Help buying an oscilloscope

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
Hi again,

I've decided to buy an oscilloscope, but I can't spend that kind of money on a new good one. So I only have 4 options:

1) Buy a second hand one... but I don't find them near and cheap enough

2) But one that connects to the PC... though I don't really like that idea, because I'm not experienced enough to make sure I won't blow up both.

3) Buy a handheld one... I saw many between $50 and $100, which is the absolute maximum I can spend.

4) Make one. :)
http://gizmodo.com/5252774/diy-pocket+sized-oscilloscope-kit-for-33
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
This one is twice the price of the one above, and also from ebay, but looks much better:


That's all I could find these week on ebay for less than €100
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,366
I've never shopped ebay from spain. I got my tektronix from an Ebay military surplus store for $100USD. It was ~10 years old, but had a certificate of calibration and looked like it had never been used before. I waited for a long time for a deal like that to come up. Sometimes people don't know how much something is worth, and the "buy it now" option reflects that.
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
I've never shopped ebay from spain. I got my tektronix from an Ebay military surplus store for $100USD. It was ~10 years old, but had a certificate of calibration and looked like it had never been used before. I waited for a long time for a deal like that to come up. Sometimes people don't know how much something is worth, and the "buy it now" option reflects that.
I often buy stuff from ebay.co.uk, and can find some at good prices there, but they are either for pick up or won't ship to Spain. I guess it will be the same with ebay.com

That why I'm afraid the handheld ones are the best option in my current situation; just that I don't know which specs I should look for.
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,622
Buy a nice used Tektronix scope, the 2236 is a nice starter scope for sure.
You can find plenty for around $200.00

When you get ready to upgrade, you can sell it for $200.00, then it was free...

All those USB PC / handheld units are garbage, IMHO.
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
OMG... just been to the Tektronix website and saw an oscilloscope for $300,000!!! You can buy a house (or two) for that kind of money. The cheapest is $500, which is far too much for me.

$200 I could make an effort to spend, but I doubt I'll find it for that money here in Spain. This is the cheapest desktop oscilloscope currently in ebay.es: a Siglent SDS1062C Digital Osciloscopio 60MHZ DS1052E from Hong Kong for $328

 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
One thing I need to add...

I basically need the oscilloscope for learning and experimenting, not for anything serious. So I'm not sure if spending $200 just to play with it would be wise.

This are the specs of the cheapest handheld, the oscilloscope kit for $33; what do you see on the specs that makes it unsuitable a beginner like me to play around with?
•Max sample rate - 2M/s,8 bits
•Sample memory depth - 256 bytes
•Analog bandwidth - 1MHz
•Vertical sensitivity - 100mV/Div - 5V/Div
•Vertical position adjustable with indicator
•Input impedance - 1MΩ
•Max input voltage - 50Vpp
•DC/AC coupling
•Horizontal - 5μs/Div - 10m(minute)/Div
•Auto, normal and single trig modes
•Rising/falling edge trigger
•Trig level adjustable with indicator
•Hold/run feature
•Built-in 500Hz/5Vpp test signal
•Frequency counter features with independant F and T read-outs (only for TTL level input signal)​
 
Last edited:

Austin Clark

Joined Dec 28, 2011
412
The biggest problem with it that I can see is it's super small memory depth, and possibly a terrible display and interface. The small memory depth basically means you can't take advantage of the highest sampling rate when you're viewing waveforms over a longer period of time. You can at most store 256 plot points in any given time domain.

I suppose it would be barely ok for the simplest of tasks, but not one I would recommend.
Oscilloscopes are pretty much a must if you want to take electronics seriously, and good ones just don't comes cheap. I paid about $500 for mine, brand new.
The first one I ever got was from my Uncle, and it required a parallel port on a computer. It left much to be desired, but it worked. The best part about it was that I learned how to use a 'scope and I knew what to shop for when I finally decided to buy a better one. Perhaps that would be the justification for buying such a cheap scope for now.
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
The biggest problem with it that I can see is it's super small memory depth, and possibly a terrible display and interface. The small memory depth basically means you can't take advantage of the highest sampling rate when you're viewing waveforms over a longer period of time. You can at most store 256 plot points in any given time domain.

I suppose it would be barely ok for the simplest of tasks, but not one I would recommend.
Oscilloscopes are pretty much a must if you want to take electronics seriously, and good ones just don't comes cheap. I paid about $500 for mine, brand new.
The first one I ever got was from my Uncle, and it required a parallel port on a computer. It left much to be desired, but it worked. The best part about it was that I learned how to use a 'scope and I knew what to shop for when I finally decided to buy a better one. Perhaps that would be the justification for buying such a cheap scope for now.
I just realized I need one because I'm studying electronics again and I find it really difficult to do tests and experiments with any circuit that has any sort of sine wave. I just can't see if they are working or not.

Not asking for much really, just something that would meet the most basic needs and allow me to advance.

I don't want to put too much money into it for various reasons: first, I can't afford to spend too much on it; I don't know for how long would I be interested in electronics this time; I don't know if I'll be taking advantage of the advance features that a proper oscilloscope will provide; and I'm also very afraid of buying something expensive and damage it in any way due to my lack of knowledge and experience.

So, unless I find a cheap one on ebay, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go for that kit or the next step (the small handhelds). Like this one:



Specification:
Display
2.8 inch Colour TFT LCD
Display Resolution
320×240
Display Colour
65K
Analog bandwidth
0 - 1MHz
Max sample rate
1Msps 12Bits
Sample memory depth
4096 Point
Horizontal sensitivity
1uS/Div~10S/Div (1-2-5 Step)
Horizontal position
adjustable with indicator
Vertical sensitivity
10mV/Div~10V/Div (with ×1 probe)

0.5V/Div~10V/Div (with ×10 probe)
Vertical position
adjustable with indicator
Input impedance
>500K?
Max input voltage
80Vpp (by ×1 probe)
Coupling
DC
Trig modes
Auto, Norma, Single, None and Scan
Functionalities:
Automatic measurement: frequency, cycle, duty, Vpp, Vram, Vavg and DC voltage

Precise vertical measurement with markers

Precise horizontal measurement with markers

Rising/falling edge trigger

Trig level adjustable with indicator

Trig sensitivity adjustable with indicator

Hold/run feature
Test signal
Built-in 10Hz~1MHz (1-2-5 Step)
Waveform storage
SD card
PC connection via USB
as SD card reader
Upgrade
by bootloader via USB
Power supply
3.7V Chargeable Lithium battery / USB
Dimension (w/o probe)
105mm X 53mm X 8mm
 
Last edited:

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
DO NOT EVER BUY THE HANDHELD ONES! They're pure garbage. And Whatsthatsmell posted the exact video I was thinking of posting :p

Check your local hospitals and universities. You can often find very decent analog ones for very cheap or even free (if you ask the right people). I agree with Dave Jones (from the EEVblog) that you can get away with a dual-channel, 20MHz model for most projects. It's a great starting one.

Good luck!
Regards,
Matt
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
DO NOT EVER BUY THE HANDHELD ONES! They're pure garbage. And Whatsthatsmell posted the exact video I was thinking of posting :p

Check your local hospitals and universities. You can often find very decent analog ones for very cheap or even free (if you ask the right people). I agree with Dave Jones (from the EEVblog) that you can get away with a dual-channel, 20MHz model for most projects. It's a great starting one.

Good luck!
Regards,
Matt
I just realized that the specs of that handheld are practically the same as the $33 kit; so it's not really the next step, just double the money. :(
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
I just realized that the specs of that handheld are practically the same as the $33 kit; so it's not really the next step, just double the money. :(
Exactly. Besides, all the handheld ones I've ever seen just don't work well at all. Their resolution is horrid, they break easily, and they do not usually meet the specs provided. Just avoid them, whatever you do.

Again, ask at your local hospitals and universities.

I'd happily send you one of my old ones for just the cost of shipping, but 1) I still need it and 2) shipping would be very expensive....

I'll let you know if I come across something, but in the mean time, follow the advice given and you might get lucky :)

Regards,
Matt
 

Thread Starter

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
I was thinking on getting the cheapest handheld (which is the kit) for now, while I keep on searching for a real one in the places you told me.

And... if leave this hobby, break it, or buy a better one, it was just $33.

By the way, I just found out you can easily make one with an Arduino; I would just need to buy the LCD screen. :)

 
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