Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Frequently asked questions about tools and instruments used in stompbox development.

Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby Texas Fuzz » 22 Jan 2014, 23:55

I realize that different people have different amounts of personal time to dedicate to building pedals. Some people build daily while others do it rarely. Generally speaking, I am wondering when most of you guys decided it was time to get an oscilloscope? How many pedals had you built before deciding "it is time to go all in"?

Did you run into a problem that you could only solve by getting one? Did you just want one to be thorough? Did anyone buy one not knowing anything about it and it just end up sitting there collecting dust?

Thanks for your responses.
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Re: Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby DrNomis » 23 Jan 2014, 03:02

For me, it was a good few years before I finally got my first Oscilloscope after I'd started getting into electronics when I was thirteen years old, I bought my first oscilloscope, a Dick Smith Electronics Q-1804 20Mhz Dual-Trace Oscilloscope, back in about 1998 or so when I was working with my dad as an apprentice fitter and machinist, so it probably was a good 15 years after I first started in electronics, I bought the scope because I needed it to get some of the things I had built going properly.... :thumbsup
Genius is not all about 99% perspiration, and 1% inspiration - sometimes the solution is staring you right in the face.-Frequencycentral.
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Re: Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby Texas Fuzz » 23 Jan 2014, 17:37

DrNomis wrote:I bought the scope because I needed it to get some of the things I had built going properly.... :thumbsup


For someone on their own (as in not around any folks that know about electronics) I am wondering how I will know it is time to get one?

As of now I have built quite a few fuzz, distortion, and other simple effects and been pretty pleased with them, but I guess I am wondering if I have blindly been building mediocre pedals and did not know it because I have no analysis tools?

Perhaps I should take a step backwards and ask another basic question to you guys with the scopes - do you only turn them on when you have a problem to troubleshoot because a build doesn't sound right, or is it guaranteed use even on every build just like your soldering iron?

Thanks in advance for any further information...
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Re: Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby DrNomis » 23 Jan 2014, 20:23

xixiviii wrote:
DrNomis wrote:I bought the scope because I needed it to get some of the things I had built going properly.... :thumbsup


For someone on their own (as in not around any folks that know about electronics) I am wondering how I will know it is time to get one?

As of now I have built quite a few fuzz, distortion, and other simple effects and been pretty pleased with them, but I guess I am wondering if I have blindly been building mediocre pedals and did not know it because I have no analysis tools?

Perhaps I should take a step backwards and ask another basic question to you guys with the scopes - do you only turn them on when you have a problem to troubleshoot because a build doesn't sound right, or is it guaranteed use even on every build just like your soldering iron?

Thanks in advance for any further information...



Most of the time my scopes get turned on when I'm trying to debug something I've just built and I've already gone through the usual suspects, a good example is my build of Frequencycentral's Little Angel chorus, I couldn't understand why it occasionally failed to work correctly even though I had horoughly checked everything out, turned out it was one of the quirks of the PT2399 ICs I used in my build...... :thumbsup
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Re: Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby dwmorrin » 24 Jan 2014, 04:39

Perhaps I should take a step backwards and ask another basic question to you guys with the scopes - do you only turn them on when you have a problem to troubleshoot because a build doesn't sound right, or is it guaranteed use even on every build just like your soldering iron?

Mine's plugged in all the time!
My bench is setup so my main input and output is always up on a 2 ch digital scope.
I look at it for curiosity, learning, fun, and, of course, repair and troubleshooting as well.
I'll build classic pedals and study the shapes with a test sine wave, and that make debugging all the easier... if you know what it's supposed to look like in the first place, it's easier to spot when something's off.
Using the scope is a skill that takes time to develop. The scope isn't just a repair tool.
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Re: Oscilloscope: How long before you got one?

Postby DrNomis » 24 Jan 2014, 09:34

You can actually learn alot about how an electronic circuit works just by probing various points in the circuit and viewing the waveforms displayed on the scope screen, very handy things to have next to a good digital multimeter on the workbench...... :thumbsup
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