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Choosing an Oscilloscope

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gaspode42

Member
Hi All,

I want to purchase a relatively inexpensive oscilloscope, to air in circuit development. I don't want to go down the PC route for various reasons, so want a standalone unit. I want to use it for checking signal timings (ie I2C, SPI, USART) on my PIC projects. The problem is I am not sure exactly what I am looking for so I would appreciate some advice in the following areas:

1. Should I go analogue or digital?
2. What speed MHz should I be looking for?
3. Any recommended makes/models/suppliers?

I have a limited budget, but will only get one chance to do this so I need to get it right!

Any help or advice would be much appreciated :D
 

gaspode42

Member
How about this

Nigel

Thanks for the reply, is some thing like this suitable?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I would imagine so, although Owon don't have that great a reputation, but the price is certainly low enough (I've even considered getting one myself to play with).
 

Hero999

Banned
It's only 25MHz, I'd prefer a 100MHz analogue 'scope unless I want it to observe low speed signals.
 

BrownOut

Banned
I got tired of unreliable used oscilloscipes, so I bought a 30 Mhz analog scopt by B&K precision. It wasn't exactly cheap, but competively priced for a new unit. It's nice to know it will fire up every time I need it. I can use it to fix all my busted used Tek scopes now.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I prefer a digital oscilloscope for these reasons:
1. Can easily view low frequency or low rep rate narrow pulses. No flicker.
2. Can freeze and store waveforms including single-shot events.
3. Usually have various measurement functions built in such as voltage level, frequency, pulse width, etc.
4. Are smaller and lighter with LCD screens. No CRT weight and bulk.
 
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DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
If your checking digital signals from a microcontroller and doing protocol analysis, you would be better off with a logic analyzer. Unfortunately there's not much in the logic analyzer market that's standalone.
 

BrownOut

Banned
Seems as though a crude logic analyzer that connects to a PC through a USB port would be a simple thing to make for all of our PIC gurus. Though I've never tired it.
 

BrownOut

Banned
Open up your computer case and screw the logic analyzer to the inside. Viola, you have a stand-alone unit. And it's just the same as the modern manufactured units.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Certainly using one of the external units with a laptop would make a reasonably compact setup.
 

colin mac

New Member
I asked a few people who own Owon scopes and they said they never have problems with it. At that price, I reckon it's worth a punt.
 

geko

Active Member
I've had an Owon PDS6042 40MHz 'scope for about 16 months and it works just fine. For the things you mention you wanted to use it for it will be fine.

The only minor issue with them is the LCD screen has quite a narrow viewing angle, but it's not a show stopper. You're getting a very useful and usable 'scope for not a lot of money.

You can also get them from www.rapidonline.co.uk and there pricing is quite good.
 
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Hero999

Banned
I prefer a digital oscilloscope for these reasons:
1. Can easily view low frequency or low rep rate narrow pulses. No flicker.
2. Can freeze and store waveforms including single-shot events.
3. Usually have various measurement functions built in such as voltage level, frequency, pulse width, etc.
4. Are smaller and lighter with LCD screens. No CRT weight and bulk.
I agree with all of that but given a choice between speed and all that I'd go for speed unless there's any really strong reason why I'd need storage. It's a matter of opinion though.

What would you prefer a 25MHz analogue 'scope or a 100MHz analogue 'scope?

If you multiplied both those figures by 10, 250MHz digital vs 1GHz analogue (the fastest analogue 'scope you can get) though, I don't know which I'd choose.:D
 

bountyhunter

Well-Known Member

geko

Active Member
At the start of the thread the O/P says

I want to use it for checking signal timings (ie I2C, SPI, USART) on my PIC projects.
An analog scope will be little use for looking at and analysing these types of signal.

One of the main reasons I bought my digital scope was because of the limitations of working with these types of signals on a 20Mhz analog scope, and not because the 'scopes bandwidth was an issue. Trying to analyse an I2C signal was pretty much impossible - not so with a digital scope.

I'd also argue that a 100Mhz of bandwidth is unnecessary for the type of work the O/P wants to use it for, particularly since buying that kind of bandwidth is expensive and the O/P indicates they have a limited budget.
 
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