Buying My First Oscilloscope Need Advice

Thread Starter

petebear

Joined Jan 23, 2007
22
I'm buying my first oscilloscope and need to know if a 20Mhz scope is sufficent for things like basic ham radio stuff, computer projects(usb/serial/parallel), PIC programming,solar panel projects, etc... Any input is appreciated. Thank you.
 

beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,808
For what you describe, it might be marginally useful. If you can possibly afford 100 MHz BW, go for that. That is not always enough to see fast pulses in 4000 series CMOS logic.
 

Thread Starter

petebear

Joined Jan 23, 2007
22
do you think I should go new or can you actually find something good used on ebay?
 

Thread Starter

petebear

Joined Jan 23, 2007
22
Also I'm curious iif I might get more use out of/learn more from buying say a20Mhz-60Mhz scope and a frequency counter or just buying a 100Mhz scope.
 

Tube Tech

Joined Jan 11, 2007
46
"do you think I should go new or can you actually find something good used on ebay?"

Yes, and yes. Yes, you should buy new, from an honest retailer, and get a gaurantee. You can by blind luck stumble across a bargain on eBay. If you know scopes, from having worked with a hundred scopes over the years, and get supremely lucky.

When I was in the Army, an instructor told us to pop the hood and look carefully at surplus gear. To justify buying modern gear, government agencies have to show that existing gear is non-functional. If a piece of out of date gear is fully functional, decent techs will get in there and unsolder a few leads, leaving them in a way that makes it obvious where they go. Jackasses will just get in there and snip and rip.

Kind of hard to pop the hood on eBay.
 

John Luciani

Joined Apr 3, 2007
477
Also I'm curious iif I might get more use out of/learn more from buying say a20Mhz-60Mhz scope and a frequency counter or just buying a 100Mhz scope.
Unless you really need the frequency measurement accuracy I would put the money into bandwidth rather than buying a frequency counter.

You could also checkout local swapfests. In Boston we have one at MIT ---

http://web.mit.edu/w1mx/www/swapfest.shtml

All the usual cavaets apply.

(* jcl *)
 

Thread Starter

petebear

Joined Jan 23, 2007
22
Okay, thanks everyone for the input. I think I'm going to go for just a scope and have it be at least 100Mhz. I can't afford one new so I guess I'll either save up, wait for a local swap, or until I see one on ebay that is guaranteed to be working.
 

mozikluv

Joined Jan 22, 2004
1,437
unless you're into something serious, then go for the 100Mhz and it should be brand new.:)

moz
 

mrmeval

Joined Jun 30, 2006
833
Write to Tektronix, tell them exactly who you are and why you need it. Ask them if they offer a refurbished one at reduced cost to students. You might be able to pick up a 200mhz for the same as a 100mhz Tektronix or a 100mhz less than retail.
;)
 
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