External oscilloscope?

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Mr D
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External oscilloscope?

Post by Mr D » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:16 am

Hi folks,

I've been thinking about picking up an oscilloscope for use with my Eurorack setup (for viewing waveforms and envelopes etc), and i was wondering: why would i buy a dedicated eurorack oscilloscope with is relative high price and tiny screen, when i can pick up something like the one linked below.

Not trying to hate on Eurorack oscilloscopes, it's a serious question: is there any reason this (link below) will not do as good a job? I mean just in terms of the viewing of the waveform, i appreciate that a eurorack oscilloscope might have some dedicated features like signal thru ....and of course something like a Mordax has a million more eurorack specific features.. but all i'm interested in is a really nice big screen, and also portability is a plus as i have two different eurorack setups in two studios......... thanks!

https://www.banggood.com/UNI-T-UTD2102e ... rehouse=CN
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by hippasus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:50 am

I use this one ZeroScope. When I use an external oscilloscope, though they may have much better specs, the fan noises are not negligible so it has been only useful for debugging or checking some DIY projects but not when trying to focus on the musical sound. I guess there are some that are really quiet but then we come back to the initial question :75:

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by hippasus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:53 am

The handheld one are probably much quieter since they run on batteries. Though I haven't use it, this looks good from your link:
DANIU ADS5012H.

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Whelm
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Whelm » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:01 pm

You might get better responses in the DIY section since these are very common in SDIY.

As someone who has also been looking at oscilloscopes, I'll just add that you might get better value off eBay auctions.

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sir stony
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by sir stony » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:04 pm

You are right, of course. A dedicated oscilloscope will usually do a better job at what it is supposed to do, offer a bigger screen and not occupy rackspace, either. And some can be had at a very nice price, too. But I have had some experiences with the UNI-T stuff, and I can't vote for it. It really is just a light touch above being the worst kind of china-made. I found for example levels shown on their equipment to be far different (something like 30% off) from what an industrial grade fluke dmm showed me on the same signal. Wonky knobs and/or jacks, displays mounted badly, really slow reaction showing a changing measurement, one box with a auto power off function that would shut it down after some time, even when the thing is being used, and no way to change that behaviour... time and again I found myself itching to just grab that gear and fling it out the window. It all worked, but none of it satisfyingly so.
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voidshell
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by voidshell » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm

Once I got DATA, I never gave a 2nd thought of having an external. I even gave my old oscilloscope away

Mr D
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Mr D » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:46 pm

Thanks all!

Fan noise, i hadn't thought about that, that's a good point.

I have to say, the ZeroScope doesn't look like great value! Tiny screen, zero feautures!

Maybe if i can find a fanless second hand O'S of decent quality??

I have a DATA, and i think it's great but the fact that it displays all 4 channel waveforms at the same time on the screen kinda sucks. They're so tiny!

Would be great to be able to expand one channel waveform to be fullscreen.

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sir stony
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by sir stony » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:54 pm

But on DATA you can choose to watch just one waveform. You can select which channels are shown or not. And use the Voltage settings to "zoom" that waveform... as you would with any other oscilloscope, too. :despair:
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rew_
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by rew_ » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm

I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by BugBrand » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:50 pm

rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Just saw this on twitter - Threetom adaptor

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by circuitburst » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:56 pm

rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Typical oscilloscopes use BNC connectors. So you need a BNC to 3.5mm adapter.
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snowday
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by snowday » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:37 pm

I got myself a second hand Tektronix off of eBay. Works like a charm, but it’s huge and most of the features are probably stuff you don’t need if you just want to see waveforms etc.

I’ve got some free oscilloscope software on my PC that works really well, I can recommend something like that whole heartedly.

oldgearguy
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by oldgearguy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:52 pm

Years ago I picked up a BK Precision 2120 scope with leads.

One like this: https://www.ebay.com/p/1438953999

if there's a fan, I can't hear it and it's been running great for 20 years. Perfect for calibrating synths, debugging/ repairing gear, and watching oscillator waveform.

You can find a lot of decent deals on older scopes if you don't need digital, memory, etc.

For probes, the alligator or spring clip ends hold onto the end of a 3.5mm cable just fine.

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dubonaire
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by dubonaire » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:37 pm

Mr D wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:46 pm
I have a DATA, and i think it's great but the fact that it displays all 4 channel waveforms at the same time on the screen kinda sucks. They're so tiny!

Would be great to be able to expand one channel waveform to be fullscreen.
You can only show one waveform with the Data. You just select the channel and turn VIS on or off. It's worth taking the time to reading the Data manual, if you haven't already, but turning the channel vis on and off is is straightforward.

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sko87pro
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by sko87pro » Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:46 pm

snowday wrote:I got myself a second hand Tektronix off of eBay. Works like a charm, but it’s huge and most of the features are probably stuff you don’t need if you just want to see waveforms etc
I also bought an old Tektronix 2445a 'scope from eBay. It's one of the last analogue scopes before digital took over. I love CRTs and I wanted something for electronics and modular. It's four channels and 150 MHz. I can't hear the fan.

After 2 months there was a POP! inside the case and the display went fuzzy. Waveforms now have ghosting on them and there's a lot of noise around the signal. I contacted the seller who was helpful, he said the display board probably needs new capacitors. So now I have another project. It's non-trivial to repair, here's what's inside the case (including big voltages):

Repairing a Tektronix
https://cromwell-intl.com/radio/tek2445a.html

Here are my recommendations after this experience:
  • Visit the synth DIY sub-forum and see what's recommended for scopes today
  • Search on Amazon, sparkfun and fpga4fun, among others
  • Some digital multi-meters (DMMs) have big backlit displays and can show live waveforms, like a scope
  • There are good laptop solutions with free scope software
  • If buying a second-hand scope, get a digital model from the past 5 years or younger
  • If you really want an older analogue CRT scope, choose carefully (research the models), don't pay too much, go with known brands like HP/Agilent or Tektronix or Phillips, collect by hand not mail, and be prepared to fix it
The Mordax DATA and O'Tool modules make sense IMO, I am now considering them!

HTH

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by studioutopia » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:44 am

+1 for Mordax DATA. I've had mine since new years day. It is the hub of my modular, and unlike a general purpose Tektronics or my old Philips scope, it is made specifically for the needs of a modular synthesist - and so compact.
- the tuner is fantastic. Especially if you are trying to make some semblances of using complex oscillators.
- Voltage Monitor is excellent for visualizing LFOs, envelopes, slew limiters, gates, sequences.
- Oscilloscope - When working with a complex oscillator with waveform multiplication (like Instruo Cs-L), I like setting up three inputs: the modulator, the carrier sine wave, and the final multiplied output - then you can lock the timing of DATA to the carrier, observe the source of the modulation, and visualize the final output. It really takes the complexity out of complex oscillators. You can actually see where the harmonics will meet to create musical tones.
- In that case where you need exactly 1.7V, or some other arbitrary voltage source, for a test - you have 4 perfect and stable sources at your disposal.
- The Spectrograph is awesome with filters. Combined with observing waveforms on the scope - it allows you to see exactly what filters are doing - where the resonant peaks are, and possibly see some things you might miss with your ears.

Generally speaking, I have found that since getting the DATA - and I'm sure anyone who starting using ANY SCOPE with their modular has experienced this - you start to observe the deficiencies, design flaws, or just simply- see where the limits are - in all of your modules. It has allowed me to change how I use my modules.
A scope exposes all. Eg. You may have confirmation bias about a particular envelope generator over another. Brand Loyalty. controls and interface. Once you put it on a scope - you can either destroy that perception - or confirm it.

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lud
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by lud » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:10 am

What free software do folks recommend (windows)? Do you need a DC coupled audio interface?

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by studioutopia » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:14 am

lud wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:10 am
What free software do folks recommend (windows)? Do you need a DC coupled audio interface?
VCV Rack has a good scope, and it's free...and fun! You can use any audio interface if you want to view audio waveforms (AC) - but if you want to see DC voltages in the scope - you have to have a DC-coupled interface.

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rew_
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by rew_ » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:25 am

circuitburst wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:56 pm
rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Typical oscilloscopes use BNC connectors. So you need a BNC to 3.5mm adapter.
Do these...exist? Lots of googling for male BNC to female 3.5mm has turned nothing up (the inverse is prevalent). Combined with the gadget Mr. Bug posted it seems like this might not be common.

Anyway, thanks for your answers.
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circuitburst
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by circuitburst » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:49 am

rew_ wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:25 am
circuitburst wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:56 pm
rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Typical oscilloscopes use BNC connectors. So you need a BNC to 3.5mm adapter.
Do these...exist? Lots of googling for male BNC to female 3.5mm has turned nothing up (the inverse is prevalent). Combined with the gadget Mr. Bug posted it seems like this might not be common.
Yeah, BNC to 3.5mm male seems to be the standard. So you'd need a 3.5mm coupler. Something like this:
https://hosatech.com/products/analog-au ... s/gmm-303/
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Abyssinianloop
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Abyssinianloop » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:06 pm

I used to work in an electronics design/assembly shop that had all manner of scopes. I don't remember any of them having an audible fan. I use an old crt scope to look at waveforms from my eurorack. The only drawback is that it's kind of enormous. But it works great and I'd much rather not waste expensive rack space. For connections I just use the standard scope probes with the clip ends to a cable tip, and aligator clip wire to connect to cable sleeve. Other dedicated adaptors would be cleaner, but this stuff was just lying around and it's fine for me.

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Pelsea » Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:00 pm

rew_ wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:25 am
circuitburst wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:56 pm
rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Typical oscilloscopes use BNC connectors. So you need a BNC to 3.5mm adapter.
Do these...exist? Lots of googling for male BNC to female 3.5mm has turned nothing up (the inverse is prevalent). Combined with the gadget Mr. Bug posted it seems like this might not be common.

Anyway, thanks for your answers.
BNC to RCA adapters are needed for many video installations, so they are easy to find. I just chopped one end off of a couple of the thousand or so RCA cables I have and put a 3.5mm plug on, and I'm good to go.

I have two scopes-- a B&K analog on my bench and a OWON digital with my modular. Analog scopes are best at debugging circuits because of their fast response, the digital advantage is in precise measurements and event capture.

However, the tool I grab most often is a Korg tuner, followed by a Liumy graphical multimeter.
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by StillNotWorking » Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:48 pm

lud wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:10 am
What free software do folks recommend (windows)? Do you need a DC coupled audio interface?
:75:
Visual Analyser where the only one I got up running with a cheap 2 channel USB soundcard back when I needed a PC solution http://www.sillanumsoft.org/
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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Sync » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:40 am

circuitburst wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:56 pm
rew_ wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm
I have an extremely n00b question: how does one input a typical 3.5mm euro cable into a scope like that in the OP or the DANIU? what kind of adapter is needed?
Typical oscilloscopes use BNC connectors. So you need a BNC to 3.5mm adapter.
Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-3-5mm-8in ... ref=sr_1_4

Also, the pocket jobs you can get cheap on eBay are passable and way cheaper than DATA but it's worth getting at least a dual trace model, which bumps up the cost somewhat. A serious scope like the one in the OP certainly will more than do the job.

That said, the thing about DATA is the fact you can get 4 simultaneous traces, and one of the things you will likely want to do is compare the timing of different signals, where you might have a clock as a reference signal and then look at other signals in relation. Also, more serious scopes have external triggering capabilities, so you can sync the sweep on an external clock even if you don't need to see it, but what it will do for you is stablilize signals that are too irregular to be easy to trigger on directly. A 4-trace full size scope may not be particularly cheap, at which point DATA can look like a pretty good deal. Not sure what DATA does regarding triggering separately from the signals on the display tho, but the fact you've got 4 traces helps with that. The external trigger option may be more important when what you have is a dual trace not a quad trace scope.

Disclaimer: I used to repair scopes for Tektronix.
--

Sync

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Re: External oscilloscope?

Post by Ray Finkle » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:05 am

Sync wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:40 am
Also, the pocket jobs you can get cheap on eBay are passable and way cheaper than DATA but it's worth getting at least a dual trace model, which bumps up the cost somewhat.
this is helpful to me, thank you :tu:

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