Owning an oscilloscope is a real gamechanger and these days, scopes are more capable and less expensive than ever before. However, there is a big difference between scopes that cost several hundred dollars which are usually quite good and many of the very inexpensive — below $100 — instruments that are often — but not always — little more than toys. [Adrian] looks at a PC-based scope from Hantek that costs about $60. Is it a toy? Or a useful tool? He answers the question in the video below.
The Hantek 6022BE sports two channels with a 20 MHz bandwidth and 48 million samples per second. The device included probes, too. Of course, you also need a PC, although there is apparently third-party software for Android if you don’t want to lug a laptop around.
With two channels and relatively low bandwidth and sample rates, this Hantek is not going to displace a good benchtop scope, but you aren’t going to get one of those at this price point. The question you have to ask yourself is what do you actually need? In [Adrian’s] case, he wants to work on things like Commodore 64 computers, so 20MHz should be just fine for that sort of thing.
The software looks a bit dated, but it does have a lot of features you’d find on traditional scopes. The triggering, however, wasn’t very capable but since the device uses USB2, you can guess that the triggering is all happening in the device which probably can’t handle anything too complex. The results matched fairly well with a more capable instrument that [Adrian] had on hand.
The verdict? [Adrian] thought it was probably worth the money, but did wish for some things to be better. Many commenters, however, urged him to try unofficial software for the device which is supposed to be much better. We weren’t that interested in the device as an oscilloscope, but given that the protocol is apparently understood, we wondered if it might not find a home as a cheap data acquisition module in some future project.
We’ve seen reviews of Hantek’s scope meter recently. We are always on the lookout for what kind of scope you can get for under $100.
44 thoughts on “$60 PC Oscilloscope Review”
In Adrian’s next video, “Guide to using inexpensive tools to diagnose and fix old computers”, he uses the cheap Hantek scope with (better) OpenHantek software to fix a broken Commodore 64. (Oh the memories from the mid ’80s.) I thought this video gives a better idea of what the Hantek can do.
My big problem with the Hantek is its poor triggering. It has no hardware triggering. Software triggering is fine at slower sample rates, but it eliminates the ability to do single sequence triggering at it’s max 48MHz sample rate. I consider this a major drawback in debugging microcontroller projects, but your mileage may vary.
Instead, I would recommend that anyone in the market for a cheap scope look seriously at the Owon VDS1022, which can be had for $79 at AliExpress. It’s a USB scope like the Hantek, with a max sample rate of 100MHz on both its channels. Its provided software is fairly rudimentary and Windows only, but there’s an improved, hacked version (github.com/florentbr/OWON-VDS1022) that also run on Linux and Macs.
Adrian seemed to hint that he had ordered other cheap scopes to try out. I hope he looks at the Owon.
Looks like the Owen uses the same software as the Hantek
Don’t think so. The Owon definitely doesn’t have those onscreen dials. There are a LOT of different third-party apps that support the Hantek, so it’s conceivable that one of these apps also supports the Owon, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this.
Spend just a little more and get the VDS1022I. The “I” means it is electrically insulated from the computer, a big safety improvement.
Sadly there just aren’t any really good USB scopes, no matter how much you are willing to spend.
All of them have fairly rubbish software. Even the very high end Picoscopes don’t have a display that is anywhere near as nice as the digital phosphor stuff on standalone scopes costing a fraction as much.
You are often better off just getting something like a Rigol 4 channel scope, hiding it away and using the remote control software to mirror the screen onto your computer. You can’t buy a USB scope that’s comparable, and ones that start to come close cost several times as much.
It depends on your definition of “good”. I think the Owon VDS1022 is a perfectly adequate scope for a beginner. Sure 100MSps isn’t so high and its history buffer isn’t too big, but it has decent triggering and its software is basic but adequate (especially the improved third-party version). The Rigol DS1054Z is great – I have one and love it – but it’s $350, as opposed to $79 for the Owon. If you’re a beginner, $350 seems a bit much for a hobby that you’re not sure you stick with. Or if you’re trying to outfit a classroom or a maker space and want multiple scopes, the Owon fits the bill.
Just to be clear, I have no affiliation with Owon. I just want makers (hackers) to be aware of the VDS1022 because the Hantek seems to get much more publicity. Maybe that’s because so many software apps support it – check out the YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgXfuQnupXg&t=100s for SIX apps that support it. But I’ve tried the other cheap USB scopes (Hantek and LOTO OSC482), and the Owon seems the clear winner because of its better triggering.
20MHz dual channel scope was a luxury not all that long ago and to get one for around the $60 mark I’m guessing this is $60 like the $5 Raspberry pi. That aside it’s still a pretty good price point for some one to start with and the bells and whistles just make you lazy
There is no hardware triggering in this unit. It is all done in the PC software.
I bought one and returned it immediately. The trigger is so bad that even the internal 1kHz square wave jitters all over the place, making it extremely annoying to use. There are slightly more expensive pc oscilloscopes out there that are much better.
>_There are slightly more expensive pc oscilloscopes out there that are much better._
Those who were actually considering this device, and googling for alternatives, and going to wonder which devices you had in mind.
Would that mean that it can be used as a digitizer for a SDR?
I bought a 20MHz Bitscope. For $80 I got two analogue and 6 digital channels on a heat shrinked PCBA. There is software for scope, logic, multimeter and logging. I was a poor student and the digital channels have the insights I needed. It’s a pain to use but when my main score went bang I dug out out of the cupboard and continued wiring from home.
Did you buy it used for $80? The cheapest version I see on their website is $145.
For a higher-quality USB ‘scope, look at Pico Technologies. I have two of their units and they work very well.
Having experience with both picoscope and Velleman pc scopes, I greatly prefer the Velleman if I know what type of signal I’m looking at.
The Pico scope is a bit too much hand-holdy for my liking and becomes a bit unwieldy when going against what the software thinks you should do, while the Velleman is definitely overwhelming to someone who’s never used a scope before, but also easier to use if you know what you’re gonna do.
I have practically zero budget, so I am always on the lookout for cheap, reasonably-useable gadgets and tools. Over the years I’ve gotten plenty of stuff that’s perfectly okay for my beginner-level needs, like e.g. a Chinese clone of the Saleae Logic 16 – logic analyzer — works great!
Alas, a good, cheap USB-oscilloscope is still eluding me. All the cheap ones seem like terrible crap and anything remotely reasonable is way out of my budget. (Why USB? Because I already have PCs, so it makes sense to use those for the UI and interaction with the scope, instead of some big, bulky thing on the desk.) Here’s hoping someone produces something suitable soon…
Please tell us more about the logic analyzer you mentioned.
It’s an old device by now and will not amaze anyone here. Can probably get something far better nowadays, but eh, e.g. Adafruit has a page with all the specs for the device at https://www.adafruit.com/product/733
It’s long discontinued and it appears it’s ridiculously expensive on Aliexpress nowadays. When I bought my Chinese clone, it was 20€ or so, with a bunch of bells and whistles in the package as well, and it works great with the official software. The software is the real beauty, IMHO: it looks good, it’s rock-solid, has support for a billion different digital protocols — at least I haven’t found anything to complain about, yet.
They’re still available cheaply on eBay – e.g. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/373859202526?hash=item570bbeb5de:g:6aAAAOSwidVh2X9P . Just search on “saleae” and “logic analyzer”.
That’s an 8-channel logic analyzer. WereCatf was describing a 16-channel model.
Yeah, there’s quite a big difference between a 24MHz 8-channel one and a 16-channel 100MHz one. The 24MHz 8-channel one will quickly struggle with multi-megahertz buses, like e.g. SPI. The one I have doesn’t top out quite as quickly.
It’s probably a Sigrok compatible cy7c68013a based board, they’re very cheap on Ebay, well below $10. Just search for the mcu name.
I have an Intronix (pctestinstruments.com) logic analyzer. I wouldn’t call it cheap (though I think it was cheaper when I fist bought it), but it’s very very good.
My first oscilloscope is a soviet C1-79 2-channel 100MHz beast that weights about 16kg or more. It’s not a DSO, but it has every possible input and output for such an analog scope possible. And it’s pee-proof, which my daughter tested few years ago. If you can’t afford a DSO, then grab an analog scope.
For some time I considered buying a PC-based oscilloscope, but most of them are very function-limited with poor software. Good ones cost as much as, or even more than normal DSO. In the end for past few months I earned a bit of money by writing, and bought a Siglent SDS1104X-U. Great scope with some small things I don’t like, and surely a superior alternative to all cheap USB scopes.
Could you tell us more what you dislike in the Siglent? I was considering to get it one day!
I don’t think these minor things would annoy anyone but me.
1. Traces are light yellow, pink, light blue and light green. Buttons are orange, red, darkish blue and darkish green – this annoys my sense of esthetics.
2. Probes feel cheap. They aren’t cheap, but feel that way. I have two much cheaper probes from no name brand that feel better.
3. Big hole on the front sealed with piece of plastic foil – they were too lazy and cheap to get separate mold for the front panel.
4. Some fonts are a bit too small for me, I’m partially blind and that’s a problem. I must push my face against the screen to read frequency counter.
5. When changing any value the font color changes from white on gray background to blue – bad contrast for me. Green would work so much better.
6. Default button resets graticule intensity settings too. Why?! I will never again touch this button.
7. The French want to know, why trigger supports PAL and NTSC, but not SECAM?
8. Why no 1-Wire decoding, if the scope includes all other serial protocols?
Generally I really like this scope, and these are minor issues and personal preferences.
On related note: does anybody know, why DSOs don’t use computer memory for samples? Like for example a SO-DIMM slot with 2Gb 1333MHz module so I could grab 4 seconds of data at 1Gsamples per second?
For some reason people ignore old high end gear from tektronix, HP (Agilentt), Fluke, etc that can be found for very reasonable $ that are fractions of what these devices originally sold for. One has to be patient and watch local markets, facebook, and even Ebay. For Scopes the Tektronix TDS series scopes are a great value. I bought a TDS520 (500Mhz, 2 ch, 500 MSPS) for around $150 at my local market and used it for years until I found a TDS3052 that I splurged a bit for (around $500). Afterwards I gave my TD520 away along with my older Fluke desktop multimeter to younger and starting out techs/engineers/hackers… which I benefited from others ahead of me, as I was starting out.
Although the newer stuff may have more software features and perceived value, most of the lower end cheap stuff is cheap for a reason. Also, unlike the cheapie stuff, the old higher end stuff seems to have extremely long lifetimes (20+ years since their release) which is no doubt why they cost what they did in their prime.
I live in Finland; there’s practically zero local market for any of this stuff. We’re a far smaller country than e.g. the U.S.
20 MHz BW and 48 Msps? Yeah, even at $60 that’s not attractive at all. 20 MHz BW and at-least 100 Msps for $60 and I’ll look it over.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the vendors mentioned herein. The same goes for any of the links.
How about this for some cheapskate test equipment:
A real stand-alone 2-channel 100 MHz 1 Gsps DSO with a built-in 1-channel 10 MHz (Sine) DDS function generator for $193.99 including “free” fast U.S. shipping from Amazon. After all, you can’t go wrong with the trusted “YEAPOOK” brand name (wink). To be fair though, FWIW the reviews look pretty OK:
* YEAPOOK ADS1014D 2 in 1 Digital Oscilloscope DDS Signal Generator with 2 Channels 100Mhz Bandwidth 1GSa/s Sampling Rate (ADS1014D)
Brand: YEAPOOK 4.5 out of 5 stars 53 ratings $193.99
And to round things out, you’re going to need a logic-analyzer. This is a $12.96 8-channel 24 MHz kit with USB cable and Dupont wires. 24 MHz will be fast enough for most anything you do, especially of you’re sniffing protocol-based stuff. Mine works fine with the free-open-source cross-platform Sigrock-PulseView software which you can find here:
* HiLetgo USB Logic Analyzer Device With EMI Ferrite Ring USB Cable 24MHz 8CH 24MHz 8 Channel UART IIC SPI Debug 4.6 out of 5 stars 318 ratings Amazon’s Choice for “logic analyzer” $12.69. Shipping from Amazon is fast and “free” if you buy at least $25.00 worth of Amazon junk.
I’m pretty sure the 1014D is only 200MSps, not 1GSps as it claims. Check out the learnelectronics YouTube videos on it. (It’s usually branded as FNIRSI.)
The cheapest true 1GSps scope I’ve seen is the Hantek DSO2C10, which can be found for about $185 on AliExpress, or even cheaper if you can find a coupon. Check out EEVBlog for how to hack it to enable its function generator,
One warning about the Hantek DSO2C10: It often comes with only one probe, even though it’s a two-channel scope.
@A.J. Lenze said: “One warning about the Hantek DSO2C10: It often comes with only one probe, even though it’s a two-channel scope.”
Yes, I saw a review of a newer version (<$300) with a built-in 25 MHz Arbitrary Waveform Generator or AWG. I doubt it is really an AWG though, probably just a function generator. (I'll never know, I can no longer sit through the ever-increasing number of YouTube ads.) These YouTube reviews are really basic. I would like to see how these built-in function generators are being made. I'm guessing they are cycle-stealing in the existing FPGA and outputting through a cheap 8-bit R2R DAC. So when the generator is on, the input sample rate probably suffers. Here's the review of the Hantek DSO15, there are other reviews of the same device out there:
"Hantek DSO15 150MHz 1Gs/S Oscilloscope with 25MHz AWG Review, 14,245 views
Sep 29, 2021"
@A.J. Lenze, thanks for the heads-up. I’m sorting through the “FNIRSI” (not “YEAPOOK”) 1014D reviews on YouTube, you are right there are a bunch of them. The moment I saw FNIRSI instead of YEAPOOK the light went on – I’ve seen some really questionable stuff under the FNIRSI brand name. Case in-point is the “$140 2CH 100MHz Fnirsi Tablet Oscilloscope Review” posted back on 05-July-2020 by Dave Jones (EEVblog). That thing was supposed to be a 100 MHz BW / 1 Gsps device – NOT! So there’s a good chance the 1014D is also a scam. China being China again, what a shame…
EEVblog #1317 – $140 2CH 100MHz Fnirsi Tablet Oscilloscope Review
I actually have a FNIRSI 1013D, but, thanks to the EEVBlog and learnelectronics reviews, I bought it knowing it wasn’t a full 1GSps scope. I got a great deal on it last March from, if you can believe it, Walmart! $82.99 shipped and they didn’t even charge me tax – please don’t tell my governor. I wish I had bought more than one, as the price rose to the $130 range, right after I ordered it.
It’s not a bad scope at the price I paid. 200MSps with a fairly big display, and it’s good to have one portable scope. (BTW, the sample rate stays the same when both channels are used, unlike most 1GSps scope whose sample rates go down to 500MSps when 2 channels are used.) But at $130, it seems hard to justify if it’s to be your only scope, when for about $55 more, you can get the Hantek DSO2C10, which is a 1GSps bench scope.
Most cheaper scopes are from Chinese companies, even the popular Rigol DS1054Z.
Thanks for all these details. Appreciated!
I’ve been using a “400MHz” scope I bought on hackaday.com about 7 years ago for $80, the DSLogic Pro (v1, microUSB 2 and 0.1″ headers), with a modified version of sigrok (there is/was drama about them not sending their changes upstream). Since then they’ve released a few new devices, the software is still updated and still open-source. It has 16 channels and can operate with 4 channels in 400MHz, 8 in 200MHz, and 16 in 100MHz. It has multi-level triggering on an FPGA.
Argh, logic analyzer, not scope.
I am a bit surprised nobody mentioned the Analog Discovery 2 USB connected mixed signal oscilloscope and signal source. It is a little more expensive at $399 suggested retail or $279 if you can show an academic connection. This product is aimed at college undergraduate engineering courses, but is quite capable and has decent software. The sample rate is 100 Ms/S which means you can look at up to 10 MHz inputs with reasonable fidelity. You get what you pay for. I’d lay off the the Starbucks and a Chipotle for a few weeks and save up to get this one:
Y’know what, Bill? We agree, it should be mentioned! I tried to contact Adrian via email to talk about it to no avail :/
I have a Hantek USB Scope and I used it on a All-In-One electronics lab running Sigrok and it works so so. Once you use a real scope however you won’t go back. I always recommend to buy a real scope. Right now you can get a HP 54600 series scope for about 150 (including shipping) on ebay. It’s the perfect entry scope in my opinion.
“In [Adrian’s] case, he wants to work on things like Commodore 64 computers, so 20MHz should be just fine for that sort of thing.”
No, it isn’t. A 20MHz scope won’t show what’s really going on, like ringing or degraded outputs. Rise and fall times on 65xx and other CPUs of this era are <25ns and 1970's TTLs are well below 10ns. A 100MHz scope and good probes make it much easier to find faults.
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