Author Topic: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?  (Read 1739 times)

Offline petespaco

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What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« on: December 08, 2017, 04:39:48 PM »
Hello Mads.
    I just saw your latest article on hacking the Induction Stove.
The amount of information displayed on the scope screen is pretty impressive.
Would you consider reviewing your Rigol DS 1504 'scope for us (me).
  My ancient Tektronix 422 is starting to fail and I guess I'm going to have to replace it one of these days.

I have spent a fair amount of time looking at specs for scopes within my price range (under $500 USD) and it is hard to tell if one scope or one set of features is better than others. 
Mind you, I bought about 50 of those Tek 422's in the late 60's, and they were a great field service tool for our needs back then.  But these days, I see all the digital scopes for sale, with lots of storage, etc..  I just can't separate all those features!!!

I won't need frequency response much over 50 MegaHz.
Two channels will probably do most of what I need, but the 4 channel idea sounds good, too.
One of the things that is really interesting is the idea of storing traces and being able to scroll through them after the fact.
I did buy a "knock-off" logic analyzer a couple of years ago (USD$8.00) and it does a surprisingly good job of the data storage, but it is only a 5 volt, digital signal only device. Works well with my many arduino projects, but not at all for this higher voltage analog stuff.
  A year ago I even bought one of those USD$50.00 DSO112 pocket sized 'scopes.  It works okay, but has only one channel and poor battery life.   And, since you have to switch screens all the time to access menus, it is a bit of a pain to use.  Triggering isn't the greatest.  Maybe it's just me.

Back to your  Rigol DS 1504:
Anyway, how do you like it?
Would you buy it again?
What issues does it have, if any?

Pete Stanaitis
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Offline futurist

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2017, 05:57:07 PM »
Hi Pete

I also have DS1054Z and as a hobbyist I'm really happy with it. Originally I considered buying their older model DS1052E but after watching EEVblog review I decided to get DS1054Z. It was around 100$ more expensive. You can also easily unlock 100 MHz bandwidth, serial decoder, more memory, etc. using simple keygen. So far I didn't have any problems with the scope and for me it has every feature I need.

Check out EEVblog review summary if you didn't already :)

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2017, 07:29:29 PM »
I bought the old DS1052E back when that was released and some years later I upgrade to a DS1054Z when that was released and batronix.com had a pre-order offer on it.

DS1052E
Pros:
- It was cheap
- Good bandwidth for DIY/electronics
- Large memory depth compared to other cheaper oscilloscopes
- A few math functions
- Export screen image to USB.

Cons:
- I did however always have trouble with the USB image saver, some times it would ruin a USB stick with chinese lettered files that was 4GB a piece and the stick was broken.
- The turn-able knobs using encoders also started having problems on ch1, it would either not change the value or jump more than one step at a time.
- Had to manually enter a name for saved screenshot with a turning knob, took forever.
- Only two channels
- Small screen, which also meant very small exported pictures, often had to enhance them 200% to use them online

DS1054Z
Pros:
- It was cheap compared to competition at the time
- 4 channels, possible to do two gates, inverter current and voltage at the same time
- You buy a 50 MHz oscilloscope, but some made a certain tool to magically make that 100 MHz and double memory. Google "riglol", but use at own risk and maybe they did stuff to prevent this on newer versions
- Big screen, but could be bigger
- USB image export works flawlessly, especially the "print" button on front is handy, just 1 press to save the screen.
- Some more math functions, however a tad slow

Cons:
- turn-able knobs also has a secondary function, pressing it will select a menu item, but when you push it in, you often end up turning it a bit and then you select the wrong menu item.
- The 1GS/s spec is only for a single channel and this total is shared among the 4 channels, so using 2 channels you have 500 MS/s and using 3 or 4 you have 250 MS/s.
- On-screen live measurements can be a bit derrpy as you have 4 and adding another pushes out the first, so if you get one wrong, you have to start over by adding them again.
- There are many menu's with many things to adjust, it takes a while before you know where to find things and then remember where it was! Write down some quick notes when you find a option or feature that you might use often :)
- No automated calibration program for when you have connected probes and want it to get in a calibrated state with the equipment on it

Nevertheless! I am very satisfied with my DS1054Z, it was a massive upgrade from the DS1052E and after a couple of years with the DS1054Z I am not looking to upgrade any time soon. If anything it would just be for a bigger screen and more advanced data logging options.
http://www.kaizerpowerelectronics.dk - Tesla coils, high voltage, pulse power, audio and general electronics

Offline petespaco

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2017, 05:08:54 AM »
Thank you guys for your input.
  Yes, I did recently watch the eevblog guy's review of it.
Now I am reminded that I didn't quite understand all the things he said about loading software and getting additional "apps" or whatever they are called.
Do either of you have comments about that stuff?  Does it work out of the box, or do you have to go find and load some sort of operating system?

I might add that the pressure to get a new scope is off a bit because I just fixed my old 422.  It had a bad intensity pot.  It was a special type of pot that is heavily insulated from the chassis because it is directly in the cathode/grid circuit.  No longer available.  I did find and buy a similar (but too large physically) pot that I thought I could parallel with a fixed resistor and remount in some horrible looking fashion.  But instead I took the pot apart and found the the grease they had put on in there had hardened up and actually created a BUMP that caused the wiper to loose all contact with the resistive element.  cleaned it off, carefully reassembled, and ready to go for another 50 years?

But I am still getting serious about a digiital scope.  I do make some youtube videos and it would be nice to be able to show the professional looking traces that you get, Mads.   This Rigol DS1504 still looks good to me.


Pete Stanaitis
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Offline futurist

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2017, 03:35:22 PM »
No need to change OS, etc., you just need to enter your scope's serial number on riglol
http://gotroot.ca/rigol/riglol/

and then go to utility menu on the scope and enter the private key it outputs. I did that before even using it :D

Offline Hydron

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2017, 03:58:31 PM »
I'd also have a look at the new Siglent models (sds1104x-e and 1204x-e). A little more expensive but some significant advantages. Will post more when I'm not on my phone!

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Re: What kind of oscilloscope to buy?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2017, 03:58:31 PM »

 


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