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Want to buy an oscilloscope? Depending on requirements and budget different devices are recommended. On which parameters should you pay attention when buying:

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Buy Oscilloscope: Parameters

The following parameters should be taken into account when buying:

  • Number of channels
  • Trigger input
  • Analog bandwidth
  • Max Sample Rate
  • Digital Signals
  • Memory (Number of Points)
  • Storage division of the channels
  • Trigger options
  • Mathematical operations
  • External synchronization
  • External interfaces
  • Warranty

Here are some tips on how to purchase. First of all, the most important parameter is the number of channels available. Do you want to measure two channels or four channels at the same time? Two channels is sufficient for smaller applications. Different signals can of course be analyzed by plugging the cables one after another. However, this is important in the case of an external trigger input (EXT trigger). Because with only two channels you don't want to sacrifice another channel for triggering. Most often you have a trigger line, which then point to the EXT trigger signal.

The analog bandwidth in the oscilloscope denotes the signal frequency, which still passes the low-pass filter in the oscilloscope. A glimpse into datasheet provides information on the attenuation in relation to the bandwidth (3dB is common). Even if the digital sampling rate is higher, you can't get any signals beyond the analog bandwidth.

The maximum sample rate in mpt/s or gpt/s (mega or giga points per second) and describes the number of sampling points that the oscilloscope measures (digital oscilloscopes only). A 100 MHz signal measured at 1 GPT/s sampling rate has ten points measured per oscillation period. The value of 10 points per oscillation is a good guideline to keep the signal reconstruction correctly. Background information on correct scanning are available in the article “Signal Reconstruction".

Digital oscilloscopes have memory in which the measured waveform is stored. A large memory is useful for longer sequences. When sampling at 1Gpt/s, this means a billion points per second. Often, oscilloscopes only have 10,000 - 100,000 sample storage points. The recorded time range at highest scanning is then only in the microsecond range. Bigger memory is only available in high-speed oscilloscopes or transient recorders, which are priced between 10,000 - 100,000 Dollars.

Analog and digital oscilloscopes have different trigger options. The simple analog oscilloscopes often just has falling and rising edge triggers in combination with a certain trigger level. Digital oscilloscopes can be used on digital pulse sequences and can be triggered extensively. In addition, high-quality digital oscilloscopes have additional inputs exclusively for digital signals. This can be used, for example to analyze digital controls and logic blocks. In addition, digital oscilloscopes have mathematical functions such as Fourier transformation, Power spectrum and more built-in. The user manual gives detailled information about this.

Additional purchase parameters are external synchronization options. This is often found only on high-quality, expensive oscilloscopes. It synchronizes a TTL output to the clock of the oscilloscope. This allows frequency generators to be operated phase-synchronous to the oscilloscope. On the other hand, the clock of the oscilloscope can also be set to synchronize a frequency generator. Usually only a few developers need this feature. More important, on the other hand, are external interfaces such as USB and RS232 (serial interface). When buying a new oscilloscope, also look for the warrenty of the manufactorer.

Digital oscilloscopes are the current state of the art devices and are available with various parameters. There are lots of variantes with few or several input channels, different bandwidths and memory depths.

Even no-name oscilloscopes can do a lot today. The manufacturer Siglent offers multiple entry-level oscilloscopes at 50 MHz to 100 MHz and two channels. Siglent is a manufacturer from China and has been around for several years in business. Also Rigol and Hanmatek deliver high quality products for a low price. products with two input channels are especially suited for home users. Voltcraft also offers a good entry-level oscilloscope, named DSO-1062D. In addition, there are other oscilloscopes without a display, which are operated directly on the computer. Such systems are often very affordable to buy. Have a look to our recommondation section below for best offers.

Buy the best oscilloscopes

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