Looking for a cheap oscilloscope

Hi, I am currently looking for a cheap scope to do some trouble shooting. I have seen some people use a DSO150 or similar but from what I understand, they are rather limited(?). A friend of mine send me a link to the FNIRSI-5012H, which he researched a bit, but did not buy (he got a usb scope in the end). But then I found some harsh critique in this video:

But I don’t really understand most of the points he makes, I have only used a scope for a day in a university course so far.
Now I have seen the 5012H in the last builders livestream and was wondering if it still is the right tool for me…
So what do you think, is it worth the extra money over a DSO150? Is the DSO enough for tracking a signal to get my second LFO working?


Oh, I’m sure @fredrik will have something to say on this one :grinning:


No idea about the 5012H and no time to listen to 40 minutes of Dave Jones right now :slight_smile:

I have a bench scope (a Rigol something) which is nice but that I hardly ever use; my go to scope is a tiny DS212 with much lower bandwidth (but more than enough for audio use) but 2 channels and a lot of nice features. The controls are a bit quirky (since they’re doing almost everything with two control wheels) but once you get the hang of it it’s manageable, and the scope itself works well.

Marco Reps reviews it here:


oh, yes two channels sound really cool! Especially for testing filters and this stuff!

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I have a DS202 and I have three big complaints about it:

  • It doesn’t want to trigger reliably at low frequencies. Anything below ~60 Hz or so, I can’t get.

  • It’s developed a dead line on the screen:

  • Currently (I think this has worsened) the batteries go dead in a day or two if I don’t use it (and power it off). Basically every time I use it I have to plug it in. Which kind of negates the whole pocket sized and battery powered thing, right?

So I can’t recommend it.


So no good for tweaking the hum out of an amp then. :frowning: May just fix the broken pot of my old Hameg 60 Mhz scope… Just saved me a load of disappointment there. Thank you.

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For audio purposes a bandwidth of 20 Mhz is more than enough. Heck, if the bandwidth of your scope is equal to or higher than that of your sound card, your OK for audio.

I have a DS203, which is small handheld oscilloscope which I bought to be able to take it on the road so to speak because my analog scope is too big and heavy ( and might break ). It is open source, hardware and software or so I was told, haven’t put any time into researching this. But I read something about you being able to hook al kinds of third party subroutines in it like a real time FFT and such. This is a small device with a bit more screen real estate than the DS202 analog output is showing a picture of. It has a few fiddly knobs which feel like they will break before you know it, but I’ve had it for quite some time now and they haven’t. Still, the fiddly buttons have dual functions and you need those a lot, a different solution would have been better I think. I bought an OWON SD1102 a few weeks ago, this is a cheap bench scope, which I read quite a few good reviews of. It is a nice addition to my 30+ years old Hameg 204-2 20Mhz analog scope.

I use all of them, it turns out that what they say about VCAs goes for measuring equipment as well.


This just came to my attention:

It’s not that cheap, so in fact an entry level bench scope probably offers more bang for the buck, but if you need portability and the cheaper ones mentioned above aren’t to your liking, it might be worth a look.
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Its my turn to ask the classic question I guess! I have been looking at the used market for oscilloscopes for some time now. I saw an ad for a good condition (whatever that means) 2 channel Telequipment D1011 at 80 EUR. I have no clue obviously, so I am asking whether it is worth as a begginer’s oscilloscope for the regular things we do around here. On the one hand I do not want want to spend a lot for something that I might not use a lot, on the other hand I don’t want to bring home some more junk… :person_shrugging:

If you’re building and testing, and especially if you’re designing, synth modules, you’ll use a scope a lot. At least I know I do. And I use the ~ $300 Rigol I bought (new) much more than the cheap handheld I had before that, just because it can do more and do it better and easier. I’m not saying spend $300. I’m saying get what you can afford to and you almost certainly will not regret it.


I am looking for something decent with two channels to get acquainted. From there I can always upgrade. I have no idea what kind of probes would be most useful though.

Nothing fancy, passive 1x/10x probe is all I use.

Thanks! 50MHz is okay or too much?

For audio basically anything with an M in it is sufficient.

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Just stumbled across this:

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I have a Seeed Studios DSO Nano, which I bought as a first scope mumblemany years ago. I would say that getting a small scope like that is ok, and cheaper than a bench scope. The downsides are going to be performance, and a somewhat steeper learning curve for the user interface, which tends to be super compact compared to full size scopes. Also, tiny screens, comparatively.

Unless you’re planning to do work with microcontrollers or DSP, or really anything digital, like AO said, anything with an M in the sample rate will be more than sufficient. For audio, you probably won’t be sampling a signal greater than 20KHz, which means a 50KHz sample rate will do fine. You want that 2x overhead to make sure you dont get distortion when taking measurements towards the top of the scope’s sample rate.

The nice thing about a 50KHz scope is nobody wants anything that “slow”, which means buying a used one in that range will be cheaper. Downside of these slower scopes is they’re usually older, which means bigger–sometimes A LOT bigger.

Get at least two channels. My little pocket scope only has one and I’ve wished for more since about the second time I used it.

Probes is probes, as stated, for a beginner at least.

Get something at the upper end of what you think you’ll need. These are expensive tools, and finding out you’ve spent a bunch of money on something that you’ll end up wanting to upgrade, which means another $300, and you’ve got a “backup” you spent nearly as much on, probably won’t use again, and in the case of used scopes you might not be able to sell on to recoup your initial investment.

As with most tools like this, get the highest quality you can reasonably afford and it’ll last you for years and years.

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One thing I noticed with my handheld scope, and which I’ve heard others have had problems with, is that it didn’t seem to want to trigger with a low frequency signal — like below about 60 Hz. Seems as if it was only “listening” for a trigger during a short time interval and if there was no trigger in that interval, too bad. Not good for a lot of synth trigger debugging etc.

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