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Good oscilloscope for an EE student

by kd7lee
Tags: oscilloscope, student
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kd7lee
#1
Apr6-12, 03:26 AM
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Hello everyone,

I'm trying to acquire a used oscilloscope that I can setup on my workbench at home. I want one that will work well for an EE student, only cost around a couple hundred bucks, and be sufficient for the first couple of years as an engineer.

Is there is a particular brand or model that any of you would recommend? One I'm considering at the moment is a GW Instek GOS 635G 35 MHz scope I've found on eBay, but I wasn't sure if that's what I'm looking for.

Thoughts? Opinions?

Thanks everyone.
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Bobbywhy
#2
Apr6-12, 04:11 AM
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Since your oscilloscope will be such an important instrument, used for nearly every single project you will ever work on, I would recommend the higher performance and higher quality model. I realize this all means more cost, but in my experience, the investment now is worth it.
jim hardy
#3
Apr6-12, 08:48 AM
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Tektronix dominated the o'scope market for decades.
I like them because thay are what i learned on and the quality is generally top notch.

but i'm too obsolete to know what are current models. I used a 453 back in the seventies and they're stiill a good 'scope. But you need advice from somebody more current.

Storage is a nice feature. I personally dislike digital 'scopes but they are the best for storage, so a fellow really ought to have two 'scopes...

My personal scope is a HP 180. HP tried to compete with Tektronix and mimicked their intuitive controls. The 180 was very good for its day (late 1960's) and is still quite useable. But you should get something newer.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...gDdf-ZOkpL1Utg

f95toli
#4
Apr6-12, 09:50 AM
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Good oscilloscope for an EE student

What are you going to use if for?
A "real" scope that can be used for everything you will encounter as a EE student will cost a lot of money (especially if you need to look at things like rise/fall times of HS digital circuits etc.). Moreover, a scope on its own is rarely of much use, you will most likely need other pieces of kit as well (function generator, DC power supplies and so on)
Hence, there is a huge difference between what a typical "hobbyist" might use for e.g. building hifi amplifiers,and what a working professional engineer uses.

I think it would be pretty pointless to buy a scope that can be used in your coursework, or even as an engineer. A scope that is really good enough will be way to expensive.
jim hardy
#5
Apr6-12, 10:14 AM
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i'd recommend something like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-Te...item5d330ba2fc

i never used that GW brand so cant advise you on it. That Tektronix 465 is a good general purpose scope.
davenn
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Apr7-12, 01:04 AM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
i'd recommend something like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tektronix-Te...item5d330ba2fc

i never used that GW brand so cant advise you on it. That Tektronix 465 is a good general purpose scope.
agreed, Jim

I still have my trusty 456B on the test shelf behind me. They are getting old and need the occassional maintenance. But they are such a respectabe unit.

cheers
Dave
vk6kro
#7
Apr7-12, 09:14 AM
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I would suggest that you look at some of the digital storage oscilloscopes coming from China.

Physically, they are a lot easier to deal with. They weigh about 2 Kg (4 lb) compared with maybe 10 Kg for some of the older analog ones. And they are a lot less bulky, too.

They have a multicolored display and much of the information you need is on the screen in front of you.

They can capture a waveform and tell you the frequency of the signal as well as rms values etc.

They can display an FFT image so you can see harmonics of the signal you are looking at.

Best of all though, is the bandwidth available.
To display a 25 MHz square wave, you need about 7 times 25 MHz bandwidth. That is 175 MHz, so you would need a 200 MHz oscilloscope.
A 25 MHz square wave is not an unreasonable target.
You can probably see it on a 20 MHz osciloscope, (at reduced level) but it would look like a sinewave.

There are several brands available but one I have seen is Tekway which may be sold in the US as Hantek.

They are available online, but you have to be careful to get one with an English menu system and English panel markings if that is your language. Otherwise it may be in Chinese. Check the official distributor in your country for this and other brands of Digital Oscilloscopes.

If nothing else, the digital oscilloscopes should make the analog ones much cheaper on the second hand market. Ebay is full of them and you can get them on the "buy it now" process instead of bidding which I have given up on.
Bobbywhy
#8
Apr7-12, 04:51 PM
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vk6kro, Thanks! You have described a great 'scope. I'm probably going to buy one soon! Bobbywhy
kd7lee
#9
Apr7-12, 04:54 PM
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Thanks! I'll definitely be looking at the 465B. The price is too good to ignore and it appears to be just what I'm looking for.
jim hardy
#10
Apr7-12, 05:04 PM
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Quote Quote by kd7lee View Post
Thanks! I'll definitely be looking at the 465B. The price is too good to ignore and it appears to be just what I'm looking for.

Good one to learn on and will be useful for your whole life.

Get one with a good set of probes, they'll cost you twenty bucks apiece if dont come with 'scope.

Watch the technology leapfrog. There exist little USB dongles that make your PC into a storage 'scope. As i said i'm way behind the times.
davenn
#11
Apr7-12, 11:00 PM
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to VK6KRO

yes the new TFT ones are very small and light and lots of nice features, but even after 6 months I still was disliking the LCD display compared to the CRT display
The company I was with at the time had bought me one of these from Jaycar....

http://www1.jaycar.com.au/productVie...e&form=KEYWORD the 100MHz version

I think my main gripe was that the trace on a LCD screen is jagged (stepped) compared to the smooth trace on a CRT screen

I guess its just my old age showing haha

Dave
vk6kro
#12
Apr8-12, 03:32 AM
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The only one I have seen was a 200 MHz Tekway.

That did not have any steps in the waveform because it was a high resolution device and the trace was extremely narrow.

What I did notice was that successive traces did not follow the exact same path. This seemed to vary with the signal source and may be a type of noise. Without the fine trace, this would not be visible as it would occur in the width of a normal trace. It might just be hum on the signal source.

I don't know about other makers of DSOs, though. Atten and Rigol are two types. Even Rigol advertisements show jagged traces.

There was a learning curve to using the machine, and getting used to what was in the menus, and how to drive them. FFT was available on a Maths menu, but you had to scroll to get to it, so it wasn't on the screen initially.

There was a review of the Tekway DST1102 in Silicon Chip for January 2011.
This is the beginning of that article:
http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_112300/article.html
Unfortunately the rest of the article is available by paying for it.
kd7lee
#13
Apr9-12, 02:49 AM
P: 9
I do intend to have a function generator, scope, etc. on my workbench eventually. I realize I won't be able to use them for everything, but the flexibility of being able to do some of my lab work at home will be worth the investment. Besides, I enjoy playing with my ham radio gear so I already do a little hobby work at home. Once I graduate and have a legitimate engineering job I will probably upgrade my gear, and tailor it towards what I will be doing. Until then something very inexpensive, but general purpose, will be plenty for my needs.


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