Wireless Oscilloscope Review

[Martin Rowe] over at EDN recently put a $200 wireless oscilloscope to the test. The Aeroscope 100A is a single channel scope in a probe body that communicates back to an Apple smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth LE. You can see the video from the post, below.

The original prototype of the device had a high bandwidth, but the production model only manages to have a 20 MHz bandwidth at 100 megasamples per second: nothing earth-shattering.

We aren’t above having a single channel scope to throw in a bag, but most of the ones we’ve looked at in the past have been well under $200. The wireless feature could be useful, but the reality is it isn’t that important most of the time. Even more perplexing is that the feature only works with Apple smart devices (and not even all of them). The 4 kB sample memory is probably sufficient for a toy instrument, but — again — for $200 we might expect better.

Consider that for about $50 bucks more you can get a very serviceable two-channel instrument with much better specs and for double the price, you can get a very nice four-channel scope with way more bandwidth, sample memory, and features. Sure, they won’t be ultraportable and wireless, but they won’t be bad.

If you really want something small and portable, the All-Sun and OWon units we looked at last year were both under $100 and boast better bandwidth, though they lack wireless capabilities. If you want to live on the edge, you can always put an oscilloscope on your soldering iron. However, if you use an Apple device and you really want it to be your oscilloscope, the Aeroscope 100A appears to do that job.

20 thoughts on “Wireless Oscilloscope Review

  1. I wish some industrious chinese developer would take the innards of something fairly cheap and portable like the DSO203 (aka DSO Quad), and stick it in a full size tablet with a better interface.

    I don’t have room for a full size scope really, and the DSO203 can be a reasonable scope for at least hobbiests not dealing in high speeds, but the interface, argh, the interface. I have the Wildcat firmware on one, and it’s quite capable with all sorts of features, but it’s SO frustrating to try and drive the thing. Trying to do too much with too few buttons. Short press, long press, double press, long hold…. argh!

    1. The Micsig scopes are quite nice. I’ve used a TO1104 before and found it to work well. Quite a bit more expensive than your DSO203 though and might be a bit too large as well.

  2. There is a value to wireless: I’ve only used one of these plug-ins scopes while perched on top of the ladder trying to analyze a buggy RS 485 or MODBUS transmission line or screwed up sensor on an inconveniently located device. Being able to leave it and then read it from the ground or even have a bunch of them and go around and read them while debugging would be awesome

  3. Using BT-LE means it has to use either a buffer in place (the pen) and/or limit the read to very short bursts: BT-LE is darn slow, even slower than classic BT, which is slow as molasses itself. I don’t see how 20 MHz of bandwidth can be transmitted in realtime into a theoretical 2Mbit speed limit without discarding huge chunks of the original signal. I would have used traditional IP (over WiFi in this case) which speed considerations aside would have allowed the use of well known protocols and technologies to build the interaction interface, then add more functionalities such as encapsulating more scopes data into packets to be served on a web page that would self adapt to the number of scopes and show the waveforms almost in realtime. HTML5 is fast enough to allow that. This way the result would be 100% client agnostic, and requiring no app to be downloaded.

      1. That’s not how scopes work, and he didn’t seem to imply they did. However 100MS/s max with 8 bit samples is 800mbit/s assuming you don’t timestamp data it’s just assumed to be right. I’m almost certain you’re unaware of how a scope works since you already confuse bandwidth and sample rate so please don’t assume the above poster is confused.

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