When in the course of building electronics projects there comes a time when you need to step up your game in your test equipment. Allow me to introduce you to the platform to make that step up for your oscilloscope needs, the Tektronix MSO2000B Series. The MSO2000B scopes are powerful, professional level, oscilloscopes but, depending on configuration, are priced reasonably.
The MSO in MSO2000B stands for Mixed Signal Oscilloscope and means that the scope is capable of analyzing both analog and digital signals. The version of the scope that Tektronix provided for my review has 4 analog channels and 16 digital channels. In the family there is the option to have 2 or 4 analog channels and 0 or 16 digital channels. If there are no digital channels, the unit is a DPO2000B where DPO means Digital Phosphur Oscilloscope, but I tested the MSO so I will focus on both sets of features.
When it comes to features the MSO2000B series is filled to the brim. Cursors, measurements, and other functions abound. Starting with the sampling features, the bandwidth varies from 70 MHz to 200 MHz depending on the model, the sample rate is 1 Gigacycle/Second, and records and stores 1 million points. What this means is that if you’re going to do extremely high speed applications beyond 100 MHz or so, you’ll want to look at some higher end models such as the MSO5000 with up to 2 GHz of bandwidth. For most of what is in the realm of the home hobbiest or Maker, those sampling stats are very strong and will allow for a great deal of detail to be captured.
Triggers? You name it, it is there. You can trigger on edges, rising or falling, pulse width, glitches, and many other conditions. Additionally, you get a 30 day free trial of a set of data bus triggers that can decode I2C, SPI, CAN, LIN, UART, and other protocols. You can actually have the scope trigger on values or even specify capturing packets with a certain address. The Wave Inspector feature makes scrolling through the captured waveforms a breeze and a powerful set of math analysis features, including FFT, makes understanding your data incredibly easy.
The MSO/DPO2000B series of oscilloscopes starts at $1290 and runs up to the feature packed MSO2024B (as reviewed) for $3650 from the Tektronix website. The extra serial analysis packages run for $350 a piece and, depending on what you are work on, is worth the cost. When the 30 day trial ran out on those I really noticed it while trying to analyze an I2C bus. If you are analyzing those protocols, they are just worth the money. As a note, the data in the captures above were generated on an Arduino connected to a MCP4725 Digital-to-Analog breakout from Adafruit which produced a very clear sine wave and communicated over an I2C connection. Overall, if you are ready to step up your game with oscilloscopes, I can’t recommend the MSO2000B enough.