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PC this and that. Now USB oscilloscope goodies?

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  • PC this and that. Now USB oscilloscope goodies?

    There's PC this and PC that. Now there's USB oscilloscope goodies?

    I have a spare laptop and I need an oscilloscope once in a great while. Do those gadgets you see in eBay actually function well enough for non-demanding work with motor drives, RFI tracing, and other basic stuff?

    There's a bunch on eBay but this one is typical:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/150MSa-s-PC-Base...QQcmdZViewItem

    There are different prices and different specs. I was looking more for a general comment from the electronic instrumentation illuminoti than a detailed comparison.
    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-03-2008, 10:20 PM.

  • #2
    Here is a very simple to build solid state pocket scope that can be powered from the equipment under test. It's basically a logic probe on steroids that can actually display a basic lo res wave form at audio frequencies.

    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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    • #3
      picoscope is good for rough stuff, dont know how this compares, how bout handheld fluke beasty?
      mark

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      • #4
        Even, Yeah right, I gonna solder them little bitty traces with my eyes;-)

        Boslab, $$$. Anything with "Fluke" connected with "scope" costs thousands. I aint got that much.
        Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-03-2008, 11:31 PM.

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        • #5
          Aw come on Forest. My eyes aren't any better. I use a headgear magnifier for everything. I just found that circuit recently and I have everything to build it. Except, I want higher resolution so I found a source of really small 2x3 mm green LEDs at a price of 1 cent each. I am thinking of making the resolution 30x30, or 900 LEDs to solder. The soldering job can be made a lot easier by using two boards for the LEDs, one for the X traces and when that is soldered another for the Y traces on top of the first board. That way you only need two single sided boards and no vias.


          All I have to do is cascade a couple of more bargraph chips and another shift register. I think that with 900 pixel resolution it would actually be useful.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Although they may not meet your needs, there are pure software scopes available for download. Here are two from the Shumtech website:

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ShumaTech/files/scope/

            Just make up a patch cord into the microphone input on the sound card, signal on the center conductor. They are limited in their bandwidth to whatever the sound card can handle, so only 20 KHz or so.

            I have tried them both, one worked better for me, but it has been awhile and I forget which one it was.

            Dennis

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            • #7
              USB Oscilloscope

              It looks kinda cool, but 150 MegaSamples/Second is really slow. It's probably OK for audio, powerline, AM radio, etc, but it's too slow for digital electronics.

              It is probably great for looking at VFD's, Monarch WIAD drives and the like, as the freqs are less than 20kHz - audio band. The waveform capture is handy for non-repetitive waveforms. Just look out for the waveform averaging, if it has that "feature".

              If I needed a 'scope for that sort of work and I knew how to work within its limitations it's probably OK. Even my 2GS/sec Tek scope is too slow sometimes...
              --
              A

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              • #8
                There are other alternatives........

                Assuming you don't need any more than 50 to 100 mHz, you can get small portable 2 ch Tek scopes surplus, that have an LCD screen and 2 channels that are isolated to about 600V or so. You can actually use them to look at separate 3 phase lines..... They are about the size of a book, have internal battery and line adaptor. I forget the model number, but used no more than $700 or so these days, via various channels. The military got rid of a bunch, driving down the prices.

                Then also, there are lesser manufacturers making combination scope/meter gizzies, with LCD screens, at lesser prices, depending on bandwidth. if you can do with 20 to 50 mhz, they are low hundreds of $$, even new.

                Yes, the multi-color 4 ch 300 + mHz Tek scopes are nice, and you need that sometimes, but they are hardly "general purpose". I've got spoiled by them too, but...........
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

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                • #9
                  There was an article in embedded systems programming magazine on line by columnist Jack Gansle saying how impressed he was with this little USB ocilliscope he was testing. It's been a long while so I don't remember the details, just that he said he was happy.

                  --Cameron

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                  • #10
                    CKelloug

                    thanks for the tip. I found this on the first Google:

                    http://www.ganssle.com/microscopes.pdf

                    Remember when libraries had card indexes?

                    Hm. I lost my upper case "t". I hit it and nothing happens.

                    `1234567890-=qwertyuiop[]\asdfghjkl;'zxcvbnm,./
                    [email protected]#$%^&*()_+QWERYUIOP{}|ASFGHJKL:"ZCCVBNM<>?

                    Everything else is there but upper case "t".

                    New keyboard? Drat! It's raining petty problems.

                    thanks to all for your conrtibutions. I was just thinking (Hush, Curly) about USB Oscopes but could find no solid info on them without digging through an immense mass of data I barely savvy. Now we're all smarter including the lurkers who lurk in.
                    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-04-2008, 11:08 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      Aw come on Forest. My eyes aren't any better. I use a headgear magnifier for everything. I just found that circuit recently and I have everything to build it. Except, I want higher resolution so I found a source of really small 2x3 mm green LEDs at a price of 1 cent each. I am thinking of making the resolution 30x30, or 900 LEDs to solder. The soldering job can be made a lot easier by using two boards for the LEDs, one for the X traces and when that is soldered another for the Y traces on top of the first board. That way you only need two single sided boards and no vias.


                      All I have to do is cascade a couple of more bargraph chips and another shift register. I think that with 900 pixel resolution it would actually be useful.
                      Evan, you need to make a soldering attachment for your CNC mill.

                      LOL,

                      BW
                      ---------------------------------------------------

                      http://www.cnccookbook.com/index.htm
                      Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
                      http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

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