Not everyone has the need for an expensive oscilloscope with many features. Beginning electronics hobbyists, in particular, will benefit more from an instrument with a more manageable feature set and not too many bells and whistles. Here is comes down to the essential requirement: Visualise the signals in electronic circuits. As a beginner you will not immediately start working with very high frequencies, so the bandwidth of an oscilloscope does not need to be all that great.

Now, with the SDS1102 from Owon you will already receive much more than that for 250 euros (224 euros for Elektor members). The sampling frequency of the 8-bit A/D-converter in this two-channel instrument amounts to no less than 1 Gsamples/s (500 Msamples/s when using two channels) and an input bandwidth that amounts to 100 MHz, specifications that you will normally find on instruments costing two or three times as much. So that is a nice bonus.


The Owon SDS1102 comes supplied with
2 probes, a USB cable and a mains power cable.

The instrument itself is remarkably light at 1.1 kg and has a power consumption of only 15 W. It therefore does not have a fan that could generate annoying background noise. The enclosure is nicely finished and has relatively little depth. On the back are two fold-out legs that let the instrument lean backwards a little. The mains power supply connection is on the left side. This position was probably chosen because the enclosure is so shallow, but it is not convenient because the (thick) mains cable protrudes a considerable distance from the side and therefore you cannot place another device close to that side. The thing is, of course, supplied with two probes, a mains power cable and a USB cable for connecting to a PC.

The operating panel is quite well organised, although some buttons are in a somewhat strange place if you are familiar with operating other oscilloscopes. But this will not be a problem for someone who buys their first oscilloscope. The rotary and push buttons are (unfortunately) the same as those on the more expensive Owon models, the covering of the buttons with a kind of rubber layer is something I don't like. It is a pity that all the rotary knobs are the same size. It would have been more convenient if the horizontal and vertical adjustments were a little bigger, as is the case with the more expensive models, and probably costs nothing more to manufacture.

The 7-inch display is bright
and has a large viewing angle.

The display measures 7 inches in size and has a resolution of 800x480 pixels. The brightness and viewing angle are great, this is certainly not inferior to displays on more expensive oscilloscopes. On the right, adjacent to the screen, are 5 push buttons for the menu that appears next to them after pushing one of the function buttons. There is also a multi-purpose rotary button that is used, among other things, for scrolling through sub-menus.