[Solved] Do oscilloscopes go on sale often?

Thread Starter

ballsystemlord

Joined Nov 19, 2018
76
Hello,
I don't own nor have I ever owned an oscilloscope. I've saved up the money to purchase one, but being a student (thus I should spend less if I can), I'd like to know, do oscilloscopes go on sale often?

BTW: I'm not asking about ebay listings for old used oscilloscopes.

Thanks!
 

ronsimpson

Joined Oct 7, 2019
2,077
Oscilloscopes are not like apples that are produced once a year.
Some companies have a student discount. Check with your teacher. Some schools get scopes at a discount. Keysight has a student scope with built in signal generator that comes with a training course. I think they loose money on it but are trying to get into schools.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,197
Last edited:

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
876
After years of buying Keysight products with big corps, I ventured off on my own... they recommended that I buy some hardware that didn't even connect to the oscilloscope and they refuse to allow me to return the scope probe or remedy the situation in any way. I no longer recommend Keysight as a result. :(

Save your money - get the cheapest scope you can that will do what you need it to do.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
5,151
Oscilloscope pet hate:
Now that they all have moulded plastic cases, why don’t they mould in somewhere to keep the hook probes?


Save up your money and buy a Tektronix. Their cheapest model does about the same as other base model scopes, but it is rather better thought out (apart from the above) and just nicer to use. And every time you print out or e-mail a waveform, people will think “He must know his stuff, he has a Tektronix ’scope”
 

JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,667
There's nothing wrong with buying used as long as you buy from a reputable source. Instrument rental outfits buy the latest stuff to rent and will sell last year's model at a substantial discount. There are also certified test/calibration outfits that deal in used test equipment that may be a little older but still come with a fresh calibration certificate and a basic warranty. I hadn't thought about it until now but until the last scope, I always bought used from some instrument outfit. If you have an eye on new, search for sales. A lot of times the price is the same but they'll throw in the software licenses that enable more features - voltmeters, frequency counters, FFT, signal generators, serial protocol analysers etc. For someone on a budget, that would be a great place to start.

Once you have your eye on something, shop shop shop. Check in with real distributors, talk to the salespeople and tell them what you'd be interested in if they have it or it becomes available. Ask about student pricing and financing. I never like the idea of piling on more debt but consider it an investment, lay off the Starbucks, and see how it pencils out.

FWIW, I've never regretted stretching a bit to get quality and a bit more capability than needed at present.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
5,151
Bandwidth is what you pay for. If you are into audio and don’t really believe the existence of frequencies you can’t hear, and the highest frequency you ever need to look at is a 16MHz microcontroller clock to see if it is running, or to see just how unstable your latest amplifier is, then you don’t need anything better than a 20MHz scope. A 50MHz scope will be more expensive, but will it be better? Only if you need to look a 25-40MHz signals!
 

JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,667
@tindel Too bad about your experience with Keysight. After years of TEK, I bought one of their 4 ch MSOs. It's ... weird ... compared to a TEK but has served me well and the factory service / calibration has been satisfactory. But how stupid do they need to be to sever a long term customer relationship over something so trivial and easy to fix?
 

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
876
@tindel Too bad about your experience with Keysight. After years of TEK, I bought one of their 4 ch MSOs. It's ... weird ... compared to a TEK but has served me well and the factory service / calibration has been satisfactory. But how stupid do they need to be to sever a long term customer relationship over something so trivial and easy to fix?
More info here: 1GHz scope | All About Circuits
 

Thread Starter

ballsystemlord

Joined Nov 19, 2018
76
Once you have your eye on something, shop shop shop. Check in with real distributors, talk to the salespeople and tell them what you'd be interested in if they have it or it becomes available. Ask about student pricing and financing. I never like the idea of piling on more debt but consider it an investment, lay off the Starbucks, and see how it pencils out.
Can you give examples of how to find "real" distributors?
I searched online and found digikey, tequipment, and valuetronics . I think they're real ones (am, ebay are not of course.) But I'd expand my horizon regarding who to talk to if you'd point me in the right direction.

FWIW, I've never regretted stretching a bit to get quality and a bit more capability than needed at present.
I agree.
 

ronsimpson

Joined Oct 7, 2019
2,077
I am looking at scopes that have a built in wave form generator and lots of computing power. For example the spectrum analyzer function is in software. At work last month we got the wave form generator to sweep from frequency1 to frequency2 at the same time the scope has a band pass filter that also sweeps from F1 to F2 making a VNA. I could see the R,C,L of a capacitor and see it resonant frequency. (Using a Keysight scope) The vertical was set in db not volts.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,710
When my 20 year old Tektronix scope stopped working a couple of years ago and field service person put his hand on my arm and said with a tear in his eye "I'm sorry, there is nothing more we can to. It is so old..." I started looking around. I cold get twice the bandwidth and all of the features of the old Tek scope for half the price of what I paid in 2002.

While @tindel suggests buying the cheapest scope you can, and @Ian0 suggests saving until you can afford a Tektronix, I can tell you that you can't lose either way. I started with 3"scopes with about 500 kHz bandwidth and over they years as the old tube-type scopes dropped dead one-by-one, I replaced them with the best I could afford (which often was not much). When I bought the Tektronix the longest-lasting CRT scope I had lasted only 10 years and it had problems. The Tek scope I bought lasted 20 years, working fine until its last day. The one that I bought for half the price to replace it has a lifetime warranty (whatever that actually means).

Overall, you will probably do well to buy a scope a little more advanced than what you feel you need because you will likely grow into it.
 

Ian Rogers

Joined Dec 12, 2012
993
Nothing wrong with used.... Years back in college, as I left I asked the question.. Can I buy a scope? I bought 2 for £50 each.. Both I had personally used whilst there, so I knew they were okay.. Really old now but I still have them..

Some years back, I bought a TDS210 which was on sale for @£275 I still used today.. I got another with a broken backlight for about £70.. Converted to LED.. Works great...

I bought a Tektronix 2210 for £120... Still works okay..

The last scope I bought was a GDS 1052 second hand.. Can't remember the price, but it works fine as well... I don't need fast scopes all are sub 100Mhz, but I care'th not..
 

rsjsouza

Joined Apr 21, 2014
353
The current leading entry level oscilloscopes that mix good quality, features and price are from Siglent (SDS1102X-E, SDS1104X-E), Rigol (DS1202Z-E, DS1054Z, the oldest of the pack) and GW Instek (GDS-1054B). In specifications they blow out of the park any entry level oscilloscopes from Tek or Keysight and have been on the market long enough to show they are not toys that break easily.
Also, as @SamR mentioned, some reputable distributors have promotions and even Educational pricing.

Good luck in your search!
 
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