Setting up a little electronic workshop and need advices...

By Evhor

Resident (54)

Evhor's picture

02-01-2015, 11:16

I am setting up a little electronic workshop in my garage and I need some advices. I would like to get an oscilloscope but my knowledge about these instruments is quite old. I saw on the Internet that there are many "solutions" but now I'm more confused than informed so I would like to know the opinion of some experienced user. Thank you in advance.

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By RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

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02-01-2015, 13:20

Disclaimer: I don't have a scope, but have used some on occasion (mostly long ago).

Imho most important is to keep intended uses in mind. And only get something that will fit those uses. Note that cheap <-> expensive, or analog <-> digital is an open question there. It all depends on how you'd use the thing.

What's your budget here? Typical uses you have in mind?

By Grauw

Ascended (10605)

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02-01-2015, 15:40

I’m no expert either, but I did recently buy a scope and asked a few knowledgeable people about what they thought was a good scope to get…

On the cheap, get a 2nd hand analog oscilloscope. If you want to go digital, I can recommend the Rigol DS1074Z, it’s quite cheap considering what you get, and a keygen exists to unlock options and 100 MHz bandwidth. I made a quick video.

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

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02-01-2015, 16:34

An osciloscope is a quite advance tool, mostly unnecessary, it is used for working on analog circuitry repairing or designing.

If you plan to do MSX hardware, you don't needs an osciloscope, you needs to buy a digital analizer, it is an interface with many inputs, so you can use your PC to browse & save for later study many digital signals at the same time and check things, like, if the /RD signal is delayed or not, if the bus is working properly, if lacks a signal somewhere. All this things isn't able to be done with an osciloscope, because the signals sometimes can be too separate in time that you won't see anything overall, looking for a LOW between too many continuous HIGH, etc.

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

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02-01-2015, 16:45

on other way, a basic electronic workshop only needs two good multitesters (twins if possible), that is needed to check one multitester comparing readings with the other.

Many digital failures can be detected with just the multitester, because if a signal fails, it is most a shortcut of that signal to ground or +V and you can measure all that with the multitester, digital analizer or osciloscopes are more like designer's tools.

By Grauw

Ascended (10605)

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02-01-2015, 19:22

Not disagreeing that the logic analyzer is a (more) useful tool, however;

The digital oscilloscope does have some use for logic, the one I linked to can be configured to decode and trigger on digital signals (parallel, RS232, I2C and SPA). It also has 4 channels which has some limited use for logic analysis. There’s also a model which includes a LA (the MSO series), however maxis said Rigol’s LA isn’t a particularly good one.

You might also want to consider a logic probe btw, those are pretty cheap and useful to debug logic issues. When my CX5MII had a failure in the memory mapper logic I bought one on advice from maxis, and it was a great help in debugging the issue and finding the broken IC.

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

flyguille's picture

02-01-2015, 20:05

Grauw, if the osciloscope has a built-in logic analizer, that is another thing, but normally an osciloscope have 2 or 4 channels that is not enough for watching busses, and its internal storage memory is not that much for storing multiple signals and do a offline study of what went wrong. And on the other side it is the price, why to pay twice if the analog part will remain unused?.

But anyway, that depends on the use he plan!. I assume he is planning a little work shop, and IF he needs to ask, and he post it in a msx forum, he is not "the repair guy", he is planning some digital develop, maybe tempted on the easyness of understand digital circuitry.

By Evhor

Resident (54)

Evhor's picture

03-01-2015, 12:06

You're right, guys. The goal comes first. The budget comes right after (about 1000€).
Actually, the digital develop is the largest part of the plan.
I read about the PC-interfaced multichannel logic probes.
I also read that, in some cases, channels works like AD converter and can then be used like oscilloscope channels.
That would be great.
However, as for oscilloscopes, Grawl's suggestion seems a good solution.
In the meantime, you helped me pinpointing the important stuff. Thanks!