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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
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.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2013
DSO 201 Nano V1
Device Firmware 3.26A

In a nutshell this is a dream for the DYI Audio hobbyist!
ONCE YOU'VE CHANGED THE FIRMWARE TO BENF

Yes the scope is only reliable up to 100 Khz but for testing/repairing or modding Hi-Fi, it is the best thing since sliced bread.
I'm not going trough all the things that the scope can do as this has been discussed in great detail by other users.
One thing I would like to mention:
As the scope is not connected to mains, you can safely measure across components (as long as the scope is NOT plugged in via a USB cable !!!!)
The scope has only DC coupling (not a real handicap)
IF you want AC coupling, you can solder a 0.1uF 600V (non polarized) polyester film capacitor in series with the probe (can put a switch to bypass cap)
IF you want to use regular scope probes, you can by an MCX male to BNC female pigtail for $5

My unit came loaded with Paul's firmware.
The firmware is clumsy, unpredictable and refused to see the 2G Sandisc Micro SD

According to some online info, you should download a utility called DfuSe and upload
BenF's incredible firmware.
You can then upload BenF's app.dfu and lib.dfu
The DfuSe refused to recognize my scope!

OK don't panic, Firmware 3.26A and above no longer uses dfu files and actually the firmware upgrade process is EASY.

I downloaded the latest original manufacturers firmware:
201AP263.hex and LIB_A227.hex
Put those 2 files on your desktop
Connect the scope to your PC and hold the DOWN-button while switching the power to on.
Note: you do NOT need an SD card in the scope to do this upgrade!
The PC will see a VIRTUAL drive called: DFU V3_26A
Copy the first hex file to that drive (ONE AT THE TIME, DO NOT GRAB BOTH)
After about 3seconds, the file name extension changes (so it is no longer .hex)
The PC will disconnect and reconnect to the drive.
Copy the second hex file to the virtual drive.
After about 3seconds, the file name extension changes (so it is no longer .hex)
Switch the Scope to OFF, disconnect from PC and switch the scope to ON
You now have the original firmware.

I downloaded the latest BenF firmware
Do NOT use the DFU files !!!!!!!!!!!!
You need to use BenF's hex files.
I used V353_LIB.HEX and V364_APP.HEX
Again, connect your scope to the PC and switch the scope to ON while holding the DOWN button.
Again copy ONE hex file to the virtual drive, wait until the file-extension changes and copy the second hex file.
Wait until the file-extension changes, switch the scope to OFF, disconnect from PC and you're done.

The DSO NANO is very picky with micro SD cards.
After the firmware upgrade, it still refused to work properly.
The PC could see the 2Gig card but the NANO refused to save a file on it.
This not not uncommon!!!
Download a utility called: SDFormatter
Format the card with the utility and the NANO will be happy!

Enjoy

Marc
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2013
Only had the device a couple days, but is definitely taking waveforms. Bandwidth is limited to 1MHz, so you won't be taking any high speed signals. But for simple, quick measurements, it seems like it's doing well.

Upgrading firmware took a while to figure out. The latest DSO Nano's are shipping with a new bootloader, that requires a different firmware upgrade methodology. The manual shipped with the product is wrong. If your Nano has "Device Firmware Upgrade" newer than V2.6 (mine is V3.22A), then you should follow the procedure below:
- Hold the "-" button down, while you power on the device (NOTE: this is diff't from the manual)
- The screen should come up with Serial number, Licence (sic), and "Device Firmware Upgrade Vx.xx"
- Plug the USB into your PC, you should see a new disk show up in your file explorer
- Download latest *HEX* files, not DFU files (NOTE: this is diff't from the manual). All the forum-o-sphere seems to like BenF
- For BenF, there will be two hex files (APP and LIB). For other upgrades, there is often only one hex file.
- Copy the hex files from your download to the Nano disk *one at a time*. This is really important. The Nano can only handle one file at a time (I spent about an hour of frustration figuring this out).
- For each hex file copied, wait until the Nano "accepts" the file before powering off or copying another file. You will know it is accepted b/c the Nano disk will get dropped by the PC, then reloaded and the extension of the file you copied will now be .rdy (instead of .hex). If you have a .err extension, then something went wrong.
- Once all files are copied, then simply power cycle the Nano (don't hold any buttons down).

I've given three stars primarily b/c it took a long time to figure out the upgrade procedure and manual was unhelpful. I managed to brick the device a few times, but the upgrade path (hold "-" key down while powering on), always works and I could always get it back to a good state.

Good resource:
- Search "upgrade firmware dso nano" and go to the seeedstudio Wiki for DSO_Nano_v2 (yes, newer version of Nano, but same firmware & procedure)
- You can also go to minidso for the official firmware, but it's daunting if your chinese character recognition is poor
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
Previous reviews said this scope came with poor firmware and recommended the benf upgrade.
I thought it was good even before the upgrade and great after.
I had a bit of trouble applying the upgrade because the location I found had DFU files and Hex are needed for the newer versions of the DSO201. I found those hex files at http://www.seeedstudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4221.
I was amazed at the number of features this scope has. It has a built in calibrator, voltage scales from 10 mV to 10V per division and a probe that can be switched to 10x to extend that range another factor of 10. One can save waveforms to memory and display them to compare to the current waveform. It automatically measures frequency, Vmin, Vmax, duty cycle, and pulse length. It has 2 horizontal and 2 vertical cursors the user can set. One can see the trigger level and it even will set up that level and the voltage and time scales in a proper fashion for the signal one is viewing. (That did not always work perfectly.) Either waveforms or screen shots can be save to a micro SD card for transfer to a computer.
It is limited to one DC coupled input with 200 kHz bandwidth, but for a lot of uses, that is perfectly adequate. Can't be beat for the price. I've shown it to several friends and a couple plan to buy one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2013
For a hobbiest this is a great little box. It is perfect for computer hardware tinkering. Great form factor too. But the software that comes installed is purely awful! There is a savior, though. Search for "BenF DSO201" and download and install that instead. It may take a little wrangling but there is a lot of discussion available on how to do it. Once you're done the scope works extremely well. The Micro SD card can be used to save screen shots, scope traces (as XML so you could post-process them if you are inclined), and profiles. Saving profiles is nice so you can get back to the settings you like. And after saving one once you can rename them to something meaningful for future use.

All in all, I'm happy with the scope. I just wish it had come with the BenF software in the first place!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2013
Ordered the "RioRand" marketed DSO201 in November 2013. Mine is serial DEDDC1E5 and License: CDBF1889, Device Firmware Upgrade V3.29D (seen by powering on with "-" key held down). Can confirm that as of 11/11/13 there is no way to run BenF firmware on this unit. I tried to upgrade to BenF 3.64 firmware HEX files as per instructions here in the reviews by stickboy and get white screen of death on reboot. Was able to restore device to original working condition by copying the latest firmware 201V4_22.hex file to the DSO201's disk and rebooting (as per stickboy's instructions). 201V4_22.hex is available from [...] Scroll to bottom of page and click "firmware". You can also download the pdf of the user manual. The manual is based around the DSO Nano V3 (metal case, lacks SD card slot), but the firmware seems to run this V1. Apparently there is a different LCD on this newer units that is incompatible with BenF software as currently written. On the SeeedStudio forums there are indications of some folks seeking a work-around, but no solution at present.

On the plus side, the revised GUI produced by the 4.22 firmware was not so hard to understand and I was able to get rid of the purple test signal (that has provoked a lot of complaints) without a problem. The unit will display sign waves and other repeating signals. My main issues with this unit are two: (1) the triggering does not work correctly with the display. If you are trying to capture intermittent (non-periodic) pulses, forget it. In NORM triggering mode if a signal is detected above trigger threshold it should hold the signal in the display until the next triggering event, but it doesn't. It appears for an instant on the screen and then disappears. In SINGLE mode it should capture one trigger event and not update until manually reset. This mode doesn't seem to work at all. So one can't reliably catch intermittent pulses. (2) It does not recognize 8GB SDHC card I reformatted with SD formatter. When inserted, unit hangs at intro screen when turned on.

In summary, with this unit I can't update to BenF firmware as of mid-November 2014. I can't capture traces of non-periodic signals and if I could I'd have no way to get the waveforms off the unit and into my computer. I am sure these are all issues that could be corrected with firmware. If they were, this would be one neat little machine! As it is, it is going back.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2013
For a while this was not compatible with BenF firmware but some kind soul has reworked it to be compatible and solved the earlier screen issues. See:

[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2014
OK, five stars may be too much given that the stock firmware (as shipped) was allegedly coded by a deranged meercat that snorted crushed up peppermints to make his scrum deadline, but once you flash BenF's firmware onto it six stars would be appropriate so I'm going with five.

With the recommended FW (read the many other reviews, I'll just add to them instead of repeat) this is a great little single channel ~100KHz usable) student scope.... that you can fit into your mouth. It is a TINY USABLE OSCILLOSCOPE, how can you not love it.

The Good - it is smaller than an iphone. Seems pretty accurate from the limited cal that I did. Very simple UI (with BenF FW), literally you can start using it immediately if you know what a scope does. Great use of colors, very readable even with 40+ eyes. Included probe is junky but fine for general low speed stuff (which is all this scope does). The calibration/signal generator is actually the little wire in the corner that if this were an MP3 player (which is what the case/platform was designed as) would be where you looped the wrist strap.

The Not So Good - stock firmware is truly awful, unusable, you should not spend a minute with it. Also, I had to mess with different firmwares to find one that supported the specific LCD driver required for the scope I was shipped. Not a big deal, read my advice below.

What you should do -
* relax, don't freak out, set aside 10 minutes to upgrade the FW.
* Google for "BenF firmware download", open a bunch of the tabs - I think that the main BenF url is seedstudio dot com, I found a version elsewhere that worked on my scope.
* Power cycle the scope with the "-" or down button pressed - you should see a screen that says "USB mode" or somesuch
* Drag the firmware image you downloaded (zip open to provide a hex or some other file ending, some versions have multiple FW files to download, read the readme notes) to the root of the drive you see over the USB connection - once the file is moved you will see it change to a different file extension -
* power cycle scope again without any pressed button
IF you get a BenF logo and a functional scope, rejoice. If you get a blank or flickering screen (as I did perhaps 3X), repeat the above with a different FW.

Apparently there is some variety of underlying hardware, so don't freak out and repeat until you get a usable device, it took me maybe 10 minutes of panic, hopefully this review will save someone else's blood pressure.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2013
I used this to replace my ancient, dying Tektronix o-scope. It will not have the speed for many applications, but for simple hobby electronics and for field use this is a must. I wish I bought one a long time ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2012
The USB connector on mine only made intermittent contact, so there was no opportunity to upgrade the firmware, which was difficult to track down. The target upgrade pages cited in the manual don't seem to exist. The buttons listed to one side, appearing and feeling as though they had been slightly crushed. The manual was printed in fuzzy 4-point type, and is written in truly appallingly translated English ... almost a self-parody. The whole thing is being returned.

All that aside, it functions, if a bit obscurely. I'm sure if you're an oscope whiz it would be easier. I got it to brush up, explore further, and work on some projects. I wound up ordering the multi-channel unit ... at least if that works ok I'll get better mileage from it.

As titled ... I think I was just unlucky with mine.
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