*** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

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*** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Tue Aug 05, 2003 3:07 pm

Hello to All, this is my 1st post. I am interested in buying a Scope and I know that Tektronix has always been very reputable. I have been looking at the listings on Ebay and there are ALOT of models to choose from. The scope I am looking for doesnt have to be "super-great" but I do want something that is of excellent quality nonetheless. Can anyone tell me which Tektronix models are particularly well-built, full-featured, and reliable? I am looking in the 50Mhz-100Mhz, $300-$600 price range approximately. Models such as 2236 and 465. I was wondering if certain Tektronix models were made better than others and also how long does a Tektronix scope typically hold its calibration before needing to be calibrated again? Which situation causes a scope to drift off calibration more: Using a scope alot or a scope that sits around inactive for an extended period of time?
My main use for the scope would be to test & make measurements, etc on hi fi stereo equipment (I am a vintage Sansui enthusiast) and open reel machines & mixing boards (Teac/Tascam).<p>Sincerely, Fred (New York)

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by Externet » Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:00 pm

Hello Fred.
A Tektronics should be a good choice.
Depends mostly on the type of use and aplication you plan for it.
Tektronics has very good equipment with very bad power supplies built into them (line and high voltage) and a horrendously expensive and tricky parts from customer service.
The nice 2236, if I am not wrong, has a switching power supply with tendency to not allow being troubleshooted, and factory servicing at twice what you may pay for the whole scope.
I have seen 465's running forever...
Never forget the manual. If does not come with one, pass on it !
Soon, Dean will show up for wise suggestions.
Miguel
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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:14 pm

Hi Miguel:<p>Thanks for the reply, thats the type of information that I am looking for- which Tektronix models are the better ones to get and which to avoid (unreliable, hard to service...) I'd also like to know the years that they were made, is the 465 a 1980's model or does it go back to the late 70's?<p>There is someone on Ebay ('valley-tech' I believe is his ebay id) who sells scopes regularly and in his descriptions he states that he has calibrated scopes for a long time, and thus everything he sells, the buyer can be reassured it has been thorougly checked out and brought up to date so perhaps his stuff is worth the higher prices that he lists them for. He had a 2236 available which I had emailed him about and he said he could sell to me for $750 + shipping. And so I was wondering if the 2200 series was a good choice for that price or if I could do better with something like a 465 (or equivalent model) which might even better and cost less.<p>Fred.

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by Externet » Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:14 am

Hello Fred.<p>You will find no less than a hundred opportunities on used oscilloscopes doing a search on the web. It is a very competitive market with wide price ranges.
Personally, I prefer to buy from an individual that has used it ocassionally instead of a tired one from a refurbisher vendor.
The 2236 has the nice feature of a built-in multimeter, very tempting if you really put to use.<p>http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/65632
http://www.us-instrument.com/equip/equip13.html
http://www.tektronix.com/Measurement/cg ... illoscopes<p>And an interesting list:
http://www.consistent.org/terran/testeq ... scope.html<p>Keep in mind the same money can buy 2 sparkling NEW perfectly good for audio Hitachi oscilloscopes instead of one used Tektronix 22series.
Not being Tektronix does not mean they be not good.<p>Happy decision,
Miguel
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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by Dean Huster » Thu Aug 07, 2003 5:53 am

Tektronix has been in business almost as long as Hewlett-Packard, beginning in the late 1940's. In fact, Howard Vollum, one of the co-founders of Tek, was originally asked by Bill and David to be a part of hp and he refused because he wanted to start Tek. And the rest is history.<p>Tek made the older "500-series" until the early 1970's when the "7000-series" was first introduced, around 1972. The portable scopes can be divided into about three catagories: the "old 400-series" such as the 422, 453, 454; the "new 400-series" such as the 455, 465, 475; and the newer stuff that changed so rapidly that you can't keep up which includes the "2200-series", "2400-series", and all the new digital scopes. There is also the "5000-series" that was around in the 1970's and 1980's.<p>My observations and recommendations:<p>If you want the most versatility and expandability, go with the 7000-series (7K) plug-in lab scopes. They take up a little more bench space and require at least two plug-ins (one for the vertical and one for the timebase) but have bunches of different plug-ins available for different applications. You can often get a 7K loaded with plug-ins for the same price as a portable! But stay away from the 7500-series or the 7704 original as they are the oldest of the lot. The 7704A is the best overall choice for a mainframe. The 7A26 is the best vertical preamp while the 7B53A is a good choice for the timebase as is the 7B80 and 7B85 combination. Stay away from a 7K mainframe with anything but a zero as the third digit in the model number (e.g., 7834 or 7623) or you'll end up with a storage or dual-beam scope which will be a lot more expensive to buy and maintain. The last digit of the model number is the number of compartments the mainframe has. The second digit is the relative bandwidth of the mainframe where the 7403 was around 60MHz, 7603 around 100MHz, 7704A about 200MHz, 7844 at around 400MHz and 7904 with 500MHz. The 7104 is an exception to the system with 1GHz bandwidth. Stay away from it.<p>The 5000-series plug-in scopes are only 2MHz bandwidth for the 5100-series and 60MHz for the 5400-series, and aren't as well-made. They're also harder to find.<p>Most likely you'll want a portable scope. The 453 and 454 are old things that are getting pretty unreliable and difficult to find parts for. They're also twice the weight and half the performance of the "newer 400-series". The 465 or 465B is my pick with 100Mhz bandwidth. The 475 has 200MHz bandwidth while the 475A is 250MHz. The 475's weren't as popular so will be a little harder to get parts for. The 485 is a weird little scope. I like it, but it had lot's of attenuator problems. It's a cross between the old 400-series and the new 400-series and came out around 1972. It held the title for the highest-bandwidth portable scope (350MHz) until some of the digital scopes of the 1990's finally beat it out. That's a pretty fine record, I think.<p>Avoid the 432, 434, 464, 466 and 468. Except for the 432, they're storage scopes and will be problems for you unless you need storage and the one you get is in cherry condition. The 432 and 434 are royal bitches to work on. I could give you five paragraphs of horror stories on the 434 alone, but they're too graphic even for the porno-infested Internet. Several Tek mechanical engineers should have been castrated for having designed those models. Made me come up with the opinion that mechanical "interns" should spend a couple of years on the bench to see what NOT to do.<p>You can go for the newer portables such as the 2465, but they're still a little pricey on ebay compared to the others. The 2215A isn't bad for an inexpensive item. But consider that a new Tek TDS210 is in the $1000 range and has a lot of features not found on older scopes that cost twice as much.<p>The thing to watch out for on any used scope is to make sure that the most expensive part, the cathode ray tube (CRT) is good. If it's "double peaking" (as you turn the intensity control clockwise, the beam gets brighter, then falls off, then gets brighter again), reject it as the CRT is not long for this world.<p>Used vs. new? I'd much rather buy a used Tek scope over a new Japanese, Korean or Chinese scope any day. The 465 was originally a $3500 scope and you're getting that Tek quality and reliability for a tenth that price or less. If you can, also buy a "hangar queen" for next to nothing so that you have some spare parts for the good scope you buy.<p>Oh, and one question was, Is it better to use a scope or just let it sit? A scope that just sits around catching dust, especially one of the "new" 400-series, 5K or 7K, will incur all kinds of intermittent problems, primarily in the PCB-mounted switch contacts (attenuator, trigger switching, bandwidth limit, timebase) and in the pots (position controls, variable V/DIV and time/DIV, trigger level, intensity, focus, etc.). The pots usually will clear up with several full-range turns, but the switches will likely need more rubust cleaning measures with alcohol and slips of heavy paper as a light abrasive. Scopes that sit too long can end up with problems with electrolytic capacitors. And heat is a killer. Never store any electronics in an attic.<p>On the other hand, HEAVY use is a killer. Magnetic Peripherals, Inc. (later owned by other companies) in Oklahoma City, a manufacturer of hard drives, used 453s on their manufacturing line. The test procedure for drive after drive had the tech rip the timebase from the high millisecond range to a fast microsecond range, doing this hundreds of times a day. Eventually, those rotary switches ended up with the contacts so eroded that they'd often fall off and require a complete replacement of the timebase switch at a cost of several hundred dollars. Needless to say, they started modifying their procedures to use the newer 465 scopes which could take that kind of abuse a lot better. But what an application for automated test equipment that would have been! They never did go GPIB on those lines.<p>Dean<p>[ August 07, 2003: Message edited by: Dean Huster ]</p>
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Thu Aug 07, 2003 10:23 pm

Thank You Miguel & Dean for the very informative responses! <p>I need to make a correction to my post. The scope I had mentioned that was available on Ebay is NOT the 2236 but it is the 2246. Actually the exact Ebay item is Auction # 2548012801. The seller said he could sell for $750 total, what do you think? What is the consensus on the Tektronix 2246 model?<p>Sincerely, Fred. (ps - where can I find a scope cart with wheels inexpensively to hold and move a 2246?)

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by ampedtech » Fri Aug 08, 2003 12:41 pm

BeatleFred,
Check out Tektronics new line of digital storage scopes. It is a digital SAMPLE scope so it will behave like an analog scope (not a single sweep like a crt storage scope) or a storage scope (holds several wave forms).
I to, was looking for something like you are and when I saw the price on a new “TDS” I was astounded. The price was so good that I felt that it was in competition with a used scope. The one I bought (TDS2014) is 4 channel, 4 color, 100mhz. I think I paid about $1000 (new). There are less expensive models. I know that is more than you specified, but you only go through life once. Personally, I think you are worth it

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Sat Aug 09, 2003 11:57 am

a 465, a 2246, a new digital for a reasonable $1K, hmmmm..... decisions, decisions. What to do, what to do..... :confused:

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by dave8976 » Sat Aug 09, 2003 2:00 pm

Fred, ealier in the year I purchased a Protek 40Mhz scope from Circuit Specialist. I have found the scope to work well and really good value for the price at $319. Circuit Specialist generally advertize on the back 2 pages of Nuts & Volts. I found them to be very good and fast based on placing an internet order. I did look at the whole range of Tektronix scopes but found them to be too expensive for hobby use. Dave

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:41 pm

Hi Dave, I have considered the option that a new scope- a brand other than Tektronix, might also be a good buy in terms of a getting a high quality product at a very reasonable price. Thanks for mentioning Protek, I will check it out. What is the Warranty period on their scopes? How is the operating manual, is it informative and written well?

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by BeatleFred » Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:52 pm

By the way, I had picked up a good book a while ago "Digital Electronics Guidebook" by Myke Predko which has alot of goofd projects in there. He wrote a chapter on getting test equipment and recomended the Tektronix TDS-210 - he said a digital storage scope is certainly better to use for digital projects than an analog one and is worth getting though the cost is higher. He also mentioned the handheld Oszifox model, which I dont know if anyone here is familiar with.

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by dave8976 » Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:15 pm

Fred, the Protek scope come swith a 1 year warranty. The manual is good. It is a typical analogue scope. Comes with 2 probes. I also thought of the Tektronix scope but pricing is too high for my use. Dave

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by dave8976 » Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:33 pm

Fred, there was a goood article in Nuts & Volts about the Oszifox scope model. The disadvantage is teh built in screen is too small and you need to rely on having it connected to a PC in order to do any serious viewing of the signal. In my case I purchased their other product called the Multiscope approx 2 yeas ago. At that time Wittig Technologies were promising to come out with additioanl modules that would provide higher sampling rates and a logic analyzer. They have not yet and I do not expect they will. I originally bought their Multiscope product and I have to say it performs as expected. The product at that time came from Germany and arrived within 3 days. The web site is http://www.wittig-technologies.com/engl ... t_engl.htm But its sampling rate is 20Ms/sec which means that it has an effective bandwdith of approx 1Mhz. For many applications that may be okay but higher bandwidth is required in order to accurately view the edge of signals, etc. The comapny now offers a bench style version at twice the price with a sampling rate of 100Ms/sec. Due to the concern with limited bandwidth I purchased the 40MHz analogue scope a year later. One of the key feature of a digital scope is being able to view the signal on a PC and to simply cut and paste the signal to a document. With an analogue scope one can use a digital camera to perform the same task. When looking for an analogue dual beam scope there is a price difference of approx $100 if you need a delay trigger function. This may be a useful feature depending on your application. Dave

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by Dean Huster » Mon Aug 11, 2003 5:43 am

The Tektronix TDS210 is an absolutely excellent instrument with options for RS-232 or GPIB interfacing or direction connection to a parallel printer making the printing of screens a one-button activity. I had bought a pair of TDS210's for our school and used them extensively. You can store two waveforms indefinitely, power off and all. It has power math functions, all kinds of internal calculations (i.e., displaying the waveform's voltage in peak-to-peak or rms, all kinds of timing calculations, etc.). You can even multiply channel 1 and channel 2 and display the result as a third waveform, so you could have voltage on channel 1, current on channel 2 and display the power waveform. Tek has either a 2 or 3 year warranty. Over five years, our instruments never had a hiccup. When the TDS210 first came out, Tek was running a special and you could buy one for less than $900. That's a 60MHz, 2Gs/s DSO with all kinds of bells and whistles when the old 15MHz T-922 sold for $1800 back in 1976!<p>I'm an old Tek-blue kind of guy, having worked for them and/or with their stuff on the calibration end of things for 12 years. But I'm still objective and like the features in other brands as well. However, I NEVER recommend buying Asian imports. Although Hitachi may be an exception, if you end up with one of those renamed/rebranded Korean or Chinese models that sell for $600 or less, it'll be impossible to get repair parts for them. They don't often come with schematics and parts lists, let alone full-bore service manuals with calibration procedures. Be very, very wary of the imports, as attractive as the price may be.<p>Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

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Re: *** Need Help Choosing a Tektronix Scope ***

Post by dave8976 » Mon Aug 11, 2003 4:29 pm

Dean, your are absolutely right and I certianly respect your opinion. I must say I would love to have purchased a Tektronix unit but instead picked a cheaper alternative and for my purchase suits me satisfactory for the frequency of use. If quality, reliability and vendor support is a concern certainly Tektronix is an excellent choice and recommendation. Dave

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