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Oscilloscope decision


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Hi All,

I'm looking for some opinions regarding the choice of an oscilloscope.

I am  currently in the market for a 'scope and have been inundated with salesman pitch. What I need to know is: what needs to be looked at to help in the decision of purchasing a new unit.

Some of the points of discussion (arguments!) that I have had include the frequency range (should I be looking for something with a range around 50Mhz - or is this required only for digital work) and whether it should be CRO or digital. I have noticed a lot of digital units that plug into a computer. Is it more feasible to head towards a pc-based 'scope in this day and age? Is a 'scope a piece of equipment that, if the right decision is made on day 1, will be with you for a long portion of your career without the need to upgrade?

I figure that the majority of work I will be doing will be on the benchtop so I'm not looking for a portable unit.

Looking forward to some feedback from you people that have been in the field for a long time.


Cynicmonster  :)

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Hi cynicmonster,

First off, interesting handle. ;D

I am  currently in the market for a 'scope

Makes me assume you've not had one before - You have to ask, what do I need it for?

If your interests are in (relatively) low frequency analogue/audio then almost anything modern will do.  If you do a lot of digital work, even at low frequency, then think of looking at a scope with 5 to 10 times better bandwidth than the highest frequency you normally work with.  Also, if mainly digital, then storage facilities can be extremely useful.  Unfortunately, at this stage, the options start to mushroom together with the price.

Myself, I work mainly with digital circuits and some analogue - max frequency of crystal would be 20-40MHz and the working frequency about 25% of that.  I use a Fluke PM3082, 100MHz 2+2 channel with autoset, autocalibration and electronic cursors.  The only thing I miss is the lack of trace storage.

I've also felt the need for more bench space and so have been tempted, for the next one and when income allows, to go for a black box approach with scope and logic inputs plugged into my current PC/laptop.

Hope that helps

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