Most helpful positive review
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Very Cool DSO for audio or automotive uses! Stock firmware is HORRIBLE.
on May 1, 2012
Pros- price, size(it's freakishly small for what it does), tons of features, totally open source with 3rd party firmwares available and an active online community
Cons- one channel, frequency and bandwidth are too low for RF work, Stock firmware is HORRIBLE so flashing it is pretty much mandatory.
Bottom line- This device is an open source handheld oscilloscope based on a 32 bit processor designed for MP3 players. It even looks like an mp3 player. (The newer models do not.)
Though the form factor is different, it is functionally identical to the DSO Nano V2 which costs $20 more. If you want a super affordable oscilloscope for hobby/automotive or audio frequency use, this might be for you, with one caveat- REPLACE THE FIRMWARE!!! The stock firmware is so bad it renders the device useless. Not only are the menus a mess, but the trigger/sampling algorithm is broken so triggers are sometimes missed. If you expect this device to perform well out of the box, you'll be disappointed.
Luckily this device is OPEN SOURCE! Even more lucky is that there is a firmware that resolves pretty much all the software issues. (It's called 'BenF'). Even though it wasn't developed by the manufacturer, it is the de facto 'firmware in use'. Once I flashed it was easy to see why. The Nano went from incomprehensible to easy in 5 minutes. Honestly I'd give this product 5 stars if it shipped with the 'BenF' firmware installed.
As for the capabilities, it's quite the little device. It samples at 1MHz. which means it's useful to about 200kHZ for analog signals, higher of course for digital signals... It has automatic measuring of frequency, duty cycle, AC V rms, DC Vpp, V min, V max, V average, pulse count and pulse width(nice for automotive signals like ignition and fuel injectors). It has a micro-SD slot(not SDHC compatible) and records sample data as XML which is very nice. It also takes screenshots. If I could add any one thing to it it would be a second channel.
It has a max input of 80V (with a 1x probe). The included probe feels solid and switches between 1x and 10x which is cool but makes me nervous. If I were doing a lot of higher voltage work, a dedicated 10x probe would be nice just to keep me from frying the device by accidentally using it on a 220V circuit with the included probe set to 1x.
The battery is LiPo and the charge seems to last around 2 hours. It recharges via USB and can function as a mass storage device. Firmware updates are also applied via USB.
End of the Day- While this won't completely replace my multimeter in the toolkit, the DMM will likely be relegated to component testing. The ability to actually look at electronic signals in the field is a HUGE time saver!
Update: After having this for a bit, using it and comparing it to my old tektronix, I have to make one update to the above review. It's really not useful up to 200KHz. More like 100-150KHz. The signal generator itself is solid all the way up to 1 MHZ(checked with my big scope), but the waveform displayed on the starts to deviate from square at ~ 120-130 KHz. It's still a great little device! You just have to recognize it's limitations.