Controlling A Rigol With Linux

The Rigol DS1052E is the de facto oscilloscope for any tinkerer’s bench. It’s cheap, it’s good enough, and it’s been around for a long time; with the new 1054 zed model out now, you might even be able to pick up a 1052E on the cheap.

[wd5gnr1] came up with a really interesting piece of software that allows a Linux system to control most of the functions on this popular scope. With just a USB cable, you can read and log all the measurement of the scope, save waveforms in CSV format, and send data to gnuplot and qtiplot.

Since the 1052E has been around for such a long time, there’s a bunch of software out there that takes advantage of the nifty USB port on the front of this scope. If you need a cheap spectrum analyzer, here ‘ya go, and tools for the .WFM files native to this scope even exist for Windows. [wd5gnr1] even says his tool can probably be ported to Windows, but ‘just use Linux.’

19 thoughts on “Controlling A Rigol With Linux

    1. These and most similar scopes have been hacked to either enable higher bandwidth or run Linux for 5 or 6 years. Nearly all the low cost scopes from China use the Samsung ARM S3C2440. A 400 MHz SOC from the phone and tablet world with easy connection to LCD displays. A very nice chip only recently supplanted by the 2415/2445/2450.

  1. OT question: is there an official Rigol site to download firmwares from? If there is, I can’t seem to find it. The only place I found asks me to submit a request (i.e., name, address, product model, etc.) before, presumably, they’d send me a link to download from.

    1. As far as I know, sigrok only reads it as analog. Plus, this software lets you do things like log the measurements (or just view them on a nice screen while using the scope) which Sigrok will not currently do. I like Sigrok — and the code can export to Sigrok, too (even as digital data). So this isn’t meant to replace sigrok by any means, but does supplement it.

    1. +1. sigrok is really the best option for evrryone for long term reusable acquisition, I hope the author uses his knowledge of the protocol to ensure all its features are supported there:)

      This software is still cool as a standalone tool.

    2. Yes Sigrok will read it as analog data, but not digital. One thing qrigol does is sends data to sigrok digitized using a user-set threshold level. This lets you use sigrok or Pulseview to decode serial, I2C, SPI, etc. Works with OLS client too. It can also generate plots with GNUPlot or anything else that will do plots, plus snatch the measurements and display and/or log them.

    1. Exactly. For casual electronics tinkerers it probably is. But you can get a whole heck of a lot more scope for less $$$ if you look to the used market and snag an HP, Tek, or Lecroy.

      Like I needed 500MHz and 2GS/s because I bring my work home sometimes and 50 or 100 MHz wasn’t cutting it, so I just picked up a used Tek 640A – 4 channels, 500MHz, 2GS/s for $350 and it is perfect.

      It isn’t color and doesn’t have USB. But a USB to GPIB adaptor is pretty cheap and I don’t need color traces.

      You just want to avoid anything that isn’t guaranteed to be problem free. A lot of the used stuff will have “error codes” or “one bad channel” or whatever. Avoid that garbage along with “untested” and “as-is”. Save your money and pounce on the ones that are in perfect working condition.

      If you have the money for a cheap Chinese scope, then you have money for a better used scope more than likely if you’re willing to watch and wait.

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