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Advice oscilloscope for hobbyist

Discussion in 'Electronic Equipment' started by silva, Mar 25, 2008.

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  1. silva

    silva Guest

    Hello!

    I wish to buy my first oscilloscope (for hobbyist). I have search some
    information in the Internet, but I still have some doubts:

    -I live away of the large towns and I have to buy it from an internet store,
    from inside the European Union (to avoid import taxes). I have this one in
    mind:

    From german store www.conrad.com, a VoltCraft 30 MHz oscilloscope 630

    "Professional two-channel oscilloscope for service, laboratory, training and
    DIY use. Outstanding in its class due to its reliability, technical
    equipment and price. Clear, conveniently laid out operating elements. Even
    the smallest signals can easily be read off on the 8 x 10 cm rectangular
    screen. The max. vertical deflection of 1mV/cm means that even small signals
    can be measured. The highly sensitive alternating triggering guarantees a
    static screen image for both channels, even at different frequencies. The
    TV-V and TV-H operating modes allow triggering of video signals. The XY mode
    is useful for the 4 quadrant characteristic curve. A 50 W output (channel I)
    is available for the connection of frequency meters."

    - 30Mhz are ok for a hobbyist?

    -Does the scope include any probes or I have to buy it apart. Cheap chinese
    probes from Ebay are ok?

    -Any additional avise?

    Thanks
    João Silva
    Portugal
     
  2. Jean-Yves

    Jean-Yves Guest

    as a hobbyst, you will certainly do microcontrollers
    and so have to examin slowly variing signals
    so you need a digital scope very soon
    with this analog scope you can do audio projects
    but quite not microcontrollers projects
    it's better to buy a mixed analog and digital scope
    prices start around 1000 euros
    look for hameg combiscopes they start at 50MHz
    very nice for a wide variety of projects

    you can also look at ebay for a used tektronix scope
    also mixed analog and digital (models 2230 2232 2430 2432 2440)
    you can get one for the price of the new voltcraft and they are faaaar
    better...

    I bought 4 tek probes (new ones) on ebay for some $ here :
    http://cgi.ebay.fr/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=380010486390&ih=025&cat
    egory=25415&ssPageName=STORE:pROMOBOX:NEWLIST#LIST
    very nice and there are no duties for a small amount of money like this.
     
  3. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    It depends on the hobby but it should be fine for working with many
    analog circuits, especially those you're likely to run into as you are
    learning electronics. This looks like a re-badged GW Instek scope; if
    so, there are more specs at
    <http://www.tradeport.on.ca/instek_gos-630fc_30mhz_analog_oscilloscope.php>
    except that it doesn't seem to have the extra LCD readout. The LCD
    isn't all that much more useful (shows the volts and time per division
    plus a frequency counter) that you couldn't do okay without it.
    I'd expect that a new scope would include probes and would be
    suspicious of the vendor if they were not included. If you do get
    replacement probes, you'll want to get 1x/10x switchable, with
    adequate bandwidth (i.e., 30 MHz or wider).
     
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yep, and there are lots more in the 7000 series. For example, I am using
    a 7704A. Joao: That's basically an empty mainframe with display and all.
    A 2ch analog input module and a time-base module is usually included and
    for (slow) digital stuff the 7D20 module is useful and cheap. But this
    stuff is large, heavy and the only way to document measurements is to
    snap a CRT screen picture with a digital camera.

    Farnell over in Europe has digital scopes and I bought an Instek from
    there. But if you are a beginner I suggest to get an analog scope first,
    or at least one that can switch to true analog mode such as the Hameg
    CombiScopes that Jean-Yves suggested. Hamegs are very sturdy, my old
    Hameg from 35 years ago still works. With digital scopes you can usually
    transfer images over to a PC. That can become very practical if you get
    stuck and want to show a strange spike or something like that to
    newsgroup folks, to see if anyone knows what could cause it.
     
  5. Yes, that will be perfectly adequate for a hobbyist.
    It should include probes, if not then I would get them to include them
    at no charge. otherwise take your money elsewhere.
    Buying a brand new 20-30MHz analog scope is generally not the best
    value for money these days, but it's a safe way to do it.
    Much better value can be had with a 2nd hand or reconditioned unit.
    But if you go this route ensure you get one that is fully tested and
    guaranteed working.
    Do some more shopping around, EUR$319 sounds a bit pricey. Even in
    Australia (which is generally more expensive than the rest of the
    world for this stuff) you can buy a brand new dual trace 20MHz scope
    for a fair bit less than that.
    You'll get a larger range if you look for 20MHz units. 20MHz is good
    enough for hobbyist use too.

    Dave.
     
  6. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Check this out:
    http://pt.farnell.com/4283946/test-equipment/product.us0?sku=GW-INSTEK-GOS-620-TENMA

    They have only one left, looks like it'll be discontinued. But at 200
    Euros you almost can't go wrong if a simple low bandwidth analog scope
    is enough. Ships from the UK and says "Código classificação fiscal:
    90302010", not sure if there are still import tariffs within the EU.
     
  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Well, yeah, but Farnell-Portugal had it on clearance for 200 Euros, not
    sure if it's still there. Used you can always get a better deal, I
    bought some stuff at liquidations and such. But not everyone is
    comfortable doing that because you basically buy "as is".
     
  8. silva

    silva Guest

    The price at the bottom of the page is the price for an "alternative
    product" :)
     
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yes, the GOS-620 price would be to the right of the last scope on this page:
    http://pt.farnell.com/jsp/search/browse.jsp?N=4364+500005+1002079

    Euro 200,60. I am quite happy with Instek, got their flagship scope
    GDS-2204. The knobs and buttons somehow feel more robust than on similar
    Tektronix scopes and so far the performance is great. But this is a fast
    digital scope, very different ballgame. I don't know their analog scopes.
     
  10. Hallo silva,
    Thanks! I was just looking for Euro signs ;-)

    Regards
    Michael
     
  11. silva

    silva Guest

    Check this out:
    I've noted just now: the price is exclusive of VAT :-( Them, to Portugal is
    200+21% of VAT, thats's aprox. 242 EUR.
     
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That's a high VAT you guys have to pay. I just tried and it said:

    Subtotal: 200,60 €
    Portes: A confirmar
    IVA: 0,00 €
    Total: 200,60 €

    Didn't go any further because I don't want to buy it. Probably they
    calculate VAT after entering the address. I thought they had to show the
    prices including VAT, at least that used to be the law when I lived in
    Germany.

    Anyhow, I don't know if you can buy a new scope for less than that
    anywhere. Another option might be to ask at the local ham radio club or
    look in the "For Sale" section of their newspaper.
     
  13. Looks like you can:
    http://www.komerci.de/shop/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=301
    First hit on Froogle.de

    Dave.
     
  14. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

  15. Me neither. I guess you just take your chances with all these no-
    namers.

    Dave.
     
  16. Jean-Yves

    Jean-Yves Guest

    I just think you'd better buy a known brand used scope for that price...
    just my opinion...
     
  17. For more experienced users, definitely, but for a beginner it's not an
    easy decision.
    A new scope will be 100% guaranteed working and in spec, and has a
    year or more warranty on it if something goes wrong.
    Second hand scopes on the other hand are a lucky-dip, you just don't
    really know what you are going to get. A "Tested and working" Ebay
    unit isn't always as claimed. You can get ones that have been
    professionally tested and calibrated, but they cost a lot more.

    Dave.
     
  18. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Then there are places for used stuff where they give you a little more
    security with used stuff. Such as Singer oder Flugversand Buescher in
    Germany. Of course, there you also pay more.
     
  19. Peter273

    Peter273 Guest

    Personally, I'd go for a Rigol, to be more specific a Rigol DS1042CD or a
    DS1062CD
    http://www.rigolna.com

    They are in fact rebranded to be "agilent", I believe they are the agilent
    6000 series without the price tag and more standard options

    cheerz
     
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