# Do you need a Digital scope ???

#### Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
I would like to know what do you guys use or think... My work bench is my kitchen table which I share with my wife and kids ... But I have been using my analog BK Precision scope but I was thinking about trading my Traxxas T-maxx 3.3 Nitro R/C for a digital scope or sell and buy a used one ... But the I can only get to keep one not both . so what's your thoughts ??

Thanks
Jason SR

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
One nice thing about digital is they tend to be nice and small. Lots of nice feature that you don't find in an analog scope.

I have the Rigol DS1102E and it has worked well for me. Did I really need it? Probably not for the projects that I work on but I can afford it and it does come in handy when needed.

I ordered mine from Saelig. They have good prices and mine came with a case which might be handy for you. Came with a nifty pocket knife too.

#### JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,113
I have a Tek TDS420A DSO that replaced a Tek 465 way back when. If it could cook, I'd marry it. If you look at any kind of non-repetitive or digital signals, a good DSO beats analog every day, IMHO. For digital, uC work, if I had a choice between bandwidth and memory depth, I'd take the bigger memory, within reason.

Have fun with your search.

#### panic mode

Joined Oct 10, 2011
1,837
it depends on what you do. if you are mostly working with analog circuits, you don't need DSO, but once you start analyzing digital communication, it will be slow and painful work to decode even simple ASCII stream ("hello world") using older style scope. DSO now days decode protocols (RS232, I2C, and many more, check manuals of individual products). decoded info is displayed next to or as an overlay on monitored signal. true time saver...!

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
it depends on what you do. if you are mostly working with analog circuits, you don't need DSO, but once you start analyzing digital communication, it will be slow and painful work to decode even simple ASCII stream ("hello world") using older style scope. DSO now days decode protocols (RS232, I2C, and many more, check manuals of individual products). decoded info is displayed next to or as an overlay on monitored signal. true time saver...!
If you want to decode protocols a logic analyzer will be FAR more useful than a DSO IMHO. Unless of course you mean a DSO with protocol analyzers but they tend to be a bit on the expensive side.

#### Veracohr

Joined Jan 3, 2011
715
If you're concerned with quantifying distortion, the FFT functions usually available on digital scopes are quite handy.

#### Brownout

Joined Jan 10, 2012
2,390
I use the B&K analog for all my work at home. It does great. I think what you really need is a workbench all your own

#### inwo

Joined Nov 7, 2013
2,419

#### Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
What about picking up a Rigol scope for about the same price as the uni-t and it's probably alot better ....

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
What about picking up a Rigol scope for about the same price as the uni-t and it's probably alot better ....
That is how I would go. Those handhelds are OK for field work but not so great for the bench.

But considering your limited space, it might be worth considering.

#### Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
I use the B&K analog for all my work at home. It does great. I think what you really need is a workbench all your own
I was thinking about it but it would have to fit in a small closet ...

That is how I would go. Those handhelds are OK for field work but not so great for the bench.

But considering your limited space, it might be worth considering.
I like my 20 mhz analog scope but sometimes it gets to be a pain when looking for accurate measurments and my scope does not display anything except the was form...

#### tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
716
The analog and digital scopes both have their strong points. I personally prefer analog scopes due to lack of aliasing, superior noise floor, and trace focus (among other things) (and I have access to VERY nice digital scopes at work), but understanding your space is limited, I'd go with a smaller digital scope... However, I'd stay clear of those computer plug-in ones... they are notorious for buggy software and have a moderate chance of blowing up your computer, and not just your scope if you make a mistake.

Have you guys seen the three in one MDO's? I got to test drive one a while back - awesome. Oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, and logic analyzer in one.... I see one in my future some day for the house... granted that's a ways out. Honestly though, I don't do much - if any RF or spectrum analyzer type work... I'd probably just get a MSO

http://www.tek.com/oscilloscope/mdo3000-mixed-domain-oscilloscope

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,312
I would say it comes down to two things:

1) application

2) budget

If all you are working on are audio circuits then a low cost, low bandwidth, used analog scope is better than no scope at all. You can get a used scope for $100. Long before digital scopes came on the market I would swear by a good, brand name analog storage scope. I could not survive without the storage capability. But they were expensive (I'm guessing about$5k back then).

Now you can get a decent 100MHz digital scope for $400. If you are into any kind of digital electronics and computers, then a digital scope is the only way to go, if the price is right for you. #### Brownout Joined Jan 10, 2012 2,390 I'd get a computer plug in 'scope and plug it into a cheap laptop. That way, if you blow it up, it's not worse than blowing up a scope. You can get scope functionality, logic analysis and advanced functions. I've never used one though, and so I would head tindel's warnings. I'm sure there are some good units on the market, however. #### bountyhunter Joined Sep 7, 2009 2,512 I would like to know what do you guys use or think... My work bench is my kitchen table which I share with my wife and kids ... But I have been using my analog BK Precision scope but I was thinking about trading my Traxxas T-maxx 3.3 Nitro R/C for a digital scope or sell and buy a used one ... But the I can only get to keep one not both . so what's your thoughts ?? Thanks Jason SR The only thing I ever used the dig scope for was taking scope screen shots. For any real data measurements, it was the Tek 7904A analog. #### bountyhunter Joined Sep 7, 2009 2,512 One nice thing about digital is they tend to be nice and small. Yeah, every time I came back from lunch somebody had carried off my Tek lunch bucket digital. Nobody else in the lab was man enough to even try and lift my 7904A analog. #### THE_RB Joined Feb 11, 2008 5,438 ... Now you can get a decent 100MHz digital scope for$400.
...
Or \$350 even.

And I agree, just buy one. Preferably with a 7 inch screen and 800x480 pixels.

#### alfacliff

Joined Dec 13, 2013
2,458
I have a tektronics 7622 storeage scope. got it used, and have had to fic the power supply once. I mostly do analog work at home. it is pretty good with digital, with 2 dual chanel vertical plugins giving 4 traces on the screen at once and 100 mhz bandwidth.

#### Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
What is a storage scope compaired to a normal scope??
I noticed that some scopes show the voltage and other information on the screen with analog but is it useful or is about the same with the scope only showing the waveform? ??
Can you mod a analog to show the voltage and other information? ??

I have a BK Precision 2120 20mhz scope..

Thanks
Jason Sr

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,312
What is a storage scope compared to a normal scope??
We've all seen a standard analog scope. In order to see a waveform on the screen the signal most be repetitive and the electron beam retraces the same pattern on the screen continuously so that you can view the waveform.

You cannot view a high speed single shot event.

A storage scope uses a special screen that captures the trace on a single scan. Hence it can capture a single event.

A modern digital scope replaces the analog storage scope.

I noticed that some scopes show the voltage and other information on the screen with analog but is it useful or is about the same with the scope only showing the waveform?
Practically all digital scopes can do this. What you are really looking at is a computer LCD screen with text and graphics. The info on the screen is useful and makes the instrument "almost" idiot proof. But it is not essential. You can do essentially the same thing by reading the scale marks off the screen.

Can you mod a analog to show the voltage and other information? ??
No, or at least it is not easy to do and wouldn't be worth doing.