Digital Oscilloscope

  1. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,711
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I am totally fed up with not having had the use of an oscilloscope for many years. It has been very frustrating on so many occasions. I need one.
    So, my options are (and I only want to spend minimal cash, of course): An ancient eBay analogue scope for something around £100, a PC based one or a small, hand-held digital scope. Anything more desirable will cost too much.
    Before I bid on a dodgy old analogue scope, can anyone give me an opinion about the Portable pocket sized 'Arm' style scopes?
    Alternatively, is there a sampler which will interface with my iMac? I couldn't find anything that I could use without invoking Parallels (the PC emulator).
    I would really appreciate some well informed answers. I'm sure several of you guys have been there too.
    Cheers in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. I think a major consideration would be the relationship among these:
    (1) what kind of response time do you need for what you do?
    (2) what kind of response time is available on the analog scope ?
    (3) what kind of response time is available on the digital scope ?

    I suppose there are other considerations such as how high a voltage they can deal with but my concern was always with response times.
  4. A couple years ago a fooled around with this:

    Very nice GUI, drives just like real scope, free, but, of course, limited to bandwidth of soundcard.
  5. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,711
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Does it work on OS X? (As in my question.)

    I was after around 20MHz response as that seems to be the break point between cheap and not cheap. It also takes care of lots of home electronics stuff. I have no chance of working on GHz processor circuits - rather it would be audio / inverters / simple logic etc.
    I really wanted to know about the downside of the little hand held jobs. Have you used one?
  7. No, can't help you there. I only used big expensive lab ones. Never had one at home.
  8. FWIW - in 30+ years in electronics, maybe 95% of oscilloscope work has been done single channel. but, when you need it, you need it.
  9. vk6kro

    vk6kro 4,058
    Science Advisor

    The workhorse of analog oscilloscopes has been the 20 MHz dual trace type.

    You may not need dual trace, but it is an indication of a better type of device.

    With the arrival of digital oscilloscopes, perfectly good analog types are available cheaply.

    I have a 20 MHz oscilloscope which can give a stable sinewave from a 60 MHz input.

    The portable $60 oscilloscopes have very small screens but 60 MHz bandwidth. So, maybe a bit difficult to use, but an amazing price.
  10. Hello Sophie ... been looking at this pretty hard for while now. I have come across a couple good "deals" for older analog, but the general consensus is that the sellers rarely will certify the scope is 100% functional. There are guys selling reconditioned - and they will back the scope up - but at your price point that may be tough. So for the money I have pretty much given up on older used analog - but still possible.
    The next best choice at that bandwith is the PC scopes, the Hantek types seem to have a pretty good reputation ( )
    I am looking for more like 200mHz Bandwith ( for power electronics) and need the scope to do a Lissajous (V-I curve trace) - so the low end DSOs ( $300-500 US) 2 channel can get me to 100mHz -- the 200 Mhz is tougher to find. - I would prefer the DSO to allow easier snapshots of switching events.
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