[sdiy] Best scopes for the money, 2020?

Brian Willoughby brianw at audiobanshee.com
Tue Dec 1 20:55:29 CET 2020

I'm in the Seattle area and found a technician who repairs Tektronix and other brands of analog and analog+digital scopes. Tektronix are made way better than the others, and used ones start at $100.

I recommend against buying a low-end scope and then altering the firmware to try to gain more features. Often, the input hardware is physically different, and the firmware is not the whole story.

It's easy to see from the guts of a Tektronix how many boards are reused, but the high-end models really do have better probe buffers in the input stages. If you try to cheat, you're not going to get the real features that you think you're getting. I'd rather pay $100 for a used Tektronix where every feature is legitimate, rather than buy some cheap brand and hack the firmware to fool myself into thinking that I just saved $300.

Bottom line: Used is better than hacked. Vintage is better than modern.

Caveat: I don't really like modern digital 'scopes until you get to the $16,000 Tektronix models. I've used those at work, but can't afford them for my home bench. Perhaps there are modern digital scopes for less than $16,000 that work as well as Tektronix, but my new employer has a cheaper model that is way harder to use than the high-priced one. Not sure why the "ease of use" should suffer on the cheaper models, but...


On Dec 1, 2020, at 11:47, Amos <controlvoltage at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I suspect this is a group that includes folks who keep up with things like, what low-end scopes have custom firmware in circulation that unlocks advanced features, or what chinese off-brand DSO gives you the performance of X at a cost of <<X, etc...
> I'm more looking for cheap and cheerful than highest-end, but Very Nice scopes for merely Nice prices are relevant too.
> Do you have a favorite budget scope, or one you'd recommend for equipping a low end lab / repair bench?  Thanks!
> -Amos

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