The oscilloscope is an essential tool of any electronics bench, and it is also an instrument whose capabilities have expanded exponentially over the decades. Your entirely analogue CRT ‘scope of a few decades ago has now been supplanted by a digital device that takes on many of the functions of both an expensive multimeter a frequency counter, and more. At the top end of the market the sky is the limit when it comes to budget, and the lower end stretches down to low-bandwidth devices based upon commodity microcontrollers for near-pocket-money prices.
These super-cheap ‘scopes are usually sold as kits, and despite their very low bandwidth are surprisingly capable instruments with a useful feature set due to well-written software. I reviewed a typical model last year, and came away lamenting its lack of an internal battery and a decent quality probe. If only someone would produce an inexpensive miniature ‘scope with a decent bandwidth, decent probe, and an internal battery!
As it happens, I didn’t have long to wait for my wish to be satisfied, with news of the release of the DSO Nano 3. Let’s see what you can do with a portable scope for less than $50.