Anyone using Windows based scopes?

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schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
332
I borrowed a LeCroy Wavesurfer 44XS scope.
I had used LeCroy scopes previously, and know they are very high performing instruments.
But never used one with a Windows interface. Windows XP.

From a cold start to the time one can actually start manipulating the controls, it takes 6 minutes and 20 seconds to boot.
Even after boot, the screen freezes from time to time.
I ended returning it and getting another scope.

I had previously used another Windows scope, an Agilent if I remember correctly, and had also despised it.

What is your experience with Windows scopes?
Note, I am not talking about USB scopes like the Pico, but actual stand alone instruments running on a Windows environment.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
21,636
I am using the Syscomp units and they do the job for me, especially in mobile/Laptop application.
But these will run under XP although USB interfaced.
For general purpose they are great IMO.
Max.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,809
I have EasyScope running under Win10. Loaded it, tried it, don't use it. With the scope sitting at my side, I don't really need a remote access app. Wasn't real impressed with it either. Also have some remote software for my bench multimeter. Same deal. You might want to take a look at National Insturments LabView and their free "community ware" offering. Been a while since I played with them.
 

Hymie

Joined Mar 30, 2018
881
To my mind, running Windows on anything (including a PC/laptop) is a bad idea.

Some time back the company I worked for purchased a top of the range temperature/humidity controlled environmental chamber running under XP. The device had a fancy user interface which included a moving pictorial diagram of the various components and their status.

The only problem was every day or so the Windows controller would crash and switch off the chamber. While having a PC/laptop crash once a day might be manageable, when controlled conditions were required to be maintained for more than a week (for the samples under test) - it was a complete disaster.
 

scorbin1

Joined Dec 24, 2019
45
I never realized that there were scopes that ran XP embedded. This is actually kind of concerning. Im an IT manager in addition to my EE duties, and Windows XP in any network environment is pretty big security risk. It's long been past end of life and hasn't received security updates for quite some time. I cringe every time we fire up a new HMI and see the dreaded Windows XP logo as it boots. I guess if the scope never gets connected to a PC or a network you should be just fine but what's the point of a bulky OS like that otherwise. Just my personal opinion but that would be a deal breaker for me.
 

ronsimpson

Joined Oct 7, 2019
1,024
I have been in meetings where Windows vs Linux was the topic for test equipment OS.
Management, the gods above, choose Windows and the software boys & girls were not happy.
We have a real time program that must respond to interrupts right now, but no Windows goes off for seconds and does who knows what. Something like a bus driver with Narcolepsy.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,220
A company where I worked for a bit had a couple of Agilent network analyzers that were fairly impressive, but one has to remember that Windows never has been wonderful in responding to interrupts; it's frequently off pondering it's navel or something.

Some flavor of Unix would be a far better choice of OS. I wouldn't want it to have a HDD, as they have a useful life of about 5 years before they start having bad clusters.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,937
Operating systems are tools. You have to select the right tool for the job at hand. Sometimes it's windows, sometimes not. But keep in mind that a year or two is a lifetime in computer land. Judging present day Windows based on experiences from Windows XP is like saying cruise ships aren't safe because the Titanic sank. The current versions of Windows are fairly solid. I'm a software engineer for my current day job and I'm on my computer all day every day, reboots are rare, maybe once or twice a month and typically due to installing things, and I don't remember the last OS crash. I'm also working on high end hardware with ECC RAM, which may play a part. If you run the most solid operating system in the world on junky hardware prone to memory errors, it's going to crash. Anyway, anything running Windows XP is surely outdated, but if it's used as a stand alone appliance and it works, then that's the important part.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
21,636
The units I quoted in my first post are external hardware systems, the PC is just used mainly for the display.
Win XP and 10 have been used for some years now to run DIY CNC machines, they just do the interpolation calculation and the control is handed off to external drives etc.
In some cases an in slot motion card with its own processor sits in a PC slot and the PC is mainly used as a HMI.
The have been fairly successful at doing this so far.
Max.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,232
Yeppsk, one cheap 200 MHz able 4-channel Chinese wonder for 4 channels and expensive high end Picoscope for 1 GHz signals 4 channels. Both are far better than any standalone device at least because click and the picture for article is ready, or click, and 10 000 readouts for later math are saved. And last but no least, if need to measure sth on line with 150 kV, dont worry, just let laptop work on batteries , left it, and when switched out and voltage is shortened may read what is got. However, I feel, I need an opto-fiber analog probe, but is stays drastically expensivish, five digit figure and slow, fastest for few hundred MHz.
 

rsjsouza

Joined Apr 21, 2014
263
I have used Windows-based standalone oscilloscopes and in my opinion their heyday has passed as the bulk of features of a high level OS are now available even in the lowest cost models.
- The ability to easily interconnect to a network via Ethernet has been improved greatly on the midrange and lower cost models from Keysight, Rigol and Siglent.
- The ability to share data through external media (USB pendrives) also seeped into the ultra low-cost models and nowadays this is mandatory across the board.
- External monitor interfaces for larger screens, mouse navigation, touchscreen, are available in the midrange models and external screen is even available in some low cost ones.
- One of the side advantages of having a real computer in the lab to perform computations and signal processing was severely offset by cheaper and more ubiquitous laptops nowadays. Sure, the space used by the two equipments (scope + laptop) is larger but, from a workflow standpoint, it is easier to have a full laptop on the side with e-mail, VPN, dedicated software, etc.
 

Phil-S

Joined Dec 4, 2015
158
Pico are good enough for most jobs I do and they are still updating the Windows software (for Pico 2205A).
The only criticisms would be slightly iffy probes (grounding clips not good) and if using over long periods(1-2 weeks), it does get to be a bit of a PC memory hog. Using on low sampling rates does help.
Lots of useful measurements and easy to save and recall runs.
Pico support quite good as well.
Works well on Ubuntu as well
 
A bit off topic, but I was running a life test using USB monitors/recorders on an W10 PC. I came in one morning to find the entire station off and the PC "updated" with all the programs closed. I had previously set the preferences to NOT download or install updates! At that point, I disabled the wireless, removed the network cable and taped over the socket for it. Air gap was the only solution that worked.
 

Phil-S

Joined Dec 4, 2015
158
It's also why I have a sign on the wall saying "SAVE" and another more explicit reminder on the phone about turning the updates off.
 
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