Why Buy This Oscilloscope?
When it comes to hobbyist or home lab testing, the Rigol DS1102E Oscilloscope is a great value for your money. The scope boasts a high 100 MHz of bandwidth and 1 GSa/s sampling rate, which are useful for different applications. On top of these specs are other additional features that make it easy for you to test different kinds of electronics.
Introduction of Rigol DS1102E
Rigol Technologies Inc. built a name for itself with its electronic measurement and chemical analysis instrument since its founding in 1998. The company aims to provide everyone with affordable measuring equipment that provides accurate readings and other useful features. The DS1102E Oscilloscope is a good example of what the company is striving for.
The Rigol DS1102E fits into nearly any application with its bandwidth, sampling rate, and memory depth. The scope is compatible with field engineering, electronics, technical educational, and other engineering application.
While the unit has what many people want out of an entry-level oscilloscope, it is far from perfect. The scope has a flawed trigger accuracy and lacks specific adjustments for a better view on waveform data.
Rigol DS1102E Review
The important aspect of the Rigol DS1102E is its maximum bandwidth of 100 MHz. This gives you an accurate measurement of the signal from electronics and other devices that has a bandwidth of 25 to 50 MHz. This bandwidth fits the entry-level price point of the DS1102E.
Rigol DS1102E Unboxing, First Test, and Fan Noise
Backing the bandwidth is an equivalent sampling rate of 25 GSa/s and a real-time sampling rate of 1 GSa/s. With a memory depth of the 1M point of record length, you can get a clearer picture of the wave measurement. In addition, the Rigol oscilloscope measures wave from two analog channels and an external trigger channel.
The user interface of the DS1102E gets a high score from us. The button and knob layout let you find the important functions and menu of the device. This includes the ‘auto’ function that makes the waveform display easy to read in a short time. We also like the 5.7 inch TFT LCD backlit display, which gives a clear view of the waveform that is comfortable to our eyes.
Another standout feature of the scope is its cooling fan. Though the fan may produce some noise that you can hear in a quiet room, it is not too loud to cause any distraction.
The scope features 20 auto measurement for waveform parameters as well as track values. Voltage data are automatically measured such as max-min voltage, arithmetic mean, peak voltage, and true RMS voltage. It also has 10-time parameters auto measurement such as rise/fall time, negative/positive width, and duty cycle.
You can save the data through a USB flash drive and transfer it to a PC. This data is readable through the UltraScope software that comes with the unit. The program is a bit outdated since it can only save the waveform image as bitmap format. We would prefer the option to save the image in jpeg, which has a smaller file size than bitmap. On the other hand, you can save the file data as text or Excel spreadsheet format. It is possible to print the waveform images directly from the scope through a PictBridge compatible printer.
While most of the unit’s function and features are positive, other parts of the DS1102E has some shortcoming. This includes the X-Y mode, which does not have additional calibration settings to make the function useful. A good example of this is a fine tune setting for the volts/div range of the X and Y position. By centering the waveform on the screen, you can get a better display of the readout. The waveform cuts off on the screen without the fine-tuning option, which leads to a poor image quality of the waveform.
The second flaw we noticed is the refresh rate of the visual representation of the waveform on the screen. The display is noticeably slower when comparing Rigol’s Oscilloscope to other devices. You can see this with the trigger levels. Fortunately, this is not much of a deal breaker since the readings appear at a decent pace.
Specs & Features
– The Rigol scope’s rise time is 3.5 nanoseconds at a 100Mhz frequency
– Two analog channels with external trigger channel
– Real-time sampling rate 1 GSa/s
– Equivalent sampling rate 25 GSa/s
– 1M point memory depth
– USB 2.0 port
– 20 auto measurements for voltage and time parameters
– Max input voltage 1 MegaOhm
– 5.7” QVGA LCD backlit screen
– PictBridge printer connection
– English and Mandarin language support
The Rigol DS1102E gives you most of the functions and features you need from an entry-level oscilloscope. Unlike other devices, the Rigol’s scope offers this at a much lesser price. The bandwidth, sampling rate, and memory depth of the device are the best that we have seen for an entry-level scope. We often see scopes with 100 Mhz bandwidth and 1 GSa/s sampling rate that only has 2.5K point memory or less. With Rigol’s scope, the memory depth of 1M point is astonishing.
However, the unit still has a number of flaws that are stopping us from giving this scope a perfect score. The most noteworthy is the X-Y mode, which could give you a better image if it has additional tuning setting. Another is the scope’s use of the UltraScope software, which only saves images to an old format.
Overall, we can recommend the Rigol DS1102E Digital Oscilloscope for general home or personal testing. The function and additional features make this a good scope for your money. The equipment is also great for engineering students who need an affordable oscilloscope for their curricular activities.
* Other version of Rigol’s scope is Rigol DS1054Z.