Top 5 PC-Based Oscilloscopes For Thinkers and Makers
Every serious maker out there will surely tell you the importance of having a good oscilloscope. An oscilloscope is something you should have if you really consider yourself a maker, and fortunately enough, the cost of quality oscilloscope has been on the decline for some time now, so you don’t necessarily have to get the big bucker ones to get started.
Small size PC based USB scopes are an excellent alternative, and they do feature a host of capabilities that will give you the performance, accessibility, portability you will need and also cost-effectiveness as a maker. We could possible underestimate the potential of a PC-based USB oscilloscope because of the sheer small size as compared to benchtop versions. But as the processing power available on today’s PCs is increasing, high-end USB PC-based scopes are sprouting out which are increasing rivaling their benchtop partners and even with the advantage of a lower cost.
Not only are PC based scopes significantly easy to use, but the idea of using a PC for the processing means, user can do more with the files, write a custom program to interface with the scope to maximize the full scope potential and many more. In this article, we will mention some lovely USB based scopes (not in any order) for every maker, thinkers, and upcoming electronics engineers.
The Owon VDS1022I is a PC based scope from the Chinese manufacturer Owon that features a 25 MHz bandwidth and maximum 1 GS/s real-time sample rate. The scope is a multi-channel oscilloscope (2+1) channel with a multi-trigger option: Edge, Video, Slope, Pulse, and Alternate. One exciting feature about the scope is that it is capable of displaying two separate waveforms on the same screen.
The scope includes isolated USB for protection, RS232 port, USB port, LAN port, and a probe compensation. The scope is available for purchase for about $104 on Amazon
The Hantek HT6022BE is an inexpensive PC based scope for the maker on a budget. The PC based scope is capable of 20 MHz of bandwidth, a multi-channel scope, 48MS/s sampling rate, and quite portable allowing for easy carry. The Hantek HT6022BE cost around $65.55 and available for purchase on Amazon.
The Perytech DSO U2200 USB oscilloscope carries a price tag of $110 and also comes with a slight software design from the conventional window design to a more oscilloscope like environment allowing it to be easy to use without the need of manuals. One significant advantage of the Perytech scope as compared to others is its productive software environment with features automatic measuring functions, including maximum value, minimum value, frequency, and period. A stacking function allows up to four USB oscilloscopes to be stacked as an eight-channel oscilloscope.
The scope also features logic analyzer, and the PC based scope is capable of 60MHz Bandwidth with a sampling rate of 240 MS/s. The scope is available for purchase on Amazon.
The Digilent Analog Discovery 2 is a product of Analog Devices. It’s a multi-function USB oscilloscope which is highly designed for students, enthusiasts, makers, and hobbyists. It allows them to measure, visualize, simulate, and analyze a variety of mixed-signal circuits. The Analog Discovery 2 transforms any PC into an electrical engineering workstation. This USB-powered device enables students to build and test analog and digital circuits in any environment with the functionality of traditional benchtop instruments.
The scope is a multi-channel (2 channel) oscilloscope with a two-channel waveform generator, a 16-channel logic analyzer, 16-channel digital pattern generator, and protocol analyzer. Features include two analog inputs (±25 V, differential, 14-bit, 100 MS/s, 30-MHz+ bandwidth),two analog outputs (±5 V, 14-bit, 100 MS/s, 12-MHz+ bandwidth), a stereo audio amplifier to drive external headphones or speakers with replicated arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) signals, 16 digital I/O (3.3-V CMOS and 1.8-V or 5-V tolerant, 100 MS/s), and two I/O digital trigger signals for linking multiple instruments (3.3-V CMOS).
Its WaveForms Software Development Kit comes with C++ and Python libraries and examples as well as forum support from the software developers. Analog Discovery 2 is also supported by third-party software such as MATLAB and LabVIEW. The scope is available for purchase for about $280 here. A student version is available for $183 from National Instruments
Hantek IDS1070A is a multi-channel oscilloscope that can be used with iOS, Android 4.0, and Windows XP or higher on tablets, PCs, and the iPhone. Communication with the scope and its host is through WLAN while the USB port is for battery charging and USB connection to PC instead of Wireless mode. It cost around $126 and feature a 70 MHz bandwidth and a real-time sampling rate of 250 MS/s. T