I'm in the market for an oscilloscope. I've read that the infamous DS1052E from Rigol is a great beginner scope due to the price/performance.

However, I know I have a lot to learn and simply don't know if it's the scope I need.

My intentions are to build circuits such as audio cards for 8 bit computers, Ntsc video cards for 8 bit computers, etc.

Generating an NTSC signal (accurately) would probably be my biggest goal. However, I may dabble with standard VGA generation.

I've done this in the past but never had a scope to measure.

So my question is would the DS1052E be good for this kind of work? VGA as well?

BTW, I'm not really interested in hacking the scope for higher bandwidth. I've read you can brick it and I'd hate to risk it.

EDIT I removed the reference to my budget. After that, I'm not sure if this really warrants being put on hold as I am not asking for a scope recommendation. I am asking if a particular scope will handle a valid use-case. And since I am very new to EE and oscilloscopes in general, hopefully this will fit the requirements of the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I found an un-hacked DS1052E to be completely satisfactory when investigating a monochrome composite output of a BBC micro ( see stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6931&p=69005 ). It's probably usable for colour composite or VGA (at say 640x480 or below), but shortcomings in the bandwidth and/or number of channels may become apparent. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Johnson Feb 24 '14 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ The 1102 is not necessarily more expensive than the 1052 these days. They do have a regrettable amount internal noise, but should be useful for seeing what is going on. In terms of "accuracy" a lot of that will have to come from your clock source itself. What the scope will let you do is see if you've made your system depend on that in the way intended - ie, if you've made "obvious" errors and if so, help you understand them when a TV or monitor would not. But the instrument to actually qualify a clock source would far more expensive. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Feb 24 '14 at 16:13

Wikipedia provides the following information (see NTSC, PAL and SECAM Overview PDF for an in-depth look):

An NTSC television channel as transmitted occupies a total bandwidth of 6 MHz.

The Rigol DS1052E has a bandwidth of 50Mhz, which is sufficient. It also has special video triggering modes, which will be useful. There is a tutorial from Rigol on Youtube about using this triggering mode to capture a video signal (this uses a much more capable scope). Alternatively there is a third party video about the triggering modes on the DS1052E.

VGA is faster (>25Mhz) so will will start to test the limits of the scope, especially if you want to capture longer waveforms. There are also multiple signal connectors and the DS1052E only has two channels.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I remember reading about the 6 MHz bandwidth of NTSC. But, and this is my ignorance of oscilloscopes, why would 50 Mhz be pushed to its limits for something that is 25 Mhz? \$\endgroup\$ – cbmeeks Feb 25 '14 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Generally the faster you sample on any cheaper DSO the less data you will be able to save overall. So you might be capturing a very small window of the signal. \$\endgroup\$ – David Feb 25 '14 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you're saying the cheaper DSO (Like the 1052E) may be able to handle the input of 50 Mhz, but not able to store and analyze that many sampless? \$\endgroup\$ – cbmeeks Feb 27 '14 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Check this tutorial and see if it helps you: yokogawa.com/ymi/tutorial/tm-tutorial_01.pdf - if not consider opening a generic question if you can't find the answers. \$\endgroup\$ – David Feb 27 '14 at 13:51

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