Whats the cheapest starter scope for a beginner ?

Thread Starter


Joined Apr 16, 2013
What would be a £10 DMM equivalent in oscilloscopes ? Not glamorous but does the job well and is cheap.
I seem to be wading deeper and deeper into electronics and need to start poking about beyond voltages/resistances
in things at hobby level. No budget for this at all.
What would be a passable scope to sniff out pwm signals on 5-12v lines ?

DNA Robotics

Joined Jun 13, 2014
My oscilloscope was sick & shut off after a few minutes. I checked eBay and found many scopes for less than $100 and some less than $50. Most of them don't have probes. That is probably why they are being sold. I guess people don't know they can buy probes for less than $10 and these are on sale for $3.95. http://www.mpja.com/40MHz-Oscilloscope-Probe/productinfo/15086+TE

So I got a working scope delivered for $68.00. I had 2 probes from my old scope but bought 2 of those because at that price, I can abuse them and not worry about it. They work just as well as my old probes.
You should get a digital scope if you can.


Joined Mar 31, 2012
A lot of it depends on what you NEED to measure in the immediate and near future. There are software scopes that use your computer's sound card as the input device. Other software tools can use your sound card as a signal generator. Obviously you are limited in bandwidth significantly, but for many introductory and hobbyist applications, that is more than enough. The necessary hardware is very simple and can either be bought pretty cheaply or built yourself.

There are better software scopes that use a hardware module connected to your computer via USB. These run the gamut from very simple and cheap to very sophisticated and spendy.

Thread Starter


Joined Apr 16, 2013
I was looking at portable DSO112A on ebay. However i do have a Toshiba NB520 netbook lying about that i might use for this purpose.
Software scope with hardware usb module would work well i think. Any in particular i should be looking for ? Something passable with probes in 50 quid range mebbe ?

At the moment i'm trying to fish out control signals for a custom VFD from a heavy duty treadmill motor. Reason for this is i need to cut away all the unnecessary components like its super bulky control panel and associated sensors of which there a lot ant ALL of them are unnecessary.