I think any list like this ought to mention two more items:
1. The National Instruments MyDAQ
NI gear is usually pretty expensive (as is the LabView software needed to drive it) but if you are a student you can get their MyDAQ, which is intended for student use and is cheap ($99 for students with a copy of LabView), but it is only 200 KSPS / 20KHz bandwidth which I find woefully inadequate - even the low range items above do 2 MSPS and 200 KHz Bandwidth. Nevertheless it is a versatile goodie - has digital I/O and a DMM built in - and quite good value if you're a student.
2. Digilent Analog Discovery
Digilent make the Analog Discovery which is $99 if you can get the student price, a bit more otherwise. 100 MSPS 14-bit channels and they claim effective 5 MHz bandwidth - plus digital I/O. I'd like to get one of these - streets ahead of the MyDaq.
Both of these are USB/PC based, so no good if you want something standalone.Both are intended for the educational area, but still useful for low speed lab work.
Great to learn about "Analog Discovery" from Digilent. Thanks!! Looks to be a professional product for low speed lab work and handy for debugging as it is multipurpose: oscilloscope cum logic analyzer cum multimeter. Ease of portability makes it good to place the tool on the desk instead the requirement for a lab space. Requesting your comments after you get a chance to try that.
@Sanjib - I am hoping to get an Analog Discovery next year and if I do I will try and let you know how it goes. Everything I have heard about them has been good. Anyone else have hands-on experience with them?
I've been using the Analog Discovery for two weeks now, and had been experimenting with Digilent's Waveforms software (a free download from www.digilentinc.com) for a week or two before that. Nearly everything I've tried works the way one would expect it to work. One "gotcha" is that while the AWG can produce nearly 10 Vpp waveforms, you can't get one half of that when you use 50 ohm source impedance and drive a 50 ohm load; there is an approximately 20mA current limit on the outputs. If you stay below that current level, the spectrum analyzer indicates mid-60;s or better for THD. Another "strangie" I have yet to resolve is why a 1-second 20 Hz to 20 KHz sweep commences with a linear ramp for the first millisecond or so. I just posed this second problem to Digilent's support folks two days before Christmas, when they were already on a holiday break, but I'm sure they will have an answer for me once they get back to business next year. The support team, largely based in Romania, has been really open and responsive. My company is actually considering embedding the Analog Discovery inside of one of our systems. It is really handy that both scope channels have full differential inputs. You can make the system even more versatile by isolating the Analog Discovery's ground from your PC's ground by use of a USB isolator. (Analog Devices' CN-0160 evaluation board works really well because it allows you to supply the secondary with a hefty power supply.) Too bad the world is still waiting for a high-speed USB isolator; the Analog Discovery is seriously throttled back by the presence of a full-speed isolator.
@Paul - thanks for that. Most of what I have heard about the Analog Discovery has been good and it's great to have it (mostly) confirmed. It's certainly good value if you can get the student price. (Doubt you would for your commercial app but hope you get a good qty discount!) Thanks for the feedback.
Various versions of the myRIO platform are available. The price for the student version will be $499 and includes a complete version of LabView software. This is a very good lab for many engineering subjects.
Inexpensive is the title and yes, they are inexpensive, but that brings to mind the old saw 'you get what you pay for.' I'm not sure an osclliscope the size of a wristwatch is useful execpt in a pinch - but maybe I'm just an old codger who likes his larger screens. A lot of these gizmos seem to be small for the sake of being small, not for the sake of functionality. As someone said, 'now that you have taught the dog to talk, what does it have to say?'
LTSpice is not portable software, as it requires an install on a PC or Mac. But yes it is a very good test tool from LT.
But by the way the tools listed here are very nice collection at a stretch, among them Red Pitaya seems to be of trande setter potential being a open source. Also it is nice of Gabotronics that they have revealed the schematic diagram of the product they are yet to commercially available.
I had not heard of that logging multimeter till you posted this blog. That one will be an interesting one to watch here in the future. Also thanks for the mention of my recent blog post on the Red Pitaya. I am excited to get some more time to play with it here in the near future.
About 6 years ago, I purchased a meter (Fluke size) from Radio Shack that could feed a digital out via USB (serial adapter) for $69. Given that you can now purchase a bluetooth based OBDII reader for $10 on Amazon, it seems as though it's not a stretch to expect a respectable multimeter that can connect via bluetooth for well under $100.
Check out the DS203 on eBay, A pocket size 4 channel 72 MHz bandwidth digital storage oscilloscope for well under $200. 2 analog and 2 digital channels and a signal generator. Open source and upgradable with up to 4 Apps, spectrum analyzer, for example. I have been using one for the last couple of years. Works great! A wrist strap of some sort would be handy to hold it sometimes, Otherwise, no complaints.
Roger that one; even USB (2.0) sound cards can and will pitch fits with ungodly ground noise (E-MU 0404 USB. Yes, Creative Labs, after years of getting it right, bent me, sold me their "end-of-life" crap after one-year-plus of promises; Amazoo, $185). Been there: One solution is to lift the COMPUTER ground, which EE's, myself included, would rather not; two, is put'm CLOSE and ground'm all with HEAVY braid. My 'lab' of all trades is EMI-noisy so I use both, and it works for me.
Researched it 'til i'm worth << $1/day, mainly because of the market potential. May still be a huge market there as USB 3.0 has the SAME PROBLEM (480Mb/s a problem? Imagine 5Gb/s or so...) Read Ethernet does not have said ground issues necessarily, could be Firewire either; stopped right there as I simply want to do loudspeaker T/S parameters, audio spectrum analysis, DSP galore, stuff like that.
Still looking for the audio spectrum analyzer S/W; must be the best, free is a non-issue...
AI is it, ask IBM, and life is short so somebody else please solve the above. Thank you kindly.
I thought it was exciting when companies started offering measurement tools that connected to the iPad, but the oscilloscope watch takes this to a whole new level.
But my question is, who among you would actually connect test leads to the watch while you're wearing it? I suppose it depends on the circuit under test, but I had this humorous vision of a guy testing a high voltage switching regulator with his oscilloscope watch...while still wearing it on his wrist :)
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