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Old 5th September 2011, 03:22 AM   #1
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Default best oscilloscope for $100-200

i'm looking into getting into amplifier design and need an oscilloscope

any recommendations?
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Old 5th September 2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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I would recomend at least a 20mhz or better I have been using a 40mhz Hitachi V-425 for 25 years and have rarley wished I had anything better!
But IMHO go with a good analog one!
I think it would be easier to use and you will get a much better picture of realtime waveforms.
Especialy when running into parasitic oscillation problems and doesn't require a pc.
They can be had fairley cheap these days as I paid over $900 for mine back in the mid 80's.
Keep in mind that on screen measurement is a godsend when you are shopping around.

I am sure that some others may beg to differ but it is my best opinion.

jer
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Old 6th September 2011, 09:43 PM   #3
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Uh, for that price I'd look at ebay for a good used tek or HP. In the new category I couldn't think of a single acceptable one in that price range. Look at Tek 2200/2400 series or an HP1700 series.
Doc
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Old 6th September 2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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I have to recommend my old trusted Sencore SC-61 this is a hidden gem with LOTS of useful features! you can buy them often for about $100, they are a 60mhz scope usable to 100mhz. and they are very reliable! If you can find one with the original Secore probe, go for it. while you can use any standard probe, the original sencore probes are worth a fortune!

I have had MANY used Teks and HP scopes, even a few Hitachi's. and frankly the older Tek and HP scopes always ended up giving my trouble right when i needed them most! My sencore has run for 15 years now with the only issue being one dirty switch! I do miss my old Tek 5103N scope with the massive 6" screen, but it had such limited bandwidth!

Not many people know about the sencore scopes. I just love them! and for someone buying their first scope! these are great!

Zc
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Old 6th September 2011, 11:27 PM   #5
cliffyk is offline cliffyk  United States
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In the $100 to $200 range you will be limited to older/off brand analog scopes, and toy digital scopes.

At one time one of the early Tek 400 series scopes would my first recommendation, the 100MHz 465 being one of the best being great deals in that price range, however they are now all 30+ years old and not really viable unless you want to wade through the problems with front end attenuators, scratchy pots, and the failure of every electrolytic cap there is along with a few HV zeners to boot.

However the good news is that there are a whole bunch of similar, newer (5 to 10 years old or newer), 20MHz scopes that can be had in that range and less, and that are basically the same under the skin--being based on a LG/Instek design that has been around for 20+ years. Check eBay for "20MHz oscilloscope" and you will find a bunch of them, some for $75.

Pick a clean newer looking instrument from Protek, Instek, Kenwood, EZ-Digital, etc.; avoid older looking B&K, Leader, Hitachi, Iwatsu, and the like that are reaching the end of their service lives...
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Old 6th September 2011, 11:44 PM   #6
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How about a picoscope? It's a PC based oscilloscope that does a lot more.

"If you buy a traditional oscilloscope, you get an oscilloscope. Buy a traditional spectrum analyzer, you get a spectrum analyzer. Buy a traditional waveform generator, you get a waveform generator. Buy a PicoScope USB Oscilloscope and – thanks to power of PicoScope – you can get an oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and signal/waveform generator all in one. (With PicoScope’s ability to continuously stream data you can even use your oscilloscope for data acquisition.)" - taken from the picscope website
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Old 6th September 2011, 11:54 PM   #7
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If your buying second hand the ebay is a better bet.

Some of the companies selling second hand stuff want a lot of money for them despite many being very old. I got caught out with a 200 scope that turned out to be 20 years old ! It had faults each time i got it back and they gave up in the end and refunded me.

In the end I got a scope off ebay for 60 and it has been no trouble at all for about 5 years.
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Last edited by nigelwright7557; 6th September 2011 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 6th September 2011, 11:59 PM   #8
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In the PC soundcard realm, heres some free links. The first is a simply awesome audio spectrum analyzer that's the nicest hunk of freeware I've ever seen.

DL4YHF's Audio Spectrum Analyser

Soundcard Scope

Downloads - Oscilloscope for Windows (Zelscope)

Downloads - BIP Electronics Lab Oscilloscope - 3.0

Doc
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Old 7th September 2011, 12:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaumaturge View Post
There is no way I would connect external audio equipment to my pc, I would be worried a fault on the amp would blow up the pc.

Scopes generally cope with high voltages. Unless your like me and accidentally poke 25,000 volts from a car ignition coil into it !
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Old 7th September 2011, 12:33 AM   #10
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That's where input attenuators come in. But for simplicity just a back to back zener diode clamp accross the input won't measurably affect things at all and will hard clamp any excessive voltages. Preceed that through a resistor with an NE-2 bulb accross input for those inclined to try reading ignition system outputs.
But for further safety try this:
Virtual 5.1-Surround USB 2.0 External Sound Card - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

Doc
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Last edited by thaumaturge; 7th September 2011 at 12:43 AM.
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