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Micsig TO1102 Tablet oscilloscope review 2017/7/2 20:28:41 hits:


 

 

Title:Micsig TO1102 Tablet oscilloscope review

Excerpted from:Elekctor

Author:Remy Mallard

Link :

www.elektormagazine.com/news/review-micsig-to1102-tablet-scope

 

 

 

“THAT’s an oscilloscope? Naaaah….”
After the initial surprise, go back and look at the evidence. It IS one.

 

Unpacking

 

While taking the oscilloscope from the box, I knew that it looked like a tablet. Calling it Tablet Oscilloscope (TO) or tBook mini, doesn’t leave much doubt on this. However, I was impressed by the 8 inch (20 cm) screen, which offers a resolution of 800x600 pixels. The surface actually used is less than this, but the charm is still very real.

More surprises. There are no knobs, neither for input sensitivity nor for timebase! There is a Start pushbutton on the side (ah, something that’s not virtual). It is true that by virtue of being a tablet it shouldn’t have knobs.


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More surprises. There are no knobs, neither for input sensitivity nor for timebase! There is a Start pushbutton on the side (ah, something that’s not virtual). It is true that by virtue of being a tablet it shouldn’t have knobs.


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Handle with care, Like all flat screens

 

A big red label on the polystyrene packing advises the user not to throw away the box and packing, because it will be extra protection for the screen if it has to be repacked. The whole apparatus is thicker than a tablet, but it is more handy than the digital oscilloscopes offered by Tektronix, Rigol or Siglent. This thin form is in part achieved at the cost of using an external power supply; some prefer an all-in-one.

 

Powering up

 

Before powering up the device, I checked the box to make sure I have not missed a notice “MUST read before use”. Well done me, because there is one, but no manual. Doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t have read it anyway. (Yes. I know, sometimes you should…) On the advice sheet, a curious alert: “Make sure that the device is grounded if the test signal is greater than 36 V”. What signal are they talking about? Probably the signal being examined, but alas, even the user manual – later downloaded – has nothing on this subject. As the supplied power adapter has an earth pin, I didn’t look further.


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First test(probe not calibrated)

 

On connecting the power, the screen activates immediately to display a large icon of the maker, then it goes to sleep. You have to press the (non-virtual) button to intialise it, happily this is very fast. It is not the measuring screen that then appears, but a start-up page which, by way of several icons, offers access to various functions such as updating the device or reading the user guide…which must first be downloaded. The advantage of this is that it forces the user to get the latest version, which is not a bad idea. On this start-up screen, you notice one icon larger than the others. Labeled Oscilloscope. I give it a finger tap, and a short bip tells me that my action has been noted. Now we can play.

 

Specifications and first impressions

 

The device reviewed is the TO1102, which is part of the TO1000 series comprising 4 models:


 2 Channels / 70 MHz (TO1072)

 4 Channels / 70 MHz (TO1074)

 2 Channels / 100 MHz (TO1102)

 4 Channels / 100 MHz (TO1104)


The maximum sampling frequency is 1 GSa/s if only one channel is used, or 500 MSa/s if two channels are used (1 GSa/s = 1 billion (10^9) samples per second). For the stated bandwidth of 100 MHz, that’s pretty well correct, not quite so much for the four-channel version where the sampling frequency goes down to 250 MSa/s per channel. On the tested unit, the –3 dB bandwidth was a little over 110 MHz, but curiously the attenuation started (very slowly) from 20 MHz. One point to which you should pay attention: the signal frequency (displayed in clear) is not correct if the vertical sensitivity results in your signal appearing over less than a third of the screen.


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Inputs & outputs on the side

 

Apart from this detail, I was agreeably surprised to find that the the frequency of 99.9563 MHz shown on the screen of my old HF generator was shown on the oscilloscope with the value of… 99.9563 MHz, which shows a good accuracy of measurement.


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Good measurement precision

 

An HDMI output (not often seen on an oscilloscope) lets you duplicate the image on an external screen or a video projector. That’s handy for training sessions!

 

31 types of automatic measurement are offered, among which are Period, Duty Cycle, Pulse Width, Rise Time and Fall Time, Phase, etc. One finds the classic trigger modes: DC, AC, with or without HF or LF filtering (to assure correct triggering even with signals with superimposed HF or hum).


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The memory depth, which corresponds to the number of samples saved and replayed, is 28 Mpts (or 2 x 14 Mpts in 2 chanel mode). This is sufficient to give good precision even on long one-shot captures (SingleSeq).

 

The vertical resolution (resolution of the analog to digital converter) is 8 bits, the standard value of instruments of this category, and sufficient for most applications (the pros who need a resolution of 12 or 14 bits would look in another category of equipment).

Strangely, the manual gives a maximum sensitivity of 1 mV/div, but the tested unit went down to 500 µV/div. I’m not complaining!


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Reflections can disturb your view.  Frontview - one appreciates good contrast.


The scope is delivered with two MP130 probes (300 MHz bandwidth) and offers a display with 256 intensity levels (which gives a better rendering of complex and changing signals with modulation or unstable phase)

The input noise level (probe not connected) is less than 1 mV, that’s quite acceptable.

 

"Touch my screen!" or "the power of touch "

 

What would a tablet-scope be without a touch screen? Here you can control several parameters with a simple slide of the finger(s). Being able to move the trigger thresholds and the traces on the screen (on the two axes of amplitude and time) is extraordinarily practical. To place or move the horizontal or vertical cursors you need two fingers, to zoom, three. It was in the user manual (which I habitually don’t read) that I found these clever tricks.

If you don’t like touching the screen, for fear of leaving marks or simply because it’s out of reach, you can always connect a mouse…. corded or wireless!


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It’s intuitive, but you still have to learn

 

Firmware updating

 

The firmware of the device can be updated via the USB port or via a connection to the Internet (Ethernet or Wifi). Direct and quick, this method greatly simplifies the updating operations. The trial that I did was not fruitful. I’ll have another go one of these days.
Wifi is an option, it is not included in the base product.

 

Maintenance

 

More and more, portable equipment needs to be cooled by forced convection, as does this one. Two small fans extract the hot hair via the underside of the case. It’s advised not to put it flat on a table of on your knees, for risk of activating the thermal protection or, more insidiously, premature ageing. When you say fan, you say noise. But these ones are discreet enough. But when you say fan, that means regular checking for fouling on the blades.


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Measurement inputs andventilation holes.

 

As regards the accuracy of the measurements, the manufacturer gives the usual recommendations for yearly recalibration. This procedure, usually applied in the professional world, is rarely carried out for an equipment in this price range. Especially when you know that a recalibration can cost as much as a new equipment…
This "option" will obviously be necessary if you have to certify the validity of measurements made with this oscilloscope.


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I took some time to figure out where to push to remove the feet.

 

Conclusion

 

For just 460 euros and with three years of warranty, this oscilloscope is quite seductive. It offers numerous measurement options and is very responsive. One regret is that the input connectors are placed on top of the instrument and not on the side, but this is quickly solved by using right angled BNCs.


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Here, right-angled BNCs are very useful.

 

”All-touch” access for all functions of the instrument makes its use very easy. At the beginning, for some functions, it takes a bit of fumbling about before finding exactly where to put your fingers.

Although there are some details which I did not grasp on this familiarization, like updating, backing up on a USB stick, an unforeseen restart…. it seems to me that these are just teething problems.

In summary, a surprising and trendy gadget. It does lots of stuff…but not a telephone…at least not in this version.

 

 

 

 


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