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  1. #1
    Ross77's Avatar
    Lives in Devon, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 750. Received thanks 27 times, giving thanks to others 52 times.
    I'm looking at getting an oscilloscope and cant decide on a decent "ish" hand held one for basic signal checking or whether to just go for bench one?

    the Hantek ones seem to get good reviews and isn't to pricey at just over a ton.

    it will mainly be for logic testing on Arduinos, STM32 etc but I can see it might be handy for the workshop as well. does any one use oscilloscopes on their CNC setups?

  2. Quote Originally Posted by Ross77 View Post
    I'm looking at getting an oscilloscope and cant decide on a decent "ish" hand held one for basic signal checking or whether to just go for bench one?
    Horses for courses, all down to how much use you expect to get out of it. And how much you want to spend


    Quote Originally Posted by Ross77 View Post
    the Hantek ones seem to get good reviews and isn't to pricey at just over a ton.
    Cute, and useful, all in a small package. It will work for most of what you're expecting to use it for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross77 View Post
    it will mainly be for logic testing on Arduinos, STM32 etc but I can see it might be handy for the workshop as well. does any one use oscilloscopes on their CNC setups?
    Yes, is the easy answer, and probably less that I should given that I have a bench scope. Like anything they are a string to your debugging bow. One of a number of tools that you can use to diagnose problems. I've used mine to realise the problems with the NVEM motion controllers and slow-speed stepper drivers, for diagnosing problems with a spindle encoder on the lathe, testing the BLDC controller on the Sieg - also to reverse-engineer the protocol to the Sieg pendant controller.

    Realise its limitations - very limited trigger control, some talk of offsets not being displayed (quite basic - surprised if that doesn't get fixed), limited memory for storing trace data. The best description I've read in a quick trawl is that it's a good supplement to a DMM and a bench scope - a happy middle-grounder.

    Probably okay with Arduino but limited with the STM32 (bandwidth, memory depth etc).

    Personally - I'd prefer a bench scope and I bought a Rigol DS1074Z - but wish I'd bought the 1054Z instead (they are hackable to 100MHz) - reasonably large trace buffer and good trigger and decoder options (try debugging an IIC bus with the Hantek!). But, it is a personal choice and one borne from your use-case. If you've up to your armpits in a lathe cabinet (ask me how I know) - maybe the Hantek is a more accessible and usable option.

    If you want to do a lot with micro controllers you may want to consider a separate scope (such as the Hantek) and a dedicated logic analyser device. Very different beasts.

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  4. #3
    Muzzer's Avatar
    Lives in Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 17 Hours Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 189. Received thanks 29 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    I got a Siglent dual channel scope for something like £230 a couple of years ago. I forget what bandwidth it was (probably 70MHz or so). It's fine for Arduino / stepper / servo drive stuff and suspect it may be possible to hack the software-limited bandwidth if I could be arsed, which I can't. Doesn't have a battery, so needs to be plugged in, which also means the probes are connected to ground - worth bearing in mind if you like blowing stuff up.

    Even though these modern scopes are a lot more portable than the old CRO boxes, they are still a bit of a PITA for reaching into cabinets etc, finding somewhere to perch them, wires trailing everywhere etc.

    I recently had yet another accident involving a mouse and ended up with one of these Chinesium pocket scopes.

    Although it's tiny and self contained, the menu system takes some getting used to, not least as my brain is not as nimble as it might have been, after years of flagrant self abuse. But it's quick and easy to connect up, more like a pocket DVM than a normal scope. It's also electrically floating. Horses for courses.

  5. #4
    Ross77's Avatar
    Lives in Devon, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 750. Received thanks 27 times, giving thanks to others 52 times.
    Thanks for the replies, certainly food for thought.

    I did see the 1054Z but at £400 its a bit excessive for how mush use it will get.

    Are the PC usb ones any good a s a middle ground between cost and performance?

  6. My main concern with PC based analysers and scopes is simply the coupling between device and the PC - you have more on the bench. They all likely use much the same devices - ADCs and FPGAs. If I was being snobby I'd suggest you get what you pay for, but so much depends on your use-case - if you're just looking at relative timing on a bunch of stepper drivers then you can get away with an awful lot less than if you're trying to measure phase-shift on a video filter, or a heart-beat on a 400Mhz microcontroller. I'd suggest the bench scopes will likely integrate more capability than handhelds and the mixed-signal LA/DSOs - but again, down to what you need. It's worth looking at the analogue front end (particularly the input levels - many handhelds/PC scopes are good for 0-10V sort of ranges.

    A good PC scope is likely better than a bad bench scope, and vice-versa. Perhaps link a couple of examples and we'll tear them apart, or otherwise - I can't advise any particular models - my experience is just with the Rigol for home and damned-sight more expensive ones for work.

  7. #6
    A multimeter is a must have for building CNC machines and their control systems, but a scope needs more justification. Itís one of those tools that you donít need until itís just what you need ! I looked into handheld and bench mounted a while ago and decided I just wanted to replicate the CRO experience from many years ago, so went benchtop.
    I went for the Hantek DSO 5000 series (about £200 at the time) as it looked like just the thing I was after. Luckily for me Banggood also sold that model and they sent one over for review (Ep26 on the YouTube CNC build - just fast forward past me yattering on about the controller to get to the review).

    Iíve used it quite a few times and it is very nice to use for general waveform analysis with auto ranging and triggering getting straight to a clean signal. It has done everything I needed to do and has a nice large clear screen. Iím not sure if Hantek make a model with function generators built in but that is worth thinking about although you can buy them separately.

    Itís almost twice the price of the handheld but there are cheaper bench mounted DSOs if you go for a lower MHz so as others have said itís about the use case.

    Hope this helps a bit.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  8. #7
    Ross77's Avatar
    Lives in Devon, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 750. Received thanks 27 times, giving thanks to others 52 times.
    Thanks all that's perfect, I was hoping for real life use examples.

    a scope needs more justification. It’s one of those tools that you don’t need until it’s just what you need !
    Haha, I've got a workshop full of tools that don't get much use.

    I still don't know 100% which to go for but leaning towards a budget bench scope. If I start using it on a regular basis then I can get a better one.

  9. The 1054/1074 that I mention are 4-channel scopes - I made a conscious decision to go big. I've probably used it in 3-channel mode about 5% of the time. A 2-channel scope is probably enough for most people. And about half the price of the 4-channel. I'm definitely not plugging the Rigols - though they work for me - plenty of scopes out there. From what I've see tonight - hand-held/PC scope = £100+, bench scope = £200+.

    Don't forget scope leads if they're not part of the package.

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  11. #9
    Ross77's Avatar
    Lives in Devon, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 750. Received thanks 27 times, giving thanks to others 52 times.
    Ok so it seems that I'm looking for a 2 channel 100Mhz bench scope

    Is this OWON an good make?

  12. I can't comment with any experience on the Owon. I do have an Owon signal generator - bought because it was cheap and Amazon Prime, etc. It has an annoying issue with the main rotary controller being noisy, so I'll often get gaps in settings... e.g. 1..2..3..6..7..8, and sometimes jumps or (annoyingly reverse jumps) e.g. 3..4..5..2..3..4..5..6.

    I've not read that about their scopes - and I imagine all their gear is likely just rebadged from the Chinese Factory.

    Reviews (Elektor) are generally in praise, my concern would be for weak trigger patterns (e.g. on mine, I often use a gated-window trigger to trigger on noise spike signals that exceed a threshold for less than e.g. 100uS - ignoring longer "intended" pulses) and no apparent protocol decoding (yes, I've used a scope to monitor packet values in both serial/RS232 and IIC busses before now). But, at the price you can pick these up for (~£170) you get a lot for your money.

    Ultimately I expect you'll get what is advertised - just make sure that it ticks your boxes. At £170 or so it won't owe you too much over time.

    I'm almost waiting for someone to suggest buying a second-hand "high end" scope - and I've looked at this option myself - but to be honest, these new scope-on-a-chip solutions beat the older technology hands-down on bags-per-buck provided that you don't need the instrumentation-level precision of the big boys.

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