-new-oscilloscope-reveal-nov-12/

 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 07:34:31 am »
Seems like Keysight is launching a new oscilloscope on Nov 12, not sure if it is within you price bracket but should be the replacement for their 3000x series?

https://www.gapwireless.com/event/keysight-new-oscilloscope-reveal-nov-12/

It is a new Infinium scope... That is several levels above Infiniivision 3000T series. So no, no replacement for that. And price that match that..
 

Offline MaxZ

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 08:35:41 am »
Thank you all for the replies!

Looking at the manuals to find out how every scope can be used is a good (although time consuming) idea.

I had a look at the GW Instek scopes. Very interesting capabilities indeed - especially for the price. I mean, I absolutely like the idea of having scope and spectrum analyser in one instrument. But the interface, it looks sooo old. And I don't mean the "nice looking oldtimer" old. Rather the annoying, depressing old.
IF the scopes had great usability I could maybe live with the look of it but after seeing and all the quirks he found in that time I'm really turned off by them. Granted, the video is 7 years old but even for that time the issues and the look seem worse than other scopes of that time and that feature class. If there are other scopes that have significant improvements compared to what I saw in that video, I'll happily take a look at them. If not, GW Instek is unfortunately no option for me.

Quote
1:15 min rigol Boot time?
My MSO5000 didnt have that.
And you know that good equipment needs to warm up (our big 30ghz scope at least 20-30min) to be in spec..
That's the boot time in Daves video... Has Rigol improved it significantly since then? Doesn't change my other problems with that scope though.
If want to quickly check if the PWM signal of my microcontroller is glitch free, I want to take the scope, turn it on, and check the signal. I don't care if the amplitude of the square wave is off by a whole 1% in the first minutes (heck even 10% wouldn't matter in that case). Neither do I care about the time base drifting more than the specified 5ppm (or 10ppm or whatever). Most of my usage cases are "quick checks" like this example. Hence I want a "quick" scope. Quick startup, quick measurement setup, quick navigation, etc.
That one day where I really need the full precision of the scope (or any other piece of equippment in my lab) I'll happily wait the 20-30mins or whatever time it takes. And only that one day.


Kind regards,
Max
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2020, 02:40:39 pm »
Thank you all for the replies!

Looking at the manuals to find out how every scope can be used is a good (although time consuming) idea.

I had a look at the GW Instek scopes. Very interesting capabilities indeed - especially for the price. I mean, I absolutely like the idea of having scope and spectrum analyser in one instrument. But the interface, it looks sooo old. And I don't mean the "nice looking oldtimer" old. Rather the annoying, depressing old.
IF the scopes had great usability I could maybe live with the look of it but after seeing and all the quirks he found in that time I'm really turned off by them. Granted, the video is 7 years old but even for that time the issues and the look seem worse than other scopes of that time and that feature class. If there are other scopes that have significant improvements compared to what I saw in that video, I'll happily take a look at them. If not, GW Instek is unfortunately no option for me.

Quote
1:15 min rigol Boot time?
My MSO5000 didnt have that.
And you know that good equipment needs to warm up (our big 30ghz scope at least 20-30min) to be in spec..
That's the boot time in Daves video... Has Rigol improved it significantly since then? Doesn't change my other problems with that scope though.
If want to quickly check if the PWM signal of my microcontroller is glitch free, I want to take the scope, turn it on, and check the signal. I don't care if the amplitude of the square wave is off by a whole 1% in the first minutes (heck even 10% wouldn't matter in that case). Neither do I care about the time base drifting more than the specified 5ppm (or 10ppm or whatever). Most of my usage cases are "quick checks" like this example. Hence I want a "quick" scope. Quick startup, quick measurement setup, quick navigation, etc.
That one day where I really need the full precision of the scope (or any other piece of equippment in my lab) I'll happily wait the 20-30mins or whatever time it takes. And only that one day.


Kind regards,
Max

That is old 2000A series. We spoke about newer 2000E series.
Dave spent  5 minutes twirling knobs without any particular plan. He also had bias at that time that if scope doesn't work same as Keysight that it is stupid...  And that scope absolutely have display gradation, except button has different behaviour than Keysight.
And as I said it is an old scope, not the one we speak about. 

As to how fancy U/I looks, it all depends do you want a scope that works well, or one that looks fancy.. You can easily have one that is both, nice LeCroys start at 10000 USD and up... Highly recommended....

For GW Instek reviews that are more up to date, this guy has few videos...


As for boot time, you're out of luck. My Keysight 3000T boots 1:45 before coming online...  And it is not a problem. By the time I grab probes, connect them, find grounding point , etc, it's up and running. Or I get up and stretch my painful back from too much sitting and go have a glass of water. It's not a problem if you don't make it out to be..
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2020, 03:30:53 pm »
As to how fancy U/I looks, it all depends do you want a scope that works well, or one that looks fancy..

I think this needs to be the first question answered.

 

Offline jemangedeslolos

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2020, 07:54:01 pm »
I hesitated a lot between this GW Instek and the Siglent but I opted for the Siglent.

Even if the siglent is less mature, it also has a lot of assets. Not to mention hardware, it has a good community here and a Tautech that can possibly speed up bug fixing or implementation of new functionality.

 

Online Martin72

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2020, 09:28:32 pm »
Don´t know the scopes from GWInstek, but we got some AWGs from them, not really impressive.
My "A"s under the "B"s are rigol and siglent, where siglent turns more and more towards to the A, but this is just my opinion.
In fact, I don´t know much brands, only lecroy I´ve grown up with, some tek scopes and then rigol/siglent at home/lab on work for decoding things.
Boot time rigol mso 5000 was reduced to 59sec after the first firmware upgrade.
The absolute "king" in slow boot time was the wavesurfer 522 from lecroy....you can go make a coffee...

Online nctnico

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2020, 10:37:39 pm »
Don´t know the scopes from GWInstek, but we got some AWGs from them, not really impressive.
My "A"s under the "B"s are rigol and siglent, where siglent turns more and more towards to the A, but this is just my opinion.
GW Instek's AWGs aren't very impressive indeed but a lot of their other stuff is quite good and they also offer good support. Actually it is GW Instek which is closer to being an A brand compared to Rigol and Siglent. GW Instek produces some high-end gear as well (with the price tag). Look at their power supplies and DC loads for example and compare to the ones from Kikusui; several are almost identical. Or the Tektronix 2260B series power supplies.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 11:18:27 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2020, 11:08:44 pm »
The constant stream of bugs and problems in the Siglent threads aren't pretty reading, either.

 

Online Martin72

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2020, 11:13:03 pm »
Quote
Actually it is GW Instek which is closer to being an A brand compared to Rigol and Siglent.

In case of scopes ?
Power Supplies...Well, I´m still a "fan" of linear supplies.. 8)
Impressive things from GWInstek ? Their Loads...

Online nctnico

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2020, 11:20:50 pm »
Quote
Actually it is GW Instek which is closer to being an A brand compared to Rigol and Siglent.

In case of scopes ?
If you want a scope which works and (if you manage to find one) bugs get fixed within weeks instead of years (or never) then yes.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2020, 11:24:37 pm »
Dave prefers the Keysights for their liveability. Very little dickiness going on with those and a joy to use. Considering your preferences it sounds like that could be a good match.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2020, 11:26:52 pm »
GW Instek's AWGs aren't very impressive indeed but a lot of their other stuff is quite good and they also offer good support. Actually it is GW Instek which is closer to being an A brand compared to Rigol and Siglent. GW Instek produces some high-end gear as well (with the price tag). Look at their power supplies and DC loads for example and compare to the ones from Kikusui; several are almost identical. Or the Tektronix 2260B series power supplies.
Closer is not on par.
 

Online Martin72

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2020, 11:54:36 pm »
If you want a scope which works and (if you manage to find one) bugs get fixed within weeks instead of years (or never) then yes.

Quick bug fixes made not a company to be an A brand.
Even Tek, Lecroy, Keysight have long times to fix bugs.
Apart from this, whether the actually rigol models or siglent are so buggy, you couldn´t work with it.
Even with my all time because so long existing bug model from lecroy you can do daily work with it.

Offline Fungus

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2020, 01:09:02 am »
Dave prefers the Keysights for their liveability. Very little dickiness going on with those and a joy to use. Considering your preferences it sounds like that could be a good match.

Yep, with that budget you could get a Keysight DSOX1204G.

https://www.batronix.com/shop/oscilloscopes/Keysight-DSOX1204G.html

It's EEVBLOG Dave's favorite oscilloscope.
 

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2020, 08:34:42 am »
Dave prefers the Keysights for their liveability. Very little dickiness going on with those and a joy to use. Considering your preferences it sounds like that could be a good match.

Yep, with that budget you could get a Keysight DSOX1204G.
Maybe you missed the OP's requirement for a deeper memory scope ?
2 Mpts /4ch is no better than his old Rigol offered.

Quote
It's EEVBLOG Dave's favorite oscilloscope.
LOL of course it is, it's his security blanket.

Just this year Dave became aware of the memory management of deep memory scopes and struggled to get his head around the real power of a DSO, zooming in !

Technicians and EE's have embraced the power of deep memory scopes for years but it seems many are just awakening to it.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2020, 09:01:35 am »
Just this year Dave became aware of the memory management of deep memory scopes and struggled to get his head around the real power of a DSO, zooming in
No.. wrong: Zooming out! But that doesn't fit your narrative because Siglent is the only oscilloscope out there which can't zoom out despite having deep memory  >:D And that again proves the point I made before: cheap gear but important features which improve productivity are missing.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 09:03:06 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Online tautech

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Re: Scope upgrade for ~1500€
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2020, 09:11:46 am »
Just this year Dave became aware of the memory management of deep memory scopes and struggled to get his head around the real power of a DSO, zooming in
No.. wrong: Zooming out! But that doesn't fit your narrative because Siglent is the only oscilloscope out there which can't zoom out despite having deep memory  >:D And that again proves the point I made before: cheap gear but important features which improve productivity are missing.
:-//
Not heard of LeCroy ? Pico ?
Both leaders in their field.
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