Choosing a Oscilloscope

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Choosing a Oscilloscope

Post by exxos » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:55 pm

One of the most questions I get asked about my equipment is what oscilloscope I use.

So here it is..
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Anyone wanting to do serious testing and debugging, I strongly suggest not going for a specification less than this one listed above. I purchased the scope some years ago, and there may well be other brands or even better models than this one.

Regards to PC-based scopes, the really cheap ones are okay for basic work, but for me they are completely useless as I spend most my time looking for tiny noise pulses and glitches in circuits. While there are really expensive PC scopes which are really good, I am generally not a fan in general. I would much prefer just to have a separate oscilloscope which is portable and I can use this anywhere quite easily without having to mess about with the PC as well.

Of course don't confuse oscilloscopes with logic analysers. Logic analysers are there just to provide logic zero and logic one outputs. This is ideal to debug logic circuits, but again as I have seen myself many times, the logic analysers do not pick up on glitches easily. There is also sampling rate errors logic analysers which are okay if you want something accurate down to 10 ns or something like that, but generally this is just not good enough for the debugging I do.

I'm not saying totally avoid them, it really depends on what you are going to use the things for. If you just want something to play about with, and investigate logic signals and learn about timings on a CPU bus or something, then the PC-based scopes, all PC-based logic analysers, probably going to be ideal for this. But if you're going to do really delicate and heavy diagnostics, you really need a decent quality bench oscilloscope. In terms of quality, the more you generally pay the better quality product you are going to get.

My scope is around £300 and I think it will be a struggle to get anything this specification for a lower price. Of course there could be better quality scopes of this price now, as I said my scope is now a few years old, but I have not looked at any other manufacturers or specifications recently.

For anyone wanting to learn about all specifications of scopes, I recommend listening to the Dave Jones video is below. As he explains the differences on the traps of various scopes..

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