Most helpful critical review
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A reasonable PC-USB Digital Oscilloscope for the money
on November 11, 2012
UPDATED, January 2, 2013.
This product is listed twice on Amazon, under similar but different names. The other listing is: 100MS/s PC Based USB Digital Storage Oscilloscope, DSO 2090.
The Hantek DSO-2090 is at the low-end of digital-sampling-oscilloscopes (DSOs), in the PC-USB genre.
It has very good specifications for the price.
That said, it has its limitations.
At first I thought one of the probes was missing from the box, along with the software CD and the user manual. However, looking deeper, those are tucked under the last layer of cardboard in a neatly designed retail box.
The software and driver take about five minutes to install from the CD.
REVIEW UPDATE (2/28/2011): The CD has the latest driver for XP PRO, but not the latest software version.
The USB cable bifurcates into two plugs, red and black. Presumably red is for power.
UPDATE (1/2/2013): I am able to use the DSO on my computers without connecting the red USB plug, which means my computers supply enough power through the black USB plug by itself, without connecting the supplemental red plug.
The operation is extremely intuitive. Basic operation takes a few minutes to learn. In a few hours you can become very comfortable with most or all of the functions.
Sampling, saving and reloading data:
1. The waveforms of the two input channels can be saved as re-loadable CSV files.
NOTE: When reloading a waveform from a CSV file, the waveform always loads on channel one, turns off channel two, and stops acquisition.
2. The data from the two input channels can also be saved as DOC, TXT, or XLS files.
3. One of the two acquired waveforms can be saved as a separate re-loadable waveform that can be used as a reference waveform. This can be reloaded without disturbing the two input channels.
NOTE: This reference file has an RFC or REF extension, not CSV.
4. Setup-configurations can also be saved as re-loadable CSV files.
5. Snapshots of the application window can be saved as BMP or JPG files.
6. The math waveform, which is derived from channels one and two, cannot be saved. It is only for measurement purposes.
7. The FFT data can be saved as a DOC, TXT, or XLS file.
8. The displayed waveforms can be printed as a report page. The background is white, which saves toner or ink. I print mine to a PDF file using Software 995.
NOTE: Displayed measurements are not included with the printed report page, only the DSO settings.
NOTE: The FFT does not print with the report, but the math waveform does print.
NOTE: The printed report is a little bit glitchy. The reference waveform only prints correctly if it fills the horizontal display.
Up to five waveforms can be viewed simultaneously, but only these specific waveforms:
1. Channel-one that is being acquired, or a waveform that has been reloaded from a CSV file.
2. Channel-two that is being acquired, or has been acquired.
3. One reference waveform.
4. One math waveform, derived from channels one and two.
5. One FFT waveform, derived from channel one or two.
NOTE: This instrument is not designed to be a logic analyzer.
I have not tested the bandwidth or interpolation. At 100 Msps, interpolation is necessary to realize the full benefits of the 40 MHz bandwidth.
Setup and triggering:
There is an automatic setup selection that automatically configures the vertical and horizontal scales, and the trigger source and setting, based on the input signals.
Once a setup parameter is manually selected, the mouse wheel can be used to scroll through the range.
The automatic setup sets the trigger at 50 percent of the best signal. There is also a separate selection to automatically set the trigger at 50 percent of the selected trigger source. High-frequency rejection is also selectable.
The default pre-triggering for single-sweep is 50 percent of the horizontal scale. The pre-trigger limit is 100 percent of the horizontal scale.
NOTE: There is no time-delay triggering.
NOTE: It is possible to zoom horizontally at the trigger point of an acquired waveform. However, the only way to view the rest of the zoomed waveform is to slowly drag it with the mouse, which is tedious to the point of being unusable. It would be nice to be able to scroll through the entire zoomed waveform.
1. Saving the reference waveform is only accessible from the menu. There is no tool bar button or shortcut for saving the reference waveform, but there is a button to toggle the reference waveform on and off, or to load it.
2. Saving the FFT is only accessible from the FFT window.
3. Displayed measurements share the waveform display. If there is overlap, the waveform position may need to be moved in order to read the measurements.
REVIEW UPDATE (2/28/2011): Note that the DSO inputs are not electrically isolated from the computer USB connections, as with some of the more expensive DSOs.
You get what you pay for, but all in all, for the money, I like this product. It is fun to use, and the features work reasonably well.
Note that my basis for comparison is only comparative shopping, and my experience with older high-end laboratory DSOs, such as LeCroy and Tektronix.
REVIEW UPDATE, January 1, 2013: Another DSO that is worth a serious look is the Velleman PCSGU250, which is slightly more expensive, but includes a built-in function generator. From the demo software, it has a nicer user interface, a separate window for displaying all of the measurements without any fuss, and the printable reports include all of the measurements. Note, however, that the sampling rate is significantly lower.
Other PC-USB DSOs are either much more limited, or cost at least $100 more.
REVIEW UPDATE, December 29, 2012: I have been using this product for some time now, and I still enjoy using it. Annoyances aside, the one thing that the software really lacks is an adequate scroll for a zoomed waveform, and the printed reports lack the measurement information. You can easily zoom the waveform at the trigger point, but it is very tedious to drag the zoomed waveform to view it at different locations. I tried OpenHantek using Linux Mint (Maya). The zoom is nice, but there are missing features and bugs---disappointing and not worth the bother. There is another open source software project in progress, Sigrok, that might be worth keeping an eye on.