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newbie oscilliscope recommendations

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Mike, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Hey folks,

    I was reading my latest issue of Nuts & Volts (, and
    they were doing a review on the new Stingray USB oscilloscope, which is
    $199. Are these computer add-ons any good? Or are they total crap compared
    to a *real* benchtop oscilloscope? If so, can someone recommend a good
    beginner's oscilloscope?

    If it makes a difference, I have a LCD monitor. I'm not sure how well those
    computer add-ons work with non-crt displays?

  2. Bill Bowden

    Bill Bowden Guest

    Look around on e-bay for Tektronix scopes. You should find
    a good (100 mHz) for around $200 or less. Just make sure it works
    right before bidding on it and don't bid on a $50 unit that claims
    to work and is selling "as is". The tek 465 and 475 are popular
    scopes that were state of the art 20 years ago.

  3. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    If you have an old Win9x or earlier system that can run real-mode DOS,
    and you have a Sound Blaster card in it, you might want to look at my
    Daqarta for DOS shareware. You will then have an AC-coupled
    audio-frequency scope and spectrum analyzer, with all the bells and
    whistles, including signal generation and color spectrograms.
    Extensive Help tutorial is built in, and also available for browsing
    on the Daqarta Web site.

    No, this won't replace a benchtop scope, but its good for lots
    of general testing, and the presence of spectrum analysis beats
    cheap benchtops for things like distortion measurements.

    If you need DC response (which sound cards don't support) you can
    build a super-simple 8-bit ADC from a handful of resistors
    wired to a printer port and controlled by the LPTX driver. You might
    want to do this anyway, if you can't find a Sound Blaster.

    Daqarta for Windows is on the way as well, but not for a few
    more months. The signal generator portion is called DaqGen
    and is available now as freeware.

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  4. CBarn24050

    CBarn24050 Guest

    Subject: Re: newbie oscilliscope recommendations
    These things are worse than useless, look around on ebay for a real scope.
  5. Clarence

    Clarence Guest

    You should get more than one opine.
    I have three of the Computer add on type 'scopes' and find them very useful and
    easy to use.
    They also do not take up as much bench space when not in use.
    The top of the line unit is a dual trace 100Mhz band width unit, and the
    software allows continuous recording.

    The other two are single channel, with limited voltage inputs. (No gain
    controls) and they are limited to plus or minus 5 volts full scale, but that is
    +/- 50 with a 10/1 probe so I have never needed a separate gain control. Those
    two have samples of 40KHZ (12 bit Resolution) and 200KHZ 8 bit resolution) and
    they get a lot of use.

    Never had a complaint except for the need to provide terminators for the two
    small single channel units.

    Dual channel unit cost abt $700
    12 Bit single channel $89
    8 Bit single channel $49
  6. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Everybody that responded -- thanks for your advice.

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