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'[EE]: Scope Recommendation'
2001\08\29@172423 by Sean Breheny

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Hi all,

The head of the research group I work in at Cornell asked me to select
some scopes for us. We have a good relationship with Agilent, so we may
be able to get some kind of a deal from them. We are probably willing to
go as high as $5k, although I'd appreciate suggestions even higher or
lower than this. What would you recommend? Ideally, I'd like to select
the best digital scope AND the best analog scope I could, although I
realize that analog scopes are becoming rarer. What about the new
mixed-mode scopes (MSO in Agilent/HP parlance and DRO in Tek speak)? Are
they as good as/ better than separate DSO and analog scopes?

As for what we would use them for, we do all kinds of work, such as motor
control, microcontroller circuits, DSP, a little RF. Pretty much the
gamut of stuff which gets discussed on the list (we are officially a
dynamics and control group, working mostly on autonomous vehicles).

Thanks,

Sean

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2001\08\29@175328 by Andrew E. Kalman

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Re:
>  (we are officially a
>dynamics and control group, working mostly on autonomous vehicles).

If this means that you might want a portable scope, I'd have to say
I've been very happy with the Tek THS700 series. WAY better than any
of those "ScopeMeters", and pretty darn good in its own right.  My
only real complaint would be that it doesn't have quite the versatile
triggering options of bigger bench scopes.

I like HP/Agilent equipment, but I've never been crazy about their O-scopes.

Regards,
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2001\08\29@180345 by Andy Meng

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Hello,

I have had good experience lately with the HP/Agilent Mixed-Signal
"MegaZoom" scope (not sure of the model number). It has 16 digital input
channels and 2 analog input channels. The menus and user interface seemed
nicely set up (I have mainly used analog scopes in the past). I think that
the price falls in the range you mentioned.

Hope this helps,
Andy Meng
Ham Radio: N8MX
http://www.qsl.net/n8mx
{Original Message removed}

2001\08\29@185205 by Ian Jordan

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I work for Agilent (not in scopes), so I'll try to leave any opinions out of
this, and just add to what Andy said on a factual basis.

The 'scope series Andy is talking about is the 54620 series of MSO scopes.
They come in 60 or 100 MHz versions, with various channel configs.

They range in list price from $2.5K to $5K, however, they are currently 50%
off for educational customers, fitting your price range nicely.

More info here:
www.tm.agilent.com/classes/MasterServlet?view=productgroup_2&pgr-Item
ID=1000001806&language=eng&locale=US

--Ian Jordan

{Original Message removed}

2001\08\29@215637 by John Hansen

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I do not  work for Agilent, but I'm a faculty member at the State Univ of
New York.  I recently managed to talk my univ into buying one of the scopes
described below for me.  I love it.  The one I got was the 100 MHz mixed
signal unit.  It does have a pretty impressive memory depth and you can pan
and zoom the trace when it is captured.  It also has the ability to display
both the entire trace and a zoomed view of the trace on the screen at the
same time, so it's really clear which section you are zooming on.  Why they
misnamed this "delayed sweep" though, I can't figure out.  It also has a
serial port that allows you to transmit the scope image directly into a
word or excel document.  I expect to be able to use this to make
transparencies of images to show in class.  This feature comes
standard.  It also has a floppy drive for saving configuration information,
etc.

The triggering features on it are pretty amazing.  For example, in
analyzing an I2C signal, you can actually have it trigger on a specific
data value.

All of this may be common on other scopes for all I know.... I've never had
a really good one before.  But coming from a world where all I had was a
junky analog scope, I was pretty amazed at what was available.  Not bad at
$2500.

The one reservation I have is that it is a monochrome screen.  It would be
nicer (though undoubted more expensive) in color.

John Hansen
Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology
State University of New York College at Fredonia



At 03:54 PM 8/29/01 -0700, Ian Jordan wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>{Original Message removed}

2001\08\29@221247 by Barry Gershenfeld

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>It also has the ability to display
>both the entire trace and a zoomed view of the trace on the screen at the
>same time, so it's really clear which section you are zooming on.  Why they
>misnamed this "delayed sweep" though, I can't figure out.

>I've never had a really good one before.

There you go.  The "really good" analog scopes have a feature
where you can wait through part of the triggered waveform and
then fire off the second trace running at a faster sweep
to "expand" the view of a piece of the upper trace.  While
the second trace is running it highlights that portion of
the upper trace.

Thus the name "delayed sweep".  Now being done digitally
and all that, and called "zoom".  But you wouldn't know
unless you'd seen one before.

Barry

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2001\08\29@222329 by Jim

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   "It also has the ability to display both the
    entire trace and a zoomed view of the
    trace on the screen at the same time, so
    it's really clear which section you are
    zooming on.  Why they misnamed this
    "delayed sweep" though, I can't figure out."

The 'old' analog scopes had this feature - and it truly
was a "delayed sweep" since there exists no memory
from which to pull data from and allow an 'expansion'
of  an area of interest. Instead, the earlier scopes
employed an actual 'delayed sweep' of the beam
across the CRT.

With today's modern scope, this appears to be a
historic term held over - probably 'cause all the
folks in industry are familiar with the concept.

Jim


{Original Message removed}

2001\08\30@042636 by Ron Wilder

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I personally own one of the Agilent 54622D O'scopes!  It's great for PIC work.
I highly recommend it.
Ron Wilder

Jim wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2001\08\30@082109 by Alan B. Pearce

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While there has been a fair few recommendations for the Agilent models, I
have a Tek TDS3000 series that I really like, but it is a DSO, not a mixed
mode unit. Highly portable, large colour screen, and a number of interface
options for remote control/download, including 10/100 Ethernet. If you get
the 4 channel version then you get the FFT and Trigger modules thrown in as
well, but you do away with a dedicated external trigger input. Can be run
from battery, but if not using a battery then there is a tray for probes and
power cord to occupy the same space. Mine cost GBP5k for a 300MHz 4 channel
version, which would work out to something horrendous in US$, but then the
UK is not known as "Rip Off Britain" for nothing (taxes and duties knobble
everything).

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2001\08\30@090709 by Scott Newell

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>While there has been a fair few recommendations for the Agilent models, I
>have a Tek TDS3000 series that I really like, but it is a DSO, not a mixed

I'm using a TDS3014 (100 MHz, 4 channel) at work.  Love it.  It's not quite
a true analog scope replacement, but it's the closest I've seen yet--even
has an intensity knob!  Too bad the manuals suck hard (no schematics,
theory of operation, cal, or service info at all).


newell

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2001\08\30@092125 by Lawrence Lile

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These big iron HP/Agilient scopes would be my choice given the budget.  When
I've discussed it with my boss he has responded with a chilling silence.

Has anyone had any luck with the PC based scopes that sit outside in a box
and use the PC's screen and horsepower?  Are they just toys?

--Lawrence Lile
Limping along with a 1970's era TEK 2 channel scope that just won't die.

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2001\08\30@105012 by John Ferrell

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These new digital scopes must really be good. I assume that is what is
responsible for putting the number of really great analog Tektronix scopes
on Ebay. I have acquired enough of them to worry my wife. It seems like
there is a never ending supply of 475A's at $300. It is a 250mhz scope with
delayed sweep.

Please keep buying the latest and greatest for commercial/academic use. It
really helps at the bottom of the chain!

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"



{Original Message removed}

2001\08\30@221049 by Sean Breheny

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Hi all,

Thanks for the scope recommendations, I'll check them out.

I am curious about something, though. I have an old analog scope myself
(Tek 7704A) and it has the ability to "zoom" in on a portion of the
trace. However, I didn't think that was called "delayed sweep". What does
delaying have to do with zooming in? It seems to me as though it just has
to change the sweep rate during a part of the sweep in order to cause the
zoom.

Sean


On Wed, 29 Aug 2001, Barry Gershenfeld wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2001\08\30@230108 by Jim

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  "... it has the ability to "zoom" in on a portion of the
   trace."

Perhaps you are talking about "magnification" (X10 MAG)?

- where the x-axis drive to the CRT is simply multiplied
by a factor (usually 10) and the horizontal position control
is then used to position that portion of the waveform desired
for viewing on the visible portion of the screen?

    "It seems to me as though it just has
     to change the sweep rate during a
     part of the sweep in order to cause the
     zoom."

This would have been a pretty good trick to have
pulled off - if *only* TEK could have maintained a
linear sawtooth (used to drive the x-axis scope
plates) *while* also segmenting that original sawtooth
with a *secondary sawtooth* whose time and rate
was a precise fraction of the original ... very tough
to do with strictly analog circuits - *easy* to do
digitially ...

They *did* use two different sweep rates (and corresponding
sawtooth waveforms applied to the X-axis plates) in the
'delayed sweep' circuits - but the two traces were either
'chopped' or 'alternated' with the other "main" sweep.

Did I make any sense with the above? It's late - and I may not
have been very clear ...

Jim


{Original Message removed}

2001\08\31@120723 by Peter L. Peres

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> Has anyone had any luck with the PC based scopes that sit outside in a
> box and use the PC's screen and horsepower?  Are they just toys?

There are some better ones and there are some toys. I have used a 2 x
40MHz one and it was as good as the software (windows). I do not like that
the scope box is tied to the PC chassis and that to GND. Sometimes I need
to float the scope chassis and I can't do that with the PC scope. Also
conducted noise from the monitor and from the PC (and from the scope) will
get into everything and make spectrum analysis and other finer
measurements difficult. With an analog scope I just turn it off if I
suspect that it makes 'that' spike. With the PC you can't do that. If your
circuit fails in some evil way and sends a good current spike or some RF
power through the ground it can kill the PC or at least crash it.

I stay with analog scopes. I'd like one of the better handheld digital
scopes though, they seem to be usefull for field and mobile (in the lab
etc) work.

Peter

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2001\08\31@120729 by Peter L. Peres

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> zoom

On my scope it's a double timebase. A second (third) trace appears that
shows an enlarged part of the CH1. This has a second timebase switch and a
fine delay adjust with a 10-turn pot. You can view a single TV selected
line or a particular part of a switching pulse etc with this. The portion
in the original CH1 trace that is being zoomed is highlighted (trace is
brighter there). The Y gain setting is the same as for CH1 and there is an
offset button to separate the two traces conveniently.

The effect is obtained by using the CH1 trigger pulse to start a delay
(adjusted by the 10-turn pot). When that expires the 2nd trace is released
and scans with a speed set by the 2nd timebase switch. Thus you have a
zoomed in portion on the CH1 signal and you can set its width and position
separately.

Peter

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2001\08\31@123414 by Scott Newell

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>The effect is obtained by using the CH1 trigger pulse to start a delay
>(adjusted by the 10-turn pot). When that expires the 2nd trace is released
>and scans with a speed set by the 2nd timebase switch. Thus you have a
>zoomed in portion on the CH1 signal and you can set its width and position
>separately.

Exactly.  Note, however, there are a very few true dual beam (CRT has two
guns) analog scopes around that can show a single shot event at two
different sweep rates.  My Tek 556 is built this way--it's a blast to use!


newell

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