Why do you need a digital oscilliscope?

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I have an old Tektronix analog surplus scope and use it occasionally, but really when it comes down to it, I don't think it is an 'essential' tool for me. Sure, it's fun to see signals, but using either LEDs or a terminal program have been my most fruitfull debugging tools so far (but I am still a beginner).

Why would someone require a digital oscilloscope as an essential tool for AVR work?

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For many users, an oscilloscope is "nifty" as you describe.

But, when you are dealing with the time relationship between things (example: debugging SPI link), an oscilloscope can be really helpful if not crucial.

Why digital? I have acess to several where I am paid to work but none where I work AVR. I find them handy but not critical (right now). They provide "memory" that makes it MUCH easier to see fast signals that happen infrequently (example, SPI transfer that might happen once every few seconds).

Another example: what happens to the reset pin on power-up? It fades almost immediately on an analog scope but a digital scope will let you see whether or not multiple resets are happening or how fast the voltage changes.

Hope this helps,
Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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ka7ehk wrote:
They provide "memory" that makes it MUCH easier to see fast signals that happen infrequently (example, SPI transfer that might happen once every few seconds).

Could this also be accomplished with AVRstudio debugging tools, or is it problematic to work with external devices in the AVRstudio making the digital scope a lot faster for debugging?

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Once you have a Tektronix TDS2xx 'scope on your bench, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

I'm just the lowly software guy, so I don't get as intimately involved with "sophisticated" 'scope use as our hardware guys. And I like to think through what is happening and check my code. But consider: "My app just ain't working."

--is there a clock? Scope Xtal1 &/or Xtal2. The TDS will tell me what frequency. [Yes, the scope may cause a drag on the frequency due to the added capacitance, and perhaps cause a reset when dragging the probe across the pin(s), but who cares when you are just trying to see if the thing is running?]

--is my app running? Lacking an extra indicator LED or some other heartbeat mechanism, I usually toggle an extra output pin with my base time tick during development. A very good sanity check to see if it is still ticking. Jitter shows multiple interrupt latency. And the TDS calculates the frequency/period to make sure I set up my base timer as I'd expect.

--the ADC results just don't make sense. Put the scope on it and see what the pin is sitting at. The TDS will calculate the mean, min, max, & rms values in case there is jitter on the signal.

--"I KNOW my code is firing the output, but the hardware guys won't believe that the device is not reacting." How are you going to check the signal really getting to the pin, and follow it through the newly-laid out circuit board? Yes, you could use a voltmeter, but that won't tell you anything about rise/fall times, significant noise spikes, or momentary glitches.

And so on. Another category is two-channel operation. How soon does the SPI start clocking after the /CS signal falls? Is that time within the specs in the datasheet?

I don't use it every hour, but at least weekly. [or maybe that is "weakly".]

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Settting a spare output on entering an interrupt and clearing it on exit, then viewing the resultant square wave on the 'scope can give a very good idea of how long an ISR is taking, without the tedium of cycle counting. Looking at RS484 signals. You don't realize how useful your 'scope is until it dies, as mine just did. I have a USB PC 'scope that's great for some things, but it doesn't seem to be as real-time or immediate as a CRO. I going to have to buy a new one. Soon.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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John_A_Brown wrote:
Settting a spare output on entering an interrupt and clearing it on exit, then viewing the resultant square wave on the 'scope can give a very good idea of how long an ISR is taking, without the tedium of cycle counting. Looking at RS484 signals. You don't realize how useful your 'scope is until it dies, as mine just did. I have a USB PC 'scope that's great for some things, but it doesn't seem to be as real-time or immediate as a CRO. I going to have to buy a new one. Soon.

What is a CRO?

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Hi,

I've got a PC based scope, so it is a kinda DSO. I find it very useful for signals where it is just a one-shot thing, some things I've used it for stuff from I2C Debugging (grab a frame of data to memory) to measuring the Rise/Fall times on a "Lenz Launcher".

A DSO is handy for serial protocol debugging especially I think.

Regards,

-Colin

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I have a Hameg 504 Analog Scope with cursors / Freq readout (100Mhz) & Delayed Sweep.

I was thinking of getting a 16 bit USB LSA instead of a DSO.

I think i might be happeier with al LSA than a DSO , but then again i havent had a DSO.

Opinions ???

/Bingo

Last Edited: Wed. Jun 23, 2004 - 07:18 PM
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Sonos wrote:

Quote:
What is a CRO?

Chatode Ray Oscilloscope.

Colin,
What kind of PC Scope do you have? I have a Bitscope.

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CRO is an old term: "Cathode Ray Oscilloscope"

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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Hi,

I've got the TiePie HS801+AWG scope. The handy thing about it (and most PC based scopes) is it includes a spectrum anaylzer as well. It has some other features (multimeter and transient recorder) that I use occasionally, but not as much as the scope and spectrum.

So far I've found TiePie to be great. You can download their software and play with it (no signal though) for free.

BTW - what is a LSA? Couldn't figure it out...

Regards,

-Colin

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c_oflynn wrote:
Hi,

I've got the TiePie HS801+AWG scope. The handy thing about it (and most PC based scopes) is it includes a spectrum anaylzer as well. It has some other features (multimeter and transient recorder) that I use occasionally, but not as much as the scope and spectrum.

So far I've found TiePie to be great. You can download their software and play with it (no signal though) for free.

BTW - what is a LSA? Couldn't figure it out...

Regards,

-Colin

You lost me with CRO, and I am still trying to decipher DSO... :lol:

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Hi,

Sorry perhaps a definition list could be handy in this thread ;-)

DSO: Digital Storage Oscilliscope
AWG: Arbitrary Waveform Generator

-Colin

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Oopz ... here it comes

LSA = Logic State Analyzer

Some mentioned here

https://www.avrfreaks.net/phpBB2/...

/Bingo

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I think the handiest feature of a digital scope is the timing info (I know, previously mentioned). My long-since-discontinued HP 54645D (bought on eBay) provides frequency, period, duty cycle, high pulse width, low pulse width, rise time, fall time, and phase data (for 2 signals). You can get all this from an analog scope, but usually only through painful and inaccurate manual measurement. Voltage measurements tend to be less accurate than timing, but still MUCH more convenient than with an analog scope. It's been so long since I've used an analog model I forget what you can get on them, but on my digital I can trigger on positive or negative edges (in addition, of course, to setting a threshold). And, I get a lot of the signal BEFORE the triggering event, because it's in the buffer.

Mine also has a feature that I think is unique to HP (now Agilent, which still has it on their low-end models) called mixed-signal measurement where, in addition to the 2 analog channels, you also get 16 digital (i.e. 1-bit, hi-low) channels, like a very simple logic analyzer. You can use these probes to look at various signals around your board and trigger off specific patterns. I actually don't use it very much, given the simplicity of my designs, but it's pretty slick nevertheless.

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I have to second Lee's mention of the TDS2xxx series. I'm working up the nerve to buy my own right now but am also looking at the PC-based scopes out there. At work I use the TDS3012b and lust for my own constantly.

It took a while to warm up to the idea of a digital scope. You had to be careful because if you set them up wrong and they aren't fast enough, you can completely miss fast transients. That's the biggest drawback of a digital scope - you can have data points on either side of something and it magically disappears like the transient was never there.

But overall, I'd much rather have a digital than an analog if I had to choose.

Please note - this post may not present all information available on a subject.

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... of another advantage of digital over analog: autoscaling. No more screwing around trying to find the beam. Just push a button and the scope configures itself with the beam properly scaled.

Karl

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@refields

Go for it .. :wink: :wink:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI...

or

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI...

Oopzz ....

Save some $$
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI...

@lautman

My hameg 504 Analog does that , just a push & autoconfig kicks in.

/Bingo

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DSO's are very nice for saving wave forms for later use. I have a Pico ADC212, works very well and stacks up next to best DSO's.

Caleb

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I've been lurking here for a little while.... I'm very much a novice in all things electronics, but have a "project" that I needed to learn some uC programming for (and no, it's not a Uni project). As such I can't justify *any* form of hardware o'scope, although I have been looking to see if I can acquire a cheap working model on ebay (as everyone seems to).

All I think I want a scope for is to look at logic levels and waveforms on the outputs of my Mega32 that my code is generating - nothing high tech, I'm sure. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with using any of the "free" PC oscilloscopes that typically use sound cards, and if there were any suggestions about how to build (or where to buy) something suitable for a probe?

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CRO is a Cathode Ray OCILLOGRAPH made by Dumont. I've seen one, back in '70 something....

Imagecraft compiler user

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Tek 222 or Powerscout. THS720A.

->>Isolated channels!

I don't know why isolated channels are so uncommon, but I love em.

j.

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I have a Tektronix TDS3034 and I can not live without it! I also use a TDS220 which I consider to be a POS (piece of sh*t) compared to the color 4 channel 300 mhz digital phospar.

I only wish I had spent the extra dough to get the 3054 (500 mhz).

That's my wish from Santa!

Regards

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poundy wrote:
I've been lurking here for a little while.... I'm very much a novice in all things electronics, but have a "project" that I needed to learn some uC programming for (and no, it's not a Uni project). As such I can't justify *any* form of hardware o'scope, although I have been looking to see if I can acquire a cheap working model on ebay (as everyone seems to).

All I think I want a scope for is to look at logic levels and waveforms on the outputs of my Mega32 that my code is generating - nothing high tech, I'm sure. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with using any of the "free" PC oscilloscopes that typically use sound cards, and if there were any suggestions about how to build (or where to buy) something suitable for a probe?

im in a similar situation. newby trying to get a servo controller working. I've tried some sound card software, but it comes up with a very messey signal, looks nothing like PWM signal.

i how ever am looking for a budget scope

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Actually an AVR itself will make a decent poor mans logic level osciliscope (not an analog one the ADC's too slow for any real precision or speed) But using InputCapture to time stamp incoming logic level changes and then sending them out through the UART to a PC is a good way of making a cheap osciliscope. Just send an extra bit that indicates the logic level that that timestamp indicates and write a simple C program to translate that into a graph. You could get pretty decent detail with this if the frequency was low enough (the update speed is limited to the UART's speed) if you want higher detail you could save the timestamps to memory and translate them in packets to the PC at a later time.b You could probably get an acuracy of a few mhz, higher on low frequency pulses.

-Curiosity may have killed the cat
-But that's why they have nine lives

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well, that itself would cause issues, how can you be sure you've programmed the scope right, timings are correct etc...

hence the point to get an already working scope.

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No offence, but if you're clever enough to realize what you're doing.

A digital scope is by milliontimes FAR more superior to an analog scope using non repeatative signals.

Also its not very difficult to make an logical level scope with an avr.
With a fast sram, a few programmable timers, logic buffers you can do more then 50Mega/Samples sec.

MY MICROCONTROLLER CAN BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOUR MICROCONTROLLER /ATMEL

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not for some of us newbies it aint ;p

so can i just get something to measure logic levels and not get a full blow scope at some low cost? (what would i be searching on ebay for?)

cheers

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for about 20 to 50 bucks you can make an 8 channel logical scope.

if the ram and buffers are fast enough you can do as much as 50 million samples/sec.
And OR have 1 of the inputs as the clock for logging. Timestamps can be made with the hardware counter.

So the avr is the interface for you to the parallel or serial port, use a simple application on the pc to draw the logical levels.

you could even use ascii style for showing the forms if you want to be getho.

CH0 '''''''''''''__''''___''__________''''_'''''''''

CH1 ''''''''''''''_''''''__'''''_____'''_''''''''''''''''''''

Use your imagination.

MY MICROCONTROLLER CAN BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOUR MICROCONTROLLER /ATMEL

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theusch wrote:
Once you have a Tektronix TDS2xx 'scope on your bench, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

In case this thread has any relevance jet, I must confirm what Theusch wrote.
I got my Tektronix TDS210 yesterday and after playing a bit with this great piece of hardware I also dont want to be without this instrument.

I had an analog ITT/Metrix before and alone the cursors simplify work greatly.
And the case is so small compared to a CRT scope.
The interface to a PC is also not that bad.

Cheers
Rubi

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I agree that a scope can be a great tool when debugging an AVR project. I have a nice 100MHZ one with cursors and frequency counter built in.
However, I just bought a HP1652B logic analyzer / scope off of Ebay for $100. This thing rocks for an old piece of equipment.
I can use the logic analyzer to capture my SPI data going into the AVR and watch the UART data comming out. At the same time I can use the logic analyzer to trigger on a specific word comming down the SPI bus and fire the digital storage scope on the 1652 to capture the actual waveform of the signal or power supply pins.
My O'scope has lost its place on my bench to the Logic analyzer.

Will

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Speaking of digital scopes, there's a bunch of them (and a ton of other suff) available for peanuts at the Ericsson auction here in Sweden.
What about a 4 channel, 200 MHz LeCroy for $120 ?
dovebid.com and be quick, the auction closes in 23 hours.

/Jesper
http://www.yampp.com
The quick black AVR jumped over the lazy PIC.
What boots up, must come down.

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Just bought a TDS320

My first DSO

Any hints on what software to get (i assume it has GPIB & RS232)

/Bingo

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Hey Jesper,

Did you get anything from that auction?

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Don't forget DPO, Digital Phosophor Oscilloscope!

Having a scope is for me like having eyes. If you never have them or don't know how to use them, you probably won't miss them.

If the question is, why do you need a scope, then maybe you have not run into a problem where you need one. I use one every day. (ok, not too often on vacation or at weddings). If the question is why do you need a digital scope, then you haven't tried to save the results, average the output or do work in the frequency domain. Digital scopes are great but they have their limitations too.

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I have a 50 Mhz Analog Hameg and just bought a

TDS320 Digital
and
an IWATSU DS0608 - 100Mhz Mixed DSO/Analog

I don't think i need 3 scopes but i , might keep the 2 last mentioned ... depending on the performance of the TDS

Anyone know the IWATSU one (i think they partenered up with le-croy)

/Bingo

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I bought a few items at the auction. A Logic Analyzer, a 1 GHz Signal Generator, a 1.3 GHz Frequency Counter, a dual programmable power supply and a big 63V 90A power supply.
All for about $2000. Pretty neat.
There's still a few 200MHz, 4 Channel LeCroy scopes available at about $ 350 or so. Contact Dovebid and get the not-sold list if you're interested.

/Jesper
http://www.yampp.com
The quick black AVR jumped over the lazy PIC.
What boots up, must come down.

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I have used quite a few different scopes over the years, from an old RCA single (it used vaumm tubes) channel, re-occuring sweep style unit to Tektronix 385 300 MHz scope, to Heathkit scopes that I have built. The Tek385 was really nice for an analog scope.

For the last ten years I have been using a B&K 4160, 60 MHz scope - a big step back from the Tek385, but it was mine, and it didn't cost $4,000 to $5,000 - about $1,500.

About three months ago, I sprung for a Tektronix TDS2012 dual channel digital scope, at the price of about $1,800, including shipping. It is a nice peice of equipment and much more intuitive then a Fluke 390 series "Handheld" digital scope.

With the B&K analog scope is dificult to view low repitition, narrow pulse width signals. The Tek TDS2012 captures and displays them very accurately.

The TDS2012 seems to exibit a higher degree of quantitization noise around the minimum and maximum values of some waveforms like TTL & CMOS digital signals.

The B&K2160 has "Delayed Sweep", but it isn't very useful at low repitition signals. The TDS2012 gets it all, throughtout its bandwidth.

The DTS2012 has a built in frequency counter and can perform FFT as standard operations - the B&K 2160 can do neither. In addition, the TDS2012 has has interface options such as serial, parallel, and Compact FLASH.

I suppose that there are drawbacks to both, analog and digital oscilloscopes. At this juncture, I'd hate to have to choose between one or the other. Putting their differences aside, the key parameter that I would have to use to choose one technology over the other, would be bandwidth. The higher the bandwith of the vertical amplifiers, the more detail that is revealed about the signal being monitored.

In either case, buy an oscilloscope that has the highest bandwidth that you can possibly afford. If properly cared for, either technology will serve you well.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Unless you have a FET probe (another $1500), a scope with a bandwidth higher than 100MHz is not really all that useful. At 100MHz and above the imput impedance is determined by the probe capacitance. The impedance is so low that anything you look at will be affected by the probe; it's like putting a 18pf cap to ground wherever you probe.

Well, a high bandwidth scope may be useful if you buy or build a 50 Ohm passive probe and you are only looking at large (>1V) fast signals with a very low output impedance. At least the probe will stay close to 50 Ohms across the bandwith of the scope. This is useful for looking at fast signals on a low impedance bus.

One thing you do want is the highest sampling rate you can afford if you are looking at DSO's. New DSOs are much better than old ones. For example, aliasing is not quite so bad with the new TDS2000 series; I do not know how they do that but it's true.

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I recommend Fluke199C.
It is also battery powered and has differential inputs with CATIII (200Mhz).
So I can use it between 2 random points in the circuit without fear.

incal99.

________________________________ We dream of a world where current does not need the voltage to flow.

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If I were to make an assumption, I would assume that the typical AVR Freak isn't going to be looking at 100MHz signals, though I could be wrong.

My reasoning for stressing the highest bandwidth possible is that, the higher the bandwith of the instrument, the more that can be seen about what the signal of interest really looks like. Looking at a 16MHz signal with a 30 or 60MHZ oscilloscope is useful, But looking at that same signal with a 100 or 150MHz scope will reveal a lot more about your signal ground and other circuit characteristice, such as rise time, overshoot, line impedance, overshoot, etc..

Tecktronix, Hewlet Packard, and Fluke all recommend that the bandwith of the scope be at least 10 times greater then the signal of interest being measured. So, according to their "Rule Of Thumb" to accurately measure and inturpert a 16MHz signal, one would use an oscilloscope that has a bandwidth of at least 160MHz.

Back in the 1970's, when I was working for Fairchild, we were working wit Emitter Coupled Logic (ECL) and dealing with 100MHz clock signals. We did have FET probes and did use them occationally. Mostely, we were interested in measuring rise & fall times, propogation times and signal to signal skew. We used the highest bandwidth scopes available to ensure accuracy.

Incedently, a 100MHz ECL clock signal really isn't digital anymore, even with a 350MHz oscilloscope. It's pretty much analog. Now what would be the quality of signal if measured with a 60MHZ sor 100 MHz scope. Both would be useless for any kind of accurate measurements.

If you aren't interested in measuring rise/fall times or accurate delay and other signal parameters, I guess it is a mute issue...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Any opinions on this scope? I'm considering getting one. Ideally I want a new scope with a FFT function. This one is compeditively priced at around $2500AUD. (approx $1750 US)

It is a Goodwill brand from what I have read on the net. Elector apparently did a review on Goodwill scopes, but alas I don't have the issue

Details
* 150MHz bandwidth 2 channel scopes with external trigger
* Colour LCD display
* 125K long memory and 12 division Horizontal display
* Advanced trigger: pulse width, TV line, event delay and time delay
* Go-no-Go, learn mode and auto set-up sequence
* 15 Automatic measurements
* Built in 6 digit frequency counter
* FFT function
* Built-in help menu
* Control panel function: Autoset, save/recall, waveform trace save/recall
* Integral 9 pin male (COM1) RS232 port, USB port and 25W PC parallel printer port as standard
* PC communication software
* Max. input voltage between signal: 300V CATII

Bandwidth (-3dB) 150MHz
Channels Colour LCD
Vertical Resolution 2
Vertical Sensitivity 8-bit
Vertical Accuracy 2mV/div to5V/div
Rise Time ±3%
Input Coupling AC, DC, Ground
Input Impendance 1MΩ±2%, to 22pF
Polarity Positive & Negative
Horizontal System
Timebase Range 1ns/div to 10s/div; Roll 250ms/div to 10s/div
Timebase accuracy ±0·01%
Timebase Mode Main,Window, Window Zoom, Roll, XY
Signal Acquisition
Real time sample rate 100MS/s max. on each channel
Equivalent Sample Rate 25GS/s max on each channel
Peak Detection 10ns (500ns/div to 10s/div
X-Y Mode
X-Axis/Y-axis input Channel 1/Channel 2
Phase shift ±3°at 100kHz
Cursor & Measurement
Auto Voltage
Measurement Vpp, Vam, Vawg., Vrms, Vhi, VIo, Vmax, Vmin
Auto Time Measurement Freq, Period, Rise Time, Fall Time, Positive width,
negative width, duty cycle
Voltage difference between cursors (DV)
Cursor Measurement Time difference between cursors (DT)
Frequency different between cursors (1/DT)
Frequency Counter
Readout Resolution 6 Digits
Accuracy ±-50ppm
Frequency range AC coupled, 10Hz minimum to rated bandwidth
External Trigger
Range ±15V
Sensitivity Dc - 30NHz - 50mV; 30 to 150MHz: 100mV

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

oddbudman

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@oddbud

It looks like the Instek Scope described here
https://www.avrfreaks.net/index.p...

I have a freind that have one , and he says it's ok for microcontrollers , but it has problems triggering on video
I just got a short statement from him.

Ohh: more here

https://www.avrfreaks.net/index.p...

/Bingo