Choosing a good basic oscilloscope, is this any good?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by goodbyegti, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. goodbyegti

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2004
    I've decided to buy an oscilloscope so i can learn a little more about electronics and use it for fault finding (along with a DVM).

    I like the idea of a PC based scope as I have an old 600MHz tablet PC i can hook it up to.

    However, PC based scopes, such as those from Pico are way out my price range but i have spotted this one:

    What do you guys think of it?

    The specification seems good for the money but i'm a little worried about 'getting what i've paid for' :)

    Worth the risk? If not any other recommendations?
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004

    It really depends on the use you have for it. The (for me) critical specs after the bandwidth are the A to D resolution and the sampling memory. In this case, the 8 bits reso is not impressive. That's only one part in 256, which is pretty coarse. 12 bits (one part in 4096) is lots better when looking for detail in waveforms. Less bad is the 32K sample memory. With 8 bits, that's a fair amount of trace to hold It's significant because you can hold events before and after a triggering event, which can be helpful in chasing down failures. That comes to 4096 data samples held in memory.

    I started off with analog o'scopes. The presentation was superior to digital when examining analog signals. Working with digital is not nearly so critical, unless you run into timing issues (which was the triggering event?). Only expensive o'scopes let you resolve things like that.

    They are expensive tools. You always want to get the best one you can. Too bad you can't compare the 8 bit reso against a higher one to see that difference.
  3. mrmeval

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 30, 2006
    I'd avoid that one, 8bits is not enough. I also would not recommend B&K just because it's low end tripe. I had horrible customer service from B&K over their gassy tube. They refused to make it right, period. Most of the scopes I see on are not too good. I'd be leary of Fluke, it's not their core competence.

    The better ones are the tektronics with a higher price tag of course. I might be willing to look at an HP since they do well with other equipment.

    Here's one that uses your sound card. :)
  4. fanie

    Active Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    If you're looking for an affordable nice all round general purpose scope investigate getting a 2 cha 20MHz Iwatsu (I have an SS-5703), it triggers like a charm and it has a x2 for higher frequencies too. In my opinion stay away from PC based scopes unless you're VERY, utterly and ABSOLUTELY sure youre never going to use it anywhere near mains !

    A normal scope can be carried around and used everywhere, PC's are difficult.

    In all the years in electronics I've never needed another scope, (but you'd have to look for something else if you're into RF, or if you want to do data analyzing).

    When you do get your scope, the first thing you do is to take the earth off the scope mains cable (yeah yeah I can just guess what's comming my way in saying this). It's going to save you a couple of nasty surprizes, trust me. You'll have to make sure that you practice safe operating procedures with the scope around mains power.

    It's a great tool to have and a blessing to 'see' what's going on inside circuits.
  5. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    As an addition to the above comments, a forum search for "oscilloscope" returns many results. There are several recommendations for PC oscilloscopes for reasons of cost and simplicity. Though as fanie correctly says it should be application specific, though with the advent of laptops I question the issue of mobility with regards to a PC oscilloscope against dedicated oscilloscope equipment.

  6. fanie

    Active Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    PC stuff is excellent with data analysis and signal logging, but get it also as a 2nd scope ! As Beenthere rightfully said, for analog and genl purpose an analog scope is hard to beat.
  7. goodbyegti

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2004
    Thanks very much for all the help. I read through all the old posts and it helped explain some things.

    I think you guys are right, it is impossible to get a PC scope with better than 8bit resolution for my budget, and it seems you get much more for your money with analogue scope from eBay.

    I will keep looking.