Cheap-o O-scopes

We touched on this subject in another thread, but I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on an inexpensive scope. I’m looking to spend under $400… and lower if possible. Mostly just want to have a way to do sanity checks when I suspect I have dirty power, am missing interrupts, having noise on audio amps, etc.

I’m hearing good things about Rigol. Sort of the upper end of cost in this price bracket, but good QC. I think the Rigol DS1052E would probably be enough scope for me… the 50MHz could be limiting in the future, but on those occasions I have access to much more expensive scopes at work.

I haven’t heard as much about them, but the Atten ADS1062CAL looks pretty sweet with its widescreen display for $359 shipped from Amazon. Good reviews there… I’m probably leaning towards this one.

Also the Hantek DSO5102B 100MHz can be had for $380 on eBay from a North American shipper… but I’ve read some shaky reviews about their QC. I also hear their computer capture software isn’t great, but I’m not all that concerned about that functionality.

So I know I can search around for reviews on other forums, but do you guys have a favorite cheap scope you’d recommend?

If you go the Rigol, go the 100mhz version first up; there’s virtually no price difference. (my personal view - I’m looking at the 2000 series Rigol even though it’s above your budget, because I don’t have access to anything better elsewhere).

Atten are getting an OK reputation, and Hantek would be something I would avoid; Owon is another emerging vendor.

Here’s a guy who does a number of reviews of o’scopes that you might like (and it’s not EEVblog, although that’s the forum I’d go to look for reviews :slight_smile: )

My 2c; Atten DS1102E. If you’re in the US, you can buy from Rigol direct:

Also, regarding the Rigol… I don’t know if they still do it but when I ordered mine (a year or so ago) from they had a survey that you could answer at the end of purchase (< 10 questions as I recall) and if you answered them then you got $30 off your order. So, basically the shipping and then some was free.

Well… the Rigol seems to be the favorite as I suspected. Of course I’m being a child and I ordered the flashier Atten ADS1062CAL 60Mhz for $358 with 1-day shipping from Amazon :slight_smile:

I like the 7" widescreen, all the reviews I’ve found are pretty good, and I don’t know how much better 100MHz would be for me vs the 60. Seems like 60MHz is enough for peaking at SPI, and for my uses I won’t be troubleshooting anything faster than that.

And in the worst case I’ll be the guinea pig for your amusement. Thanks for the replies. I’ll let ya know how the un-boxing goes tomorrow.

Plugged it in, hooked up the included probes, hit Auto, and it seems to work. I’ll have to play with it more at home… but first impression is good!

That is a nice looking oscilloscope!

I like that nice big display. That’s one thing they should improve on the Rigol DS1052. I hope it suits your needs for many years!

They have improved it - but it’s called the 2000 series Rigol :slight_smile: (price :frowning: )

Yea. Doesn’t make sense with so many competitors using the larger display on the same class of scope.

It has a 4-year history though. The DS1052 has been around longer than all the other players, so they got the “jump” based on their price point and 2 years of sales with nothing in that space; I can’t see anyone then retrofitting “current” scope technology into a new, same price-point device with a redesigned case/screen etc etc… just not economically feasible. I expect them to drive the price point of DS2000 series down, and if you look at the feature list I still think they’re worth considering even as a hobbyist.

Here’s a question for you guys… The scope is working well so far, but when the ground clip of the probe isn’t connected to ground, there is quite a bit of noise. This is even when it is on the 1KHz probe compensation test point of the scope. Noise spikes are about 1.5V Pk-Pk.

Now the obvious answer is to use the ground clip… but using all my Tektronix scopes at work I’ve got to admit I barely ever use the clip because it doesn’t make a huge difference like it does with this one.

Is this common for cheaper scopes? Could it be the included probes?

I have the same behavior with my Rigol 1052E. If I don’t ground it, it gets all kinds of noise.

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Mystery solved for me… at work my scope is not < 6 feet away from a monster 802.11ac router :slight_smile:

By any chance do you have the same thing going in your home lab?

There is a Wifi router about 15’ away but there are also many electronics including two monitors & two computers within arms reach of the scope. I probably would get very different readings if I took it to the other end of the house. Using the ground clip isn’t usually a problem, though.

@ Brett this looks very interesting half the price of the Rigol 2000 series - bigger screen:

Interesting that the Owon scope has a battery compartment too.

Yep, up to 4 hours in the field.