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Test Equipment

  1. Jul 22, 2011 #1
    Back again to ask another question about test equipment. I'm very new at this so please bear with me. I'm trying to work through this https://www.amazon.com/Electronics-...456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311364837&sr=8-1". In order to do a lot of the exercises in the book I need access to an oscilloscope, function generator, counter and a tabletop multimeter. To name a few. As I'm sure yall know, that's a hefty investment in equipment, which I'm prepared to make, but I plan on doing more projects after this one and I want the stuff I buy now to be useful when I move on. My maximum budget is 3K.

    So far the most appealing option I've come across is a multifunction pc platform: http://www.tinalab.com/English/tina...|utmctr=TINAlab ii&__utmv=-&__utmk=101751553". It appeals to me because has all of the equipment I need, is expandable and you combine into one program simulation and data collection. Plus the software and hardware together is well within my price range. There are a few hangups though, Rutledge recommends a 15 MHz function generator, TinaLab II only provides up to 4 MHz. Rutledge also recommends a 3A power supply, I'm not sure that TinaLab II can provide that as the power rating is stated in volts on the website.

    To my understanding, PC based platforms are not popular with most electronics enthusiasts. Is this a bad purchase? If it is a good purchase, is there a workaround that would allow me to increase the frequency of the function generator? Should I just buy the individual equipment? I'd appreciate any advice yall can give me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2011 #2
    There is an amazing quantity of top notch test gear always going at ridiculous prices on the US Ebay.

    For those of us on this side of the atlantic it is very frustrating to see for instance a scope not selling over there at $20, that would fetch over £100 here with fierce bidding.

    The problem is transport costs which might be in excess of £150 for that scope.

    So you are (I think) well placed to take advantage.

    PC based instruments are really good these days and can even perform/display more than one function simultaneously, something a multimeter can't do.

    For this reason you would be better off with a couple of (not too) cheap separate multimeters so that you can simultaneously measure say curent and voltage or monitor the voltage in two places or whatever simultaneously.
    Further it is no good having your multi voltage/capacitor/resitance etc meter hooked up monitoring some voltage when you want to measure the value of some component.

    The power supply definitely needs to be separate from the measuring instruments -especially at 3 amps - you can do a lot of (expensive) damage very quickly if things go wrong with current at that level.

    Modern scopes often come with a signal source, further a second generator is useful if you want to study the effect of combining waveforms. So get a second (cheap) generator if you go for the Tina.

    Work at the frequencies you mention is reliant on good construction practice. Circuits will not behave as you expect with 'rats nests'. this also applies to connecting cables connectors and matching networks. You can't just poke a bare wire into a press fit terminal as you can get away with in audio work. You often have to solder up a proper board, even for a prototype or matching pad.
    So allow for this.

    go well
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