50MHz DS1052E Rigol Oscilloscope First Impressions
I recently purchased a 50MHz DS1052E Rigol Oscilloscope and have been impressed with how many features Rigol has packed into this device! The knobs and buttons have a nice feeling to them and I like the LCD screen and the user interface. I have used the oscilloscope to look at R/C PPM Signals, audio waveforms, NTSC video signals, and done a few custom micro-controller projects with it. The oscilloscope has worked flawlessly and is a joy to use. I like how you can save the data externally as a BMP or as a CSV onto a USB memory stick. You can also save your current setup to a file and the device will recall all of your settings. I haven’t done anything with the USB or Serial PC link or used the Windows software yet.
The oscilloscope trigger menu seems to have all of the features a demanding hobbyist could ask for. It was easy to hook-up a video signal and select an individual scan-line to look at. When I zoomed in on an NTSC video signal I could easily make out details like the Color Burst.
It is also easy to setup the trigger hold-off period when analyzing a PPM signal from an R/C radio to keep the updating PPM channels aligned on screen. The oscilloscope makes it easy to lock on and measure changing values like the duration of a specific PPM channel.
When working with the oscilloscope I found it to be responsive and intuitive. It has several filter settings that you can apply to noisy signals to cleanup the waveform for legibility.
I used the built-in FFT (Fast Fourier transform) mode to look at a simple FSK signal and it met my needs very nicely. I like using the cursors for measuring the timing of signals. You can easily and quickly change what data is displayed and for which channel. The display is able to keep up with the signals going through the oscilloscope in real-time which was nice.
I found the color LCD display easy on the eyes and the text was crisp on the screen. There are multiple screen color skins to choose from depending on your taste.
The only thing I found a little slow and tedious is using a rotary knob to enter the file name one character at a time for saving a file externally to a USB memory stick.
My Mac OS X computer had no trouble reading the data recorded from the oscilloscope off a USB memory stick and it is nice to be able to save .BMP formatted screen-shots and .CSV comma delimited text files for later viewing.
The Rigol Oscilloscope comes with a .PDF formatted help manual that is very readable and has a lot of illustrations. It is a good resource to be able to refer to.
Overall I have had a very positive experience using this oscilloscope and feel it was a great purchase for my home electronics workshop.