The oscilloscope is a powerful universal diagnostics tool, which should be a “must-have” of each diagnostic specialist. In more complicated cases, I always suggest – check the signal using an oscilloscope. The oscilloscope, as a diagnostics tool, is also mentioned in the regulations of the BMW AG. Unfortunately, the solution proposed by BMW AG itself is not the best choice. It is costly, impractical, with very limited functionality.
With this entry, I am starting the article series – everything about oscilloscope. Which one to buy, to which nuances the attention should be paid, how to “decrypt” what you see on the screen. The instruction, how to use one or another model of the exact oscilloscope you can find in its User manual, I will pay more attention to the there – what to do when the basics of the functionality are mastered. Mastering the basics will be no problem – both User manuals and reviews on YouTube are widely available. For more specific things, I will give you the links to the manufacturer’s tutorials.
The oscilloscope is my basic work tool for more than 30 years.
My first oscilloscopes were C1-101 and C1-55, manufactured in the USSR.
C1-101. Portative oscilloscope, 1 beam, 5MHz band, ascetically simple tool;
C1-55. Stationary oscilloscope, 2 beams (multiplied), 10MHz band.
During these 30 years, I have got till the existing equipment:
Agilent (Keysight) MSO 6000 series
Siglent SDS2000 series
Micsig Tablet TO1000 series
Why exactly these oscilloscopes? I will tell you in short.
Do not worry, if you don’t understand yet some technical nuances, which I will mention – continue to read the following entries, I promise to tell everything! The second important thing – I chose this current equipment exactly for my specific needs. These oscilloscopes are excellent, but it can be possible that for your needs, other models/manufacturers would be more appropriate. Which one exactly? Continue to follow my blog, I believe – my suggestions will help you.
The choice of C1-101 and C1-55 was simple. These were the equipment which I could afford and which were available for purchase (of course, purchased used equipment, which was written-off equipment in one of the factories in our country). I assume that for the inhabitants of Western Europe, it would be hard to understand, but there was a deficit in the republics, which were “building the communism” (it means many things were not produced in the necessary amounts); the available equipment was inadequately expensive. Equipment manufactured in the capitalistic countries was practically unavailable; even the equipment, manufactured by the socialist block, was a dream. A good oscilloscope, manufactured in the USSR, in some station of the New technicians was available for an hour or two – you had to wait in line and apply in time. To obtain a powerful oscilloscope or the specter analyzer for himself was practically impossible. The engineers, who had their own oscilloscope at home (even simple, used, manufactured in USSR), were counted as well-being!
Agilent MSO6000 series
2/4 analog channels, band till 1GHz; 16 digital channels; 8M points memory; serial decode; Mega zoom; etc.
The chance to work with this oscilloscope I got directly after it was available in the market. After the old 50000 and even DSO5000 series, this was an incomprehensibly powerful oscilloscope for that time. As opposed to the memory of several K points, which was a typical parameter for those times, this oscilloscope, by default, had a memory of 1M (!) points! Paying an additional 1000 .. 1500 EUR, you could get the memory of 8M points. Such an oscilloscope cost 12.000 .. 13.000 EUR in the exact set, but it was worth each EUR. Even now these oscilloscopes are very expensive – the equipment used for 10 years costs around 2000 .. 6000 EUR or even more.
I had upgraded my Agilent with a 15″ external monitor – work with this set gives a true pleasure. This equipment has the hardware of the highest quality and perfectly performing software.
If you ever are looking for a DSO/MSO 6000 series, pay attention to the 7000 series also. This is functionally identical equipment, but with a larger screen. Larger screen for the 2/4+16 channel oscilloscope – a valuable upgrade.
Siglent SDS2000 series
This oscilloscope I chose because of the great price/performance. 2/4 analog channels; band till 300MHz; 16 digital channels; serial decode, Infi view, and… the memory of 140M(!) points. Such a memory buffer in the current price range (1000 .. 2000 EUR) is an unbeatable score. For the newest models, Siglent has introduced a touchscreen; they have become more powerful. Even the French manufacturer Lecroy has evaluated this model – the current equipment can be purchased as Lecroy 2000 series oscilloscope for 3 .. 4 times higher price than by the Siglent brand.
Micsig TO1000 series
Portative oscilloscope (with a built-in battery) – a powerful tool for off-site diagnostics.
2/4 analog channels; band till 150 MHz; serial decode; Infi view; sensitivity of 500uV; the memory of 28M points. Before purchasing this equipment, I had some doubts if the oscilloscope without any button will be easy to use. All management of the oscilloscope is performed via touchscreen. Have to admit that the manufacturer has done his best – the management is truly comfortable! The complete opposite of many PC based oscilloscopes. Additionally, Micsig has added to their range also products with a “button” version – now, the management of the Menu can be done both via touchscreen and buttons! Price range: 500 .. 1500 EUR.
Probably, you are scared by the pricing of the oscilloscopes. If you will not use the equipment each day and/for the development of some equipment, an adequate tool can also be found in the price range of several hundred EUR. To what to pay attention to? You will find this information in the next entries. At the moment, the range of the oscilloscopes at the market is very wide; their key parameters are so strongly different that, for example, for EUR 300, you can buy an excellent tool or a useless toy. So the choice of the correct product is very important.