Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Looking for a DSO/MSO

Expand Messages
  • J. Alexander Jacocks
    All, So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope, I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the power
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      All,

      So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
      I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
      power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
      _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
      100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
      high as possible.

      My primary work will be (as expected for a member of this club) on
      older gear, so extremely high frequency seems unimportant. I would
      like to spend as little as is realistically possible (< $1000, for
      sure). I'd also like a smaller scope, as I don't have a ton of room,
      especially near my workbench. I am also involved in the building of
      new SBCs, based on 1980s CPUs, which should be similar, in
      requirement.

      I have a friend who wants a logic analyzer, and he suggested that we
      go in together and get a MSO w/ logic analyzer. Is that a good idea?
      It did seem to me that we could buy better equipment, if we shared.

      Any advice is gladly accepted.

      Thanks!
      - Alex
    • Dave McGuire
      ... First, I would avoid a DSO initially. If you re a beginner, they can cause more problems than they solve. A DSO is a discrete-time sampling instrument,
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
        > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
        > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
        > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
        > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
        > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
        > high as possible.
        >
        > My primary work will be (as expected for a member of this club) on
        > older gear, so extremely high frequency seems unimportant. I would
        > like to spend as little as is realistically possible (< $1000, for
        > sure). I'd also like a smaller scope, as I don't have a ton of room,
        > especially near my workbench. I am also involved in the building of
        > new SBCs, based on 1980s CPUs, which should be similar, in
        > requirement.
        >
        > I have a friend who wants a logic analyzer, and he suggested that we
        > go in together and get a MSO w/ logic analyzer. Is that a good idea?
        > It did seem to me that we could buy better equipment, if we shared.
        >
        > Any advice is gladly accepted.

        First, I would avoid a DSO initially. If you're a beginner, they can
        cause more problems than they solve. A DSO is a discrete-time sampling
        instrument, and one has to know a good bit about what one is doing to
        properly interpret their output. Contrary to popular (clueless) belief,
        and the marketing targeted at the people who whold that belief,
        "digital" oscilloscopes are NOT the "modern replacement" for analog
        oscilloscopes. Once you know your stuff, and know where the quicksand
        patches lie in discrete-time systems, a DSO can be very convenient.

        That said...I would recommend an older, top-notch instrument over a
        newer, cheap instrument. With the exception of whiz-bang features which
        you'll rarely if ever use, the basic functionality of an oscilloscope
        has not changed since the 1940s...current ones don't really do anything
        different from instruments from, say, the 1960s.

        Specific advice: Avoid nearly everything other than Tektronix and HP.
        There are some other good brands, like Dumont, but they will be more
        difficult to find information about.

        Some affordable examples are the Tektronix 465 and 475. You can get
        these in good condition for less than $200, sometimes less than $100.
        They were made nearly forty years ago, but they're still in use in labs
        all over the world, with good reason. If that's too rich for your
        blood, try a Tektronix 453. That's a slower scope, but it (the 453, not
        the 453A) has the best, sharpest CRT I've seen on ANY oscilloscope, new
        or old. That's a big deal. One can usually find a 453 in good shape
        for $75, sometimes even less. These models were at one time considered
        to be the best oscilloscopes ever made, and that counts for something
        even today.

        Do not skimp on probes; this is not an area to be cheap. They are
        much more than just hunks of wire with a BNC on one end and a needle on
        the other. Get Tektronix P6104 or similar probes, even if you have to
        get them used...not the Chinese cheapies. An experienced engineer will
        know where the weaknesses lie, and will be able to spot them on the
        screen, but if you're new at this, you really don't want the headache of
        the instrument displaying something that's not actually happening in the
        circuit your probe is connected to.

        User documentation, schematics, and service manuals are readily
        available for this equipment in both paper and PDF format, and many
        people (myself included) know how to work on them. If you do end up
        with something along those lines, I can check it out and calibrate it
        for you of course.

        We are all well-trained to treat everything as disposable in this
        society, and most new stuff available to us these days SHOULD be
        disposed of. Invest in a good tool here, and you'll end up willing it
        to your kids...because it'll still work, and still be useful.

        Having done a lot of the very stuff you're talking about with exactly
        that equipment, I can tell you that it is an excellent match.

        -Dave

        --
        Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
        New Kensington, PA
      • B. Degnan
        ... I am very happy with my DSO Quad oscilloscope. Fits in your pocket, works. Bill
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          >
          > All,
          >
          > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
          > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
          > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
          > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
          > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
          > high as possible.
          >
          > My primary work will be (as expected for a member of this club) on
          > older gear, so extremely high frequency seems unimportant. I would
          > like to spend as little as is realistically possible (< $1000, for
          > sure). I'd also like a smaller scope, as I don't have a ton of room,
          > especially near my workbench. I am also involved in the building of
          > new SBCs, based on 1980s CPUs, which should be similar, in
          > requirement.
          >
          > I have a friend who wants a logic analyzer, and he suggested that we
          > go in together and get a MSO w/ logic analyzer. Is that a good idea?
          > It did seem to me that we could buy better equipment, if we shared.
          >
          > Any advice is gladly accepted.
          >


          I am very happy with my DSO Quad oscilloscope. Fits in your pocket,
          works.
          Bill
        • Dave
          ... What clock speed do you run the SBCs at. That probably defines your scope spec. If you want to investigate rise and falls on clocks then you need something
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            > [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of B. Degnan
            > Sent: 26 September 2012 23:27
            > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: re: [midatlanticretro] Looking for a DSO/MSO
            >
            >
            >
            > >
            > > All,
            > >
            > > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an
            > oscilloscope,
            > > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to
            > work out the
            > > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
            > > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get
            > at least a
            > > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate
            > should be as
            > > high as possible.
            > >
            > > My primary work will be (as expected for a member of this club) on
            > > older gear, so extremely high frequency seems unimportant. I would
            > > like to spend as little as is realistically possible (< $1000, for
            > > sure). I'd also like a smaller scope, as I don't have a
            > ton of room,
            > > especially near my workbench. I am also involved in the
            > building of
            > > new SBCs, based on 1980s CPUs, which should be similar, in
            > > requirement.
            > >

            What clock speed do you run the SBCs at. That probably defines your scope
            spec. If you want to investigate rise and falls on clocks then you need
            something that's got a frequency response that several times your clock
            speed, even if its just for display width. I think for work on SBCs up to
            say 16Mhz I would want a 30Mhz scope min, 60Mhz ideal.


            > > I have a friend who wants a logic analyzer, and he
            > suggested that we
            > > go in together and get a MSO w/ logic analyzer. Is that a
            > good idea?
            > > It did seem to me that we could buy better equipment, if we shared.
            > >
            > > Any advice is gladly accepted.
            > >
            >
            >
            > I am very happy with my DSO Quad oscilloscope. Fits in your pocket,
            > works.
            > Bill
            >

            I have a dual beam Cossor "5Mhz" (I think its actally usable to about 10) TV
            repair man scope and a Chinese dualbeam USB plug in for my PC, from this
            family below:-

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/120988427401

            I must agree with Dave M that the sampling effects on a DSO means it can
            mask interesting things about the display. I think if I was looking for a
            scope for general purpose I would pick up one from E-bay. I quite like the
            phillips like this:-

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/130427609614

            but it seems very expensive compared to the Tek....

            Dave Wade G4UGM
            Illegitimi Non Carborundum
          • Dave McGuire
            ... Philips makes (made?) top-notch test equipment. I ve used their scopes, they are excellent. My RLC bridge is a Philips. ... Yes, that scope is
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              On 09/26/2012 06:55 PM, Dave wrote:
              > I must agree with Dave M that the sampling effects on a DSO means it can
              > mask interesting things about the display. I think if I was looking for a
              > scope for general purpose I would pick up one from E-bay. I quite like the
              > phillips like this:-
              >
              > http://www.ebay.com/itm/130427609614

              Philips makes (made?) top-notch test equipment. I've used their
              scopes, they are excellent. My RLC bridge is a Philips.

              > but it seems very expensive compared to the Tek....

              Yes, that scope is overpriced.

              -Dave

              --
              Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
              New Kensington, PA
            • joshbensadon
              ... My 2 cents. I like that Philips scope and don t think $300 is too much (provided the scope has been certified recently). I guess these scopes are just so
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                >
                > On 09/26/2012 06:55 PM, Dave wrote:
                > > I must agree with Dave M that the sampling effects on a DSO means it can
                > > mask interesting things about the display. I think if I was looking for a
                > > scope for general purpose I would pick up one from E-bay. I quite like the
                > > phillips like this:-
                > >
                > > http://www.ebay.com/itm/130427609614
                >
                > Philips makes (made?) top-notch test equipment. I've used their
                > scopes, they are excellent. My RLC bridge is a Philips.
                >
                > > but it seems very expensive compared to the Tek....
                >
                > Yes, that scope is overpriced.
                >
                > -Dave
                >
                > --
                > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                > New Kensington, PA

                My 2 cents. I like that Philips scope and don't think $300 is too much (provided the scope has been certified recently).
                I guess these scopes are just so cheap today. When I bought my scope 18 years ago, you couldn't find anything decent for less than $1,000.

                Cheers,
                Josh
              • David Gesswein
                ... I bought a Rigol DS1052E oscilloscope and am reasonably happy with it. The screen update rate is slow and the operation has a few quirks but nothing really
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 06:15:29PM -0400, Dave McGuire wrote:
                  > On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                  > > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
                  > > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
                  > > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
                  > > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
                  > > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
                  > > high as possible.
                  > >
                  I bought a Rigol DS1052E oscilloscope and am reasonably happy with it.
                  The screen update rate is slow and the operation has a few quirks but
                  nothing really annoying. Since people figured out how to reprogram it to be
                  the 100 MHz model they reduced the 100 MHz model price so you may want to
                  look at it. With PDP-8's the 50 MHz is plenty. They also have 4 channel
                  version though the price is significantly more. The small screen with
                  low resolution wasn't that limiting on using it. The screen captures do
                  look poor viewed on a PC though you can capture the data and replot
                  at higher resolution with appropriate software.

                  > > I have a friend who wants a logic analyzer, and he suggested that we
                  > > go in together and get a MSO w/ logic analyzer. Is that a good idea?
                  > > It did seem to me that we could buy better equipment, if we shared.
                  > >
                  The only MSO I have used is a Tek 4000 series. Its probably out of your
                  budget (and mine, it was works). The logic analizer wasn't as good as a
                  standalone unit thought the integration was a benefit. With careful thought
                  on how to troubleshoot you normally can get away with a scope (especially
                  if you have more than 2 channels) though sometimes it's the right tool
                  and will save you a lot of effort.

                  > First, I would avoid a DSO initially. If you're a beginner, they can
                  > cause more problems than they solve. A DSO is a discrete-time sampling
                  > instrument, and one has to know a good bit about what one is doing to
                  > properly interpret their output. Contrary to popular (clueless) belief,
                  > and the marketing targeted at the people who whold that belief,
                  > "digital" oscilloscopes are NOT the "modern replacement" for analog
                  > oscilloscopes.
                  >
                  The slow screen update rate on the low end units can make finding
                  glitches harder unless you can actually trigger on them and the low end units
                  don't have the special display modes that help you see when the aliasing due
                  to the sampling rate is making the display misleading for example.

                  Also look at the sample rate vs bandwidth. For viewing single shot
                  events to really have the waveform look reasonable sample rate >5 times
                  bandwidth of signal is useful.

                  > That said...I would recommend an older, top-notch instrument over a
                  > newer, cheap instrument. With the exception of whiz-bang features which
                  > you'll rarely if ever use, the basic functionality of an oscilloscope
                  > has not changed since the 1940s...current ones don't really do anything
                  > different from instruments from, say, the 1960s.
                  >
                  I agree mostly with this. I have a Tek 547 which was my scope for
                  troubleshooting for a long time. Nice scope though large and old
                  enough that I do spend some time working on it. THe models listed are newer.
                  The big things you get with a DSO that you don't get with the older scopes
                  is being able to see pre trigger and persistance to easily see single shot
                  events. The last two are why I decided to buy a DSO to add to my test
                  equipment. A logic analizer would also cover this need. I did find a use
                  for the deep memory to capture the head waveform from a damaged disk so
                  I could decode the remaining data and used it as a curve tracer to show
                  the bad diode characteristics. http://www.pdp8online.com/straight8/pdp8.shtml

                  For the single shot their are ways to deal with it on the analog units
                  such as a camera and their were special storage tube scopes though the
                  tube life was poor.
                • joshbensadon
                  ... I will have to agree with Dave. I ve tried using a digital scope but I just couldn t figure out how to use it the way I wanted to. The screen would flash
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                    > > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,


                    I will have to agree with Dave. I've tried using a digital scope but I just couldn't figure out how to use it the way I wanted to. The screen would flash 100's of different shots, all were accurate but they happened too fast to be of any use. An analog scope would show all those images overlayed on top of each other, the more identical signals would create brighter traces, but it's the light traces that I pay attention to, as these are the pulses that are out of the norm ie of interest.

                    Cheers,
                    Josh
                  • Dave McGuire
                    ... There were two issues there. The first was exactly what you interpreted it to be...that s solved by higher-end oscilloscopes like the Tektronix DPO
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      On 09/26/2012 10:35 PM, joshbensadon wrote:
                      > I will have to agree with Dave. I've tried using a digital scope but
                      > I just couldn't figure out how to use it the way I wanted to. The
                      > screen would flash 100's of different shots, all were accurate but
                      > they happened too fast to be of any use. An analog scope would show
                      > all those images overlayed on top of each other, the more identical
                      > signals would create brighter traces, but it's the light traces that
                      > I pay attention to, as these are the pulses that are out of the norm
                      > ie of interest.

                      There were two issues there. The first was exactly what you
                      interpreted it to be...that's solved by higher-end oscilloscopes like
                      the Tektronix "DPO" ("Digital Phosphor Oscilloscope") family. They seek
                      to emulate the trace persistence behavior of an analog scope with
                      long-persistence phosphor CRT. The emulated persistence is adjustable
                      via a front-panel control. This works reasonably well. (I have a TDS3012)

                      The other issue is one of triggering. Scope trigger circuits are
                      nothing short of a black art. Some people think it's just a matter of
                      adjustable-threshold comparators...until they try to trigger stably on a
                      weird signal. Tektronix scopes have historically always had the best
                      triggering. So, as above, the answer is "buy a higher-end scope".
                      Incidentally, the triggering alone is why I don't bother with much other
                      than Tektronix scopes.

                      BUT...this is also illustrative of the point I made in my first reply
                      in this thread. Analog scopes handle point #1 above as a matter of
                      course, and higher-end, more expensive scopes handle point #2. Picking
                      up an older, analog, but very high-end scope solves the problem handily.
                      These were never "hobbyist" or "TV service" instruments...the 475, for
                      example, cost $2650 in 1975, which is the equivalent of about $11,500
                      today. You get what you pay for...but if you pick up a 475, you
                      get...what someone else paid for. ;)

                      Thanks to our culture's rather silly (but well-trained) idea that "if
                      it's old, it's bad, and if it's not new, it's old", THINKING people can
                      get the best test equipment ever built, timeless designs that will
                      likely only become truly "obsolete" about the same time as
                      semiconductors, for pennies on the dollar.

                      -Dave

                      --
                      Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                      New Kensington, PA
                    • Matt Patoray
                      I ll throw my $.02 in, I ll concur on getting a good name brand scope. I have a Tektronix 7854 with 500 mHz dual trace plug ins. It is a great scope, well
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 26, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        I'll throw my $.02 in, I'll concur on getting a good name brand scope. I have a Tektronix 7854 with 500 mHz dual trace plug ins. It is a great scope, well built all the way around. I would rather deal with age related issues on a quality scope then quality issues on a new scope.

                        If you have never used one there is a great 2 hour tutorial on YouTube from the NJARC.

                        Matt 

                        Sent from my iPhone

                        On Sep 26, 2012, at 10:35 PM, joshbensadon <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                         

                        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                        > > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,

                        I will have to agree with Dave. I've tried using a digital scope but I just couldn't figure out how to use it the way I wanted to. The screen would flash 100's of different shots, all were accurate but they happened too fast to be of any use. An analog scope would show all those images overlayed on top of each other, the more identical signals would create brighter traces, but it's the light traces that I pay attention to, as these are the pulses that are out of the norm ie of interest.

                        Cheers,
                        Josh

                      • Mike Loewen
                        ... A lot of us old pharts tend to favor hardware we ve worked with at past employers. I have a Tektronix 485 (dual-channel, 350MHz) scope and a HP 1650B
                        Message 11 of 18 , Sep 27, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:

                          > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
                          > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
                          > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
                          > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
                          > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
                          > high as possible.

                          A lot of us old pharts tend to favor hardware we've worked with at past
                          employers. I have a Tektronix 485 (dual-channel, 350MHz) scope and a HP
                          1650B logic analyzer (35MHz State Mode, 100MHz Timing Mode, 80 channels).
                          The biggest challenge in buying a used logic analyzer is finding the
                          cables, pods and grabbers. As has been mentioned, you can't go wrong with
                          Tektronix and HP.


                          Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                          Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                        • J. Alexander Jacocks
                          ... Thank you all very much for all this information! It is indeed well taken. I looked at the prices, and the functionality, last night, and I definitely
                          Message 12 of 18 , Sep 27, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            On Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 7:29 AM, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:

                            On 09/26/2012 05:44 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:

                            > So, after being told, for years, that I needed to get an oscilloscope,
                            > I find that I finally have a need for one, to continue to work out the
                            > power problems on my 68k Macs. My primary problem is that I know
                            > _nothing_ about scopes. I have been told that I should get at least a
                            > 100MHz scope, by various people, and that the sample rate should be as
                            > high as possible.

                            A lot of us old pharts tend to favor hardware we've worked with at past
                            employers. I have a Tektronix 485 (dual-channel, 350MHz) scope and a HP
                            1650B logic analyzer (35MHz State Mode, 100MHz Timing Mode, 80 channels).
                            The biggest challenge in buying a used logic analyzer is finding the
                            cables, pods and grabbers. As has been mentioned, you can't go wrong with
                            Tektronix and HP.

                            Thank you all very much for all this information!  It is indeed well taken.  I looked at the prices, and the functionality, last night, and I definitely see the point that several folks have made, about the reasons for choosing an older high-quality scope.

                            Do you know of older high-quality devices that are small?  Unfortunately, size really is an issue.  I live in a very small house, and my workbench is not all that much bigger than a Tek 485.  My workbench is located in a fairly small room, that is in a dormer, so the walls are angled, making it hard to stack vertically.

                            Is there such a thing as a small HP/Tek scope?  I truly can't store a traditionally-sized rackmount/desktop scope.

                            Thanks!
                            - Alex
                          • Mike Willegal
                            I ve managed to solve quite a few tough issues with an $80 scope... Check out the blog post on this topic that I posted a couple of years ago.
                            Message 13 of 18 , Sep 27, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I've managed to solve quite a few tough issues with an $80 scope...

                              Check out the blog post on this topic that I posted a couple of years ago.

                              http://www.willegal.net/blog/?p=952


                              Regards,
                              MIke Willegal
                            • J. Alexander Jacocks
                              So, I ve finally picked up a scope. Don t have it, yet, as it s an eBay purchase, but hopefully will, soon. I did take some of the advice given, here, and got
                              Message 14 of 18 , Dec 22, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                So, I've finally picked up a scope.  Don't have it, yet, as it's an eBay purchase, but hopefully will, soon.

                                I did take some of the advice given, here, and got an HP 54506 300 MHz scope.  The size looks to be about right, and it appears to be in good condition.  Now, I just have to hope that the delivery courier doesn't destroy it.

                                Dave suggested that I get Tektronix P6104 probes.  However, since I bought a 300 MHz scope, I assume that the equivalent probe would be the Tektronix P6131 probe?

                                Has anyone here used scopes like the one I bought?  I'm trying to download the manuals from Agilent, but they seem to be having issues with their documentation server.

                                Thanks!
                                - Alex
                              • Dave McGuire
                                ... I used a 54501 for a long time...a good bit earlier but the same basic flavor. This being a digital scope...be careful. Be absolutely certain that you
                                Message 15 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  On 12/22/2012 03:24 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                                  > So, I've finally picked up a scope. Don't have it, yet, as it's an eBay
                                  > purchase, but hopefully will, soon.
                                  >
                                  > I did take some of the advice given, here, and got an HP 54506 300 MHz
                                  > scope. The size looks to be about right, and it appears to be in good
                                  > condition. Now, I just have to hope that the delivery courier doesn't
                                  > destroy it.
                                  >
                                  > Dave suggested that I get Tektronix P6104 probes. However, since I
                                  > bought a 300 MHz scope, I assume that the equivalent probe would be
                                  > theTektronix P6131 probe?
                                  >
                                  > Has anyone here used scopes like the one I bought? I'm trying to
                                  > download the manuals from Agilent, but they seem to be having issues
                                  > with their documentation server.

                                  I used a 54501 for a long time...a good bit earlier but the same basic
                                  flavor.

                                  This being a digital scope...be careful. Be absolutely certain that
                                  you understand the Nyquist limit and aliasing! People will say "that's
                                  not a problem with modern scopes!" ...but in fact it is.

                                  I've gone over the specs; it should be a damn fine instrument.
                                  Congrats on the acquisition! Take the time to learn its capabilities
                                  and limitations, well beyond what you might think (and some might say)
                                  is "enough", and it will serve you well.

                                  -Dave

                                  --
                                  Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                                  New Kensington, PA
                                • J. Alexander Jacocks
                                  ... Thanks, Dave! I ended up buying 4 Agilent N2863a probes, again following your advice to get quality probes. I m trying to download the manuals for the
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 3:15 AM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    On 12/22/2012 03:24 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                                    > So, I've finally picked up a scope. Don't have it, yet, as it's an eBay
                                    > purchase, but hopefully will, soon.
                                    >
                                    > I did take some of the advice given, here, and got an HP 54506 300 MHz
                                    > scope. The size looks to be about right, and it appears to be in good
                                    > condition. Now, I just have to hope that the delivery courier doesn't
                                    > destroy it.
                                    >
                                    > Dave suggested that I get Tektronix P6104 probes. However, since I
                                    > bought a 300 MHz scope, I assume that the equivalent probe would be
                                    > theTektronix P6131 probe?

                                    >
                                    > Has anyone here used scopes like the one I bought? I'm trying to
                                    > download the manuals from Agilent, but they seem to be having issues
                                    > with their documentation server.

                                    I used a 54501 for a long time...a good bit earlier but the same basic
                                    flavor.

                                    This being a digital scope...be careful. Be absolutely certain that
                                    you understand the Nyquist limit and aliasing! People will say "that's
                                    not a problem with modern scopes!" ...but in fact it is.

                                    I've gone over the specs; it should be a damn fine instrument.
                                    Congrats on the acquisition! Take the time to learn its capabilities
                                    and limitations, well beyond what you might think (and some might say)
                                    is "enough", and it will serve you well.

                                    Thanks, Dave!

                                    I ended up buying 4 Agilent N2863a probes, again following your advice to get quality probes.  I'm trying to download the manuals for the scope, from Agilent (thank goodness they keep docs online for 20 year old equipment!), but their documentation service seems to be down for the holidays.  Oh well, since I had to get the probes from Malaysia, I probably won't be able to use the scope for a month or so.  That'll give me plenty of time to read the docs, before I use the scope.

                                    What do you think of the GPIB interface?  I know that you can use that to print from the scope, and it seems like it can be used to control the scope, but is it worth me trying to get a USB-GPIB interface?  The card based (PCI, and PCIe) interfaces are seriously expensive, so I'd rather not get those.  I'm also not sure what software (other than LabView, which is way beyond my price range) is capable of driving the scope, over GPIB.

                                    Thanks!
                                    - Alex

                                     
                                  • Dave McGuire
                                    ... Excellent. ... Yes, they re great about that. What s even better is they ve been scanning paper-only manuals and are supplying, free of charge, scanned
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      On 12/26/2012 02:18 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                                      > I ended up buying 4 Agilent N2863a probes, again following your advice
                                      > to get quality probes.

                                      Excellent.

                                      > I'm trying to download the manuals for the
                                      > scope, from Agilent (thank goodness they keep docs online for 20 year
                                      > old equipment!),

                                      Yes, they're great about that. What's even better is they've been
                                      scanning paper-only manuals and are supplying, free of charge, scanned
                                      docs of FIFTY year old equipment. Very nice!

                                      > but their documentation service seems to be down for
                                      > the holidays. Oh well, since I had to get the probes from Malaysia, I
                                      > probably won't be able to use the scope for a month or so. That'll give
                                      > me plenty of time to read the docs, before I use the scope.

                                      Weird; I've never seen their doc system go down.

                                      > What do you think of the GPIB interface? I know that you can use that
                                      > to print from the scope, and it seems like it can be used to control the
                                      > scope, but is it worth me trying to get a USB-GPIB interface? The card
                                      > based (PCI, and PCIe) interfaces are seriously expensive, so I'd rather
                                      > not get those. I'm also not sure what software (other than LabView,
                                      > which is way beyond my price range) is capable of driving the scope,
                                      > over GPIB.

                                      GPIB is very handy. If you want to drop some coin and do a LOT of
                                      cool stuff, get one of the Prologix GPIB<->Ethernet adapters. Screw
                                      USB...with Ethernet, you can control your equipment from across the room
                                      or from a hotel room in Albuquerque!

                                      With that, you can do basic stuff (managing settins, pulling out
                                      digitized waveforms, etc) with just some simple scripting. I'll talk to
                                      you offline about other software possibilities.

                                      -Dave

                                      --
                                      Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                                      New Kensington, PA
                                    • J. Alexander Jacocks
                                      ... To conduct a bit of thread necromancy, I just got another scope, that I couldn t resist buying, because it was really cheap. I picked up a Tektronix TDS380
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Apr 20, 2014
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                                         

                                        On 12/26/2012 02:18 PM, J. Alexander Jacocks wrote:
                                        > I ended up buying 4 Agilent N2863a probes, again following your advice
                                        > to get quality probes.

                                        Excellent.


                                        > I'm trying to download the manuals for the
                                        > scope, from Agilent (thank goodness they keep docs online for 20 year
                                        > old equipment!),

                                        Yes, they're great about that. What's even better is they've been
                                        scanning paper-only manuals and are supplying, free of charge, scanned
                                        docs of FIFTY year old equipment. Very nice!


                                        > but their documentation service seems to be down for
                                        > the holidays. Oh well, since I had to get the probes from Malaysia, I
                                        > probably won't be able to use the scope for a month or so. That'll give
                                        > me plenty of time to read the docs, before I use the scope.

                                        Weird; I've never seen their doc system go down.


                                        > What do you think of the GPIB interface? I know that you can use that
                                        > to print from the scope, and it seems like it can be used to control the
                                        > scope, but is it worth me trying to get a USB-GPIB interface? The card
                                        > based (PCI, and PCIe) interfaces are seriously expensive, so I'd rather
                                        > not get those. I'm also not sure what software (other than LabView,
                                        > which is way beyond my price range) is capable of driving the scope,
                                        > over GPIB.

                                        GPIB is very handy. If you want to drop some coin and do a LOT of
                                        cool stuff, get one of the Prologix GPIB<->Ethernet adapters. Screw
                                        USB...with Ethernet, you can control your equipment from across the room
                                        or from a hotel room in Albuquerque!

                                        With that, you can do basic stuff (managing settins, pulling out
                                        digitized waveforms, etc) with just some simple scripting. I'll talk to
                                        you offline about other software possibilities.

                                        To conduct a bit of thread necromancy, I just got another scope, that I couldn't resist buying, because it was really cheap.

                                        I picked up a Tektronix TDS380 2 channel 400 MHz 2GSa/sec, with 2 Tek P6114B probes.  It's in beautiful shape, and has a recent calibration, which was why it caught my eye.

                                        However, it doesn't have GPIB, though it has room for the option.  Does anyone have a GPIB option 14 interface that they'd like to part with?

                                        Thanks!
                                        - Alex 
                                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.