Which OWON handheld oscilloscope to choose as a beginner (what bandwith do I need?)

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
Hi,

I want to replace my ultra cheap dso-138 oscilloscope with a cheap oscilloscope. I have limited space and wanted to get a smaller one. I was looking at some cheaper Hantek models and then I saw this comparison on YT:

I like OWON much better and it looks like it would fit my beginner needs for a long time. Now it's just the matter of choosing the model. As far as I can tell the only difference between the models hds242s, hds272s, hds2102s and hds2202s is the bandwith and price, they are 40, 70, 100 and 200MHz respectively.

If my consideration is only between those models, can anyone tell me what will I gain if instead of buying 242s for 170$I would buy 2202s for 290$? I'm very new to this and I'm not really aware how this limitation will affect what stuff I can and cannot do. Can you give some examples that would be possible to analyse only when having the higher bandwiths like 100 and 200Mhz?

Currently I'm playing with some simple analogue circuits but I also plan to have some fun with embedded (esp and pico) and maybe trying to analyse why some broken stuff does not work. For embedded I have a logic analyser which I heard does a good enough job when analysing signals.

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,511
I'm very new to this and I'm not really aware how this limitation will affect what stuff I can and cannot do. Can you give some examples that would be possible to analyse only when having the higher bandwiths like 100 and 200Mhz?
What did the DSO-138 not do well enough for you?

What frequency analog and digital signals do you want to view?

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
The DSO-138 has just an irritating interface, it takes some time to set it up to see the signal and I really liked the "autofocus" feature from this one. Honestly I'm having an itch for a new gagdet.

What frequency analog and digital signals do you want to view?
That's the problem, I really do not know "what happens where", ie on what frequency. For the stuff I do currenlty i think dso-138 is enough in bandwith but its just a little annoying for me. I would probably not buy another oscilloscope for many years after buying this, so who know what I will be analysing then. I was hoping for some examples of signals that you guys encounter and in which cases are they relevant so I roughly know if it is even possible that I will be missing the 70-200MHz range.

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
28,155
The DSO-138 has just an irritating interface, it takes some time to set it up to see the signal and I really liked the "autofocus" feature from this one. Honestly I'm having an itch for a new gagdet.

That's the problem, I really do not know "what happens where", ie on what frequency. For the stuff I do currenlty i think dso-138 is enough in bandwith but its just a little annoying for me. I would probably not buy another oscilloscope for many years after buying this, so who know what I will be analysing then. I was hoping for some examples of signals that you guys encounter and in which cases are they relevant so I roughly know if it is even possible that I will be missing the 70-200MHz range.
It depends on what type of circuits and what application you will mostly be trouble shooting.
For strictly audio circuits, 1MHz is probably good enough. Most inexpensive oscilloscopes start at 20MHz.
For basic digital and MCU testing 100MHz will do you fine.

Square waves will always start looking wonky when you try to look down to sub 10ns range. Hence it has more to do with the rise and fall times of square waves rather that the frequency of the wave.

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,511
I would probably not buy another oscilloscope for many years after buying this, so who know what I will be analysing then.
I'd find a single channel scope to be very limiting. I think DSO-138 has a bandwidth of 100kHz. If it's only the interface that bothers you, you don't need much scope.
I was hoping for some examples of signals that you guys encounter and in which cases are they relevant so I roughly know if it is even possible that I will be missing the 70-200MHz range.
It depends on what you intend to do with the scope.

If you're going to measure digital signals, you have to keep in mind that square waves consist of many odd harmonics of the fundamental frequency. To see a clean 10MHz square wave, you need a bandwidth of 70MHz+.

The scope I use the most is a 40 year old 200MHz Tektronix 7704A with 2 7A26 vertical amplifiers (4 channels total), and 2 timebases. When I only need a single channel, I sometimes use a DSO FNIRSI PRO.

I have a DSO-138 that I consider to be a toy. There's a hack that adds a second channel, but cuts the bandwidth in half. Someone gave me a DSO-150 kit. I used an SC502 15MHz for working on RPi circuits until it broke...

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
It depends on what type of circuits and what application you will mostly be trouble shooting.
For strictly audio circuits, 1MHz is probably good enough. Most inexpensive oscilloscopes start at 20MHz.
For basic digital and MCU testing 100MHz will do you fine.

Square waves will always start looking wonky when you try to look down to sub 10ns range. Hence it has more to do with the rise and fall times of square waves rather that the frequency of the wave.
Ok, so 200MHz would be an overkill? I'd like to be able to diagnose MCUs. I've found a good offer for 100MHz so I think I'll go with it.

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
28,155
Ok, so 200MHz would be an overkill? I'd like to be able to diagnose MCUs. I've found a good offer for 100MHz so I think I'll go with it.
If the 100MHz scope price is right I would go with it.

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
28,192
As others have said, it's hard to tell you what bandwidth you need, as it depends on the specific things you do -- or want to do.

You said that you thought the bandwidth of the DSO-138 was probably good enough, and AFAIK that bandwidth is only 200 kHz. So 40 MHz would be a huge step up and very well could be all that you will need for a long time.

A huge part of it comes down to whether going up to 200 MHz is worth the extra $120 to YOU (or 100 MHz for whatever that step up would be). There are several ways to come at it. A big part is how well positioned you are to shell out that extra$120 and what else you would do with it if you didn't. Given that fast food meals are in the $10 to$15 range most places (around here), you could probably save at least $6 per meal by making something at home. So would it be worth skipping twenty fast-food meals to make up for getting the extra bandwidth? Another way would be to ask yourself whether, after spending the extra$120 for the max bandwidth, you would be terribly upset five years from now if it turned out you never actually did anything that needed more than 40 MHz? Yet another thing to consider is whether having the ability to work with 200 MHz bandwidth signals sitting there on your bench might encourage you to explore circuits that need that kind of bandwidth?

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
As others have said, it's hard to tell you what bandwidth you need, as it depends on the specific things you do -- or want to do.

You said that you thought the bandwidth of the DSO-138 was probably good enough, and AFAIK that bandwidth is only 200 kHz. So 40 MHz would be a huge step up and very well could be all that you will need for a long time.

A huge part of it comes down to whether going up to 200 MHz is worth the extra $120 to YOU (or 100 MHz for whatever that step up would be). There are several ways to come at it. A big part is how well positioned you are to shell out that extra$120 and what else you would do with it if you didn't. Given that fast food meals are in the $10 to$15 range most places (around here), you could probably save at least $6 per meal by making something at home. So would it be worth skipping twenty fast-food meals to make up for getting the extra bandwidth? Another way would be to ask yourself whether, after spending the extra$120 for the max bandwidth, you would be terribly upset five years from now if it turned out you never actually did anything that needed more than 40 MHz? Yet another thing to consider is whether having the ability to work with 200 MHz bandwidth signals sitting there on your bench might encourage you to explore circuits that need that kind of bandwidth?
All valid points. I have the money and won't have to change my lifestyle a bit because of it, just my psyche is always against spending too much, I always try to optimize the fun/cost or usefullness/cost ratios.

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
I never expected to be posting this but it comes from my personal experience. I am not joking.

About two years after buying an OWON DS 7102 V, I started to suffer the lousy functioning of the knob controls (Ch 2 and horizontal timing).

Short story, the local representative (doubt they are genuinely official reps) said that in China they did not recognize the failure. After Googling, found that it was a common failure and later found someone who solved that problem by soldering disk caps on the knobs terminals.

I suggest that you do not discount a Siglent SDS1202X-E 200MHz scope retailing at US$379. Consider this as a benchmark model that you may want to strive towards. There are lower priced Siglent scopes on the market. I am sure that @tautech would be happy to provide his opinion. https://www.amazon.com/Siglent-Tech...al-Oscilloscope/dp/B01J1MQC3G/ref=sr_1_2_sspa tautech Joined Oct 8, 2019 316 Now that we know where you stand on budget we can look at your options. Certainly a 100MHz scope will suit your needs and there is no compelling reason to hunt down a 200MHz scope. I thing your options would be to choose between a$125 handheld or go with a recognized brandname benchtop scope.
I suggest that you do not discount a Siglent SDS1202X-E 200MHz scope retailing at US\$379. Consider this as a benchmark model that you may want to strive towards. There are lower priced Siglent scopes on the market.
That's good advice as if anyone is into digital protocols the X-E range include these free.

CML while a good little DSO are in no mans land where for a little more increased input sensitivity, higher BW and decoding is available.
The key part of DSO being Storage, the capture and saving of waveforms and the greater memory depths better preserve detail and this should be a focus of any modern scope buyer to ensure one gets sufficient for their needs.

OTOH even the diminutive SDS1052DL+ would be a much better selection than any of the tiny portables:
https://siglentna.com/digital-oscilloscopes/sds1000dl-series-digital-storage-oscilloscopes/

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
.

OTOH even the diminutive SDS1052DL+ would be a much better selection than any of the tiny portables:
https://siglentna.com/digital-oscilloscopes/sds1000dl-series-digital-storage-oscilloscopes/
Could you expand on this point? I have space limitations (I have to pack "all the toys" when I finish) so if I were to consider normal size I would like to know why would this 50MHz be better than handheld ones? Those with 200MHz are little cheaper then one you mentioned.

What about Hantek DSO2D10? Has similar price but bigger bandwidth.

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
316
Could you expand on this point? I have space limitations (I have to pack "all the toys" when I finish) so if I were to consider normal size I would like to know why would this 50MHz be better than handheld ones? Those with 200MHz are little cheaper then one you mentioned.

What about Hantek DSO2D10? Has similar price but bigger bandwidth.
Typically the cheapest scopes (if you can call them such) have poor sensitivity and for the simple task of checking ripple on a PSU makes them not fit for purpose. In better equipment ripple is as low as 5mV/div so we often need dispense with 10x probes and use a 1x probe to have all the sensitivity available.
Yet even then if you only have 50mV/div sensitivity there is no way in hell you can quantify any low ripple or sensitive circuit.

Every 50+ year old CRO could undertake these types of measurements with ease yet why some think some of these modern miniature DSO's are fit for purpose I just don't know. A convenient form factor don't mean shit if it can't do basic measurements.

kajman

Joined Dec 30, 2022
26
Ok, would you consider Hantek DSO2D10 a good option (given this budget)? Seems to have similar features to the one you recommended but also bigger bandwitdh.

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
316
Ok, would you consider Hantek DSO2D10 a good option (given this budget)? Seems to have similar features to the one you recommended but also bigger bandwitdh.
No comment.
100 MHz BW is considered entry level today whereas just a few years ago 50 MHz BW was.

We are authorised Siglent distributor in New Zealand so know our product range well and offer advice based from a few decades of personal electronic experience developing views on what constitutes a worthy device to the extent there are some Siglent products we don't sell as there are better bang for buck models within their range.
Still, at the end of the day any advice based on experience requires you (a potential customer) to disclose their current and future needs to get best advice so to buy once and buy right. Knowing where you are heading in electronics helps to select/recommend a device you can grow into.

Good Chinese products do last but as yet they have not suffered the ultimate test of decades of use however the first we sold are still going strong with 10 yrs of classroom use ticking up this year.