Oscilloscope -- which to get -- the conclusion
I want to get an oscilloscope to visualize the action of capacitors, the bouncing of push buttons and the action of 555 circuits and more.
Searching in the forum i noticed a number of discussions on what oscilloscope to buy, but i didn't see anything conclusive. Also discussions are already dated.
Are there any up-to-date insights what to buy -- Ali Express carries quite a few but i have no idea how to evaluate them and how good they are.
Do i need one channel, two channel, one that is merely connecting to a PC, a handheld one, a hybrid one -- one that can generate pulses and what-not-else ... and at what price point is it worth buying.
All comments are much appreciated,
Also, i noticed some Audrino projects to use the serial port and monitor to visualize incoming signal, but never got it to work -- also, unsure whether this is sufficient for uses i mentioned and others.
The oscilloscope choosing process like you say is very time talking and daunting thanks to the sheer number of choices in the market. But it all comes down to one thing. It usually is not purpose. But the budget.
Since you say that your purpose is just analysing simple and small circuits, a tiny DSO or USB oscilloscope is more than enough. There are DIY kits like the JYEtech. But these kits are too fiddly and are not that greatly accurate. But these do the job for what you wish to do.
JYEtech: AliExpress Link
Then there is the Tiny DSO which many people use. I find it fiddly, but it is somewhat accurate and is more than enough for 555 and other simple circuits. But these are quite expensive thanks to their size.
Tiny/mini DSO: Mini DSO (expensive)
Then you have oscilloscopes that are handheld. These tend to be the cheapest and best with an inbuilt screen. You could get one for 20-30$ and close the show.
Handheld: 2 channel oscilloscope
Then you have the OG USB oscilloscopes used by quite a few students. They tend to choose the DIY or this when they are in need for an oscilloscope since it has a brand and is also of good quality.
USB Oscilloscope (Hantek):Hantek oscilloscope (Basic)
If you get the USB one I have mentioned above, try getting a USB isolator that will make sure that your PC does not get fried if you ever make a mistake and high voltage goes to the USB ports
Isolator: USB Isolation device
(Some USB oscilloscopes come inbuilt with USB Isolation. In Hanteks they are usually denoted with an 'I' in the end.)
Then come the big oscilloscopes which come with vast features and everything. Some even come with bottle openers. If you go for these, go for a name brand. Either Keysight, Rigol, Hitachi, Old HPs and more.
Based on where you source your big oscilloscope (universities or labs or form the manufacturer) their prices will vary. I shall link to some basic oscilloscopes, but if you want a proper one for dirt cheap, try asking your local college or educational institution whether they have an old unused CRT oscilloscope that you could take. They may want 50-100$, but it should come to you for dirt cheap. Those will have all features.
Keysight: base level keysight
(Keysight will ask you to request for a quote for the actual price)
Rigol: Rigol base level
(Rigol will ask you to request for a quote for the actual price)
Ali Express Versions: Hantek Version
These are some of my top choices. But this is my suggestion. Try to get a good oscilloscope for your budget. Since this is one tool that has all capabilities to pay for itself if chosen wisely. I also suggest you go for the name brands like JYETech, Keysight, Hantek, Rigol, HP, Hitachi and so on. EEVBlog also showed off 2 simple USB Hanteks in his "Lab under 300$" video. If your budget is low, just get the mini kit one and use it since it works just fine for what you wish to do. But if you have the budget, choose what you like. My top suggestion is that you just get a normal desktop oscilloscope.
A 2 channel is more than enough for the job you wish to do. Price point completely relies on your budget. If you are a student even name brands give discounts for getting the base level 2 channel oscilloscopes. Hybrids are not really necessary. But they really help when you need it. But you can get a cheap oscilloscope and substitute the function generation part with a cheap function generator kit which does the job perfectly.
Function generator kit: Kit. Cheap and always works
For the part where evaluation comes to play, just get a name brand. The ones that i mentioned above usually tend to work almost always.
Its said that over confusion leads to no work and more confusion. Just dont worry. Just see the specs, your budget and choose one of the styles I have mentioned above.
Hope this is of some help to you.
(PS. Font maybe in INR, you may have to change it to USD)
I love the idea to check out a local college -- curious what i will find there ...
@esccrasci I noticed that there exist oscilloscopes that are also logic analyzers, but some are "only" oscilloscopes and some are only logic analyzers.
Logic analyzer: http://www.hantek.com/products/detail/14
Oscilloscope + logic analyzer (PC/USB based): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002053321240.html
Oscilloscope (PC/USB based): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000147841388.html
(hanek brand which seems more popular)
I like the idea of probing many pins to see how they relate to timing diagrams in a datasheet -- wonder if its worth getting something like this -- or whether working with a regular osciloscope is sufficent.
E.g. the other day i looked at a shift register and the problem of a non-debounced switch that fed into the ICs clock, leading to many shifts at once -- would be nice to see that in an analyzer.
Price wise it seems the PC/USB based one are a best option, so long i always work from home or have a PC along with me. The screen is also larger.
If you want to probe into the depths of ICs and their working, go for the combo. But i'd say that an oscilloscope is sufficient for doing almost all of the tests needed. I'd highly recommend you go to your local college since most of the time they really do throw away these for scrap and such. If you are an alumnus you have an easier chance of getting. Sometimes, they may have small issues with power and so on which can be changed by replacing small parts. But if they have a working one that they plan to dispose, just get it.
Finally, I'd say go for what you feel is best. If you feel that the combo is good, just go for it. The intrustar seems to be good. So you may go for it. Based on the minimal amount of reading I did on the product page, it doesn't seem to be having USB isolation. So I'd say get an isolator with it for like 5-10 dollars and it may save a few thousands.
Hope that this was of some use to you.
Do you have a maximum budget?
I would recommend for a first time purchase, the ADALM2000, produced by Analog Devices, the well known electronics/semi-conductor company. The ADALM2000 is a all in one USB test instrument; scope, protocol analyzer, power supply, ( limited current output ), the intended market for which is Electrical Engineering students, and Technical school students learning practical aspects of electronics. It is also an excellent device for makers and electronic hobbyists. It is available from Digi Key for $240, I purchased mine from there. It has the companion software called "Scopy" available for all 3 common operating systems, and that is free. There is a wealth of tutorials and other support and learning materials available from Analog Devices also all free. I have a nice mixed signal scope, and a good old CRT scope, and several other pretty sophisticated pieces of test gear, having worked in electronics and automation for over 40 years, but I can pretty much do any of the testing I would want or need to on micros and low voltage automation systems with the ADALM2000 unit.
@pylearner thank you for the suggestion.
Its more on the pricey side, but, given that i am doing this with my kids and want them to learn by doing, and its for the long term, it seems like a great option.
Also, thank you for making me aware of the great resources at analog devices -- its a treasure trove -- and I'd love to do analog projects with them as well and combine them with digital ones.