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I have had the need for a scope more and more and I have finally decided it is time to get one. What are the options and what are recommendations for a first scope. I am thinking a CRT one. I don't really have a lot of money, so I will spend 200 dollars Max.

I also heard from eevblog here that you can get them on forums for free or cheap from some people. What are those forums?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Budget budget budget? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jun 26 '13 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't this a shopping question? Also check EEVblog forums, they have need a scope! Help! threads all the time and there is quite a lot of useful discussion there. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo Jun 26 '13 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of What to look for in an oscilloscope? \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jun 26 '13 at 16:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Price alone is a terrible parameter to use to select a scope. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Jun 26 '13 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's impossible to say what a "good first scope" is without knowing your usage needs. You might find that a scope in your budget range is woefully inadequate for your needs. You should explain what type of work you expect to do, and determine if any scopes that are suitable for that type of work are within your budget. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jun 26 '13 at 16:46
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Among the cheapest 'new' scopes you'll find is the Rigol DS1052E, which is LCD based, quite small and can be as cheap as $299 if you can find a sale. I haven't personally used one, but on the surface they look quite reasonable for hobbyist or semi-professional work.

My experience with used scopes so far is 0-for-1, with batter #2 at the plate. I got a free (as in beer) Kenwood 100MHz surplus inventory scope from work, which was great for around 4 hours or so until it completely warmed up and a latent HV issue showed up (random KABLAMO! arcing and ozone generation, likely somewhere in the flyback transformer.) I recently tried my luck again and got a 2-channel Fluke Combiscope, which I know works for at least six hours without risk of fire.

As others have said, it's buyer beware when getting used gear from auction sites. Many scopes, even older models, are still serviced by their manufacturers, but the price per incident will likely be much higher than what you paid for it. A new scope will at least have a 1 year manufacturer's warranty in case something goes horribly wrong. That being said, good quality scopes that haven't been abused can easily last decades.

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Not sure what all your requirements are, but I bought an old CRT Tektronix oscilloscope a few years back on Craigslist for tuning audio systems. It doesn't have the fancy features of the new DSOs, but it also cost me about 100 bucks. It works well and has all the features I need: basic measurement capabilities, edge and level triggering, etc. I would steer clear of eBay, or other auction sites, as the thing weighs a ton and would have probably cost a fortune to ship.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree regarding the eBay opinion. I got my first scope (a 100MHz B&K Precision) on eBay for a couple hundred dollars, and it was great. If I remember, shipping was around $15. There are lots of good deals on auction sites, but there are also plenty of units that might not work correctly. YMMV \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jun 26 '13 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough! I suppose looking for a seller who offers a good rate on shipping and has good positive feedback is important. \$\endgroup\$ – Jay Greco Jun 26 '13 at 16:55

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