Tektronix Oscilloscopes Review

It has the ability to monitor data from a CAN bus


What is our primary use case?

I develop electric vehicle systems. I use the serial protocol analysis tools, as well as using it with some high voltage differential probes for measuring motor voltage and battery current. We are measuring CAN bus RS232, as well as some power signals for voltage and current.

How has it helped my organization?

Being able to monitor data from a CAN bus while the vehicle is running will cut down a lot of the feedback for the design mode. I can obtain things quicker because I can figure out exactly why things aren't happening. Or, if there's a fault, I can find out the source more quickly.

What is most valuable?

The ability to have the serial protocol analysis is key. 

Isolated probes are good to have, as most of the scopes don't have it. It drives up the cost when you have to buy isolated probes.

What needs improvement?

We would like more features for the CAN bus decoding, such as importing DDC files, which allows us to take the raw data and convert it into engineering units. So, if I wanted to look at speed from a vehicle instead of looking at a hexadecimal or binary values on the oscilloscope it can load the DDC file and display the actual speed in miles per hour.

Its connectivity and ability to use it with PCs and smart phones needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You can get application keys for it. The hardware isn't really upgradable, but you can unlock additional functionality,

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't utilize the full bandwidth. Most of the stuff that I do is for CAN bus, which doesn't need anything in the gigahertz range

How are customer service and technical support?

First, I'd go over to Google. The manuals are pretty well-written. They have a lot of documentation there. It's also not hard to reach out to the technical support, as they are fairly responsive.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

When I first started using an oscilloscope, it was a Tektronix. That is what my university had. There was a learning curve, but it was mostly associated with the fact that I did not know how to use an oscilloscope.

I was an intern at Tektronix, then I got a deal on a Tektronix Oscilloscopes. That was pretty much the reason why I chose it. I didn't pick it over a previous scope, because I didn't have one before.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Tektronix Oscilloscopes are really expensive for small businesses. The low-end scopes don't really compare performance-wise to what the other companies provide, like RIGOL . Mostly that just has to do with the software options.

It's available on the low-end scopes for free, but on the higher-end scopes, it is expensive. Therefore, it's a bit more difficult to make stuff work. 

What other advice do I have?

It is really solid hardware. The only room for improvement is the software.

Make sure that you understand what you are going to use these oscilloscopes for and don't spend money on features which you don't need.

Some of competitors' user interfaces are more intuitive. The Tektronix Oscilloscopes user interface is a lot of method menu. The newer Tektronix user interfaces are easier, because they have touch screens.

The application space that the solution targets is embedded systems for electric vehicle development. For example, I'm working on an electric bicycle dashboard right now.

There will be some Bluetooth at some point. I haven't gotten to it yet.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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