Oscilloscope...

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arkadiusz.makarenko
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Oscilloscope...

Post by arkadiusz.makarenko » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:00 pm

I have more and more situations when basic working scope would help a lot with adjusting or fault finding.
I don't have much space on my desk, so I was thinking of buying USB scope. Question is if it is usable at all, or waste of money?
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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by terriblefire » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:15 pm

arkadiusz.makarenko wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:00 pm
I have more and more situations when basic working scope would help a lot with adjusting or fault finding.
I don't have much space on my desk, so I was thinking of buying USB scope. Question is if it is usable at all, or waste of money?
Honestly i would get a real scope. My personal preference is this sort of HP

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-1660CS-Lo ... Sw6zNbiBys

These are combo scope and LA and this particular one has the nice X11 interface you can use from a PC.
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arkadiusz.makarenko
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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by arkadiusz.makarenko » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:32 pm

terriblefire wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:15 pm
arkadiusz.makarenko wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:00 pm
I have more and more situations when basic working scope would help a lot with adjusting or fault finding.
I don't have much space on my desk, so I was thinking of buying USB scope. Question is if it is usable at all, or waste of money?
Honestly i would get a real scope. My personal preference is this sort of HP

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-1660CS-Lo ... Sw6zNbiBys

These are combo scope and LA and this particular one has the nice X11 interface you can use from a PC.
It is reasonable price as well, I did expect that this kind of hardware would be a little bit more expensive.
Do not trust people. They are capable of greatness.
~ Stanislaw Lem

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PaulJ
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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by PaulJ » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:18 pm

arkadiusz.makarenko wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:00 pm
I have more and more situations when basic working scope would help a lot with adjusting or fault finding.
I don't have much space on my desk, so I was thinking of buying USB scope. Question is if it is usable at all, or waste of money?
I purchased three of these HP digital analyzers that can be configured for a lot of different functions depending on the cards you populate them with. I have a 16500B (had 4 great cards), a 16702a which had the scope cards I wanted, and finally a 16700b which is the latest of the series which needs a screen or run remotely via VNC which I use. When new these were many 10s of thousands but can not be used on todays high freq electronics. I got all there of mine for less than 200 each, two were 135 and the other 175. I have a commercial scope that claims to be a 200mhz scope but it truly sucks compared to the HP. Its remarkable this HP equipment is for sale at these prices.
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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by derkom » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:44 pm

I have been using a Digilent Analog Discovery 2 and I've been very happy with it. Besides being a scope, it's also a logic analyser, waveform generator, data logger, protocol analyser, etc. etc.

I definitely understand the appeal of physical knobs and buttons on dedicated hardware, but the AD2 is a great space saver, and my analog scope has been sitting under my desk performing footrest duty for several months now.

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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by rubber_jonnie » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:57 pm

I started off with a Hantek USB scope, mostly because of cost. It was around £50 compared to 3 times the cost for a new digital storage scope.

However, you have to understand it has limitations when compared to a dedicated scope.

Firstly, the software for the Hantek was quite limited, so making measurements was difficult, and then using the virtual knobs on the scope is quite a trial, and there are a lot of limitations around the software.

The other thing that was a big problem for me was the size of the whole thing. I have limited work space too, and even using a small laptop, if you factor in the size of the USB unit, it covers quite a lot of your workbench, too much for my liking.

I've just bought one of these: https://owontechnology.eu/owon-sds1022- ... scope.html, though I got it quite a bit cheaper through ebay.

There is a good deal to be said for having physical knobs, it allows much finer control when trying to capture and view, has trigger options allowing for on screen frozen captures, will let you run autoset to automatically set the traces, measurement features allowing for multiple on screen measurements from both channels at once, the list goes on.

I'm lucky that I'm in a position where I can buy this item, it's a good hobby scope, has a small worktop footprint and a lot of features. Ok it's still 20Mhz, so has limitations, but the price starts to go up if you want 100Mhz.

If I knew what I know now, I personally wouldn't have bought the USB scope.
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Atari 520ST (1Meg), 1040STF long button floppy, 2x 1040 STFMs + Gotek, 2x 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher, Mega ST1, Mega ST4, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by tzok » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:14 am

These HP weren't bad at their times... but today they may need more troubleshooting than computers you want to troubleshoot with them. They use Dallas battery backed up NVRAM modules to store calibration data. Today batteries are good past EOL date, and are non-replaceable.

So I'd suggest going into a new Siglent or Owon if you have really low budget, but preferably go for Rigol DS1054Z. If you need logic analyzer - buy Saleae Logic, or something like this, these built in scopes are next to useless.

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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by rubber_jonnie » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:18 am

arkadiusz.makarenko wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:32 pm
terriblefire wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:15 pm


Honestly i would get a real scope. My personal preference is this sort of HP

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-1660CS-Lo ... Sw6zNbiBys

These are combo scope and LA and this particular one has the nice X11 interface you can use from a PC.
It is reasonable price as well, I did expect that this kind of hardware would be a little bit more expensive.
One thing, good as these items are, they are large and take a lot of desk space that you say you don't have.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ultimate 1MB, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k +APE Warp) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg), 1040STF long button floppy, 2x 1040 STFMs + Gotek, 2x 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher, Mega ST1, Mega ST4, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by czietz » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:46 am

I would get a modern "real" oscilloscope, like tzok said for example from Rigol, Siglent, etc.; maybe second-hand if your budget is really tight. (E.g. some lucky buyer got my DS1102E, 100 MHz, 2 channels scope for about 120 €.) I wouldn't get any of the sub-100€ "toy" scopes. They're often severely limited in terms of sampling rate or input range, for example. Nor would I invest too much money into a vintage scope. For sure, an old HP, Tektronix, Lecroy will still have top-notch performance, but imho you'll miss many features of a modern scope. For example:

- Memory depth: My DS1054Z has several megabytes, while old scopes often have only kilobytes. Important to capture a long time and to still being able to zoom in.
- Easy storage: Being able to quickly save a screenshot to a USB stick or to save the measurement data via USB is a big plus. In contrast, getting data off of an old scope with GPIB only requires an expensive adapter.
- Small size and weight.

That being said, I couldn't pass when I saw a HP54502 on the way to the dumpster some time ago. As a matter of fact, these days I just replaced its NVRAM after the battery finally gave up after 30(!) years. Fortunately, the Dallas NVRAM in question is still in production so it's reasonably easy to replace it by a fresh one. But I rarely use this scope, only when I really need that 400 MHz bandwidth or 50 ohm input. The modern Rigol scope is much more convenient.

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Re: Oscilloscope...

Post by PaulJ » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:50 pm

tzok wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:14 am
These HP weren't bad at their times... but today they may need more troubleshooting than computers you want to troubleshoot with them. They use Dallas battery backed up NVRAM modules to store calibration data. Today batteries are good past EOL date, and are non-replaceable.

So I'd suggest going into a new Siglent or Owon if you have really low budget, but preferably go for Rigol DS1054Z. If you need logic analyzer - buy Saleae Logic, or something like this, these built in scopes are next to useless.
A scope selection has a lot of factors that come into play when making a selection. If your prime selection criteria is space then a older hp analyzer isn't for you. But if your looking for the most bang per buck then you can't get a better deal.


The HP 16533/34A is a digitizing oscilloscope module for the HP16700A/B logic analysis system. With a bandwidth of up to 500 MHz and a sampling rate up to 2 GSa/s, you can make accurate measurements on high speed digital circuits with rise times as fast as 1.5 ns. I have a SIG INT 200mhz scope and it doesn't hold a candle to the HP except for scape occupied on the bench. The HP sets on the floor with leads coming up to the tabletop. One feature about the HP that can be an asset or a detriment is its complexity to use because of all its capabilities. Since its an integrated Logic analyzer / scope you can trigger the scope from the logic analyzer trigger sequence. And last but not least HP quality is off the chart for test equipment made in the past. Lastly the unit doesn't use a Dallas NVRAM chip as the falcon.. but a NV battery right out in the open.
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