Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rigol DS1102E digital oscilloscope

I crossed my fingers that I hadn't bought a lemon. When I finally plugged in and fired up the scope, I wasn't just relieved; I was impressed. The screen was bright, the controls were a breeze to use, knobs and buttons weren't loose or soggy, and operation was quite intuitive. Once I knew how to get to the single sweep trigger I was able to navigate the menu without referring to the manual. I was able to capture millisecond signals in minutes.

I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't gush. This is the first digital oscilloscope I've ever used so it's quite possible that the Rigol's features and functions are run of the mill--or Electra forbid--even mediocre compared to a Tektronix or Agilent. The price difference, on the other hand, makes these respected brands way beyond my budget.

Below are displays of an infrared remote control (which, from the looks of it, uses a REC-80 protocol) which I stored in a USB flash drive. I then uploaded the .bmp image to the computer. The only difference between the two is that I inverted the colors in the second picture. I think it makes it easier on the eyes and makes for a better presentation.

Precisely measuring amplitude and period / pulse widths is quite easy. Just turn on the cursors (X or Y depending on what you're measuring), zoom in on the portion of wave that needs to be measured by manipulating the horizontal/vertical scale knob, align the cursors, and then read off the difference (delta value) shown on the screen.

I still have to explore most of the features of this DS1102E. I haven't even had both channels up on screen yet!

Having access to this DSO feels as if I was, till now, living in the Stone Age.

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