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Rigol DS1104Z Review

A good digital oscilloscope can make the whole difference between precise and misleading data. Rigol is very well aware of that, which is why the brand focuses on delivering not only effective but also accessible tools for most. The DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope is a clear example of that.

This unit is by far one of the best, but what makes it so good? That’s what we’ll find out during our Rigol DS1104Z review. In this article, we’ll talk about all the features that have earned this device a place in many workshops.

Without anything else to add, let’s begin!

Rigol DS1104Z Review – Worth Every Bit of Money

Rigol DS1104Z guide

With a four-channel build and 50 MHz capacity, this digital oscilloscope offers an optimal waveform capture rate that goes up to 30,000 wfms/s.

The device manages to put up a consistent performance for a rather accessible price, making this unit an affordable and efficient tool for many people.

First Impressions

When it first arrives, the oscilloscope comes perfectly packaged with plenty of protection to avoid damage on the road.

After getting it out, the overall look of the unit is as good-looking as it’s welcoming; the well-distributed buttons and design come in handy for people with less or more experience.

Even if you don’t have much experience using these devices, the DS1054Z oscilloscope is quite intuitive. You may watch some videos for guidance, but the unit is pretty much self-explanatory, allowing you to figure out its features as you check it out thoroughly.

With only some hours of practice, both the buttons and the unit’s interface are easy to figure out. Certainly, for the price, not many other digital oscilloscopes are capable of meeting these standards.

Display

This particular unit has what many people consider one of the best-graded intensity displays you could find. It features an analog-like screen with 64 shaded levels, meaning that users get perfect brightness. Not only is the data clearer but also easier to read.

Due to the quality and high amount of the data displayed, users will be in a better position to make decisions accurately. Plus, there’s the option to upgrade the system to 100mhz, opening up more possibilities.

The amount of features included is, for sure, one of the best traits included in the machine. For instance, the oscilloscope offers multiple trigger modes, UltraVision tech for improved memory depth, and several math functions, among many more.

When compared to other popular Rigol machines like the DS1052E, the DS1054Z does provide detailed information, all of which is possible due to the higher resolution display.

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Build

Perhaps one of the most surprising facts about this oscilloscope is the little space consumed. When compared to old analog scopes used many years ago, the DS1054Z is tiny, which has many benefits on its own. Besides consuming barely any space, the unit weighs less than traditional models.

Because of its compact build, you won’t have an issue finding a good spot for the device. However, make sure to find the right location to keep the fan from making much more noise than it already does.

Performance

One of the biggest selling points of this device is the 4-channel build. Such a design guarantees precise data while looking at signal relationships, their logic, and how they behave.

While some may consider four channels as unnecessary, it’s a significant improvement from the old models.
Will you even use the four channels, though? Let’s just say that, after trying the unit, you may not even consider having fewer channels again.

Another benefit of this device is how precise it is. For example, you’ll be able to focus on a certain time area of a previously recorded waveform, which will allow you to compare different channel data. This process is highly detailed, and the device pulls it off quickly.

If you like your mathematical operators, then this device will also meet your expectations on that front. The DS1054Z has everything you would need to achieve every math function.

Additionally, the amount of horizontal and vertical measurement functions is quite satisfying as well.

PROS

  • Solid and compact build
  • Simultaneous four-channel operation
  • All mathematical operators
  • Easy to learn & use
  • Memory depth is upgradeable
  • Triggers, storage & many more functions

CONS

  • Can be loud
  • UI lag

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Disadvantages – Mild, But Noticeable

It’s important to preface the following section by saying the flaws mentioned here by no means undermine the unit’s performance. If we consider this device isn’t a high-end model, it’s pretty clear that it won’t be perfect.

Nonetheless, many users would agree that these disadvantages are not a big deal. They may be frustrating, but other oscilloscopes in a similar price range aren’t nearly as good as this one, so the following issues are worth it.

Loud Fan

Once set up, the oscilloscope’s fan could be a little loud when there are no other noises nearby. Although not necessarily a deal-breaker, as most of these units are loud anyway, the sound could still disrupt the environment when you’re trying to focus.

Nonetheless, it shouldn’t take much time for you to get used to the unit. Once you get to that point, the sound becomes a normal issue that doesn’t get under your skin.

Eventual UI Lag

This issue isn’t as regular as the previous, meaning that you rarely get to experience it. Still, some lag in the UI is clearly visible sometimes, which could be mildly frustrating. Then again, it’s a small flaw that won’t have a negative impact on the results displayed by the oscilloscope.

Conclusion

Coming from Rigol, this digital oscilloscope meets almost all of our expectations through consistent performance.

The amount of detail, the high-quality display, and the friendly interface make it a unit that no one should dismiss.

Our Rigol DS1104Z review shows us that, despite its few issues, the device remains as one of the wisest decisions you could make.

It’s not an expensive unit, which means that anyone on a budget would get access to a reliable and trustworthy device.

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