Oscilloscopes



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Oscilloscopes

Postby baremountain » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:08 am

So this has been on my list for a while. I think a scope would really help me with troubleshooting/R&D, but there are just a fuckton of options.
I bought a $30 DIY kit off Amazon, but it didn't work and when I went to troubleshoot it with their guide it turned out to be the most complicated possible problem I could have with that kit. Anyways I'd rather just have something with more function & durability than the exposed PCB of the DIY kit. However, I also don't want to break the bank.

Any good options for under $100 these days? Or, how much should I expect to spend to get something that will be accessible to me as a beginner but also will not become obsolete as soon as I have an idea what I'm doing? Or do y'all even 'scope? I have a hard time imagining how waveform visualization *wouldn't* be a worthwhile investment, but if electronics has taught me anything it's that I have some totally backwards/incorrect innate ideas about how things should work in the electronics realm.

When it comes to specific scopes, smartphone sync is something I am not opposed to at all (as long as the app side of things isn't shit - I'm on iOS fwiw), and might even be stoked on if it adds utility. I would hate to have my screen be too small for proper use though (iPhone 6 here)
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby multi_s » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:55 am

probably not the most useful response but....

a cheap scope i tried a while back is this hantek one that is USB. They are sub 100 dollars. You can find some youtube videos giving mixed reviews, mine works fine, i would say it is good for teh price.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2017-Or ... st=ae803_2

this is the only oscilloscope i have bought in that price range, there may be others that are better/newer/value at this point but i have not tried them

In terms of obsolescence, imho the main thing that will make a scope useless to you is that it won't be fast enough scan rate/sample rate to see the frequencies you want at some point. so first just consider what you want to measure, and what you might want to measure down the road, and make sure the scope you are buying has enough bandwidth. FOr example if you want to measure a 100 MHz signal don;t buy a scope with a 20 MHz bandwidth etc.

in terms of price, most stand alone digital scopes start around 200-350 usd . You can search Rigol, Hantek, Owon, Uni-T maybe there are more cheap companies people know and can add....
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby crochambeau » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:58 am

What are you hoping to work on in the future? If you're happy just making stuff in the analog audio domain there is almost no such thing as an obsolete oscilloscope, so long as the scope works and your work flow allows real time operation.

Conversely, if you need to troubleshoot the analog aspect of digital circuits you'll want as high a measurable frequency with as much data capture as you can afford. But you don't need to start there.

If you're learning the tool, I'd go with something that does not have a ton of bells and whistles, get the hang of watching DC coupled signals through your circuit under test and dream up a list of wants/needs from there. You should be able to find an older sub 100 MHz scope (20 is more than fine for audio) for a song, and pass it along or sell it without loss when the time comes to upgrade.

Is there a maker group or electronics club in your region? Might be worth establishing some social contacts and seeing if anyone has a spare from an upgrade. I would be wary about buying used online unless you have a solid return policy, better by far to see it in demonstrable condition.

I can't say what's good in the new realm though, as I'm pretty behind the times with a Tek 2213, some tubed dinosaurs, and a project scope that tops out at 60 MHz.
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby Gone Fission » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:33 am

Does anyone have a good quick explanation of what is needed in a 'scope that will play nice with high-powered tube amps? I've run across vague information in scattered places and have forgotten the info and sources.
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby crochambeau » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:26 am

Gone Fission wrote:Does anyone have a good quick explanation of what is needed in a 'scope that will play nice with high-powered tube amps? I've run across vague information in scattered places and have forgotten the info and sources.


Are you thinking about poking around the guts, or just hanging the scope off the speaker output (with dummy load) like most people?

If the latter, any scope will do.. so long as voltage produced at output does not exceed maximum input of scope (avoid scopes that top out at 1 or 2 volts per division).

If the former, you'll need a scope with a respectably high input voltage rating, correct probes, and it's in your best interest to either run the scope on an AC isolated mains outlet or have an isolated input block (which is probably as much or more cost than a garden variety scope). Some old amps provide an non-isolated path to AC mains through the chassis, so it's life critical that *everything* used in measuring the live amp is floating/isolated. Upside is that tube circuits are generally minimal current draw, so you rarely find yourself in a situation where you need to watch the DC rail and the signal interact, so AC coupling plus a voltmeter would suffice (meaning you don't need to have 100+ volts per division).

I'd recommend just watching the waveform on output though.

EDIT: this advice runs contrary to what I typed this morning:

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/q ... cilloscope

and is valid, though I specified *everything* as floating, the linked would necessitate floating or isolating the signal generator/etc that is FEEDING the amp. Ultimately it is a nice illustration as to what you need to do to maintain a standard of safety. I should edit my earlier post, but will let it stand...

Out of curiosity I read some posted stuff about going at it on the interior of a scope incapable of handling the high voltages and just avoiding certain parts - follow such insanity at your own risk.
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby imJonWain » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:19 pm

+1^

I'd recommend picking up an older (90s) used analog scope too, you can find something for less than $300 at a local HAM flea market probably and it will do most anything you could want to do in Audio land. Digital scopes are nice but learning scopes are great for learning on and watching real time stuff.

You'd probably also want some sort of signal generator as well if you want to use a scope for debugging in amps and a HV probe too (I borrow one from my work).
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Re: Oscilloscopes

Postby culturejam » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:15 pm

I got a Rigol 2-channel for about $325. Not the price you were looking for, but it's one of the cheaper new ones you can get that's not a piece of crap.
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