E toy stories

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Let's face it, electronics hobbyists are pretty odd bunch. Things we may find exciting would bore other people to tears. Test equipment comes to mind. This thread will link to any reviews or writeups about test equipment people would care to submit. I will add your thread to the index. It doesn't just have to be electronics, any gadget you have found useful can be added.
I am an archivist, I like making indexes. So I am starting an index of equipment reviews. Just create a thread that you would like added, leave me a note and if it passes muster I will add it to this index.

Power Supplies
A power supply I really liked. I would not hesitate to order it again. The negative terminal broke off because of it being flimsy. But I was able to get it repaired with not too much hassle.

Test Equipment
Two channel DSO oscilloscope
This little function generator is also a gem I do miss the ability to sweep through a frequency, which is useful for filters and what not. Frequency accuracy is right on the money. It starts to lose waveform integrity around 65 KHz.
XR2206 Kit Review
A very inexpensive vise has been very handy. The first thing I did was glue 4 magnets on each corner to help hold it still on my metal work table.
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Joined Jul 10, 2017
Her is an odd-ball one for you, Wendy. I made an automated laser pointer for my cat using an Arduino mini and a couple of small servos. It worked so well that I made one for a friend too and documented it.



Joined Oct 3, 2010
As the most expensive "e-toy" I've ever spent my own money on, I think my review of the Fluke Scopemeter is the most valuable I could offer:

(2/5 stars)
I expect more from a Fluke product.

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2014
Size: 100 megahertz, 3.5ns Rise time with Kit

I expect more from a Fluke product. I am (or was) a Fluke loyalist which is why I chose this scope. Countless hours of retrospective research indicates that what I SHOULD have bought is the AEMC OX7104.

I bought this scope to use for remote monitoring of power glitches caused by, or affecting, a customer's 3phase 480V equipment sporadically, every week or month. The idea was that I could set it up in ScopeRecord mode set to trigger on a power glitch, and then periodically remotely log in (via a remote laptop running TeamViewer) to see if it had triggered, and download the trace data to show the customer what was going on with their equipment - whether the equipment was causing the glitches or faulting because of them.

Problem #1 with this - manual states you should not leave the battery in it if powered by AC adapter for long periods, or else the battery will be damaged. Awesome. So I'm looking for power interruptions, but I can't use the battery backup. So every time something happens, most likely the scope will power down and I'll lose the data.

Problem #2 - The FlukeView ScopeMeter 5 software that I paid the extra $290 for is so buggy that it is almost entirely unusable for its intended purpose in my case. Any time you do ANYTHING in the software that interfaces with the scope, it stops the record mode. Say the scope is recording, you open the software and it connects to the scope, scope stops recording. You download a trace, recording stops. You open remote control, recording stops. You close the software, recording stops. You cannot start the recording from the software. You open the remote control menu and press f1 to start the recording, it shows on the mock screen that it is recording, but it isn't; the screen lies to you. So my only option is to use the software to load the channel setups and enter scope record mode, then exit the software and call my customer and request they go out to the equipment, open the 480V panel, and press F1. Then I must ask my customer 2-3 times per week to go out and see if the scope has triggered, because if I try to check it myself, the scope will stop recording and I can't restart it remotely. Very embarrassing for me, as I talked this product up quite a bit and made it sound painless.

Problem #3 - the trigger settings in the scope are a buggy P.I.T.A. - You cannot set the trigger source/level/type in scope record mode. You must go into plain scope mode, set the trigger settings, then go back to scope record mode. Problem is, 90% of the time, transitioning to scope record mode wipes out the trigger settings. So when you get to scope record mode, the trigger is set back to default. Some combinations of trigger settings will transfer, most will not. There is nothing in any Fluke docs which explains what/why will/won't transfer, and there is no rhyme/reason/pattern to it that I could discern. You just have to play around with it (for a couple of hours, with an unimpressed customer looking over your shoulder in my case), swapping between different channels, invert this channel with rising edge trigger to get the falling edge trigger that you really want, etc.

Problem #4 - The waveforms downloaded from the scope do not always have the date/time stamp according to the date/time in the scope. I have used the exact same setup from day #1 when I set this scope up a couple of months ago. every time it loses power, I reload the same setup and go from there. It is set up to record from "date/time" yet 50% of the time, what I get is "from start of recording" so once the trigger happens, the beginning of the recording is time 0:00:00.00, instead of date/time. I cannot use this information; it MUST give me the date/time of the trigger to be correlated with events of the day. Otherwise the data is useless. I have wasted much my own and my customer's time and money with this crap. These events may not happen for 10+ days, and when they do happen, and I have to throw out the data, it is very painful.

problem #5 - the probes that are included do not facilitate the accessories which are needed to clamp onto bus bars. You have to buy entirely new probes to get anything that is compatible with the bus bar clamps.

These are just the problems I uncovered on this one job, one application. I'm sure there are more in store for me once this job is over and I start using the scope for other purposes.

I am very disappointed, Fluke. This is the first time you have ever let me down, and it is a pretty big let-down.

13 people found this helpful
It has been 7 years since I wrote that review. The scopemeter still performs as it did on day #1. Maybe the newer ones are better. Maybe there is a firmware upgrade to make mine better. I don't know, I haven't looked.


Joined Jan 23, 2018
As the most expensive "e-toy" I've ever spent my own money on, I think my review of the Fluke Scopemeter is the most valuable I could offer:

It has been 7 years since I wrote that review. The scopemeter still performs as it did on day #1. Maybe the newer ones are better. Maybe there is a firmware upgrade to make mine better. I don't know, I haven't looked.
I have also used a Fluke "scopemeter and I agree!! But if you put it in your suitcase and fly the TSA will open the case and turn it on and then forget to switch it off, at least some of the times. So if you have the manual put it on top of the scopementr when you pack so that the TSA can get a clue as to what it is. They did leave a note that they opened and inspected my suitcase.


Joined Jan 23, 2018
My best bargain acquisition was a nice power supply that I was given because it did not work. The light came on aND THE DIGITAL METERS LIT UP BUT NO OUTPUT. So I accepted it , and said thanks. They said maybe I could use the knobs and the terminals. Got it home and plugged it in and certainly it lit up and no output. So then I looked at the knobs: Voltage, current, current limit, and voltage limit. HMMM! so I turned up the voltage, nothing. Then turned up the current a bit. Nothing. Turned up the voltage and current limits:OK, here we go. Then I read the manual, nobody had done that before. So it seems that the limit settings do go down to zero. Lokked at the max ratings: zero to 50 volts, AND zero to 50 amps. 2500 watts max. But not from a 15 amp outlet. Looked farther. Line input 230 volts. Hah! We were running it on 120 volts. It works on 120 but not to the max.
Nice power supply for free.
My most expensive electronic toy, though, is a KWM2A. Those who know will understand, to those who don't know, don't bother, you will be bored.