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Looking for entry level oscilloscopes
Looking for entry level oscilloscopes
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Old 1st May 2009, 11:55 PM   #1
dreamspy is offline dreamspy  Iceland
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2009
Default Looking for entry level oscilloscopes


I'm looking to get some advice on selecting an oscilloscope. If you want to cut straight to the cheese, then you can skip my rambling in the next few paragraphs and go straight to the list of oscilloscopes I'm considering at the bottom of this post. Please give me your thoughts about which one you would prefer.

I'm planning to buy an oscilloscope from ebay.de. This is my first oscilloscope and I will probably mostly be working with audio / analog things. Although working with digital electronics in the future might be an option, but from what I read it's best to have different devices for digital and analog, is that right? So at the moment I'm mostly looking for an analog oscilloscope, but I'we also heard about some oscilloscope that do both analog and digital but not quite sure if they are something worth looking at. I'm not even sure what it means exactly for an oscilloscope to be digital? Does it only mean that he does digital sampling?

Allot of people recommend Tektronix, but they seem to be rather expensive. I'we also been looking at Hameg and Philips. I'we even been thinking if I should just get a dirt cheap entry level 20Mhz oscilloscope just to begin with.

Regarding the probes, most of those oscilloscope don't come with probes. I haven't looked into the price of probes, but I'm wondering if they are a big factor of the price, and does the price I have to spend on probes differ much between oscilloscopes?

Stability and availability for support is a big factor for me since I live in Iceland, where not much local support is available. I'we heard that it can be hard and expensive to calibrate oscilloscopes. But the Philips 3380A oscilloscope is supposed to be autocalibrating (according to the ebay seller). Is ease of calibration something I should consider when buying a scope?

So far I'we found a few oscilloscope at www.ebay.de. Here are some examples

Tektronix 2465B
This one is supposed to be really good, but might be an overkill for me.

Tektronix 465B
This one is way cheaper, and older! I'we heard good things about this one, but it's also said to have allot of internal noise. I'm not really sure though how much that would affect what I'm planning to do.

Hameg 1005
This one should go cheap. But I'we heard that people don't recommend Hameg for professional audio work. But still it should be enought for me, I think?

Hameg 605
Not so sure what the difference is between thisone and the Hameg 1005

I haven't heard much about these PHILIPS scopes, but some sources say they are good. Now the 30xx models are straight analog scopes, but the 33xx are combiscopes. Now I'm mainly familiar with analog electronics. And these combiscopes, if I understand correctly, can work both with analog devices, and serve as a digital storage oscilloscope (for working with digital electronics, right?). Would you recommend those combiscopes? Are there any drawbacks in having both these functions in one device? The Philips scopes that I'we been looking at are:

Philips 3070
This one is purely analog

Philips 3350A
This one and the next one are combiscopes (analog and digital storage oscillscopes)

Philips 3380A
The ebay seller talks about auto calibration. Could be usefull since it's hard to get oscilloscopes calibrated here in Iceland.

Now here are some scopes from some company's I don't know much about. But they seem to be cheap and might fit my needs. I'm not sure about how a memoryscope works though and if I can use it as an analog scope?

A cheap analog scope

A memoryscope.

Any suggestions recommended. I might add that I'm also open for other recommendations if you feel something else would suite me better.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 06:25 AM   #2
rephil is offline rephil  Europe
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: In Belgium at the French border.
Looking for entry level oscilloscopes
Hi dreamspy,

I understand your problem. I have bought several instruments from Hameg that are stil good working after years of normal use. Not professional use. I would also buy an oscilloscope from them if needed. But only a new one. This because I want to know what I get for my money. Used, why not, but how much are they used ? I sell my oscilloscope only when I need a new one because the one I have donít fit my needs anymore. This occured only with my first scope, it was from Philips.

What people want depends on what they are planning to do with it. If it is for a professional use with your oscilloscope, Ďoní all the day, then you have no choice : an expensive Tektronix is a must, and you only pay for what you really get. If you plan to use it from time to time, IMO an Hameg is sufficient, be aware that the finition of the instrument is not the same as the Tektronix. Professionals become very nervous and aggressive when they canít rely all the time on their tools. Normal people will have a lot of years of no problem and happy use with these Hameg.

As said, I have had a Philips oscilloscope. It has been a very good tool, with no problem at all. Look at www.hameg.de, they have some papers there that you can download with some explanation in order to help you in the choice of your scope. You will find the difference between digital scope, analogic scope and combo scope (select an oscilloscope, and look at the voice Fachartikel).

Other people here have more experience than I have. Hear what they say. My best wishes for your first scope.

Regards, rephil
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Old 2nd May 2009, 07:04 AM   #3
rephil is offline rephil  Europe
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: In Belgium at the French border.
Looking for entry level oscilloscopes
Hi dreamspy,

You should get experience and knowledge before buying an expensive tool. You should also take informations e.g. about the double time base or the limits of the sampling rate (half the sampling rate is the maximum frequency that your scope will read). You must have some points to draw a curve Ö so it may limit further what you really read on your display : 10 samples at the highest frequency should be available. There are many other informations you should collect. Too long here.

Have some experience before you invest money. So a cheap tool to change after you know why is interesting.

Buy a cheap scope in eBay with probes and instruction manual. It probably means that some private is selling its own scope : it could be a good choice. Probes cost is related to their capabilities and how they are constructed. They range from cheap to expensive. When a seller donít sell the probes with the scope, or he has not the probes (he only sells a scope that he found somewhere, and he is probably not the owner), or he is selling them apart, in order to get more money.

They are people in eBay that sell refurbished oscilloscope from Tektronix. These are interesting offers, but somewhat expensive.

Do experience and donít buy an expensive scope now : learn more about scopes.

Regards, rephil.
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