Oscilloscope any good for beginner??

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Dearslayer, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Dearslayer

    Dearslayer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi.... Hope this is the correct area to post this question.....I'm fairly new to audio restoration but would like to get some tools to learn on. There is an Oscope in the local Ads here in Canada and the seller is asking for $300.00 for a Tektronix TDS 1002 and will throw in a Commercial probe ( whatever that is ) Is this a fair price and is it any good for a beginner like myself???

    Thanks
    G.T.

    Edit ....just realized that maybe Barter town would have been the correct area??
     

     

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  2. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    If your budget is $300, then you'd should consider buying new. The Rigol DS1054Z is only $399 at Amazon http://a.co/0o8Du3C and has all the features, bells and whistles you could want.

    EEvblog has many threads on "best oscilloscope" and "cheap starter oscilloscope". The video review of the Rigol really pushed me to stop looking for a better and better used scope and move up to the Rigol. So far I love it.



    If your budget were only $50-$150, I'd say a used analog scope off eBay or Craigslist would be a better route. There are lots of Textronix, HP, and B&K Precision units to be had. You'd want at least two channels, but the speed (MHz) of the unit is so important if you're only doing audio work with it.
     
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  3. TerryS

    TerryS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The TDS 1002 is a nice scope. It is what I use. Nice and small and light. Doesn't take up much space on the bench. Of course you pay for the Tektronix name. The post above is an excellent suggestion. For about the same price, you get a new scope with a color display.
    As far as the beginner category, my opinion is that it is best to start with an analog scope. They are easier to understand when you are first starting out. If you are already pretty familiar with what a scope does and how to operate the vertical, horizontal and trigger controls, then the step to a digital one is no big deal. But if you are just spinning the knobs and hoping to get the right picture, then it is easy to fool yourself with a digital scope. You can get results that are way wrong (due to aliasing).
    Of course the nicest thing about the digital ones (in my opinion) is to be able to print results or save them as a picture. And the FFT (and other math functions) are great also.

    Terry
     
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  4. elnaldo

    elnaldo Addicted Member

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    I love my digital Hantek 100 mhz, I think it sells for $300 new . (No affiliation)

    As a beginner myself, I prefer a digital one, it will show you voltages, freqs, rms, peak peak, average measurements... no need to calculate voltages from a grid on the screen... for sure knowing how to use an analog one is an useful background though.

    Regarding the Mhz of the scope, make sure it can measure what YOU need to measure. The best oscilloscope on the world is useless if it can't measure what you need.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  5. Dearslayer

    Dearslayer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the info guys..... do bare in mind that we get less for the dollar here and what is on Amazon.com is a lot less it seems as on Amazon.ca. A Peak Atlas on Amazon .ca was for $300.00 to ship it to my door and I bought one from the US for around $125.00 for the same unit.... no idea why the difference in price. As for the scope, I thought getting a newer one would be better as a step forward, as opposed to an older one a step back, but good points for the older is simpler as I know nothing about them or how to use them.

    Part of the problem is I have no idea what I need....

    G.T.
     
  6. ChrisMarantz

    ChrisMarantz Super Member

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    I'd buy the Rigol, it has a lot more functionality for the money. Also, since it's new - it won't become another project that you have to keep working. The very tools are the one that just work when you reach for them. - Chris
     

     

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  7. elnaldo

    elnaldo Addicted Member

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    A new one will be shipped from China probably, so perhaps it's cheaper than what you think.

    I'd check ebay for Rigol and Hantek models before deciding. (No affiliation)
     
  8. TerryS

    TerryS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It will be frustrating and confusing if you get an older one that isn't operating quite right. A common issue with the old stuff is the switches start to act a bit flaky if they haven't been used regularly. That is annoying when you know how they should work. It would be downright painful if you weren't real sure. So if you get an older one, try to make sure it is in good operating condition.
     
  9. Bassblaster

    Bassblaster Super Member

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    i have the DSO138. its only a single channel 100kHz scope. but for what i do, its perfect. it all depends on your needs.
    If i ever need to the first real scope i would look at is the Tektronix 2225
     
  10. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    Terry makes a great point here about learning to read and set the scope. I started with a used Heathkit dual channel 10 MHz analog scope and had to learn how to read it, then how to set it, then how to read it correctly, then how to calibrate it, and then it was a fine tool. That learning process was helpful in all sorts of ways (beyond just using the scope).

    I also have to admit that it seems easier (to me) to see simple audio signal distortion (e.g. sine wave clipping during amp circuit adjustments) on the analog scope. I wouldn't give up my Rigol, but I find having both tools useful.
     
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  11. Dearslayer

    Dearslayer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    All excellent advice gentlemen. I've only started restoring / recapping Marantz ( and 1 Pioneer SX 950 ) receivers about a year ago and to be honest never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be able to do that and now I'm on my 7th or 8th Marantz unit. . Now I'm enjoying it so much I want to continue on this learning curve. Thanks to all the fine folks here on AK who have made that possible.
     
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  12. Dearslayer

    Dearslayer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Found an ad on a local buy and sell for an E&L Instrument Oscilloscope ( google tells me nothing and he says there is only a serial number and no model number ) and Waveform generator ( don't really need it because I bought one a year ago thinking eventually I'd need one , mine is an "instek" ) and probes for a whopping $400.00. Says he found it in a home of a relative that had passed that they were cleaning. I asked how much for just the scope and probes and he suggested $100.00. I replied to say because I know nothing about if it works well or not that I would offer $50 for the scope and probes hoping that it doesn't become a boat anchor and he just replied that he would take the offer based on the fact that he also knows nothing about it so my question is what is the easiest test I could do ( I hope there is a simple one because I know nothing about these things ) if I meet the guy in a public parking lot. I can plug it in to the plug in my truck. He says it powers on and has some sort of signal. I was hoping that it's good enough to learn on. Please help.

    GT.
     

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  13. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    I would highly recommend you look for an oscilloscope that you can easily find the service manual for. Without it or for a model that is hard to find info on you will have trouble calibrating or repairing it.

    The mainstream, well known brands and models are better because they have more info available on them and they should be cheap because there are many of them. Other than for free, I would recommend against a hard-to-ID brand or model.
     
  14. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    I'm sending you a PM with some auctions representative of the models that may fit your goals.
     
  15. Dearslayer

    Dearslayer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    dlucy... Thanks so much and a good point indeed. If I could get it all for $65 including the cables and function generator would that be at least worth it?
     
  16. TerryS

    TerryS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I can't tell from the picture of the scope if it is working or not. The display shows some strange signal. Maybe just because the input lead is hanging in the air like an antenna and picking up some local noise, but it could be indicative of a failed power supply or similar in the scope. Without testing it you are rolling the dice.
     

     

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  17. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    My
    My opinion, just a beginners opinion, is a unit that isn't a known brand is not worth even that much.

    That being said, if you have the time and the enthusiasm and the money, then you can always roll dice, take a chance and have a research and maybe repair project on the scope... just so you can get it to working order so you can use it in the real object of repair. I've done the same myself. That's why I'm recommending you start with a known brand in known food condition.
     
  18. ConradH

    ConradH Addicted Member

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    Agreed, you want a known brand that either has a warranty or has a service manual available. As an analog dinosaur, I've got mixed feelings on digital scopes. They can give you lots of information, but that's only useful if you're doing something that needs lots of information. I'm used to them and rarely get misled by aliasing, but a beginner might not realize the scope doesn't always tell the truth. Many can do an FFT, but if they can't display it with a log frequency scale, it's not too useful. The ones I might afford don't have enough vertical resolution to see the fine fuzz of a slight oscillation. On a positive note, they can effectively replace several different kinds of meters, plus a frequency counter.

    Unless you're working on tuners, there's not much need for anything over 50 MHz. One of the most important specs is the maximum sensitivity. 1 mV/div is way better than 5 mV/div, if you're interested in noise and hum.

    I'd stay away from very old scopes, like the popular 465B. Nice scope but densely packed and old enough to be having age related failures. Some otherwise nice Tek scopes used unobtainium parts and are only good for doorstops if they fail. A 'net search should give you some numbers to avoid.

    I'd either buy a new digital as you get a lot of bang for our buck, or a cheap 2-channel 100 MHz analog of your choice, maybe a Hitachi or Leader or known reliable Tek, with the intention of just replacing it should it fail and you can't fix it quickly and cheaply. There are usually more scopes around than people to buy them, as can be seen at almost any hamfest.

    (Don't do as I do- I've used the same Tek 545B boat anchor for the last 30+ years. You'll only pry it from my cold dead hands, and even then I might not let go.)
     
  19. dlucy

    dlucy dlucy67 (Doug) Subscriber

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    So, @ConradH, you'd recommend a Tektronix 22xx or 23xx series over the 465? They are newer, so I'd guess they don't have as much age-related issues as the 465, but is there anything wrong with the 22xx/23xx series that would make them unattractive for a newbie?
     
  20. ConradH

    ConradH Addicted Member

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