Oscilloscopes- Low Cost Models

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
I've tried to avoid buying one of the multi-channel oscopes that go for several hundred dollars like "Rigol", "Hantek", "Siglent" for $$$ conserns.
At this point in my electronics pursuit, I tend to try to "squeeze blood from a rock" $$ value, and it does work to some extent.
Maybe later I'll get one of the higher price scopes.


I have one of these oscopes for which I paid about $40 already assembled.
200 KHz
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Q13TWY...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==


Some newer models with higher specs have come out like this in about the same price range:
18 MHz--(I seen one higher than 18 somewhere but can't find it now)
https://www.amazon.com/Oscilloscope...23-bb72-ac30258d2f53&pd_rd_i=B0BXC6XZVS&psc=1

So the question is, would it be worth uprgrading to that 18 Mhz scope to open up more measuring possibilities, including into the future?
I know you get what you pay for, but getting more " bang for your buck" features seems to have some merit on the low cost scopes
if you are not rolling in money.

Then there are the older analog scopes like this one for sale on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/134764387566?hash=item1f60955cee:g:Hv0AAOSwNQFlJykk&amdata=enc:AQAIAAAA4HQdTZ120VVw4updNGwZNaFzhanzpoUaViV+w0m2r87feVt1pLXIVvsfm0dnffX/4oGtQPRVBBrwDxA2WdzR9Ht/RQRCP5NfFED33+fpMZoGTFriuqwNerftt+ncw34mEqRHRl2pKg13gc4s6jy7WvkCGwOYx2wFuqjiahamcXJxsZZCi296Lrp6xF1yTtliJr3HUjxg3HZHIpu4UZuRSOnbH+sqNeKB6ERz2aWjFhtJD0ublZbF5wAE0wK+4TNOqWOzbNPnj7T8qLHOPZ8OVO92rmt4xl6K89xw3Wvot97l|tkp:Bk9SR-ae_qXlYg

I'm talking about Audio and some Radio frequency measurement.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Mod edit: moved and deleted request to move to Test and Measurement - JohnInTX
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,513
I just picked up one of these after my Tektronix packed it in, but at present I only work in relatively LF's So it does the job amply so far.
US$135.00


1697225476199.png
 

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
Pictures to go with the previous post:
View attachment 304881
View attachment 304882
View attachment 304883
Audio wouldn't require more than 1-5MHz. RF is meaningless. It goes up to around 300GHz.
Re: the RF at 300 Ghz: So what is the point of the numerous and widely available 100 and 200 Mhz scopes? What applications are they best used for?

Also you say it seems that 1Mhz minimum is best for audio. Does that mean the 200 Khz scope is no good for audio?
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
12,778
The sweet spot in value (cost vs what you get) today for low-cost bench (I would recommend this scope format unless you have a special need) scopes is in the 100 MHz to 200 MHz range (that can handle audio, most digital/analog and some RF) because the technology for that range today is a basic commodity technology. After sales support and updates are important for a long term tool investment. If you really want RF to at least 200 MHz then it will cost more for a modern new scope.

I would wait until I had more of a budget if I already had a very low end scope. A few hundred today can buy amazing measurement technology.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,677
So what is the point of the numerous and widely available 100 and 200 Mhz scopes? What applications are they best used for?
200MHz scopes are fine for a lot of applications. If you need something faster, you'll know.

Also you say it seems that 1Mhz minimum is best for audio. Does that mean the 200 Khz scope is no good for audio?
If all you have is 200KHz, it's better than nothing. I did electronics as a hobby for 30 years before I bought my first scope. You just make do with what you have.

If you were designing audio amplifiers, you might want your frequency response to be flat out to 40-50Khz. To measure signals at that frequency, you need your measuring system to be flat well beyond that frequency. A 1MHz bandwidth is less iffy than 200KHz.

You also have to consider the manufacturer of the equipment you're considering. With a 1MHz Tektronix scope and Tek probe with the same bandwidth (if you could get them that low), they spec the bandwidth of the scope+probe system to be -3dB at 1MHz. Others would spec the scope to be -3dB at 1MHz and the probe to be -3dB at 1MHz, so the system is -6dB at 1MHz.
 

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
Pictures to go with the previous post:
View attachment 304881
View attachment 304882
View attachment 304883
Audio wouldn't require more than 1-5MHz. RF is meaningless. It goes up to around 300GHz.
So do you think it is worth getting one of these 18 Mhz units compared to the 200 Khz I now have for Audio?
Spending another $50 won't bankrupt me if I am getting a significantly superior unit


1697238776371.png


Howabout the old used Analogs on Ebay like this one I referenced? The $40 seems fake. How could a scope like that
sell for that little? Is it better to have a cheap digital like I have or better to have an old Analog like that one?


1697238874794.png
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,677
Howabout the old used Analogs on Ebay like this one I referenced? The $40 seems fake. How could a scope like that
sell for that little?
It's an auction and shipping alone is almost $40. I picked up a Tektronix 7704A with plug-ins for $16.50 on eBay in 2010 (local pickup).
Is it better to have a cheap digital like I have or better to have an old Analog like that one?
I'm partial to Tektronix analog scopes. You can't get a clean trace on digitals.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
12,778
It's an auction and shipping alone is almost $40. I picked up a Tektronix 7704A with plug-ins for $16.50 on eBay in 2010 (local pickup).
I'm partial to Tektronix analog scopes. You can't get a clean trace on digitals.
1697242964131.png
I'm partial to Tektronix analog scopes too but the clean trace is a CRT display artifact averaging out analog noise. There are options on some digital scopes to give it that, 'tube' look.
https://www.tek.com/en/support/faqs...e-have-more-noise-then-my-analog-oscilloscope
1697244097370.png
My now dead 2432 was a digital with analog CRT display.
1697244285321.png
The 300Mhz digitizing CCD on this old guy does make the CRT into a digital looking display.
https://my.tek.com/tektalk/vintage-retired/f5975efd-1cae-ed11-a81b-000d3a598c87
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
I took a few electronics classes several decades ago and in those classes we used analog Tektronics scopes.
I didn't finish the complete school program, and moved on into another field. Now as I said before I am
fooling around with electronics again being semi-retired.
I was surprised when I seen the new digital scopes available nowadays with all the bells and whistles and
endless features that were not on the old analog ones, not to mention the "stubby" look with no tubes (valves).

Any kind of new digital gear in any type of work have a lot of features to offer. I am not sure though whether
to continue going down the digital path for scopes (other than the cheap one I have) or getting an old analog
which are mainly used gear and who knows if the old scope is even giving you accurate readings or is
working as it is supposed to be. With a new digital at least you assume it is working correctly and giving you
accurate numbers and you get all those bells and whistles and digital features.

I have 3 digital multimeters, but am looking at getting a not too expensive analog one with a needle just for nostalgias sake,
although nostalgia is irrelevant has nothing to do with hard numbers, accuracy and features. Which scope is a different situation.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
12,778
I took a few electronics classes several decades ago and in those classes we used analog Tektronics scopes.
I didn't finish the complete school program, and moved on into another field. Now as I said before I am
fooling around with electronics again being semi-retired.
I was surprised when I seen the new digital scopes available nowadays with all the bells and whistles and
endless features that were not on the old analog ones, not to mention the "stubby" look with no tubes (valves).

Any kind of new digital gear in any type of work have a lot of features to offer. I am not sure though whether
to continue going down the digital path for scopes (other than the cheap one I have) or getting an old analog
which are mainly used gear and who knows if the old scope is even giving you accurate readings or is
working as it is supposed to be. With a new digital at least you assume it is working correctly and giving you
accurate numbers and you get all those bells and whistles and digital features.

I have 3 digital multimeters, but am looking at getting a not too expensive analog one with a needle just for nostalgias sake,
although nostalgia is irrelevant has nothing to do with hard numbers, accuracy and features. Which scope is a different situation.
Any analog test equipment today is a niche product but I still like analog meters for high voltage tube circuits and motor circuits. :D
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/vom-vs-dmm.193958/post-1823736
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...e-amps-of-my-solar-panels.191993/post-1800730

As you can see, they still use analog meters in the far distant future.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
29,857
I took a few electronics classes several decades ago and in those classes we used analog Tektronics scopes.
I didn't finish the complete school program, and moved on into another field. Now as I said before I am
fooling around with electronics again being semi-retired.
I was surprised when I seen the new digital scopes available nowadays with all the bells and whistles and
endless features that were not on the old analog ones, not to mention the "stubby" look with no tubes (valves).
We put men on the moon using analog test equipment, so it's likely still good enough for anything you will be doing.

Certainly there are some things where you need the modern features -- working with digital comm protocols with an analog scope is not impossible, but definitely not desirable. But for most hobby work, what matters far more than the capabilities of the equipment is what you are capable of doing with that equipment. From a learning and skill building perspective, you are quite possibly much better off having to learn how to make good measurements with equipment that is barely good enough to make the measurement, as opposed to just plopping down a much more modern piece of equipment and hitting Auto Set.
 

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
Any analog test equipment today is a niche product but I still like analog meters for high voltage tube circuits and motor circuits. :D
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/vom-vs-dmm.193958/post-1823736
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...e-amps-of-my-solar-panels.191993/post-1800730

As you can see, they still use analog meters in the far distant future.
One of my favorite movies superior to the mindless crap movies with CGI made today.
The intelligent imagination is so underated, The concepts are timeless, even
the idea of "the Id" creating material monsters with that machine and other ideas in that movie,
except that in the 50s digital readouts were not imagined. They did imagine holograms though.
I always marveled when digital readouts started appearing, that the Krell used Analog meters....lol

I took a basic electricity class in the Navy and that Simpson meter is what we used. It had a red "pop-out" fuse
that made a loud click when it popped out, so the instructor could hear someone inserting the meter in the wrong place.
 
Last edited:

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
12,778
One of my favorite movies superior to the mindless crap movies with CGI made today.
The intelligent imagination is so underated, The concepts are timeless, even
the idea of "the Id" creating material monsters with that machine and other ideas in that movie,
except that in the 50s digital readouts were not imagined. They did imagine holograms though.
I always marveled when digital readouts started appearing, that the Krell used Analog meters....lol

I took a basic electricity class in the Navy and that Simpson meter is what we used. It had a red "pop-out" fuse
that made a loud click when it popped out, so the instructor could hear someone inserting the meter in the wrong place.
I had B E&E for a week in San Diego. I challenged (just took and passed all the tests) that school and a few other electronic ones because I'd already studied electrical science before joining the Navy. That old Navy Simpson meter will always be a true love for being 'almost' indestructible. I'd rather wait and spend more money on something that will last years instead of buying cheap junk that just gathers dust. I've found that high quality tools allow you to push the limits of your current capabilities and to make the move beyond, easier.
 

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
I had B E&E for a week in San Diego. I challenged (just took and passed all the tests) that school and a few other electronic ones because I'd already studied electrical science before joining the Navy. That old Navy Simpson meter will always be a true love for being 'almost' indestructible. I'd rather wait and spend more money on something that will last years instead of buying cheap junk that just gathers dust. I've found that high quality tools allow you to push the limits of your current capabilities and to make the move beyond, easier.
I think the course I took was called, "Basic Electricity & Electronics", but I don't remember much about it, and don't recall
much electronics, such as tubes, transistors etc., only passive components. It was at Great Lakes.
I see what you are saying about high quality equipment but at this point about all I can afford is cheap, although I don't know if it is junk
but maybe it is. That is why I started that Calibration thread to get some suggestions and advice on checking the accuracy of the test gear.
 

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
377
That is why I started that Calibration thread to get some suggestions and advice on checking the accuracy of the test gear.
TBH gear from the popular brands performs to spec or better and far better that the average Joe has the equipment to test it against.
Define Low Cost oscilloscopes as I have no idea what that means from where I sit as a distributor.
 

Thread Starter

RUSTYWIRE

Joined Aug 28, 2023
61
TBH gear from the popular brands performs to spec or better and far better that the average Joe has the equipment to test it against.
Define Low Cost oscilloscopes as I have no idea what that means from where I sit as a distributor.
Read the first few posts in this thread to get the idea of the conversation.
 
Last edited:
Top