USB "Scope" Recommendation?

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#1
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Greetings -

 

I'd like to purchase one of the small USB oscilloscopes, but have no idea what out there is "good".

 

I am hoping for fully USB powered (no extra supply), at least two input channels, bandwidth of a few MHz is good enough. Ability to set gain and offset/vertical position of each input is desirable. Ability to choose a trigger channel and to choose trigger level and slope is also desirable (but having auto trigger option can also be very helpful). Display software that will work on Linux and MacOS is important. 

 

There are a few other things that are in the nice-to-have category but these a close to the minimum acceptable set. I already have a salaea logic8 with analog display capability but gain setting is very rudimentary and there is, as far as I can tell, almost no control over the rest.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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There is this:

https://www.adafruit.com/product...

 

THese folks are right in your state:

https://vetco.net/products/usb-o...

 

Interesting article:

http://www.eetimes.com/document....

 

Torby has one of these:

https://analogdiscovery.com/?gcl...

 

JIm

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Try something like 

https://www.seeedstudio.com/s/DS...

for a selection of small USB scopes, with a range of price/performance.

If those are not enough, there is always RedPitaya, or a more conventional form factor for more money... from Hantek or Uni-T etc

 

On the conventional LCD scopes, the trend is to 7" displays and better ones have at least 800 x 480 LCDs 

 

Last Edited: Tue. Dec 20, 2016 - 09:17 PM
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Thanks -

 

Thats a good starter. The AdaFruit one is interesting but a little bit more than I was looking for. AdaFruit does have some smaller ones, I discovered, that are a lot closer.

 

So, I am still open to recommendations, especially from folks who are actually using something.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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ka7ehk wrote:
So, I am still open to recommendations, especially from folks who are actually using something.

Might want to ping Torby regarding the Analog Discovery unit he has.  THat also has function generators and other goodies so its a test bench in a little cube.

 

JIm

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Jim,

 

I recently went down this road because I needed a scope that I could haul around with me easily.  I ended up with this:

 

http://www.tequipment.net/Pico/2...

 

Before anyone loses it about the price, part of the reason I went with this is because it is as capable as a desktop scope and well supported with good software and a 5 year warranty.  This model is 70 Mhz and has 1 GSa/s sample rate.

 

I've in the middle of working on a review to post about this, but it is still unfinished at this point.

 

You can download their software at - it has a demo mode so you can see how it works even without an attached unit:

 

https://www.picotech.com/downloads

 

Use the PicoScope Beta 6.12.3 or later, it is much better than the release version.

 

They make a much cheaper 2204A for $114 without probes (10 MHz/100 MSa) and a 2205A for $182 without probes (25 Mhz/200 MSa)...

 

If you have any questions about their offerings, let me know I've spent some time checking out all the features for the review I hope to someday finish...

Good luck,

 

Alan

 

Last Edited: Tue. Dec 20, 2016 - 09:48 PM
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alank2 wrote:

Jim,

I recently went down this road because I needed a scope that I could haul around with me easily.  I ended up with this:

http://www.tequipment.net/Pico/2...

Before anyone loses it about the price, part of the reason I went with this is because it is as capable as a desktop scope and well supported with good software and a 5 year warranty.

...

I can understand display-less (box only) scopes when that means the price is kept down*, but when a Display-less scope costs more than one with front panel + LCD, that gets harder to grasp.

 

I have a display-less USB scope here, but found it needed its own dedicated PC, to be of any practical use on the bench & I'm not sure I'd get another one, given the price point the good LCD scopes now have.

I find it more of a pain to start and set, as it needs keyboard/mouse action.

 

* eg like this, makes sense.... : https://www.adafruit.com/product...

 

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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A competitor to PicoScope at a local distributor is the Keysight Technologies USB Modular Oscilloscope; its 5 year warranty is a +69USD option.

http://www.keysight.com/en/pcx-x205196/usb-modular-oscilloscopes

Its calibration is about double the price of one done relatively locally :
http://www.tyrolab.com/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Tue. Dec 20, 2016 - 10:33 PM
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Wow, I didn't even know Keysight made USB scopes.  Interesting.

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alank2 wrote:

Wow, I didn't even know Keysight made USB scopes.  Interesting.

 

Wow! They must have included the airfare for us Aussies to meet with the Keysight Chairman of the Board to share lunch and collect a signature version of the scope.

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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valusoft wrote:

 

Wow! They must have included the airfare for us Aussies to meet with the Keysight Chairman of the Board to share lunch and collect a signature version of the scope.

 

Hehe, quite....

 

Still, on the hardware side, the new HyperRAM parts (eg 64MBIT 3V 100MHz DDR  ) have to have made it easier to make a reasonable capture system at the PCB module level.

It just needs someone's eval to support them ?

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ka7ehk wrote:
Ability to set gain and offset/vertical position of each input is desirable.

 

You can set the gain easily enough (and it has an autogain mode), but the vertical position is more complicated.  You can move the trace up and down on the screen, but you aren't actually changing the vertical position when doing this, you are adjusting the "view".  For small signals with DC offset, it is probably easier to just switch to AC coupling and then increase the gain, but some of their better models (2206+ ?) have a feature called analog offset where you can apply an analog offset to the signal so you can stay with DC coupling and move the signal into a measurement zone where you can apply more gain.  I'm not a big fan of how this feature works because while you can apply an analog offset, it does not reflect in the voltage shown on the screen for the waveform.  You have to remember that you assigned an offset and are therefore modifying the signal.  This is something I am going to recommend they change.

 

ka7ehk wrote:
Ability to choose a trigger channel and to choose trigger level and slope is also desirable (but having auto trigger option can also be very helpful).

 

Yes.

 

ka7ehk wrote:
Display software that will work on Linux and MacOS is important. 

 

I've not run the Max or Linux versions, but they are also at that link above I put so you can download and try them.

 

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You might want to look into Hantek.

The 6022BE is all over Ali / Ebay for about USD60 and might be worth a gamble.

But you won't get much performance for this price point.

http://www.sigrok.org/wiki/Hante...

 

There is also a project called "openhantek" for Linux, but I haven't tried it.

Slowly WiFi is getting integrated in Oscilloscopes (such as HantekiDSO1070A , which is of course great for isolated measurements.

Works also with your phone (android, rotten fruit). but unfortunately no Linux.

https://www.aliexpress.com/whole...

 

Mike's (electic stuff) is pretty enthousiastic about his owon VDS3104:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

 

Linux support is unfortunately lacking for most USB scopes.

I tried to hook up my Rigol to Sigrok but it was a struggle to get data out of the scope.

If I could find some concentration I'd look into github projects for Rigol

https://github.com/search?utf8=%...

 

Bitscope promises Linux sopport for their hardware.

http://my.bitscope.com/store/

 

Are you familiar with Xprotolab?

http://www.gabotronics.com/oscil...

The "plain" version for USD20 has no display or USD50 for a version with display.

Comes with Linux support and source.

For this price the front end is unfortunately minimal. 200kHz bw but Jack Ganssle seems to like it:

http://www.ganssle.com/reviews/r...

 

My only personal experiences are with a DSO138 clone.

Amazing gadget for USD17 but the software is not stable enough, especially triggering at faster signals.

Also only has 200kHz and no pc support, but its "partially" open source and the STM32F103C8T6 has USB (Connector on the print)...

 

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Thu. Dec 22, 2016 - 04:26 AM
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I like my Analog Discovery 2. Thanks, guys. My Gabotron is falling into disuse.

 

It is possible to use it without external power, just the USB, but I provided it with an external 5v supply made of an old cellphone charger. The phone died years ago. I've used the function generator, power supply and scope features. The program is a little simplistic, but the manual gives you the whole API for the thing. The function generator feature has pretty big steps, so it didn't work well for measuring an inductor.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

Measure twice, cry, go back to the hardware store

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alank2 wrote:
Wow, I didn't even know Keysight made USB scopes.  Interesting.
I didn't know that Rigol used to make USB scopes.

http://sigrok.org/wiki/Rigol_VS5202D

btw, there's a VS5062D (60MHz instead of 200MHz VS5202D) on eBay.

Found via :

http://sigrok.org/wiki/Supported_hardware#Oscilloscopes

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1326699&page_number=6 (USB Oscilloscopes from Pro to Hobbyist, Under $200)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman, Rigol was real proud of them too $$$.  They also had USB DMM's as I recall as well.

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ka7ehk wrote:
I am hoping for fully USB powered (no extra supply), ...

I already have a salaea logic8 with analog display capability but ...

Consider Saleae LogicPro?

Saleae’s Logic Pro USB logic analyzer/scope

January 19, 2015

http://www.embedded.com/electronics-blogs/break-points/4438399/Saleae-s-Logic-Pro-USB-logic-analyzer-scope

...

The Logic Pro 8 doesn’t have any analog triggering modes so isn’t quite an MSO. However, it can gather so much data (limited by the memory in your host computer) that in most cases this will not be much of a limitation.

...

... a -3 dB point at 5 MHz.

I really like the 12-bit A/Ds and +/- 10V input range. I found voltage readings accurate to about 0.1%, an astonishing number for a scope.

...

PC, Mac and Linux UIs are available.

...

A Mac Air runs about 9 hours on a charge. With the Logic Pro connected the battery level went from 100% to 55% in three hours.

...


https://www.saleae.com/

http://sigrok.org/wiki/Saleae_Logic_Pro_16

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Hmmm, Salaea is worth considering!

 

Thanks,

Jim

 

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Hi Jim - Didn't you say you already had a logic 8 that can do analog?  The non pro model's specs are 1 MHz (10 MS/s) with a range of 0V to 5V only (no gain adjustment).  The pro model does improve things a bit with 5 MHz (50 MS/s) with a range of -10V to +10V (no gain adjustment).  Both have an ADC step size of around 5 mV.  I have the pro model, but it did not fill the role of a "real oscilloscope" because of its limitations (bandwidth, sample rate, no gain, no real trigger, no real scope probes).

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Thanks, Alan 

 

Those are some of the things that concerned me about the salaea devices.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Hi Jim - don't get me wrong, I do _love_ my Saleae devices, and as a company they are fantastic too.  If you need to look at something in one timeline, especially logic signals, they are really awesome at that (my "go to" tool).  It is nice that they have analog now, but it is limited compare to what a real scope can do.
 

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Beginning to understand that.

 

Thanks

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Paulvdh wrote:
Slowly WiFi is getting integrated in Oscilloscopes (such as HantekiDSO1070A , which is of course great for isolated measurements.
Red Pitaya has an optional WiFi dongle for its Ethernet port; Ethernet may provide enough isolation.

Would need to evaluate the Red Pitaya's micro USB power supply for isolation, and, if it's a fit for one's T&M needs.

Red Pitaya appears to have 1 second of acquisition though its limited memory (16K deep)

Mouser Electronics has some Red Pitaya product in stock with some of the kits on order.


http://redpitaya.readthedocs.io/en/latest/doc/quickStart/connect/connect.html#wireless

http://redpitaya.readthedocs.io/en/latest/doc/quickStart/needs.html

http://www.embedded.com/electronics-blogs/without-a-paddle/4441604/Evaluating-the-Red-Pitaya

http://forum.redpitaya.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=317 (New feature: high speed continuous recording)

http://www.mouser.com/red-pitaya/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Sat. Dec 31, 2016 - 08:16 PM
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i guess i might aswell "hijack" this thread, as the subject is same, and im looking for usb-scope aswell.

 

i was looking at couple different ones, which i think would be more than enought for my use, if anyone could share any information regarding these(mostly if these are any good).

 

 

then there of course was this "analog discovery 2" device from digilent, which did come up in this thread also, but price seems quite high for my use and i'm not really sure if i want to invest that much, but then again that one would have all kind features which i might or might not need later.

 

i currently have couple instek GOS-620** scopes, which itself dont have any other proplems, but that i cannot fit them on my desk....

 

 

***  http://www.gwinstek.com/en-globa...)

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on the side - consider more bandwidth

rise-time = 3.6ns

bandwidth-3db = 0.339 / rise-time

bandwidth-3dB = 94MHz

 

XMEGA rise-time is 2.7ns but its 32MHz clock can be an output.

32MHz * 5 = 160MHz

 


http://www.atmel.com/devices/ATMEGA328PB.aspx

...

ATmega328PB Complete
(file size: 5.53MB, 425 pages, revision C, updated: 10/2015)

http://www.atmel.com/Images/Atmel-42397-8-bit-AVR-Microcontroller-ATmega328PB_Datasheet.pdf

(page 382)

34.6. SPI Timing Characteristics

...

Rise/Fall time, Master, -, 3.6ns

Probing High-Speed Digital Designs

by Dr. Howard Johnson

First printed in Electronic Design, March, 1997

http://www.sigcon.com/Pubs/straight/probes.htm

...

(about mid-page)

Bandwidth and Gain

...

Table 1—Formulas for Oscilloscope Rise/Fall Time Versus Format of Bandwidth Specification

...

Qingdao Hantek Electronic Co., Ltd.

PC USB Oscilloscope

http://www.hantek.com/en/ProductList_1_2.html

http://geoffg.net/DSO2250.html (Hantek DSO2250 review)

 

Edit : Hantek URL, review URL

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Tue. Jan 31, 2017 - 05:09 PM
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JoniS wrote:
then there of course was this "analog discovery 2" device from digilent, which did come up in this thread also, but price seems quite high for my use and i'm not really sure if i want to invest that much, but then again that one would have all kind features which i might or might not need later.
Another Digilent option is the OpenScope; it's a new arrival at Mouser.

http://store.digilentinc.com/all-products/scopes-instruments/

http://www.mouser.com/new/digilent/digilent-openscope-mz/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm sure I used to have an account here, but couldn't log in, nor did I get the password reset emails - hence the new account. Just wanted to add my $0.02 re. USB scopes; I recently bought a Picoscope 2206B MSO (mid-range of the entry-level 2000-series) after looking at many other options. Although I'm a "knobs & dials" kinda guy I really needed something ultra-portable, and a tiny USB scope was the ideal option - especially since I always lug my laptop around anyway. At $500 this was a considerable investment for me, so I made sure to do my research first. There are a few important pluses with the Picoscopes which I didn't see mentioned in this thread, and which helped tip the balance in their favour:

 

1) Linux support. While I do have a laptop with Windows 7 on, the one I usually carry with me runs 'buntu 16.04. Being able to use the scope with either machine was essential. Note however that the Linux Picoscope software lags behind the Windows version somewhat (as does the MacOS version), so some features available in Windows are not yet there in Linux ("math channels" being the most obvious omission). That said, my impression is that Pico Technologies are pressing ahead with Linux development (latest version came out just a couple months ago), and their stated aim is that it (and the MacOS version) should eventually reach feature parity with the Windows software.

 

2) Serial decoding. While there are many downsides with USB scopes, one of the major upsides is the flexible serial protocol decoding capability. The Picoscope is best in class here, and can (currently) decode no less than 19 protocols on the fly:

  • 1-Wire
  • ARINC 429
  • CAN
  • CAN FD
  • DCC
  • DMX512
  • FlexRay
  • Ethernet 10Base-T
  • Ethernet 100Base-TX
  • Modbus RTU
  • Modbus ASCII
  • USB 1.1
  • I2C
  • I2S
  • LIN
  • PS/2
  • SPI
  • SENT
  • UART/RS-232/422/485

A bonus is that you can link in translation templates (simple CSV files) letting you see the commands in plain text. Importantly, the decoding functionality works just as well on the analogue channels, so you don't even need an MSO version Picoscope to do all this. Furthermore, the scopes support complex logic triggers based on up to four separate inputs, and pattern triggers on the digital inputs!

 

3) Built in AWG. For maximum portability the Picoscopes include a DC to 1 MHz (100kHz for the 2204 & 2205 models) sweep capable arbitrary waveform generator on a separate BNC output. Though it has a rather weak +/- 2V max output level, it does produce a plethora of different waveforms:

  • Sine
  • Square
  • Triangle
  • DC voltage
  • Ramp
  • Sinc
  • Gaussian
  • Half-sine
  • White noise
  • Pseudorandom binary sequence

And of course arbitrary waveforms as well (12 bit resolution, 4-32 kS depending on model), which can be hand drawn, captured from input or loaded from CSV files - or any mix of the three.

 

4) Math channels. A super powerful function that I'm only just beginning to explore is the ability to create additional virtual channels generated by math functions. Built in functions include −x, x+y, x−y, x*y, x/y, x^y, sqrt, exp, ln, log, abs, norm, sign, sin, cos, tan, arcsin, arccos, arctan, sinh, cosh, tanh, freq, derivative, integral, min, max, average, peak, delay, duty, plus highpass, lowpass, bandpass and bandstop filtering. You are free to write your own functions which can use any combination of analogue inputs, digital inputs, time, reference waveforms, pi and other mathematical constants. Truly awesome stuff - try that on a $500 dedicated benchtop scope!

 

There you have it, some of the key points that made me chose a Picoscope over the other options. Add to that the well documented SDK, and a generous five year warranty, plus the fact that it's designed and manufactured in the UK, and I think you can see why I found it irresistible :) Would love to hear what others think though!

Last Edited: Sat. Dec 2, 2017 - 01:33 AM