# Need advice deciding on beginners Oscilloscope

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
Hey AAC!!!

Hope you are all well and taking care of youselves. I’m looking to get myself my first oscilloscope and I think I’ve nailed it down to these two. I was just hoping to get some opinions on them please.

Hantek DSO2C15 150MHz 1GSa/s Sampling Rate Dual-Channel Digital Storage Oscilloscope

Hantek DSO5102P USB Digital Storage Oscilloscope 2 Channels 100MHz 1GSa/s

I’m on a super tight budget so I’m going to go with Hantek. They seem to have decent reviews for the beginners market. Was thinking about Rigol but it seemed like I got less for more money.

From what I can see the DSO2C15 is better in almost every way. More memory depth, wider ranges for scales, more triggering options and quicker trigger times. As they are almost the same price, I became suspicious I had missed something as the DSO2C15 clearly seems like the superior scope. I’m getting lost in the specifications now so I was hoping someone could weigh in and lend me a hand please?

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,625
As a beginner's oscilloscope, both would be fine.

Since they are both the same price, DSO2C15 would be the better choice as it has additional serial data decoding functions which are very handy to have when debugging serial communications.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
Since they are both the same price, DSO2C15 would be the better choice as it has additional serial data decoding functions which are very handy to have when debugging serial communications.
Thanks, I liked the look of these functions too so I think it's looking like the DSO2C15 is in the lead at the moment. There is a model with an arbirary waveform generator that isn't much more. Are AWGs worth it for beginners scopes? Not sure what I would use it for offhand.

#### dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
498
I have no intention to misdirect you but there are really good scopes at picotech.com. I have one of the more expensive models but the 2000 series models are very reasonable:

https://www.picotech.com/oscilloscope/2000/picoscope-2000-overview

This has the advantage of having the data on a PC. The software from picotech.com is constantly being upgraded and will work with any of their scopes. So when you move to a more expensive one you will not have to 'learn' a new interface. This software also has decoding for UART, SPI, I2C and other communications protocols. Just another option you may want to consider. I have been very satisfied with this product and the support pico technologies provides. I have a 4 channel 3000 series. Would not trade it for anything else.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,625
If you are going to learn to use an oscilloscope you need something to measure. If you ever have to diagnose a faulty amplifier, you need an input signal to amplify. A waveform generator aka function generator is handy to have. Having one built-in with the oscilloscope is certainly a desirable feature.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
If you are going to learn to use an oscilloscope you need something to measure. If you ever have to diagnose a faulty amplifier, you need an input signal to amplify. A waveform generator aka function generator is handy to have. Having one built-in with the oscilloscope is certainly a desirable feature.

I only have a cheap function generator at the moment so it may be worth the extra. Those would be the

Hantek DSO2D10 Digital Oscilloscope 2CH+1CH Digital Storage 1GS/s Sampling Rate 100MHz Bandwidth Dual Channel Economical Oscilloscope with Signal Source(AWG)

or

Hantek DSO2D15 Dual-Channel + AFG Digital Storage Oscilloscope 150MHz 1GSa/s Signal Generator Oscilloscope 2 In 1

So it a choice between paying more for 150MHz + AWG or the 100Mhz + AWG in bandwidth. When it came to upper bandwidth limit I was always unsure but I don't see myself using anything over 100MHz right now.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
I have no intention to misdirect you but there are really good scopes at picotech.com. I have one of the more expensive models but the 2000 series models are very reasonable:

https://www.picotech.com/oscilloscope/2000/picoscope-2000-overview

This has the advantage of having the data on a PC. The software from picotech.com is constantly being upgraded and will work with any of their scopes. So when you move to a more expensive one you will not have to 'learn' a new interface. This software also has decoding for UART, SPI, I2C and other communications protocols. Just another option you may want to consider. I have been very satisfied with this product and the support pico technologies provides. I have a 4 channel 3000 series. Would not trade it for anything else.

Thanks for the option but I've looked at the USB scopes, they are great but to get a decent one like those with bandwidth anywhere close to these is a lot more than I'm willing to spend on a beginners scope

#### Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,919
I would avoid the USB scope concept, these things require an awkward workflow that tends to slow you down.
AND you don't develop the familiarity with conventional scope front panel interfaces.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,625
You might be misunderstanding the concept of bandwidth. You might assume that you would not need 100MHz because you don't work with signals at that frequency. This is false. If you need to examine a 10MHz clock signal, a square wave signal at 10MHz has fast rising and falling edges. When viewed on an oscilloscope with 10MHz bandwidth, this signal would appear as a triangular wave with reduced amplitude.

For working with MCU signals today you need a minimum of 100MHz bandwidth, 200MHz preferred.
It comes down to how much you can afford to spend.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
You might be misunderstanding the concept of bandwidth. You might assume that you would not need 100MHz because you don't work with signals at that frequency. This is false.
Yep, pretty much exactly what I thought hehe. Thanks for the clarification there. I guess I am safer with the 150MHz then. I've just looked at some FAQs and about bandwidth it states a "5x rule" with regards to bandwidth, would you agree with that? So if I'm looking at 16MHz from my arduino as a max, I would need at least 100MHz like you said. In that situation I suppose 150Mhz is preferable.

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
3,765
I would avoid the USB scope concept, these things require an awkward workflow that tends to slow you down.
AND you don't develop the familiarity with conventional scope front panel interfaces.
Also, don't forget that if you use a USB scope, you are connecting your computer directly to the piece of equipment you are working on, with no isolation. Seems to me like an easy way to blow up your computer.

#### Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,399
I have a Hantek at home, it was a great deal and has all the features I need for working with my MCU, logic and analog circuits. Dedicated scope is nice, it has FFT and even functions I’ve never used. New scopes are so small and light compared to the CRT ones I started on. Even if I upgrade one day, I don’t ever see it being something I won’t use.

#### dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
498
Also, don't forget that if you use a USB scope, you are connecting your computer directly to the piece of equipment you are working on, with no isolation. Seems to me like an easy way to blow up your computer.
If it can blow up the computer it can also blow up the scope? Not sure what the difference is. Scopes are more expensive than a PC.

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
3,765
£99 for a PicoScope, £999 for a MacBook air.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
Thanks everyone. I've decided to go for the DCO2D15 but I did read something that had me a little concerned. Something along the lines of measuring low frequencies with a high frequency scope is inaccurate. I assume this means measuring Hz-kHz on a MHz scope? Any truth to this?

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
3,765
Thanks everyone. I've decided to go for the DCO2D15 but I did read something that had me a little concerned. Something along the lines of measuring low frequencies with a high frequency scope is inaccurate. I assume this means measuring Hz-kHz on a MHz scope? Any truth to this?
No.
Any scope, regardless of the high frequency response, will have a timebase that you can adjust to as slow as 10 seconds.

#### Marcus2012

Joined Feb 22, 2015
424
No.
Any scope, regardless of the high frequency response, will have a timebase that you can adjust to as slow as 10 seconds.
Brilliant! Thanks

#### dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
498
£99 for a PicoScope, £999 for a MacBook air.
That is for the model 2000 at only 10Mhz bandwidth. For a 100Mhz bandwidth it is £539. For a 200Mhz 4 channel 3000 series it is £1660. I can get a refurbished PC on eBay for a little as $90.00 (£65). I would probably never consider buying any Apple PC. I personally don't care for them, not saying others might like them. Blank PC then install Linux software. OS then costs nothing. Here is a top of the line i7 processor machine that comes with monitor, keyboard, and mouse available on Amazon at$565 (£406). There is new ones that are significantly cheaper as well.

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#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
3,765
Fair point - it depends on your choice of scope and your choice of PC. Whilst I do like Apple's OS, I don't like their prices, and replaced my 2007 MacBook with a HP laptop on which I run Linux. I presume you don't care much for Windows!

If you're using a scope to debug MCU designs, and you're using the PC to program the MCU, then having a standalone 'scope will be a real advantage - trying to handle both 'scope and MCU development software on the same screen is going to be a real faff.

#### dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
498
Fair point - it depends on your choice of scope and your choice of PC. Whilst I do like Apple's OS, I don't like their prices, and replaced my 2007 MacBook with a HP laptop on which I run Linux. I presume you don't care much for Windows!

If you're using a scope to debug MCU designs, and you're using the PC to program the MCU, then having a standalone 'scope will be a real advantage - trying to handle both 'scope and MCU development software on the same screen is going to be a real faff.
Actually I do like Windows but Linux has certain advantages, both OS's have good and bad points. I just brought it up because that OS is free if you are on a tight budget. At my last job we used both Windows and Linux machines. You are correct in a standalone scope is going to have advantages: you are not switching between different windows like you said. But you can also just dedicate a low to mid grade PC to the scope capabilities, and connect it to ethernet network for data sharing. But yes, there are certain advantages to having a dedicated scope with it's own display. At my last job the scope actually ran Windows OS! That always drove me crazy. Why the more expensive scope have to install an OS I don't have the faintest idea, but it did make it much harder to work with the scope.