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Re: [midatlanticretro] Looking for a DSO/MSO

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  • 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 1 of 18 , Sep 27, 2012
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      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 2 of 18 , Sep 27, 2012
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        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 3 of 18 , Dec 22, 2012
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          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 4 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
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            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 5 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
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              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 6 of 18 , Dec 26, 2012
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                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 7 of 18 , Apr 20, 2014
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                  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 
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