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The third piece of equipment I will talk about is Oscilloscopes. I do not intend to explain how to use one, or what to use it for. That is outside the range of this article, and available elsewhere. I do think you should consider adding one to your arsenal of test equipment. Used scopes from the Big names are readily available on Ebay, at surplus stores, and in swap meets. They go for relatively small amounts of money. The scopes that are on the market from the Big manufacturers (HP and Tektronix) are on the order of Lab scopes, and a very short time ago were state of the art. What I am going to cover here are Analog models. Stand alone Digital Oscilloscopes are priced out of reach for most hobbyists. There are PC based scopes, and they work well for their use, but a true Analog scope is much more versatile for most of our needs.

Buying a used analog scope can be a great deal, but there are some pitfalls to watch for. Many people who sell them do not know how to test them properly, so you may be left with a vague description. Trying to do serious repair on one may be hard, if not impossible. And if the CRT is bad. It is truly junk. Make sure you buy it from a reputable seller, and that you have some legitimate assurance that it has a useable trace, and will display a waveform from at least the test terminal. The one you buy may very well need a good contact cleaning.

In the below, I am assuming you will buy a used lab type scope made by a Major manufacturer (Hewlett Packard or Tektronix). One other note. For most of these the service and operation manuals are also still readily available if you should need to service one.

Below are some features to look for, or not: