The home hacking arsenal gets a new tool

A bit over 30 years ago I did some manual labour in return for some aged but novel tools. The most interesting to me of these was a Tektronix 515 oscilloscope. It was a single-channel (but did have a Z-axis input), and had about ~10-15MHz bandwidth (more than enough for the z80 material I had). One of the ‘novel’ aspects of this scope was that all signals were round. No matter what :). My high school had quite a lot of storage used up by old test equipment and other odds and sods, this one being ~30 years old at this stage. I also obtained a vacuum-tube driven multi-meter.

When I left for university, sadly, most of my treasures were unable to accompany me (smelling of bakelite and ‘burnt’, and not very portable).

Well, today I have rectified this hole in my life, and a new scope has entered, a Hantek DSO4254C. And it only cost ~$500. 4 channels, 250MHz, actual square-looking waves! And a signal generator. And, it stores the signals even longer than the phosporous in my old Tek.

Now, there are some differences in these ~60 year life span equipment. The new one, ironically, is a bit louder (the old one had no fan, but as it heated and cooled it made a fair bit of ticking). The new one is much lighter, doesn’t really have a smell to it (old electronics are very obvious when in operation, the ozone, bakelite, etc).

The new one has a whole lot of software running on it (measurements, signal decodes of I2C, SPI, CANBUS, etc). And, i pity the poor electronics that doesn’t want to give up its hacking secrets to me now!

So, got an itch to scratch? the home hobbyist scope is much more accessible than ever. As long as you stay under ~250MHz, scopes are very cheap, and decent quality.


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