Look and Feel

A project log for Tektronix MSO2024B Oscilloscope Review

Element 14 is running roadtests and I was lucky to be able to test and review a Tektronix MSO2024B Oscilloscope.

MagicWolfiMagicWolfi 03/27/2016 at 12:440 Comments

At the initial power up, the scope let me know that all 3 application modules for automotive (CAN and LIN bus), computer (UART, RS232/422/485) and embedded (SPI and I2C) triggering and analysis are enabled and running for the 30 days evaluation period. So time was ticking to get all the testing done before those features expire. Firmware version 1.56 is installed which seems to be a latest version.

The user interface of the scope comes in the usual Tektronix quality and layout. 2 rows of hard function keys to the right and below the display and soft rubber buttons for all dedicated selections are available. All of them have a good pressure point and comfortable activation force. The 7’’ color display is bright and very well readable; only the resolution of 480x234 pixels lacks a lot compared to other newer TEK scopes and all the other displays around.

On the back of the box, there is a USB B port available for PC connection and a covered expansion slot for optional network and video output ports.

Having used Tektronix scopes all through my career, I am familiar with the user interface and noticed immediately that a lot of selection operations moved from the right side function keys to the multi-purpose rotary switches a and b. When this is the case, a little red ‘a’ or ‘b’ is displayed next to the input field, which helped a lot to guide me to the right knob. After some time with the scope now, I still would prefer the old method with the function keys, because I think the new method with the scrolling knobs is simply slower.

For PC connection I downloaded the latest OpenChoice Desktop SW (Rev 2.4) from the website. This enables to capturing screen images and waveforms without the path of a memory stick. This is very convenient for all documentation purposes. Also settings can be read, saved and send back to a single scope or multiple instruments.

To compare the quality of the images here are captures through the scopes save to USB memory function, SW screen capture and SW waveform data capture:

1. Saved to USB memory stick

Image saved to memory stick

2. SW screen capture

SW screen capature

3. SW waveform data capture

SW data capture

Things to note: The Save to USB (1) image has better quality than the SW screen capture (2). The SW waveform data capture (3) does a very good job rendering the waveform and replacing the pixel font with more readable high resolution font and adding the channel information (unfortunately without the trigger data) into the image. Also the bus waveforms are missing on the SW waveform data capture (3).

One more thing I had to get used to is the button for the waveform save to USB memory. The print button is not configurable to ‘print’ the waveform to front USB memory. The save button has to be used instead and is in very close proximity, but being used to older Tek scopes without the save button, this took quite some time to get used to (still happens sometimes when I have not used the function for some time).