What Frequency Counter Should I Buy? ..#2


Joined Mar 30, 2015
Welcome to AAC!

What is your application and budget?

You can't go wrong with used major brands (HP, Tektronix, etc). If this is for hobby use, you can get a 50MHz frequency counter kit for under $5.

If you don't already have an oscilloscope, buy a scope before a frequency counter..
1 month ago I bought this guy: <mod:deleted link>
There is also a 12 GHz version. I'm very happy with the frequency stability and looking forward to get a GPS based 10MHz reference to make things even better.
You will surely find a couple of youtube videos about FA-2.
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Joined Jan 4, 2014
When I established my electronic lab 30 years ago, I bought various remaindered items from a prominent rental electronics dealer. He claimed good upkeep and repair during its life. I found out the hard way that all were close to end-of-life, although they worked for a while. The renters dropped everything, the switches were brassed out and the high voltage part of the Tektronicx oscilloscope was on its last legs. Thereafter I purchased cheap new hobby electronics, which also failed work well. My recommendation is to bite the bullet and purchase new professional electronics.

Best wishes --- Allen Anway
I bought one of the "RIGOL low cost scopes", and all I can say things have come a long way since the days of Eico kits.

For around $300, it does everything but bring me breakfast in bed - Model DS1102E.

The frequency, period (eg: milliseconds), measured waveform volts, etc. are all displayed on the screen.

I am back into a hobby mode in electronics after a very long absence, and so it is like being a kid in a candy store.

I bought what seems to be "good enough for my uses" function generator, and a 30VDC @ 5A variable power supply.

I'd have to go check, but I think the function generator also has a freq counter built in, separate input jack.

There may be other stuff you will find you need, but these items have so many functions built in it is amazing.

sparky 1

Joined Nov 3, 2018
Most counters use a reference frequency source like 10 MHz divided down for an appropriate gate time for that range.
There are different levels of accuracy depending on the stability of the reference frequency source.
A GPS disciplined reference can be used to calibrate the counter or other reference frequency sources.
(some of the later oscilloscopes mentioned have TCXO, others have OCXO oscillators and are very accurate)
Some of the different levels of frequency references in a frequency counter have levels of initial accuracy and stability are:

Crystal reference (ovenized)
OCXO Crystal Oscillator
Rubidium oscillator
GPS Disciplined reference
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