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Ideal Scope for Hacking PCBs at Home
1/29/2014

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Geoffrey Legg
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Rigol DS1052E Oscilloscope
Geoffrey Legg   1/29/2014 7:31:08 PM
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I own two Rigol oscilloscopes and have been using them since 2009.  One of them is a 1052D, which has a 16 channel logic analyzer in addition to the standard oscilloscope functions.  The other one is an 1102CA.  They are very nice scopes and good value for the price.  I especially like the displays, which have very wide viewing angle and can be seen from anywhere in the room.  I use the math functions a lot, particularly the FFT and the differential.  The logic analyzer work snicely, but I have only had to use it once, because we do most digital debugging with FPGA tools.  

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Rigol DS1052E Oscilloscope
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 1:25:07 PM
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@Geoffrey:"I especially like the displays, which have very wide viewing angle and can be seen from anywhere in the room"

I totally agree. I really love the display that Rigol mounts in these low-end scopes. The waveform viewing experience is very similar to the one you get with more expensive units from mainstream brands.

"The logic analyzer works nicely, but I have only had to use it once, because we do most digital debugging with FPGA tools"

I've not used any external logic analyzer in the last 3-4 years!! LOL

   

walter_wpg
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Re: Rigol DS1052E Oscilloscope
walter_wpg   2/1/2014 4:36:16 PM
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Owon is another company that offers a line of reasonably-priced digital scopes. Here's a 60MHz 2-channel model:

http://www.saelig.com/PSBEB100/PSBEB100005.htm


The Owons have a slightly larger screen than the Rigols, and I believe that most of them have a connector to connect to an external VGA monitor.

 

Robert.Oppenheimer
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Re: Rigol DS1052E Oscilloscope
Robert.Oppenheimer   2/3/2014 12:25:42 PM
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We needed something to align motion encoders. Needed two analog channels and also to see a digital pulse. Most 4 channel scopes and mixed signal scopes were out of the budget. The Rigol 1042D fit the bill nicely and later got a second one, the updated 1052D. In 5 years, there was only one problem which required replacing the front end board. Luckily it was under warranty. Bought it through Saelig.

David Ashton
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Niiiice....
David Ashton   1/29/2014 9:07:31 PM
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Looks like a nice scope Javi - since I have failed to win myself a Tek scope in any of the EETimes competitions, maybe I should get one of these.

Geoffrey Legg commented that "One of them is a 1052D, which has a 16 channel logic analyzer in addition to the standard oscilloscope functions."

In view of the above, mabye the 1052E can be hacked to give you the Logic analyzer functions as well.  You'd probably find the hardware is there and all you need to do is make a hole in the case and maybe install a connector.....  I've seen stranger things......

hamster_nz
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Re: Niiiice....
hamster_nz   1/30/2014 3:09:51 AM
I helped somebody out and think I got lucky, and have a Rigol DS1052D on its way to me soon.

If so, it will the first bit of test gear I got that didn't come from Jaycar and cost less than $50. Can't wait to play with it.

Speaking of that IIRC correctly you are in Australia, have you seen the price Jaycar charge for a ATTEN 25MHz scope? NZ$459.

From https://secure1.bluecentral.com/emona/shop/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=72 you can get a 50MHz DS1052E for $339+GST.

David Ashton
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Re: Niiiice....
David Ashton   1/30/2014 4:34:30 AM
Hi Hamster...that IS lucky.  But it's better to tell people you've been smart :-)

Yes I am in Australia, and I found the Emona site.....$339 is pretty good.  I'd still have to do quite a bit of overtime to get one though :-(

Altronics had sone very good prices on the ATTEN scopes recently, back to normal now:

http://www.altronics.com.au/index.asp?area=srch&search=atten&list=0&pg=4&sort=code

but in a previous post Zeeglen warned us (as below) that they are not too hot.  The Rigol ones seem to get good reviews though..

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Niiiice....
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 2:40:33 PM
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Mike, I cannot wait to see what you are going to build with such a digital scope at home. ;-)

How fast does your custom two wire serial interface run in a Spartan?? As I remember, the bandwith you got was greater than 50-100 Mbps -- am I right? 

hamster_nz
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Re: Niiiice....
hamster_nz   1/30/2014 8:03:46 PM
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Um... It was 512Mb/s - so beyond the realms of any test gear I can afford! 

http://hamsterworks.co.nz/mediawiki/index.php/High_Speed_Link

When I squeezed 1080p (3x1.5Gb/s) out of a Spartan 6 I tried to see if I could swap beer for some scope time to see what it looked like. The only place in town with that sort of kit was Trimble Navigation, and they have a lot of engineers with very pricy tastes in beer.

I never took them up on it.

 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Niiiice....
Garcia-Lasheras   1/31/2014 3:56:36 AM
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@Hamster: "It was 512Mb/s - so beyond the realms of any test gear I can afford! "

Yes, you'd need a very expensive scope in order to debug such a fast signal -- one intended for debugging DDR2 as a minimum ;-)

By the way, I really love the idea of swapping beer for high-end instrumentation use time. I think this kind of deal may work fine in Spain! LOL

Victor Lorenzo
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Re: Niiiice....
Victor Lorenzo   2/2/2014 4:29:21 PM
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@Javi, "I really love the idea of swapping beer for high-end instrumentation use time. I think this kind of deal may work fine in Spain!"

Really???!!! Where??? I've never been so lucky to meet anyone from that kind of beer drinker. LOL

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Niiiice....
Garcia-Lasheras   2/2/2014 5:12:58 PM
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@Victor: "Really???!!! Where??? I've never been so lucky to meet anyone from that kind of beer drinker. LOL"

Well, if you come to Pamplona and need a scope, just get a six-pack and call me: I'll be glad to share my DS1052E with you ;-)

Victor Lorenzo
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Re: Niiiice....
Victor Lorenzo   2/3/2014 6:17:51 AM
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@Javi: "Well, if you come to Pamplona and need a scope..."

Perfect! Same to you if you ever drop by Barcelona. I think it is less cold and less rainy here these days, specially today ;-).

50/70MHz  is not such a 'big' bandwidth, in fact it is rather limited for most things I'd like to do. I already own a 200MHz@2GS/s TDS2024C (recovered from the trash can, almost literaly, and repaired) so in this case the DS1204B seemed to me very insteresting for people needing some more bandwidth.

Something I find frustrating in most mid-to-low end scopes is memory capacity, specially when trying to capture and decode complete serial communication frames.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Niiiice....
MeasurementBlues   2/6/2014 6:15:36 PM
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I went to Santa Clara and saw lots of scopes, including Rigol.

DesignCon 2014: Test Equipment on Display

 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Niiiice....
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 1:41:21 PM
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@David: "maybe the 1052E can be hacked to give you the Logic analyzer functions as well.  You'd probably find the hardware is there and all you need to do is make a hole in the case and maybe install a connector....."

I've made a quick web search and I cannot find anything about upgrading to logic analyzer, but the DS1052E plastic case is the same that the used for DS1102D -- under the display, you can see where the logic analyzer port should be.

If I find more information about this hack, I'll give you feedback ;-)

zeeglen
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Good choice
zeeglen   1/29/2014 11:19:14 PM
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Don't have a Rigol scope, but have never heard any complaints about them.  I do have an Atten pos with many bugs, how I wish the boss had bought me a Rigol instead!

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Good choice
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 2:28:00 PM
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All kudos for the guy who recommended me the DS1052E. He is deeply involved in the Open Hardware movement and really knows what low budget scopes the hackers are using ;-)

gazelle
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New killer DSO in town - DS1074z - $585 / 450 EU
gazelle   1/30/2014 1:40:04 AM
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After five years they have introduced last summer a new killer DSO - the DS1074z - as a tradition that comes with every low budget Rigol DSO - 4 channel fully hackable 70 - 100MHz, 12 - 24MPts - 1GSa/s and it supports serial bus decoding: UART/I2C/SPI/... - msrp = 450 euro excl. VAT

 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: New killer DSO in town - DS1074z - $585 / 450 EU
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 2:34:07 PM
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Wow... I've taken a look to DS1074Z features and these are really cool. I think this is the cheapest four channel scope I've ever seen!

wnatter
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PCB design at home
wnatter   1/30/2014 8:41:53 AM
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Hi,

What tool would you recommend for PCB design at home?  A friend mentioned Upverter, but I don't know how it compares with the other tools...

Cheers,

William

zeeglen
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Re: PCB design at home
zeeglen   1/30/2014 10:15:45 AM
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@wnatter - you might be interested in this discussion "A Guide to Low Cost PCB Tools"

http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1319924

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: PCB design at home
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 4:25:24 PM
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@wnatter: "What tool would you recommend for PCB design at home?"

If you plan to start a new PCB design project at home from the ground up, my advice is using KiCAD. It's free, fully open-source and works on Windows, Linux and Mac  -- for more information, you can check the blog I wrote about CERN contribution to KiCAD ;-)

"A friend mentioned Upverter, but I don't know how it compares with the other tools"

Upverter is a web based PCB design tool -- you work from your web browser over Upverter servers. In addition, the Upverter commercial policy is very similar to Github one: you can work for free if your project is published online as Open Hardware, but you need to pay for a private account and a full-featured experience.

_hm
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Look for Newark, element14 too
_hm   1/30/2014 6:54:48 PM
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Newark and Element 14 also offer very good digital storage scope at very reasonable price. I have used it and is pretty good. One should also look at this.

 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Loof for Newark, element14 too
Garcia-Lasheras   1/30/2014 7:36:17 PM
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@_hm: "Newark and Element 14 also offer very good digital storage scope at very reasonable price."

I really love hearing how we --the EE professionals-- have a growing number of COTS low-budget tools. I've focused my attention in the DS1052E only because this is the one I've chosen for filling the scoping-gap in my private laboratory... and because it's hackable ;-)

So, I'm glad to see how you and other EETimes fellows are pointing to other cheap oscilloscopes. The more the info we have, the smarter choice we'll make.

dcjenson
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Noisy fan on DS1052
dcjenson   1/31/2014 1:25:24 AM
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Power up your new scope and see if the fan noise annoys you (highly dependent on your surroundings).
It bothered me in my home office, but the fix is easy and the DS1052 is simple to dissemble. Lots of good advice online about the fan replacement and gives you a good excuse to peel off a void warranty sticker. 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: Noisy fan on DS1052
Garcia-Lasheras   1/31/2014 4:20:48 AM
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@dcjenson: "Power up your new scope and see if the fan noise annoys you"

Yes, now that you point to this issue, I've realized that the unit is a bit noisy -- but this is not worse than my old Pentium4 PC or my worbench power supply ;-)

"but the fix is easy and the DS1052 is simple to dissemble. Lots of good advice online..."

I think this is one of the main reasons for the DS1052 success: the hacking process starts in the scope itself!!

"... a good excuse to peel off a void warranty sticker"

Well, I plan to hack the scope firmware, so I'm afraid I can afford to break into the case too LOL

hamster_nz
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Re: PCB design at home
hamster_nz   1/30/2014 8:20:59 PM
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I would say it depends on what your preferred PCB supplier likes.

I use Seeed Studios, They supply all the support files required for Eagle (CAM jobs, DRCs and so on). This allows me to get correct DRCs and generate the correct output formats first time.

As a bonus Seeed also have the Open Parts Library (http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/Open-Parts-Library-p-1560.html), and a matching Eagle Library. Using these parts saves ordering 200 $0.04 SMD transistors when all I need is one. As a bonus you to have Seeed assemble small runs of boards for you, as they have all the OPL parts on hand.

So although KiCAD's openess scores for me, I think for the low-end playing I do I'll stick with Eagle for now.  Once my PCBs get bigger than 100x80 (the limit for Eagle Free) or I start working with parts from outside of the OPL then I'll reconsder, but for now I'm happy with Eagle.

 

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: PCB design at home
Garcia-Lasheras   1/31/2014 4:08:15 AM
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@Hamster: "Seeed also have the Open Parts Library (http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/Open-Parts-Library-p-1560.html), and a matching Eagle Library. Using these parts saves ordering 200 $0.04 SMD transistors when all I need is one."

This is a really neat & smart business model!! Some time ago I worked for an EMS provider and we faced this kind of issues.

When we designed the PCB in house, checking the already-available component stock in our warehouse was mandatory before using and ordering a new part.

But when a design came from a customer, we needed to check if we had a compatible component for every item in the BOM.

By the way, KiCAD developers have just added Eagle and PCAD design files support, but I've not tested it yet -- if I do that in the near future, I'll give you feedback.

sreaves22645
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Re: PCB design at home
sreaves22645   2/13/2014 4:50:40 PM
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Hello wnatter,

Well I am partial to SprintPCB by Abacom. It is very easy to use, well supported by the supplier, has features that cost big bucks from the big boys (and some that are not on high cost programms) but it's cost is modest. They have a companion schematic capture program and a real nice front panel design software.

http://www.abacom-online.de/uk/html/produkte.html

I think that the next choice would be DipTrace which is a medium cost program (PCB/Schematic). I think that they have a free version that may be limited by size and number of connections. Very similar to OrCAD Capture for Windows but much cheaper.

http://diptrace.com/

Other options include DesignSpark PCB which is free but has a steeper learning curve.

http://www.designspark.com/eng/page/designspark-pcb-home-page

There is a Yahoo! group for the Old DOS OrCAD that can be made to run in Windows. All of the software and manuals for that is available to download from the group.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OldDosOrcad/info

 

All of those programs are freely availble for download. The commercial ones has demo or limited use free versions.

Best of luck,

 

Sam

 

 

 

zeeglen
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TEK Survey
zeeglen   2/1/2014 7:02:40 PM
Funny thing, just last week a young lady who said she represented Tektronix phoned me at my day job doing a survey: "What features would you like to have in a scope?"  Don't know how she got my name or tracked me down, but I gave her two things I would really like to see:

The ability to trigger on both rising / falling edges.  My ATTEN pos has this selection in the trigger menu, unfortunately it does not work.

A rear panel jack for a foot switch (similar to a guitar foot pedal) to initiate a single sweep.  When one is holding a probe in each hand, only the feet are available to trigger the scope.

David Ashton
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Re: TEK Survey
David Ashton   2/1/2014 10:12:00 PM
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Nice ideas Glen, I hope she takes them further.

BTW at my age, when young ladies phone me, I don't ask too many questions about why they are doing so..... :-)

betajet
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Foot Switch
betajet   2/2/2014 9:33:43 AM
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zeeglen wrote: A rear panel jack for a foot switch (similar to a guitar foot pedal) to initiate a single sweep.  When one is holding a probe in each hand, only the feet are available to trigger the scope.

That's a great idea.  I often have the same problem, except I'm usually holding two or three probes in one hand and I also need to press the ENTER key on my keyboard to start the test.  I suppose I should just hack my keyboard with foot switch -- or a knee switch like fortepianos used to use.

antedeluvian
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Re: Foot Switch
antedeluvian   2/2/2014 9:58:12 AM
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zeegklen, betajet

zeeglen wrote: A rear panel jack for a foot switch (similar to a guitar foot pedal) to initiate a single sweep.  When one is holding a probe in each hand, only the feet are available to trigger the scope.

That's a great idea.  I often have the same problem, except I'm usually holding two or three probes in one hand and I also need to press the ENTER key on my keyboard to start the test.  I suppose I should just hack my keyboard with foot switch -- or a knee switch like fortepianos used to use.


What about voice commands?- then you could also change the gain/sweep etc. as well as the trigger. Since many of the higher end scopes are built around a Windows interface this can't be to difficult to implement in those devices.

A diiferent approach may be to measure your eye movements a la the Google glass.

zeeglen
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Re: Foot Switch
zeeglen   2/2/2014 1:23:42 PM
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@ antedeluvian  What about voice commands?

Years ago this option was available for some high-end scopes, but did not catch on.  Maybe with recent advances in the reliability of voice command processing this might be worth a 2nd look.  But for low-end scopes, a simple foot switch jack adds llittle cost.


Victor Lorenzo
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Re: Foot Switch
Victor Lorenzo   2/2/2014 4:38:47 PM
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@antedeluvian, "What about voice commands?- then you could also change the gain/sweep etc. as well as the trigger. Since many of the higher end scopes are built around a Windows interface this can't be to difficult to implement in those devices."

In my previous occupation I was working with one LeCroy waverunner 6050a which was running Windows XP Embedded. We even installed Microsoft Visual Studio on it for extending the scope's analisys functions. It was possible to create pluggins for the scope using COM objects and have a great deal of control over the whole instrument. I guess it could be possible to add voice control using that mechanism.

betajet
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Re: Foot Switch
betajet   2/2/2014 7:37:47 PM
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antedeluvian wrote: What about voice commands?

I often use "voice commands" when trying to hold three probes in place with one hand while pushing 'scope buttons and keyboard with the other.  The "voice commands" don't seem to work very well :-)

abcd1239383728939545
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Re: Foot Switch
abcd1239383728939545   4/17/2014 5:31:48 PM
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@antedeluvian : There is a new Android app that will allow you to setup any voice commands you would like and it will automatically send the command to the instrument (as long as the instrument has a sockets server, and most do).  It should work with both Linux and Windows-based scopes.  It's called "Instrument Talk".  The free version is more of a way to try it to make sure it works before you buy the paid one, but it's only $4.99.  A lot less expensive than a foot pedal, etc... 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Instrumental+Instruments

MeasurementBlues
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Re: TEK Survey
MeasurementBlues   2/6/2014 6:05:52 PM
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The survey is leading up to this:

http://info.tek.com/www_futureofscopes.html

bobdvb
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Beg steal or borrow
bobdvb   2/2/2014 7:37:18 AM
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Since I built a workshop at home and then changed jobs (now working from home), I have been trying to get as much test equipment at home.

I have a scope-meter (DVM + Oscillscope) for the occasional probe

I bought a second hand spectrum analyser because that is part of my business but it is a TV installers one. I am trawling ebay to look for a 3.5GHz or 6GHz HP analyser that someone doesn't know the true value of!

The other day I needed to do some real measurements and borrowed a 26GHz HP, but thankfully I know people who have them and I had a choice. But I don't want to burn friendships, so I need my own.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Beg steal or borrow
MeasurementBlues   2/6/2014 6:19:22 PM
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I have a Tek handheld DMM, two Extech handheld DMMs, and an original HP34401A. I also have one of the Oscium iOS scopes (new 2-channel version, http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1320087) and I really should write a review of it.

MeasurementBlues
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Ways to mount a scope
MeasurementBlues   2/6/2014 6:12:03 PM
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A little off topic here but since was have some scope users. I'd like to compile a slideshow showing unusually to mount a scope, DMM, or other kind of equipment. I store an old Tek DMM on the wall with a couple of screws and I should really get some hooks to store an HP34401A DMM. If I actually had a scope like the Rigol with a handle, I'd get some hooks and hand it under a shelf above my work area.

So, If you have any photos of how you mounted test equipment, please send them to me at martin.rowe@ubm.com. Thanks.

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