Rigol DS1054Z

I ordered the Rigol DS1054Z after a few reviews suggested it had more features than a similarly priced 200Mhz Oscilloscope.

The Rigol came to me in 100 MHz format with all the software options already installed. That was a bit of a surprise as I figured the price I paid to be for 50Mhz version with the options disabled or only available for a trial period.

I am pleased with it so far. I do find the fan quite noisy and with the Oscilloscope tucked away at the back of the bench then the tiny fonts on the screen are difficult to read. This is hampered by may age related vision issues.

Understanding how to get the most out of this scope will take quite a lot of playing around, but fortunately it is a common enough oscilloscope so there should be plenty of YouTube footage demonstrating its use out there.

Some time setting up experiments to and going over the user manual should also help.

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Bench Function Generator

After spending a while researching function generators, I came to the conclusion that I don’t really have the funds to get most of the major branded equipment. Of the cheaper units then the FreeElec FY9600 or one of its clones should suit my basic needs well enough.

It was a long time coming from China, when it did arrive in the UK I had to make a trip to collect it and pay the import duty. I dislike this messing about, it would be better if the duty was prepaid.

I continued the research while I was awaiting delivery of the equipment which was coming from China. At least one review/teardown surgested that the power supply would not pass UK safety standards.

Now the unit has arrived I should really seek out the information and any possible upgrades I can make to the unit to make it safer.

I got around to installing the software and downloading the user manual recently. I am glad I did as it is easier to set things up and run custom wave forms that via the display on the monitor.

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Component Tester

I recently purchased a cheapo component tester. It was tough to decide which of the many flavours to opt for. In the end I opted for one that had a colour LCD and a ZIF Socket for testing components.

Taking a look inside there is a IC that the makes went to the trouble of having laser etched to hide its identity.

The Lipo battery does not seem to have any protection circuitry. I think maybe that to pet a replacement would cost more then the unit did, but it may be worth doing.

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Blue Ring Tester

This tester was ordered in error, however it will come in handy to verify transformers and other instructors. It matches the ESR tester I bought at the same time.

I bought it as a kit. Assembly was straight forward and I modified the output section to give banana plug or terminal post fixings for the test leads, just as I did with the ESR meter.

Again I kept the blank end plate in case I modify the outputs to more streamlined flush fitting banana jacks at a later date.

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Function Generator Repair

Several years ago now I purchased a cheap open PCB style “Function Generator”. Even though it was cheap it seemed more logical then building one from scratch. I remember doing that way back when I was in my early 20’s!

More recently I have been attempting to repair a Hameg 203-6 and the only safe signal to had was the units calibrated square wave. As the Oscilloscope appears to be modulating it would have been nice to have a separate wave form generator. I do have another Hameg but space on my desk is limited.

I recalled having this function generator but suspected I had chucked it in the spare parts bin when it failed.

I fished it out and supplied it with 6V. This value was chosen as I spotted it has a 78L05. The LCD proved to be faulty as did the main PCB.

I have another LCD that will do the job on order form “Aliexpress” but that could be months arriving. So I disassembled the LCD cleaned the tracks with some isopropyl alcohol and reassembled the display. This reassembly proved quite difficult, but I did eventually get a usable LCD.

Pocking around with a meter and a scope seemed to indicate that the microprocessor was still working. The LCD confirmed that it was at least talking to that.

There are 2 other IC’s on th PCB. The first is a surface mount dual low noise op amp (NE5532) and the other is a socket mounted thru-hole super voltage converter (ICL7660S). It was far more likely that the voltage converter was faulty and possibly even expected to fail, if the socket mount was anything to go by.

As the parts were coming from China, I ordered a quantity of each. They arrived in due course and I slotted in the ICL7660S to restore operation.

I still do not have a dedicated power supply or a case for this unit so it might become a project to make it into a bench instrument as I have a supply of spares should I blow it up!

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Bob Parker Blue ESR Tester

My options for testing capacitors are quite limited, up till now my choices were to place a multi-meter on ohms range across them and look to see how fast or slow they charge and discharge over a give range or to desolder them and try and test on the capacitance range on a old multi-meter that has a transistor tester, frequency counter and capacitance checker.

Watching a repair video from one of my favourite YouTube channels “EEVBlog” . Dave Jones was using a older style Bob Parker ESR tester that seemed to do a good job of identifying faulty capacitors. This unit is not available though some that performed a similar task were on offer from all the usual places.

Digging around a bit more I located a seller in the USA selling the latest version of the Bob Parker ESR tester as well as a matching “Ring Tester for High Q Inductive Components” by “AnaTek”.

Both of these Items were available built or in kit form. I decided to buy the kit form.

I was going to just order the Capacitor Checker. At the point of ordering I selected the wrong item! Realising my error I ordered the more expensive Capacitance Tester as well from the same supplier.

Both of these Items were available built or in kit form. I decided to buy the kit form.

Resistors in first

I was going to just order the Capacitor Checker. At the point of ordering I selected the wrong item! Realising my error I ordered the more expensive Capacitance Tester as well from the same supplier.

The case that comes with these is interesting and a has a battery compartment that can take 2 AA cells using the provided spring clip fixings or as in these meters a single PP3.

Each case came with a spare blank end as well as the one with holes for the AnaTek meters on/off switch and test leads. Two grommets were supplied to pass the supplied cable through.

I dislike that feature, so I utilised some cheap terminal posts I have laying around from a past project. These I had to mount in a odd fashion but they work well.

I may get some more modern banana plugs sockets at a later date. They would need mounting in a different location so I have kept the spare end plate just in case.

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Power Supply Issue

Following a switch to a new internet service provider the Tenma 72-13330 stopped responding to network commands.

Initially I swapped to connecting via USB which still functioned correctly.

Today I revisited the issue as fixing stuff on my day off seems like a great idea.

Try as I might the device simply would not show on the network not even using if I IP Scanned it directly connected to my laptops LAN port.

Eventually I resulted to uninstalling the software, manually deleting all folders and shortcuts. Then installing the software again. The default configuration populated the IP address to, however my home network is not on that segment. This was the case when I first set up the software too. I simply corrected the address to and hey presto all worked fine again.

To keep this thing working without having to manually enter the correct LAN address each time. I opened Notepad as an administrator. Then edited the “int” file to suit my needs. This is where the presets for memory buttons is configured, so I amended them to suit my needs.

The “out” config is where you can set the voltages to automatically step though, I left this for now.

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Bench Power Supply

Many years ago when I first started to study electronics I a reasonable selection of test equipment and a bench/workshop in a spare room. Much of this equipment was bought second hand from college or out of the free adverts in weekly/monthly trading newspapers.

I long ago abandoned much of this equipment, when I moved out of my Camden flat to buy a home in Bishop’s Stortford. The remainder of this equipment is still in service but has seen better days.

One of the casualties of the move had been a very heavy yet very sturdy variable bench power supply. Since then I had built a power supply from a modified old computer ATX supply. This work really well until it suffered fluid ingress.

My better half splashed out this year and helped me to buy a nice new bench power supply! As is the way with many things these days it can be linked up to a network or to a computer via USB. This has the advantage of offering better control options then the front panel buttons. It has some memory functions enabling quick setting up of common voltage and current options. It also allows for sequenced switching of power settings and recording of the power used into a table.

In addition to the 2 variable output channels a 3rd channel allows switching between 2.5 volts, 3.3 volts and 5 volts at 3 Amps.

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