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Which USB scope is the best deal?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Jul 1, 2007.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Folks,

    When looking at that market there is a myriad of options. Which one is
    the best from a price performance point of view? Does anyone have good
    experience with a particular model?

    USB, 2-Channel, 500MS/sec or more would be nice. SW-FFT, decent doc
    capabilities, the usual. If it needs a separate supply that's fine.

    I don't need it in the lab so much but more on the road. Noise hunting
    etc. I wish someone would also make a somewhat decent spectrum analyzer
    for USB but that market still looks totally untapped.

    There comes a point in most people's lives where the lower back doesn't
    want to schlepp heavy lab gear or you run the chance of not being able
    to move the next day.
  2. Guest

    About five years ago I used one of Pico Technology Ltd's slow PC-based
    scopes - 12-bits at up to 7kHz - which plugged into the parallel port.
    Farnell still stocks something like it - the ADC42 (order code
    318-0827, 134 euro).

    It worked fine, and the software that came with it was fair easy to
    use, and didn't crash.

    Farnell now carries a bunch of their faster USB-based scopes, with
    sampling rates up to 200Msamples/sec. The A/D converters are strictly
    8-bit parts. Prices run from 600 euro to 1200 euro depending on speed.

    Farnell also stock two Picoscope Oscilloscope/Spectrum analysers
    offering a 12-bit A/D sampling at up to 50 or 100Msamples/sec, the
    ADC-212/50 and the ADC-212/100. They plug into the parallel port can
    cost 700 euro and 950 euro respectively.

    They might be worth looking at.

    Farnell don't stock the whole Picoscope range
  3. linnix

    linnix Guest

    But they don't meet the requirements. You can get a reasonable A2D
    converter (in price and power consumption) for 200 MSPS. But for
    500MSPS (as requested by OP) or beyond, it's ridiculously expensive
    and hot (in power).
  4. 500MS/s knocks out all of the low and middle end USB scopes. At this
    level you kind of start not worrying about the cost, and make your
    decision based just on the performance you need.

    Picoscope make a new one in this performance range but I have not used

    It's got a massive buffer which is excellent. Sample rate drops to
    500MS/s with two channels though.

  5. Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson Guest

    Well, the Tek TDS2012B has a USB port, 1GS/s, 2 ports, SW FFT, very
    portable. Of course the computer is optional. :) Since it came out,
    the non-B models have come down in price.

    You can thank me for the arrival of the B series, it happened right after
    I bought a TDS2014.
  6. Guest

    The "requirements" appear to be a wish list, rather than non-
    negotiable constraints, and I mentioned where the units I put forward
    fell short of the requirements.

    Why do you think it is necessary to waste bandwidth by reposting this
    The "ridiculousness" of the price depends on the application, which
    Joerg didn't spell out. There other aspects of A/D performance which
    can also be important in some applications, but since Joerg was asking
    about units that he could buy rather than devices that he could use to
    build his own, this isn't all that relevant to this thread.
  7. linnix

    linnix Guest

    Because your suggestion is off-base, he asked for 500 MSPS USB and you
    suggested 100 MSPS parallel port.
    Cost of the chip is definitely relevant to the devices available on
    the market. If it can be made with reasonable price, it will be
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I've looked at PicoScopes, mostly because an engineer from a client
    bought one. He didn't run it through the paces yet because that the
    purchase was very recently.

    Don't know if they are from England but the US prices seem highish,
    could as well get a Tek portable for that money. Or a Chinese knock-off ...
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yeah, I've relaized that :-(

    That's the one I was eyeing. A bit pricey for a USB scope but if it
    works good that may be ok. Anyone used it for tricky stuff a lot already?
  10. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks, have to check that out. As long as it isn't as <censored> as
    that TDS220.
  11. Guest

    Grow up. Note that the Picoscope wb-sited that I posted includes two
    devices - the 5203 and the 5204 offering 1Gsample/sec and a USB
    interface. Both are expensive, and Farnell doesn't stock them (which
    may mean that Picoscope can't make them in volume, which might - in
    turn - have something to do with the yield on the A/D converters being
    Dream on. USB-oscilloscopes aren't high volume products. They have to
    use chips that are predominantly made for other, larger, markets.
    These chips aren't always reliably available to low volume
    manufacturers - if the main market takes off the low volume
    manufacturers find themselves with six month delivery times. I can
    still remember buying up the last 36 of a particular single chip
    processor available from Dutch distributors for my ex-employer in the
    UK, when Volkswagen had bought up every one that Siemens was producing
    for the next six months ...
  12. Barry Lennox

    Barry Lennox Guest

    Have you looked at the Cleverscope? See
    Their comparison chart at Comparison chart.pdf
    claims it's pretty good, but there may be some selective data
    presentation there. It's a bit down on sample rate, but has a lot of
    storage and good resolution. It's small and light, and the software is
    pretty nice.

    I have only "played" with one at a demo, but have a customer who
    swears by it.

  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks, Barry, but 100MS/sec isn't going to work for my usual projects.
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