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Advice on used oscilloscope

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Apr 7, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    If anyone could provide a reputable source for a used oscilloscope or
    who to stay away from it would be appreciated. I've been looking on
    eBay, few to none seem to have been tested fully for functionality,
    have little to no guarantees etc. Is there any retailer (eBay or
    other) that anyone has had experience with (positive or negative).

    I don't want to spend $ 400-$600 for a paperweight; when I can get one
    for free in my yard.

    My desired specs:
    Analog or Digital
    60MHz or better BW
    2 Channels minimum
    A storage capability would be nice

    I would prefer a North American seller to keep S&H cost down as well
    as delivery time.

    Thanks for your response.
  2. kell

    kell Guest

    Craigslist might be worth a try.
    I found a tektronix 453 (late sixties-early seventies vintage 50MHz,
    dual trace) locally on for $100, just a short drive
    away (on the Long Island Expressway, where even a short drive is a
    PITA, oh well).
    Or ham swapmeets.
    Just to avoid the cost of shipping.
  3. If you want to spend that much, why don't you consider a new chinese scope
    with a good warranty? I just bought a Rigol DS1102C, that I simply love,
    for $999 (100MHz, 2 channel DSO, color, 400Msam/s, 1M buffer, 3yrs). Great
    customer support.

    You might like something like this, but it's only 25MHz:
    I don't have any experience with the Owon scopes, but I have heard some
    positive comments. You might want to spend a little more and get a TFT
    display though.

    If you want pure analog, this looks like a decent deal:

    You should decide whether you want digital or analog, I suggest getting one
    of each. ;-) What do you plan to use it for?
  4. Paul Mathews

    Paul Mathews Guest

    You really can't go wrong with Tektronix TDS210 or TDS220. They
    usually go on ebay for between $500 and $700. Sampling rate is high
    enough that you won't need an analog scope....except, better to get an
    old analog scope if you're doing low-level audio.
    Paul Mathews
  5. DaveC

    DaveC Guest

    Craigslist might be worth a try.
    Is that you? Oh, wait, I'm in California.

    I sold a 453 for about $100 on Craig's List. You don't see scopes there very
    often, but it's a good place to keep watch...

    Suggest you join Google groups "tekscopes". They deal with collection and
    refurbishment of these, but you can get a good recommendation from the
    members and there's always a few for sale among them...

    Good luck,
  6. Use a PC attachment instead.

    Otherwise, the choices are Tektronix, Tektronix, and Tektronix.

    Do not get sucked into the urban lore myth that Hewlett Packard or
    Agilent oscilloscopes exist.

    Their last useful model was the 130C.
    It has been steadily downhill ever since.

    Many thanks,

    Don Lancaster voice phone: (928)428-4073
    Synergetics 3860 West First Street Box 809 Thatcher, AZ 85552
    rss: email:

    Please visit my GURU's LAIR web site at
  7. BFoelsch

    BFoelsch Guest

    The choice is a tradeoff between cost and risk.

    There are any number of reputable second-hand equipment suppliers. I
    personally like Sphere Electrronics in BC, Canada. They stand behind
    their products, are reasonable aboiut shipping and don't sell junk.
    They currently have a nice Tek 2235 for about 600 USD. On the other
    hand, you can buy the same scope, from an individual for about 1/4
    that price, but the risk is all on your end.

    Where are you located?
  8. Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson Guest

    I got mine (actually a refurb, but they also sell used) from Eurekaspot,
    which is a sideline of Testmart.
    I watched eBay for about a month looking for a scope. At least half
    the auctions were scams. You could easily tell after a while, as the
    same images turned up on many auctions, often from accounts that had
    only sold knitting supplies previously. The ones that weren't scams
    were constantly overbid.
    A TDS2002 would meet your needs, at the high end of your pricerange.
    Of course, if you're like me, you'll start looking at the relativly
    small incremental cost of getting 4 channels, or more bandwidth, and
    talk yourself into a more expensive one. The TDS2014 (4ch, 100M) is
    down to $1425 now. I think I paid $1710 for it last year. Then Tek
    released the TDS2014B and prices dropped.
    Testmart arranged a will-call for me because they happened to dropship
    the refurbished Tek scopes from PDX.
  9. Guest

    Thank you all for your responses!

    I'm located in Ontario, Canada.

    My uses would be general purpose. I'm doing some work right now with
    IR emitter's and detectors and trying to test anything properly
    without a decent scope is an exercise in futility. I've been
    considering purchasing one for a while now; finally ready to make the

    Yes the TEK 2200 series are nice scopes, we had the 2200's (forget the
    exact model it's been two years) in my college, if they can withstand
    a college lab environment they must be durable.
    Six hundred would be the max that I could afford that would include
    delivered to my door.

    Is anyone familiar with this brand

    Again Thanks for your input everyone.
  10. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    I like their mixed signal oscilloscopes. Very usefull while doing an
    fpga design for speech processing.
  11. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Maybe spend a bit less and get a Tek 2230. It is an analog and digital
    oscilloscope in one and that feature is most usefull. I have one and
    I'm not about to retire it.
  12. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    I dunno about the OP's location...
    Sphere is in Kelowna BC??? That's not exactly BC's high tech
    Imagic Design also in BC sells used equipment too.
    It's in burnaby BC...
    I'd say the Burnaby district has the most electronics action in all of
    So in theory, Imagic should easily get more equipment.
    D from BC
  13. Hawker

    Hawker Guest

    I guess it depends on what you are after.
    Sounds like a Nice Tek 2400 series is in your price range and way more
    scope than you are asking for.

    One person I highly respect and recommend for used stuff is Bob Garcia.
    He is a retired person who sells used Tek Scopes. Generally the
    $100-$800 price range stuff is his niche. 2200, 2400 series mostly
    lately. He checks them all out, fixes them if needed and calibrates
    them (not NIST but calibrated). You pay about going rates from him for a
    good clean and checked out scope. If there are ever any issues he will
    fix, refund or trade in. I have perhaps bought 20-25 pieces from him
    over the last 10-15 years and he has always done me good.

    Robert C. Garcia
    “Bob” - KD4JRT “The Scopeman”
    845 Fairfield Dr.
    Marietta, Ga 30068

    I personally am getting rid of two scopes if either interest you e-me
    off line. They are both fine scopes, they are just a bit slower than I
    Tek 2445A very nice 150Mhz analog - the 150Mhz version of the high
    demand 2465B.
    Tek 2430A 150Mhz Digital. Decent digital, but sample rate is a bit low.
    Great for basic low speed requirements.

  14. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    2445 "A" is NOT a version of the 2465 "B".
    The B series came along AFTER the A version,and the B versions use a
    mricoprocessor board incompatible with earlier versions,as it now contains
    the readout board circuitry that used to be a separate assy,and is SMD,not
    thru-hold components.

    (FYI,the main PCB itself is the part that determines bandwidth of the
    scope. the hybrid ICs are common to both 2445 and 2465 scopes,including
    later A and B versions.)

    The 2445/65 series is the best analog scope TEK ever made.
  15. Hawker

    Hawker Guest

    So I guess In part I was wrong.
    From the front they look the same, and I have some Tek literature where
    they advertise the 2445A and 2465B on the same cut sheet essentially
    calling the 2445A a lower bandwidth version of the 2465B. Perhaps, as
    you say, the guts are very different inside, but the front cover looks
    the same so given that and the literature I have I made my assumption.
    Still it is a great scope if you don't need the bandwidth of the 2465B.
    I do find it interesting that you point out how they are not related,
    then go on to group them in the same statements (same hybrid ICs and
    that both not just 2465 is the best analog scope TEK ever made)

  16. Guest

    I've use both brands. I like it when people dis HP scopes as it makes
    them cheaper for me to buy used. ;-)

    I'm using an old 1725A. Intel blew them out years ago, so they are all
    over Silicon Valley.

    There are nuances in the way HP and Tek DSOs sample. Some Tek scopes
    multiplex the sample head. This means the channel to channel matching
    is great, but the bandwidth goes down in multichannel mode. The HP
    DSOs I've used don't do this, so they probably have a sampler per
  17. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but wasn't the 130C one of
    the very very very select group of scopes with a DC BAL control on the
    front panel? Not as a recessed screwdriver adjust that you tweaked
    twice a year-- as a big one-inch diameter knob, often with all the
    edges worn smooth from constant use? :)

    Nicest feature, IMHO, -- no fan.
  18. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    The B series has different software(along with the improved microprocessor
    board),different front panel modes available.
    I don't have the manuals anymore,or I'd be specific.

    When TEK makes an "A" or "B" version of an instrument,it usually is a minor
    upgrade,adding features,not any drastic circuit changes,and in the digital
    age,that's all software. Some TDS scopes have all the options circuitry
    onboard,but you need a special SW key to activate the options.

    Of course,when they do make an "A" or "B" version,the older scope begins
    it's Long Term Support Period;the countdown to "obsolescence" and end of
    Since TEK no longer has component level schematics in their "service"
    manuals(AFAIK),that makes repair nearly impossible.TDS models are factory
    service or module exchange only.(don't trust the "repair and return" option
    for your assemblies,TEK often loses them.Then you're screwed.)
  19. SparkyGuy

    SparkyGuy Guest

    (don't trust the "repair and return" option
    Wouldn't that be "... TEK often loses them. Then *they're* screwed"? I mean,
    isn't it their responsibility to replace or find like replacement? I mean,
    how far can "I'm sorry, it's gone" go?

    Doesn't make sense...
  20. Guest

    Thanks for your advice everyone.

    Just to let you know I just bought this DSO.

    For $400 more it's new with a warranty, rather then take a crapshoot
    on a used one.
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