Rigol DS1052 scope hack – NEAT!

Filed Under (Homebrew, Reference Material, Tools, YouTube Basic Electronics Goodness, YouTube Goodness!, YouTube Homebrew Goodness) by Jonathan on 20-10-2010

OK, regardless of what many “old hat” hams think, there is a lot of kit building and homebrew activity going on in our little “geek” subculture.  I don’t bother with the discussions with many of my friends, as they don’t go anywhere to see the truly neat projects people are developing.

To that end, many hams have asked me over the past few months about scopes (even a recent topic on “the zed”).  Basically, you can go one of four routes.

1: Buy a super expensive scope

2: Buy a decent used scope for a couple hundred

3: Buy a USB/computer based scope

4: Buy a brand you may not be familiar with, hack it, and get double what you paid for (in the $400. range).

I’m a fan of 2 and 4.  Both have their merits.  A used O’scope (not really Irish either) is a bargain, you can get a name brand and will cover most of what you need in our hobby.  Used scopes are also great to learn on as well until you figure out what you really may need.

That leads us to a “no name” brand.  The Rigol is truly a neat scope.  I used one on my last job for about 9 or so months and it really had some neat features.  It is portable, can store images to a USB drive, can connect via USB to a computer, the list goes on, but here’s a few:

Model DS1052E
Bandwidth 50 MHz
Analog Channels 2
Vertical Sensitivity 2 mV/div – 10V/div
Real-time Sample Rate 1 GSa/s?each channel??500 MSa/s?dual channels?
Equivalent Sample Rate 10 GSa/s
Memory Depth Mode capture rate common long memory
one channel 1 GSa/s 16 kpts N/A
500 MSa/s 16 kpts 1 Mpts
dual channels 500 MSa/s

250 MSa/s
or less

8 kpts

8 kpts

N.A.

512 kpts

Standard Interface USB Host & Device, RS-232, P/F Out
Vertical Resolution 8 bits
Math ?, ?, ×, FFT
Max Input Voltage All inputs 1M??15pF 300 V RMS CAT?
Cursor Measurements Manual, Track and Auto Measure modes

Not a bad scope for the $400. range on ebay.

But…… (think Vince from “Slap Chop”)…… if you act now, because we can’t do this all day………

Dave Jones over at the EEVBlog has a neat video on Youtube on how you can double some of the specs…. for nothing.  Be wary of some google searches on the topic, some want you to hack into the scope and do all sorts of nonsense.  This is a simple first start and many people have had great results with it.

If you would like to go to the actual Rigol page and look up the specs and download the manual, go here:

http://www.rigolna.com/products/digital-oscilloscopes/ds1000e/ds1052e/

Finally, if you’re still not sure what you are looking for, you may be able to try a scope at a few places.  Some trade schools, community colleges and such will let you come down and just take a look (or attend a workshop).  There is also a growing number of “hackerspaces” around the globe.  A “hackerspace” is a place to explore and learn technology in all it’s facets.  Some vendors (Tektronix for example) have some really good resources on their websites as well.

Zener diodes – the basics

Filed Under (Educational / Courses, New Ham Primer, YouTube Basic Electronics Goodness, YouTube Goodness!) by Jonathan on 14-08-2010

Stumbled upon another great video from AllAmericanFiveRadio on Youtube.  He has an incredible and vast collection of radio related, radio restoration, electronic theory…. tons of good stuff.

While I’m at it…..

I’ve mentioned this course here before, but NPTLHRD in India have a GREAT basic electronics course.  One lecture is purely on Zener diodes. Here are two video lectures. The first one is on wave shaping with diodes and a more in-depth discussion on Zener diodes in the second video.

Seriously great antanna analyzer information from down under (mostly)…..

Filed Under (Antennas, DIY Electronics Projects, Kits, New Ham Primer, YouTube Antenna Goodness, YouTube Basic Electronics Goodness, YouTube Goodness!, YouTube Homebrew Goodness) by Jonathan on 22-01-2010

Man, sometimes a topic starts going through your head, you do a little research and then start going all over the place.  This is one of them – antenna analyzers.  I’m a huge fan of them and run antenna clinics for our local club.  This tool is one quick way to get a snapshot of your antennas performance in a jiffy.

For those that have seen the MFJ analyzers, they basically consist of a low power transmitter and various circuitry to do the math and display the antenna or feedline information on an LCD screen.

Oztales strikes again with a very well done video.  The descriptions should give hams without an engineering background a very strong understanding of what is going on behind this “mystery box”.

While I’m “down under” let me show you a really neat analyzer kit that can be had for a fraction of the cost of the larger analyzers like the MFJ.  If you’re willing to burn a little solder, you can make a very sweet analyzer (I’m thinking of getting this kit as well, seems a good companion piece to my AADE LCR Meter).  As of this writing, the kit mentioned here costs $150.00 AUD for DX orders – which is a bargain!

As you can see, it has many things in common with the higher priced analyzers as far as layout and such.  Just keep in mind, from what I’ve seen in the picture and on their site, this is an HF only analyzer and does not have six meters – strictly 10 and up.

The kit is available from the South Coast Amateur Radio Club and on their website at:

http://www.scarc.org.au/kits.html

But……….

Across the pond, someone built one of these kits and you can get a really good idea of what is inside the kit.  This video is what is now making me consider purchasing this kit:

BYRONLOCAL’s Youtube channel has a few other videos that may be part of the kit (components) but I haven’t watch them yet, so check his channel if you want more information.

While I’m “down under” let me show you a really neat analyzer kit that can be had for a fraction of the cost of the larger analyzers like the MFJ.  If you’re willing to burn a little solder, you can make a very sweet analyzer (I’m thinking of getting this kit as well, seems a good companion piece to my AADE LCR Meter).  As of this writing, the kit mentioned here costs $150.00 AUD for DX orders – which is a bargain!

Oztales has scratched the surface of what you can do with an analyzer.  If you practice your google-fu, you’ll find lots of other great uses/mods for analyzers to expand their capability.

dB’s…..???

Filed Under (New Ham Primer, Reference Material, YouTube Basic Electronics Goodness) by Jonathan on 25-12-2009

First of all – Merry Christmas!!! and of course, Happy New Year…. OK, now on to the real reason you’re here……

Decibels are just one of those facets of our hobby that we need to know enough about in order to understand many concepts in radio.  As an amateur “engineer”, I didn’t know much before an audio internship at a PBS affiliate, and even then, I still needed to learn a bit more.

Enter….. the web.  Vast resource of useful information.

Wikipedia has a great article to get you started (this is just a snippet):

The decibel (dB) is a logarithmic unit of measurement that expresses the magnitude of a physical quantity (usually power or intensity) relative to a specified or implied reference level. Since it expresses a ratio of two quantities with the same unit, it is a dimensionless unit. A decibel is one tenth of a bel, a seldom-used unit.

The decibel is widely known as a measure of sound pressure level, but is also used for a wide variety of other measurements in science and engineering (particularly acoustics, electronics, and control theory) and other disciplines. It confers a number of advantages, such as the ability to conveniently represent very large or small numbers, a logarithmic scaling that roughly corresponds to the human perception of sound and light, and the ability to carry out multiplication of ratios by simple addition and subtraction.

The decibel symbol is often qualified with a suffix, which indicates which reference quantity or frequency weighting function has been used. For example, “dBm” indicates that the reference quantity is one milliwatt, while “dBu” is referenced to 0.775 volts RMS.[1]

The definitions of the decibel and bel use base-10 logarithms. For a similar unit using natural logarithms to base e, see neper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel

I’d read the rest of that entry to get you started on your understanding of dB’s.

I won’t leave you there today, I found this really neat video on YouTube from Dave Jones of www.eevblog.com

As always, feel free to post any relevant information below.

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