First oscilloscope: Analog or Digital?

Thread Starter

Kelkin

Joined Mar 29, 2017
1
I'm an IT Engineer with over 20 years experience and have always been a gadget junkie and handy at repairing things when they break down. As a kid I took a course in digital electronics and learned the basics of various IC's, logic gates , programming ICs, etc... and while I never did get into that field I absolutely enjoyed it. I'm working on a project to revive the very first virtual world (called Habitat) which operates on the Commodore 64, and I rescued my old Commodore (it's actually a 128) from my old basement, but it's in need of repair. I love a challenge, and I'd love to get back into digital electronics at the component level again... so I'm going to try and repair the Commodore and also dabble with other projects. I know an oscilloscope will come in very handy, but I don't want to spend a ton of money just yet.. I've done quite a bit of reading and watching YouTube videos on the topic and have found varied opinions on the matter. The opinions I've read are "stay away from cheap digital oscilloscopes as they're complete junk", and "get yourself a cheap analog scope, you can probably find one for free"

I don't know about that free part, but I do see some analog scopes for about $200 and change on eBay.. but I do see some digital scopes from Hantek and Sainsmart for under $100 which look l Ike they have more features.

I was wondering if someone here with experience in these devices might point me in the right direction of what to buy? Or maybe even where to buy an affordable first scope?
-Keith
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,881
When acquiring a scope, the first question you should ask yourself is "what frequency range do I want to measure with it?" Of course you can buy equipment costing more than $10k, but then you'd most probably be "killing a rabbit with an elephant rifle" as we like to say down here.
On the other hand, a $50.00 toy can only get you so far...

I own two cheap-o Hantek digital USB-oscilloscopes and I'm quite happy with them. In fact, I think that they'd be far more than adequate for what you want to accomplish.
 

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
906
I got two scopes for free. I just started asking around at work. I bet the developers of the commodore 64 would have killed for any scope on the market today or the last 40 years for that matter.

Looks like the C64 operating frequency was about 1MHz... So a 20MHz scope should be more than enough bandwidth for what you want to do today.

My first free scope had this bandwidth. My second had a 60MHz bandwidth.

I've never had a computer operated scope so I can't comment to much on them.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,346
A scope is only half the problem. You also need some good probes. I suggest you get these new as they are a consumable item. Tenma makes some (76-102) 100 MHz probes you can pick up new for around $25.

Analog scopes are a bit easier to use over digital, but digital does so much more like letting you see the signal BEFORE the trigger happens.

My home scope is a 60 meg analog, would love a digital but don't have a real need ATM.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,702
A good brand name used analog scope, 60MHz or 100MHz, is a good bargain at the right price.
This is good for general work and repair when viewing continuous repetitive waveforms.

I do a lot of work on computers and digital systems. When the first analog storage scopes came out, e.g. HP 1703A, this became my workhorse scope. This saved the day on too many occasions.

This is where a modern digital scope outshines an analog scope. If you ever have to view a one-shot event, or slow repetition rates, trying to look at a single byte being transmitted serially, or looking for a single glitch, a digital scope is the way to go.

My workhorse scope now is a Tektronix TDS220. Keep your eye on the lookout for a used TDS210 60MHz scope.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,713
You should spend the money on a digital scope for a project like that. You will need digital storage and digital trigger capabilities to work on most computer related electronics. I also have a TDS220 also at home because it's a nice little scope for embedded projects. If you trigger using the EXT input that gives you two nice channels for signal display independent of the trigger signal. I also have a 4 channel TEK 2465A DM that's just about the best analog scope TEK ever made but its not very useful for most types of digital signal tracking.

TDS220 example shots.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nsaspook/shares/5263SE
 
What about Hantek 6022be i have this one, I'm not proffesional i use just for hobby but i'm very satisfied with it and his price is about 60$ i think this is Best USB oscilloscope for his price also if you like pn the link you can find full specifications of this Scope:
 
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