Workbench Equipment

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by zopsi, May 19, 2012.

  1. zopsi

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 19, 2012
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    I am studying electrical engineering in college and I am looking for some recommendations for buying my first oscilloscope oscilloscope and function generator in addition to any recommendations on tools or other supplies for a work bench.

    I currently already have a DC power supply (Instek GPS-4303), a Hakko FX-951 soldering station, an assortment of wiha screwdrivers, and some lindstrom cutters and pliers for my workbench.

    In terms of oscilloscopes and function generators I was looking at the Tektronix 2014C and an Instek AFG-2025, but then I thought it might be more prudent to start with something cheaper like the Rigol DS1102E and the Rigol DG1022.

    Keep in mind I am probably going to buy a cheap analog scope in addition to the digital one so I get the full experience.

    Should I shell out for the Tek and Instek or stay with the Rigol? Or are there any better recommendations for a function generator (preferably able to do arbitrary waveforms) and an oscilloscope?

    I am also looking for a new DMM. I have had a fluke before and they are great. Anything less than 600 would be acceptable for me in this category.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,449
    3,365
    What are you, loaded?
    What's the point of having a workbench full of expensive equipment and don't know how to use it?

    My approach would be to start building stuff and buy what you need as the need arises.

    I started off with a $10 analog test meter and perfboard. (Didn't have Wishboard then - in fact didn't have ICs).

    So my suggestion would be to start with:

    Test meter (analog or digital)
    9V battery (or walwart power pack)
    solderless breadboard
    some IC, R, C, LED
    PICkit2
    Arduino

    and start experimenting!
     
    Wendy likes this.
  3. zopsi

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 19, 2012
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    I completely agree with you. That is what I did the last four years and I learned quite a bit. I am not loaded and that is why I am looking for the best bang for my buck and a good piece of equipment.

    The thing is I do need an oscilloscope for my current project and I do know how to use the test equipment as I use it frequently at my job and at my school. I would have absolutely no reason to buy it if I didn't need it or didn't know how to use it. Although I have never used an analog oscilloscope.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  4. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,449
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  5. zopsi

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 19, 2012
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    That was the one I was asking about in my OP. Do you recommend it?
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,343
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    This old fart says, buy the best equipment you can afford. You're going to have it for a very long time. (My scope is 36 years old, and I bought it new!)

    I believe, from your statements, that you know which functions you use on a scope. Be sure to get all of those and some more, depending on where you expect to go in electronics. If you're going to be an EE, you will be expected to cope with the most difficult problems. That requires a digital scope with adjustable delay.

    You get my drift.

    PS, the opinion of people on this site is that Fluke makes the best meters. I paid $300 for a Fluke 27 in 1978 and it is still my primary meter. (They don't make that model any more.) I have used every function it has and would never settle for less if I ever have to replace it.
     
  7. zopsi

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 19, 2012
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    0
    Thanks for your reply and great advice. Anyways I've heard good things about the Fluke 77 and the 287, but I think the Fluke 287 is overkill. I mainly just need a true rms meter. I will probably end up with one of the Fluke models.
     
  8. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    2,498
    507
    +1 If you buy junk, scopes or meters, they will eventually end up in a closet after you realize they are not good enough for your needs.

    I got a great Tek 465 scope off ebay for $200 that is like new. That's what I currently use.
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Things like Ham Cons offer opertunities for good used equipment. If you can be patient you will get some good opertunities, but there is a price for being in a hurry. I bought a cheap dual trace 60Mhz analog scope for $99 at a Ham Con several years ago, complete with probes, along with several variable power supplies for $10 or less. Things like Craigs list are also good sources. eBay can be OK, but shipping is usually a deal breaker.

    Things like USB digital oscopes for your computer may also be a good option, small, lightweight, and generally easy to use.
     
  10. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    5,435
    1,305
    If you are buying one of the new Chinese type digital storace 'scopes then I suggest you look for one that has a 800x480 screen and not a 320x240 screen. Most of the features are the same but you get a much larger screen and much more on-screen detail, which is well worth the extra $50 to $100. :)
     
  11. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Around here, Craig's list is notorious for selling stuff that is either worthless junk or stolen.
     
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