Experience with Velleman PCS500?

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by Tom McAndrews, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. I am a hobbyist and electrical engineering student that is looking
    into purchasing a Velleman PCS500 oscilloscope that connects to the
    computer. The specs can be found at www.designnotes.com. This
    company is having a sale and the price looks reasonable for what it
    can do. The circuits that I am analyzing are not high speed and the
    transient recorder included with this device looks attractive.

    My question is this...Does anyone own or have any experience with the
    PCS500?

    Thank you for your response.
     
    Tom McAndrews, Jan 20, 2004
    #1
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  2. (Tom McAndrews) wrote in message news:<>...
    > I am a hobbyist and electrical engineering student that is looking
    > into purchasing a Velleman PCS500 oscilloscope that connects to the
    > computer. The specs can be found at www.designnotes.com. This
    > company is having a sale and the price looks reasonable for what it
    > can do. The circuits that I am analyzing are not high speed and the
    > transient recorder included with this device looks attractive.
    >
    > My question is this...Does anyone own or have any experience with the
    > PCS500?


    I just hit the Velleman website to find info about this kit:

    http://www.velleman-kit.com/common/product.Aspx?id=343036

    Okay... Well, it looks good, and Velleman kits seem to be good
    quality, but there are a few worries.

    - You will want to keep this thing for a while. New versions of
    Windows might not work with the software, and it's unknown how long
    Velleman will support it. Communications to the computer use the
    parallel port, and I'd bet that in about 5 years, it'll be tough to
    find a computer with a parallel port - notice how most printers are
    USB now? You might be stuck having to keep an old computer with an old
    version of Windows in order to keep this thing useful.

    - How fast is the communication with the parallel port? Not as fast
    as an incoming waveform. How does it store the waveform it captures
    before it transfers it to the parallel port? It appears that it can
    sample only 4096 points per channel - presumably before it transfers
    it to the computer. This could be limiting when it comes to dealing
    with long period signals, or signals with a lot of detail. (I'm a
    video guy, so I'm thinking of NTSC analog video here - would fill
    quickly.)

    - How good is the software? It's nice that it has all the features
    described, but what if the software is flaky and GPFs or blue-screens
    Windows constantly? Using your 'scope could then become an exercise in
    frustration.

    I'd recommend that you spend the $500 or whatever and pick up a
    good used analog scope instead. Unless you're dealing in lots of
    transients and one-shot events, a DSO isn't essential. The effectively
    infinite resolution of an analog scope is also a lot nicer than the
    pixellated waveform you'd see on a computer. Frequency response of
    scopes is an issue, but in practice I find that 100MHz is the limit to
    the usefulness of a scope - after that, the probe's capacitance loads
    down the signal too much.

    My main oscilloscope is actually a 35-year-old vacuum-tube based
    Philips 20MHz dual-trace scope. I love the thing. It cost me nothing,
    and after I replaced all the paper capacitors in it, it's rock-solid
    and stable, and does everything that I need to do.

    See if can find an analog 'scope with digital cursors - they make
    life easier than trying to work off a graticule. My favorites are HP.
    Tektronix are good too, but I keep on getting them with blown high
    voltage power supplies and loads of difficult-to-replace proprietary
    components - be careful. Avoid the Tektronics "chopper"-style analog
    scopes which aren't really dual-trace - they have only one electron
    gun and switch it back and forth between input amplifiers to emulate
    dual-trace.

    Happy hunting,

    Lawrence
     
    Lawrence Wade, Feb 20, 2004
    #2
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