Which budget oscilloscope?

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by frnak, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. frnak

    frnak Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    Hey guys,

    Was looking into getting a cheap oscilloscope for some general learning, understanding communications protocols, arduino hacking etc.
    I was thinking 100mhz should be more than enough. I doubt I would need more than two channels.
    I was hoping to get a used analogue scope but there're none for sale around me.

    Cheapest I've seen so far is the Hantek DSO5102P at around $350 online.
    There's also the UNI-T UTD2102CEX at about $360.

    Any other suggestions?

  2. merlin13

    merlin13 Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    back in BrizVegas
    100 MHz for low end digital should be fine, at least as a starting point. Else you'd be selling a kidney to go seriously higher.

    And for digital it'd also be somewhat sane to go minimum 2 channel. Or two CROs.... :)

    Whereaway are you? Presumable you've already tried evilBay, Bumtree and Farcebook's Marketplace?

    Else for a budget 'scope thingy mebbe ponder a cheap 'n cheerful USB one thus if you can work on something down at 20 MHz...
  3. OP

    frnak Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    I'm located Sydney way.
    There're none on Facebook.
    One on gumtree But it looks pretty ancient and 15mhz is pretty low for a $150 unit.
    Couple on ebay but they seem to be asking $200 for a 20mhz unit. :/
    I'm a bit dubious on the reliability of those older units. I wouldn't be able to repair them. I'd be uncomfortable spending more than $150 on one of those.

    It seems a new 100mhz digital scope for ~$350ish is the best value?
  4. _zak

    _zak Member

    Oct 12, 2009
    I recently went through the same debate, looking for an entry-level 'scope. After a bit of research, I settled on the Siglent SDS1000X-E series (I got the four-channel SDS1104X-E), and it's been great to learn to use. You'll need to stretch the budget a bit though - the two-channel version is around $550 + GST (from Trio).

    Before I had a proper oscilloscope, I used a logic analyser that had some analog capability. The Saleae Logic 8 is awesome for digital logic and can do some basic analog (though only to 1 MHz - I thought it was higher than that). They have enthusiast discounts that drops the price by half.

    Other than that, I know the Rigol DS1054Z is pretty popular (50 MHz, but trivially unlocks to 100 MHz), though it's an older model now.

    Good luck with the search!
  5. Wako

    Wako Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    you can pickup logic analyzers for ~10$ which I used to decode a 9bit serial interface.
    I've since taken the jump and got a Rigol DS1054Z I have no real idea what I'm doing with it, but it looks nice :D
  6. Quadbox

    Quadbox Member

    Jun 27, 2001
    I think you're probably on the right track with a $350 100MHz scope. It's not going to be amazing at that price, but it'll no doubt do the job for you. To put this in perspective btw, I was using a $20k oscilloscope for a research project over summer... you've got to draw the line somewhere sane, there's basically no threshold at which you've bought a "top of the line" scientific instrument :p
  7. v81

    v81 Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    SE Vic
    Like Wako, i went the DS1054Z route.
    It's a bit more money, ~ AUD$600, but a very popular unit with nice features and the ability to unlock it to 100MHz.
    4 chan, 4 probes, Emona are including a bunch of addons at the moment, but if you can buy it cheaper without them you can unlock the addons using other means.
    Unlocking these is so incredibly common, not hard to do.
    Very popular on eevBlog forum, plenty of discussion and support there.
    With a great feature set, great reputation, and a large community around it, it's hard to pass up.
    Back when i got mine it was ~ $495 delivered stock standard (better exchange rate when i bought it).
    After unlocking it it's now 100MHz and has all the options available.
    I bought it after watching this video...

    A bit has changed since this video, but it still holds its own.
    Siglent are coming close, another possible option.
    Mickatroid likes this.
  8. cvidler

    cvidler Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I've got one of these, had it for a few years now, certainly more than capable, I've used it extensively for analogue audio work, but also for duino and rpi hacking. I don't think you'd ever exceed it's capabilities unless you start playing with higher speed digital, or RF.
  9. Esposch

    Esposch Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    SE Melbourne (Knoxfield)
    Not sure if I'm breaking any rules by posting this, but I designed this unit here:

    US$29 for a scope, signal gen, power supply, logic analyser and multimeter.
    Connects via USB to any PC (Linux/Mac/Windows), Raspberry Pi or Android Phone (requires USB-OTG).
    It doesn't offer anywhere near the same specs as a full bench DSO like the DS1054Z (e.g scope takes 750k samples per second rather than 500M), but it's cheap, easy to use and plenty good enough for hobbyist/student use.

    Mention you're from OCAU and I can give you a bit of a discount. :)
    If you were in Melb I could give you a bit of a demo too. Oh well.
    Mickatroid likes this.
  10. desertstalker

    desertstalker Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Well I guess its a step up from a soundcard scope...

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