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Reading Oscilloscope Traces    -For Dummies
Reading Oscilloscope Traces    -For Dummies
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Old 31st January 2009, 01:21 PM   #21
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Reading Oscilloscope Traces    -For Dummies
Originally posted by JoshK
Related question. What do people here use and recommend for a function generator? Most people using computer + soundcard or desktop piece?

I am looking to pick up a FG maybe. I do have a soundcard that would probably be up to the task (firewire solo and/or audiophile 24/96 usb), but haven't tried that out.

Great thread. I am ready to start learning how to use my Kikusui 5ch scope.
I have a 30yr old Wavetek 166 FG (up to 50MHz) that I use for generating squarewaves, triangles, and pulses. (Square waves and triangles are very useful in audio.) It also sweeps which can be quite useful for quick and dirty broad range frequency response measurements.(sine wave) For sine waves I generally use my Amber 3501 distortion analyzer's oscillator (up to 200kHz sine) as its amplitude precision and distortion performance are several orders of magnitude better than the FG. I do have computer based 24 bit/96kHz FFT capability as well, and can generate nice clean sinewaves out to 25kHz or so, but rarely use it for anything other than FFTs.

Hewlett-Packard/Agilent makes/made many excellent function generators as well, and the 3310A/B is relatively inexpensive and compact. Wavetek makes very fancy and sometimes dauntingly difficult to use FG, but IMO they are about the best there is, and seem to be exceedingly reliable.

I have a Tek 2245A 4 channel analog scope that I use all the time, it is quite indispensable to me, but I wish I could afford one of the newer Tek digital phosphors - they have good analog performance and all the features one could want for a digital storage scope. (I do some digital audio projects from time to time, and analog scopes aren't great for that.)

While on the subject of meters, I think everyone should have one good meter from Fluke, Keithley or HP as these are generally pretty accurate, have true rms capability, and are often well protected against the usual bonehead user mishap.. Then add lots of cheaper meters so that you can measure lots of parameters simultaneously.

It probably doesn't need to be said, but the business/industrial area of eBay offers a lot of great test equipment often at bargain prices.. Another good source is Ham Fests, there is often a lot of test equipment at these as Hams tended in the past to quite technical and the old timers in a lot of cases still are. A lot of gear around here changes hands that way.
MIT Flea in Cambridge MA and Near Fest in Deerfield NH are probably the best ham fests in the greater Boston area.
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
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