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Oscilloscope dealers in the US

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Jul 12, 2007.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    So, finally it's time to look for a new DSO. Except Newark,
    TestEquipmentDepot and Tequipment I haven't found a lot of major dealers
    for new scopes and other test equipment. To my surprise I could not find
    regular digital scopes at Digikey, Mouser or ham shops like AES. Are
    there other major ones? Where do you typically buy?

    I don't need it often so I wanted to stay under $2k. Must be 1Gs/sec
    single-shot or more, 200MHz BW, plus a USB connection of some kind, and
    not too heavy. So far I found:

    Agilent DSO3202, pretty nice features but only 4k memory.
    Tektronix TDS2022, only a paltry 2.5K memory.
    Instek GDS-2202, 25K memory, under $1500.

    My favorite from a feature point of view is the Hameg HM2008. A stunning
    megabytes deep buffer, analog portion with 14kV tube, meaning you get a
    real analog scope along with it. But OTOH due to the high Euro it's
    around $2500. That would be a bit much but ok. However, its size and
    weight really wouldn't work, it's basically a full size big scope.
  2. Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson Guest

    Tek has some comparisons of the TDS2000 series to the DSO3000 series at:

    Obviously favors Tek, but they do some live demos with the DSO3000's that
    are pretty damning. For example, you often don't get the 4k points.

    The 2.5k memory is probably the weakest link of the TDS2000 series.
    Also beware of older Tek scopes (that you might buy used) with larger
    buffers. Some of them are very slow to refresh if you select the deeper
    memories (becasue they capture full buffers before displaying).
    Looks nice. Make sure the MB deep buffer works in all modes/speeds you
    care about. The optional 4-channel logic analyzer looks neat, too.
    The Agilent 54645D and friends have several logic channels plus two scope
    channels, but the specs on the scope are crappy (200Msps, if I remember).
    The TDS2000 series is downright tiny. I've sure moved it a lot more than
    my old analog scope!
  3. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    This is a bit above your price range...

    but the fully isolated inputs and trigger are fabulous for stuff like
    power supplies, motion control, all that off-ground stuff. You just
    clip the probe grounds *anywhere*

  4. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    You can pick up a TDS2012 with the pinkie finger of your left hand. I
    just verified that. Try that with a 7000-series box!

  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks, entered it into the Wiki file here. However, they don't carry
    some brands at all (such as Rigol) and they don't have the higher end
    Instek gear.
  6. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks. Will try that later on another PC since this one doesn't take
    wmv video. Anyhow, looks like the Instek GDS-2202/2204 boast a bit more
    than either of these.

    Yep, I remember that. But the topper are those newfangled Windows-based
    scopes. You can refill your coffee mug and then it may be done. Maybe.
    That would be so nice to have one that can be carried around. It's
    actually the main reason I am looking for a new one.
  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    The prices look quite reasonable for scopes with that capability. But I
    usually don't need it, even with switchers. I do with RF stuff but there
    the cable capacitance to the surroundings could already cause a kablouie
    so I use little #43 ferrites to isolate.

    What strikes me all the time: Why on earth can't they use some standard
    batteries such as AA rechargeables? Especially on scopes that are most
    likely being used in remote places. What do you do when battery and
    spare have croaked and you are on the outskirts of Tambouktou, and there
    is no electricity up on the tower?
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Still got a 7704 cranking here. Works like new, glows in the dark :)

    Does that TDS2012 work ok for you guys? Doesn't spew 80kHz from the
    backlight inverter around like the TDS220?
  9. One of my favorite (for convenience, I mean) 'laptops' was an HP 300.
    It was a Windows 3.1/DOS system with a tiny, 1" hard drive and a built
    in mouse that 'popped out' and worked on a table top. Gray scale LCD
    display. The thing weighed almost nothing. But.. it didn't use any
    fancy, specialized, expensive to buy battery systems. It used AA
    batteries, either alkaline or NiCad, which you can get most places in
    the world. Simple.

    Still have one and use it, sometimes.

  10. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I love mine; it's my "personal" scope (along with a 20 GHz 11801!) and
    it does 98% of what I need done. I haven't noticed any excess noise,
    although I can get some pretty good LCD kickout stuff if I hold a
    probe about 1" from the screen. It looks like fairly slow LCD scan
    stuff, about 450 Hz. There's some 40 KHz backlight sinewave leakage,
    mostly out the sides and back, but I've never seen it get into a

    It doesn't have much memory, pretty much just what you see on the
    screen. Analog scopes didn't have much memory, either.

    It uses a persistance algorithm that I independently invented: a trace
    sets pixels on, and an independent background process turns random
    pixels off at an adjustable rate.

  11. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Maybe they backed off with the inverter frequency. The TDS220 was really
    bad with 80kHz, to the point where I quit using it for any analog stuff.

    Actually I found it adequate even though I did ultrasound echo
    measurements with it where you have a wee echo in the tens of nsec that
    occurs tens of usec after the pulse, somewhere.

    The downside with the early non-B versions seems to be a lack of
    connectivity where you can't get the pics off the scope other than doing
    a crude snapshot with a digital camera. Some larger models have disk
    drives, but not all.

    This can be very powerful especially if the decay speed in the
    background process is adjustable. On the DPO scopes it isn't so hot
    IMHO, used one at a client last week, didn't like it. I urged them to
    buy a 2465 off EBay and I really hope they do that.
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Sometimes I ask myself, why were the engineers that designed computer
    stuff of yesteryear so much smarter? Why did they reach retirement age?
    Couldn't they have hung on a bit longer?

  13. is a website listing a lot of new & used test
    equipment dealers, and manual sources.

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  14. GregS

    GregS Guest
  15. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Do you have a link to a page about it? All I'm finding is, which is anything *but* portable. :)
  16. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks. But I was more looking for new ones. The B-series Tek and
    foreign brands such as Instek aren't showing up at used equipment
    dealers yet. When it comes to electronics parts we have a lot more
    sources than I found back in Europe. With equipment it seems the other
    way around. Over there I was bombarded with specials and sales all the
    time. Not here.
  17. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks. But quite expensive. They have the Instek GDS-2204 (actually one
    of the products I am looking at) on their home pages under "featured
    products". But I can get it for over $300 less at Newark. Not such a hot
    deal IMHO.
  18. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    Okay, I just tried it on one of my 7704s--no problem!(*) Now pardon
    me while I ice my pinky...

    (*) (Note to self: next time disconnect 'scope from cart)

    James Arthur
  19. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    He's talking about an OmniBook 300, a '386 IIRC. I absolutely love
    my OB425, which I unfortunately toasted & am hoping to resurrect

    It has MS-DOS and Win3.1 in ROM, making the system software bullet-
    proof. The monochrome LCD display is the clearest, sharpest display
    I've ever seen, brilliantly readable in full sunlight. Power
    management is wonderful--it suspends instantly, and then revives
    instantly, bringing me back to where I left off. Last, with a flash
    drive replacing the old mechanical HD I get 13hrs run-time on a
    charge. Marvellous.

    Meanwhile, my OB600c fitted with flash drives is my all-time fave.
    It adds a faster CPU, a color display, and LiIon batteries. It never
    crashes. I leave it in suspend mode for weeks at a time, punch the
    button and it's ON in 300mS, ready to use. I use it just like a book--
    I pick it up, refer to it, use it, then close it & put it down. Handy
    for typing, calculating, spreadsheets, etc. I keep my inventory and
    writings on it.

    James Arthur
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