How much for a decent Function Generator?

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by dacart, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. dacart

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 7, 2010
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    0
    I've been watching eBay auctions for function generators and I "think" I should be able to get something decent for around $100. I saw in a previous thread that I should be looking at dds type FGs. Is it possible to get something with all the necessary bells and whistles for around $100 or am I am dreaming?

    Thanks,

    Dan Carter
     
  2. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
    141
    "decent" and "all the bells and whistles" aren't specific enough. Tell us what you want to do with this function generator and what decisions you want it to help you make. Also tell us what waveforms, amplitudes, and frequencies you need. Do you need to modulate? Sweep? Phase shift? A VCO? Do you need programmability? External trigger? Analog output for a recorder? There's all kinds of stuff that can be specified to help pin down a good candidate.

    Somewhere between 5 and 10 years ago I bought an older WaveTek analog-style function generator for $65. It has served me well. Now I mainly use some DDS loaners I have on my bench.

    You can find new analog generators in the $100-$500 range or so. Most of the stuff being sold today is based on DDS because it greatly reduces part count and cost. Rough costs for DDS stuff go from perhaps $500 on up. Of course, shop around -- you'll find a variety of offerings and prices.

    If you need low outputs, you may want to get an attenuator too, as the typical DDS generators I've used have their lowest outputs in the single-digit mV range.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
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    I bought a new (to me) oscope at a HAM Con for around $100. I saw more than one precision (accurate to 0.1 Hz) for that price range.

    A general function generator can be quite cheap. I bought a SWTPC function generator during the late 70's and it is still giving me good service.

    It all depends on what you need. If your needs aren't that great you can even DIY.
     
  4. dacart

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 7, 2010
    13
    0
    Thanks,
    The deal is that I am basically a newb that's been using an inexpensive ($14) kit to pump out sine and square waves for learning and testing a couple of projects I've put together. I'm just starting to be able to appreciate the need for things like duty cycle adjustment, sweep output to my $20 Ballantine 1010A scope and, even though I can use my MM for it, an accurate readout of what frequency is being output. If possible it'd be great to get something I could "grow" into in terms of extra functionality but right now something other than the spit and bailing wire I'm currently working with would be welcome.

    Hope that's a little more helpful.

    Thanks again. I love this site BTW!!

    Dan
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Sit down, write everything want or think you want, then prioritize. HAM Cons happen once a year or so in most localities, but they are really worth going to. Another benefit from buying from hams, being who they are they will talk your ear off. They will tell you every little flaw, every repair, every future repair, what the weather was like where they came from, where you might get a better deal, who not to trust, and a lot more (if you let them). Add to the fact that they would rather take a substantial discount and find a good home for the old pet (equipment) and you can walk away with some really good deals. Hams are generally a close knit group, I highly recommend the hobby.
     
    dacart likes this.
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