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Recommendations on oscilloscopes

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dreamspy

New Member
Hi

I'm looking to get some advice on selecting an oscilloscope. If you want to cut straight to the cheese, then you can skip my rambling in the next few paragraphs and go straight to the list of oscilloscopes I'm considering at the bottom of this post. Please give me your thoughts about which one you would prefer.

I'm planning to buy an oscilloscope from ebay.de. This is my first oscilloscope and I will probably mostly be working with audio / analog things. Although working with digital electronics in the future might be an option, but from what I read it's best to have different devices for digital and analog, is that right? So at the moment I'm mostly looking for an analog oscilloscope, but I'we also heard about some oscilloscope that do both analog and digital but not quite sure if they are something worth looking at. I'm not even sure what it means exactly for an oscilloscope to be digital? Does it only mean that he does digital sampling?

Allot of people recommend Tektronix, but they seem to be rather expensive. I'we also been looking at Hameg and Philips. I'we even been thinking if I should just get a dirt cheap entry level 20Mhz oscilloscope just to begin with.


Regarding the probes, most of those oscilloscope don't come with probes. I haven't looked into the price of probes, but I'm wondering if they are a big factor of the price, and does the price I have to spend on probes differ much between oscilloscopes?

Stability and availability for support is a big factor for me since I live in Iceland, where not much local support is available. I'we heard that it can be hard and expensive to calibrate oscilloscopes. But the Philips 3380A oscilloscope is supposed to be autocalibrating (according to the ebay seller). Is ease of calibration something I should consider when buying a scope?

So far I'we found a few oscilloscope at www.ebay.de. Here are some examples


TEKTRONIX
Tektronix 2465B
This one is supposed to be really good, but might be an overkill for me.

Tektronix 465B
This one is way cheaper, and older! I'we heard good things about this one, but it's also said to have allot of internal noise. I'm not really sure though how much that would affect what I'm planning to do.

HAMEG
Hameg 1005
This one should go cheap. But I'we heard that people don't recommend Hameg for professional audio work. But still it should be enought for me, I think?

Hameg 605
Not so sure what the difference is between thisone and the Hameg 1005

PHILIPS
I haven't heard much about these PHILIPS scopes, but some sources say they are good. Now the 30xx models are straight analog scopes, but the 33xx are combiscopes. Now I'm mainly familiar with analog electronics. And these combiscopes, if I understand correctly, can work both with analog devices, and serve as a digital storage oscilloscope (for working with digital electronics, right?). Would you recommend those combiscopes? Are there any drawbacks in having both these functions in one device? The Philips scopes that I'we been looking at are:

Philips 3070
This one is purely analog

Philips 3350A
This one and the next one are combiscopes (analog and digital storage oscillscopes)

Philips 3380A
The ebay seller talks about auto calibration. Could be usefull since it's hard to get oscilloscopes calibrated here in Iceland.

OTHER BRANDS
Now here are some scopes from some company's I don't know much about. But they seem to be cheap and might fit my needs. I'm not sure about how a memoryscope works though and if I can use it as an analog scope?

KIKUSUI COS5100
A cheap analog scope

IWATSU DMS-6430
A memoryscope.

Any suggestions recommended. I might add that I'm also open for other recommendations if you feel something else would suite me better.


Thanks!
Frímann Kjerúlf
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
from what I read it's best to have different devices for digital and analog, is that right?
No, I dont think so. Unless you want something like a logic analyser for digital, then any scope should be OK.

So at the moment I'm mostly looking for an analog oscilloscope, but I'we also heard about some oscilloscope that do both analog and digital but not quite sure if they are something worth looking at. I'm not even sure what it means exactly for an oscilloscope to be digital? Does it only mean that he does digital sampling?
A analog scope, sometimes refferred to as a "realtime" scope, shows whay is happening now, if you miss it it is gone!
A digital scope, better referred to as a digital storage scope, allows waveforms to be captured in memory and observed at your leasure. Very usefull for examining things which happen at irregular times.

Allot of people recommend Tektronix, but they seem to be rather expensive. I'we also been looking at Hameg and Philips. I'we even been thinking if I should just get a dirt cheap entry level 20Mhz oscilloscope just to begin with.
Tektronix is probably the very best, a good used one will last a long time. If you find a Hewlett Packard they are well worth considering.
Phillips are OK.
Hameg, I would probably not buy one.

Regarding the probes, most of those oscilloscope don't come with probes. I haven't looked into the price of probes, but I'm wondering if they are a big factor of the price, and does the price I have to spend on probes differ much between oscilloscopes?
Scope probes are a standard item and any probe will connect to any scope. (OK there may be the very odd exceptional case, but...)
The scope probes which I use are cheap (£10 each if I remember) generic ones which I have had for 15 years, they dont get a lot of use but are still OK.

I live in Iceland, where not much local support is available. I'we heard that it can be hard and expensive to calibrate oscilloscopes. But the Philips 3380A oscilloscope is supposed to be autocalibrating (according to the ebay seller). Is ease of calibration something I should consider when buying a scope?
Do you need tracability to national standards? I suspect not.
How often is my scope calibrated? Probably a quick tweek after some repairs twenty years ago!
Time calibration is easy, the mains power supply is far more accurate that the oscilloscope, and any crystal oscillator you build will be far more accurate than the scope.
Voltage calibration, use a simple variable voltage source and your DVM.

So far I'we found a few oscilloscope at eBay: Neue und gebrauchte Elektronikartikel, Autos, Kleidung, Sammlerstücke, Sportartikel und mehr ? alles zu günstigen Preisen. Here are some examples


TEKTRONIX
Tektronix 2465B
Very good - JimB

Tektronix 465B
A good older scope - this would be my favourite -JimB

HAMEG
Hameg 1005
Hameg 605
Would not be high on my shopping list - JimB

PHILIPS
Philips 3070

Philips 3350A
I have used a scope similar to this, I found it a bit awkward at first but after half an hour it was nice and easy to use - JimB

Philips 3380A
The ebay seller talks about auto calibration. Could be usefull since it's hard to get oscilloscopes calibrated here in Iceland.
I think you over estimate the auto-calibrate feature - JimB


OTHER BRANDS
Now here are some scopes from some company's I don't know much about. But they seem to be cheap and might fit my needs. I'm not sure about how a memoryscope works though and if I can use it as an analog scope?

KIKUSUI COS5100
A cheap analog scope
IWATSU DMS-6430
A memoryscope.
Any suggestions recommended. I might add that I'm also open for other recommendations if you feel something else would suite me better.
If cost is a major consideration, then Hameg, Kikusui or Iwatsu may be OK for you.
Also, if you dont have much experience, one of the simpler cheaper scopes may be better and easier for you to use.
I dont think that any of the scopes on your list are a bad choice, but my preference would be Tektronix.

JimB

PS where abouts are you in Iceland?
I have visited there for a holiday several times.
 
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kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
I too would go for the Tek 465B as you have a better chance finding parts for it if need be.
The 2465B is also very good but contains quite a few obsolete custom chips which are hard/impossible to get if they fail.
The rest of the scopes you mentioned I'm not familiar with.
 

microtexan

New Member
oscope

cut straight to the cheese:eek::confused:
 

dreamspy

New Member
Hmm I thought "cutting straight to the cheese" was a saying in English that meant if you want to get to the point immediately. I must have misunderstood that one :)

Thanks for your answers, especially JimB. I think I'm planning to land 465B anytime soon. Sounds like the best bet. I'm wondering though. It seems like a properly calibrated 465B's are rare on Ebay.de. Should it be safe for me to buy a 465B and plan to calibrate it myself if it turns out to be badly calibrated?

I can get access to some good equipment in my school, which I might maybe use to calibrate it. If that is a simple operation that is...

JimB: I'm located in Reykjavík, and always have been. Lived in the same building for 30 years (since I was born). Really need to change my enviroment sometime soon :) Iceland is a nice place to travel to, allot of untouched nature, and much cheaper now, since the crash of the icelandic currency.

Thanks again for your answers!
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Hmm I thought "cutting straight to the cheese" was a saying in English that meant if you want to get to the point immediately. I must have misunderstood that one :)
The expression you are thinking of is probably "cut to the chase"

It seems like a properly calibrated 465B's are rare on Ebay.de. Should it be safe for me to buy a 465B and plan to calibrate it myself if it turns out to be badly calibrated?

I can get access to some good equipment in my school, which I might maybe use to calibrate it.
I cant help but think that you are worrying too much about calibration.
However, time and voltage calibration should be fairly easy if you have the manual for the scope.
Tek 465, good choice.


JimB: I'm located in Reykjavík, and always have been. Lived in the same building for 30 years (since I was born). Really need to change my enviroment sometime soon :) Iceland is a nice place to travel to, allot of untouched nature, and much cheaper now, since the crash of the icelandic currency.
Reykjavik is not one of my favourite places! Sorry!
However, I think that Halgrimskirkja looks fantastic and there are some nice restaurants. Other than that, I prefer to just drive past from the airport at Keflavik and out into the country.
The last time I was there (2007), I rented a summerhouse near Geysir for a week.

JimB
 

arhi

Member
Why do you want a standalone? For your applications almost any PC-based scope will work just fine. Take a look at BITSCOPE = PC OSCILLOSCOPES AND ANALYZERS, for example.
felis, bitscope devices are coool but darn expensive, you can get cheaper stand alone device :( ....

for cheap hobby ones .. PicoScope 2200 ultra-compact USB oscilloscopes is mine choice (I got one myself :D ) .. work fine, does what I need ..

there are some chinese ones available for half the price and half the size with same performance but I saw them on one video about usb scopes and forgot the name + cannot find that video :( ... but few hours of googling should be enough ...
 

dreamspy

New Member
I don't know about those USB scopes, there is something so appealing to an analog scope. Also I'we heard people talk badly about them. I'm not sure if that's just purists who are used to analog stuff, and don't like computers, or if they actually have a point. The biggest flaw I'we heard about was something regarding the things that a digital scope might miss when examining a signal. Like random errors in a periodic signal. Those errors were supposed to be much easier to notice with an analog scope, probably because of the phosphor keeping the signals longer in "memory" than the digital scopes. Anybody care to comment on that? I don't mind getting a USB device if they work properly, much less hassle to import them here to Iceland.

JimB: If you are found of the Icelandic nature, you just have to visit Snæfellsnes. My favourite place in Iceland! Also if your looking for exotic things I recommend bathing in the Víti crater (a photo) Rather hard to get to, it's almost in the center of Iceland.
 

arhi

Member
Like random errors in a periodic signal. Those errors were supposed to be much easier to notice with an analog scope, probably because of the phosphor keeping the signals longer in "memory" than the digital scopes. Anybody care to comment on that?
That's the main reason I went for digital scope!

1. you can store XYZ signals
2. you can let scope keep the lines on screen (do not ever delete them) so your "virtual" phosphor can store the signal as much as you want :)

Most of the USB scope manufacturers will allow you to DL the software and use it without scope (with some demo data) ... download the app for few of them:
Oscilloscope and data acquisition software - free downloads
http://www.bitscope.net/download/?p=download (or check out screenshots: DIGITAL OSCILLOSCOPE LOGIC ANALYZER )


On top of this, before you purchase any scope, I suggest you read:
Embedded.com - Scoping out palm-sized USB oscilloscopes

That is fairly good comparison of the usb scopes.

I can say that software wise I like the bitscope best of all, but I found it too expensive so I got me a picotech one (2203, and I have not hit a limitation on that one yet)
 

geodaesie59

New Member
Audio work means something different today than it did 20 years ago. Are you going to work with class D or class T amplifieres? If so, you need high bandwidth, 100MHz or more. I'm happy with a Philips pm3065 (100 MHz) that I got on ebay for 270 euro (with a partially defective LCD readout, but still usable). The Tek 465 is a little more cumbersome but probably as good, and as someone noted, it'll be easier to repair. But if you're only working with class A and B (non-switching) amplifiers, you don't necessarily need this kind of bandwidth. I also have a Philips pm3212 with 25MHz, which is entirely adequate for class A and B work, but I wouldn't recommend the Philips 32XX series - the switches are delicate and get noisy with age. BitScope will give you adequate waveform resolution up to, say, 6MHz (way beyond all audio frequencies), and with a trick that unfortunately is not documented, with a BS100 you can mix a higher frequency signal with a nearby sampling frequency to get a good look at say, 10 or even 35 MHz waveforms. For audio work, the main advantage of a digital scope is that it nearly always includes a spectrum analyzer. BitScopes have excellent input amplifiers, even though the sampling frequency is low (max 40 MHz). My one hesitation would be that if you're developing your own class A and B circuits, you have to keep a lookout for high frequency parasitic oscillations that you might miss with a BitScope or a low-bandwidth analog scope.
 

BrownOut

Banned
I've bought a number of 'scopes off e-bay, and I've needed to repair each of them. If you look REAL hard, you might be able to find service manuals on the web. I'd suggest you only get a scope for which you are able to find a service manual.

Also, I have a B&K precision 2120B. It's a very inexpensive, basic 2-channel analog scope, but more than adequate for hobby work.
 
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