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'[PIC:] or [EE:] O Scope Blues...'
2003\11\24@125816 by Tim Hart

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I have a little Dilemma....  The task of finding a Oscilloscope!

First off...I don't have wads of cash to spend on this and I'm very new at electronics in general.  
I'm going to be looking at Real Time data maybe some AC and One shot serial or IC2 transmissions.  Right now I need to debug some Serial transmissions but it would also serve as a learning tool...:)  I'm not sure if an Analog scope can cover those transient events.  I know it can handle sine waves and the like....but two channel sends and receives....I'm not so sure.  So a Storage Scope seems appropriate for those.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I don't totally understand that "Trigger"...

I'm a Network Tech by day so having a Computer do the work seems very natural for me.  So I went searching for USB devices....

OptaScope is not bad....the price seems fair for 1 M/s.  No AC and DC is limited also...it would be nice to double check power supplies...
http://www.optascope.com/
And it might cover me for the Serial and IC2 data.  But at PIC clock speeds it's going to start to break down...I can't double check the 4 MHZ clock with this....it's just assumed to be working.  And I can't measure the delay of an output pulse at that speed either.  Still a contender for the money.  
The next contender is the BitScope...
http://www.bitscope.com/
No way with my current level of electronics could I assemble it...so I'd have to buy the assembled kit.  It's more then I really have to spend for one but I'd be willing to save up for one if I knew it would be a well worth it.  The part about the "BS300 includes compensation for this convertor to achieve 100 MHZ bandwidth throughout." is a bit confusing.  But hey...even 50Mhz should cover me...  Overall I'm very impressed with it.

Ebay has many analog scopes....but few Digital Storage ones.  I'm also not really 100% sure I want to go that route...I wouldn't know how to fix anything if it had issues.  The idea of Used being cheaper doesn't seem to apply to Oscilloscopes...:(  
In the Astronomy world we have "AstroMart"...the equipment goes for less because we are all amateur astronomers and we support one another.  Do we have something like that for Electronics?

Also under consideration are handheld scopes.  But not much for storage on those.  Gameboy and Palm Scopes are a joke...they cost more then "Real" Handheld scopes...!  And no PC....I have PC's all over the place....1.5 Gig should be able to run fine!!

Now to me it seems PCI cards would offer the best price.  You don't need ram...you can dump it into system RAM!  The processing could be done by the 1.5 Gig CPU.  So I went looking....GAGE has some nice cards.  But at $6,000 it's way out of my dream range!  My car was less then that!!!  And to top it off...you have to buy the software too!!!

Sound cards can't measure DC very well and with very little Hz....might be a waste of time..

So that leaves me wondering....what should I look for now.  Are these the only options?  Maybe I've missed something?  So that brings me here...to where the great minds gather!  An ideas?  My ideal price range is $200....but I could save up if I had to....:)

And last but not least....you may have noticed some "Paralysis by Analysis"...unfortunately I suffer a bit of that :)

Thanks in advance!
Tim

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2003\11\24@130714 by Alan B. Pearce

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>In the Astronomy world we have "AstroMart"...the equipment
>goes for less because we are all amateur astronomers and we
>support one another.
>Do we have something like that for Electronics?

Well for the equivalent in the electronics world look out for a "hamfest" of
some sort in your region. You don't say where you are, but a location may
allow someone local to you to point you at a suitable location. Failing that
your local civil defence may be able to assist you in contacting some Radio
Hams to find out about a bring and buy.

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2003\11\24@132337 by John J. McDonough

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Keep in mind that you need at least 2, preferably 10 times the highest
frequency of any signal you plan to look at, if you care at all about seeing
the shape.  Remember your old buddy Fourier ... if you put a theoretical 1
MHz scope on a 1 MHz square wave you will see a sine wave of something less
than the square wave's amplitude.  A real scope isn't quite that bad,
typically they fall off 3dB per octave, but you still won't see anything
like a square wave.

There's a bit of a price jump going from 60 MHz to 100 MHz, and a pretty big
jump going beyond, so most experimenters make do with a 100 MHz scope.
Unless you do a bit of VHF work, that usually makes a nice comprimise,
although I am surprised at the number of hobbyists lately who are sporting
500 MHz scopes.

Probably the most popular hobbyist scope is the Tektronix 465, which is a
dual channel, 100 MHz scope.  These can be gotten on eBay for around $300,
quite a bit less with patience.  I looked for someone else a few weeks ago
and saw a couple go for your $200 figure, but that takes a bit of luck.  The
475 is a 200 MHz version of the same scope and often they don't cost an
awful lot more.

I would urge you to visit eBay for a while, search for the kinds of things
you are interested in, and look at "Completed Auctions".  This gives you a
good feel for the sort of range these things sell for.  Even if you don't
buy it on eBay (a lot of people don't like the whole model), you will at
least be prepared with real world data on how low some sellers will go, and
how high some of your competitors might go, and what are the things that
affect the price (manual, probes, condition, accessories ...).

If you do decide to pursue a scope on eBay, keep in mind that it costs you
nothing to bid.  Bid only what you are willing to spend for the particular
item, and if you don't win it, so what?  I probably lost two dozen before I
came up with my scope, and I'm tickled to death with it - can't imagine how
I lived without it.  Just be patient and keep after it until you find the
right auction.  Don't get suckered into paying more than you think is fair.

Also keep in mind that you will need probes, and they have frequency
responses too.  Fortunately, they are a lot cheaper than scopes and there
are about a million of them out there for sale.

72/73 de WB8RCR    http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr
didileydadidah     QRP-L #1446 Code Warriors #35



----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 12:57 PM
Subject: [PIC:] or [EE:] O Scope Blues...


I have a little Dilemma....  The task of finding a Oscilloscope!

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2003\11\24@132339 by Kevin M., W8VOS

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Tim,
If you are looking for an O'Scope I would suggest a local hamfest.  You
can find local hamfests by searching on the ARRL website
http://www.arrl.org. Click on the .Hamfests link in the header and
search for your area.
If you are not sure which scope to buy, or how much it will cost check
the qrp-l archives.  Occasionally there is a discussion on the QRP-L
reflector about O'Scopes.  You can search the archives at:
http://qrp.lehigh.edu/lists/qrp-l/.

Hope this helps.
73/72 - Kevin, W8VOS

{Original Message removed}

2003\11\24@132341 by Charles Craft

picon face
www.arrl.org/hamfests.html

-----Original Message-----
From: "Alan B. Pearce" <spam_OUTA.B.PearceTakeThisOuTspamRL.AC.UK>
Sent: Nov 24, 2003 12:05 PM
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [PIC:] or [EE:] O Scope Blues...

>In the Astronomy world we have "AstroMart"...the equipment
>goes for less because we are all amateur astronomers and we
>support one another.
>Do we have something like that for Electronics?

Well for the equivalent in the electronics world look out for a "hamfest" of
some sort in your region.

<snip>

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2003\11\24@132343 by Tim Hart

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I've heard of these....I'm about an hour north of Memphis TN...on the AR side.  A quick google Search and it looks like February 14th 2004 they have one down in Memphis!  
They even give GPS directions!!
"
DixieFest is located at: 35.07.25 N 89.58.84 W
"

Thanks for the tip!!!

I'll have to start saving now....:)

Tim

>>> A.B.PearcespamKILLspamRL.AC.UK 11/24/03 12:05PM >>>
>In the Astronomy world we have "AstroMart"...the equipment
>goes for less because we are all amateur astronomers and we
>support one another.
>Do we have something like that for Electronics?

Well for the equivalent in the electronics world look out for a "hamfest" of
some sort in your region. You don't say where you are, but a location may
allow someone local to you to point you at a suitable location. Failing that
your local civil defence may be able to assist you in contacting some Radio
Hams to find out about a bring and buy.

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2003\11\24@132548 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 1:05 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC:] or [EE:] O Scope Blues...


> Well for the equivalent in the electronics world look out for a "hamfest"
of
> some sort in your region.

If you go to http://www.arrl.org/hmafests.html you can search for hamfests
near you.  These will only be ARRL events, which are not necessarily the
largest, but at least it will get you some leads.

72/73 de WB8RCR    http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr
didileydadidah     QRP-L #1446 Code Warriors #35

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2003\11\24@140319 by Tim Hart

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Thanks for the great info!!  I'll see if I can download the Manual for that Tektronix 465....:)

I've done quite a bit with Ebay before...but only in fields I'm comfortable in.  I know PC's and such...so I know what they are worth.  I guess I need to do the research and find what O'scope goes for what.

So if I get a 100 MHZ Analog scope and I need to watch a transaction on the Serial TX/RX line of my Serial port....I can do that?  Do I set up a trigger and the scope will record it's screen worth and quit?  How does that work?

Thanks,
Tim

>>> .....wb8rcrKILLspamspam.....ARRL.NET 11/24/03 12:21PM >>>
Keep in mind that you need at least 2, preferably 10 times the highest
frequency of any signal you plan to look at, if you care at all about seeing
the shape.  Remember your old buddy Fourier ... if you put a theoretical 1
MHz scope on a 1 MHz square wave you will see a sine wave of something less
than the square wave's amplitude.  A real scope isn't quite that bad,
typically they fall off 3dB per octave, but you still won't see anything
like a square wave.

There's a bit of a price jump going from 60 MHz to 100 MHz, and a pretty big
jump going beyond, so most experimenters make do with a 100 MHz scope.
Unless you do a bit of VHF work, that usually makes a nice comprimise,
although I am surprised at the number of hobbyists lately who are sporting
500 MHz scopes.

Probably the most popular hobbyist scope is the Tektronix 465, which is a
dual channel, 100 MHz scope.  These can be gotten on eBay for around $300,
quite a bit less with patience.  I looked for someone else a few weeks ago
and saw a couple go for your $200 figure, but that takes a bit of luck.  The
475 is a 200 MHz version of the same scope and often they don't cost an
awful lot more.

I would urge you to visit eBay for a while, search for the kinds of things
you are interested in, and look at "Completed Auctions".  This gives you a
good feel for the sort of range these things sell for.  Even if you don't
buy it on eBay (a lot of people don't like the whole model), you will at
least be prepared with real world data on how low some sellers will go, and
how high some of your competitors might go, and what are the things that
affect the price (manual, probes, condition, accessories ...).

If you do decide to pursue a scope on eBay, keep in mind that it costs you
nothing to bid.  Bid only what you are willing to spend for the particular
item, and if you don't win it, so what?  I probably lost two dozen before I
came up with my scope, and I'm tickled to death with it - can't imagine how
I lived without it.  Just be patient and keep after it until you find the
right auction.  Don't get suckered into paying more than you think is fair.

Also keep in mind that you will need probes, and they have frequency
responses too.  Fortunately, they are a lot cheaper than scopes and there
are about a million of them out there for sale.

72/73 de WB8RCR    http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr didileydadidah     QRP-L #1446 Code Warriors #35



----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 12:57 PM
Subject: [PIC:] or [EE:] O Scope Blues...


I have a little Dilemma....  The task of finding a Oscilloscope!

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2003\11\24@140807 by Olin Lathrop

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Tim Hart wrote:
> The idea of Used being cheaper
> doesn't seem to apply to Oscilloscopes...:(

It sure does.  You must be looking in the wrong places.

> My ideal price
> range is $200....but I could save up if I had to....:)

You should be able to get a low end used scope in reasonable condition for
that.  I got a used Tek 465 (basic workhorse, nothing fancy) for about that
a few years ago.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2003\11\24@142843 by David VanHorn

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>
>>>> EraseMEwb8rcrspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTARRL.NET 11/24/03 12:21PM >>>
>Keep in mind that you need at least 2, preferably 10 times the highest
>frequency of any signal you plan to look at, if you care at all about seeing
>the shape.  Remember your old buddy Fourier ... if you put a theoretical 1
>MHz scope on a 1 MHz square wave you will see a sine wave of something less
>than the square wave's amplitude.  A real scope isn't quite that bad,
>typically they fall off 3dB per octave, but you still won't see anything
>like a square wave.

Also, the rise and fall times of that square wave, will be rather less than square!

A 100 MHz scope is pretty much required to see anything in this range accurately.

My scope is my main tool, second only to my PC.  Spend till it hurts :)
Hamfests are your friend.

Digital storage is really, really handy!


Lately, I've fallen in love with my PMD-1208LS from measurement computing.
It's a USB pod that gives me four differential, or eight single-ended analog inputs, and two banks of eight digital inputs or outputs (I/O programmable per bank) and two analog outputs, plus a 32 bit counter.

I drive it with a visual basic front end, and I'm using it to help develop my AVR based battery charger code.

The Tek DSO isn't well suited to displaying events that take two hours to happen, and I use it for grabbing diagnostic output on a single spare pin, from a routine called "pong" which sends a byte in the form of wide and narrow pulses. 0xA5 would be WNWNNWNW  Very handy, but only with a DSO to catch it!

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2003\11\24@142844 by Tim Hart

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I think I found a good used resource....
http://www.eham.net/
Has classified ad's...they have many scopes for about what I have to spend.

Still not sure about that Serial Data Capture I'm needing to do....can an Analog scope do that??

Thanks,
Tim

>>> olin_piclistspamspam_OUTEMBEDINC.COM 11/24/03 01:08PM >>>
Tim Hart wrote:
> The idea of Used being cheaper
> doesn't seem to apply to Oscilloscopes...:(

It sure does.  You must be looking in the wrong places.

> My ideal price
> range is $200....but I could save up if I had to....:)

You should be able to get a low end used scope in reasonable condition for
that.  I got a used Tek 465 (basic workhorse, nothing fancy) for about that
a few years ago.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
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2003\11\24@143302 by

picon face
You havn't thought of a plain RS232 serial line listener ?

Jan-Erik.

Tim Hart wrote:
> Still not sure about that Serial Data Capture I'm needing to do
> ....can an Analog scope do that??

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2003\11\24@143716 by Tim Hart

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Well...some of the data is RS232....the other side of the Max233a is TTL....  Right now I can't tell what's going on!!!  
>>> @spam@jan-erik.xa.soderholmKILLspamspamERICSSON.COM 11/24/03 01:31PM >>>
You havn't thought of a plain RS232 serial line listener ?

Jan-Erik.

Tim Hart wrote:
> Still not sure about that Serial Data Capture I'm needing to do
> ....can an Analog scope do that??

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2003\11\24@144523 by Richie Allen
picon face
I picked up a Tek 465 at a hamfest last summer, replacing an ancient vacuum
tube monster Tek.  Paid $120, a real bargain.  It was without probes,
probably would have paid more had it come with two decent probes.

I would encourage you to check out the hamfests - many bargains on test
equipment can be had there, but have some idea of what you want before you
set out.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Hart" <KILLspamTim.HartKILLspamspamHAWORTH.COM>


I have a little Dilemma....  The task of finding a Oscilloscope!

First off...I don't have wads of cash to spend on this and I'm very new at
electronics in general.

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2003\11\24@144733 by

picon face
I see...

Anyway, I got me an HP 54602A (4 chan, 150Mhz, DSO, "nice") scope
a while back. Payed 350 EUR. Works great.

Jan-Erik.

{Original Message removed}

2003\11\24@181345 by James Nick Sears

picon face
I have a Tek 465 that I got a few years back on Ebay (it is apparently a US
Air Force surplus).  It does the job for around $200 and still works mostly
fine (probably needs some contact cleaner more than anything).  On the other
end, I used a couple of brand new top of the line (or close) Teks with a
whole line of different current and differential voltage probes for a
semester a couple of years ago at school working on a switching bass amp for
senior design and you can consider me permanently spoiled.  I don't think
we'd have gotten it working with a 465.  But then again I'd have to sell my
car just to make a down payment on the thing.  I gotta find a job with a
company that's got the good stuff.

As far as I got with my 465 getting the USART on a PIC talking to my PC was
seeing if there was a signal present, min/max levels, etc.  Certainly I
couldn't have decoded the signal to ascii or anything (unless it was
periodic, like sending "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa", then
maybe).  But ultimately it was good enough to get everything working using
the PC terminal as a debugging tool.

Bottom line:  You'll probably get by for quite awhile with an analog but
you'll probably also find yourself frequently wishing you had more.  Guess
that's life on a budget, eh?

Nick

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2003\11\26@203657 by amg amg

picon face
Sort of changing the thread...

Anybody ever used one of those Fluke Scopemeters?

Like this one here:
cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2576199572&category=45
014

Looks nice and portable, but is it any good?

amg

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2003\11\26@211641 by Stephen D. Barnes

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> Sort of changing the thread...
>
> Anybody ever used one of those Fluke Scopemeters?
>
> Like this one here:
> cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2576199572&category=45
> 014
>
> Looks nice and portable, but is it any good?
>
> amg


Yep! They are nice scopes. The only gripe I have against them is the display update. If
you are used to a CRO (cathode ray oscilloscope), the display on these may seem a little
strange. I do not mean that the display is not good. I mean that a CRO scans the beam
across the tube at the rate of the horizontal timebase where the LCD display on the Fluke
has a set update time (for display). The scopemeter captures signals accurately and
faithfully and is a great portable device.

Regards,
Stephen D. Barnes

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