Posted by: Claudio Carbone | 10 February 2012

New stuff: Owon PDS 5022S impressions

My new oscilloscope

Being payed for your work is very satisfying, isn’t it?
Some of the satisfaction is obviously indulging in the most convoluted ways to dump the recently acquired money.
For geeks and techies like me, the market offers an incredible amount of ways to literally obliterate money!

Thought that Gucci bag was crazy at 1200€? Think again!

A new Tektronix base oscilloscope (models 100x) goes for about 900€. At work I usually have a Tek 3012 under my hands, do you know how much one of these goes for? It’s a 1998 piece of technology, and it still sells for more then 1300$ used! The TDS 3012C has a retail price of 4999$! WOOT!

No wonder China is placing a firm foot in low cost instrumentation too: an Owon 6022 60MHz retails for about 500$, this morning I watched one go on ebay for 216€ (used).

But anyway, I’ve been payed for some engineering I did and that’s fine, but wasting money is stupid no matter how much you earn.
At least this is my phylosophy, so I went hunting on ebay and snatched the above depicted China made Owon 5022 for 176€!

176 Euro!

You can see it’s not a Tek from the moment you turn it on: the screen response is sluggish, full of ghosting, the measurements available are too few (just Freq, Period, Cycle RMS, Mean and Peak-to-Peak… go have a look at what the Teks do…)…
Actually I think this is some bad unit: the manual tells a different story about measurements available.
I discovered it’s also missing FFT from the MATH menu and Holdoff setup from the TRIGGER menu.
UPDATE An email is on its way to Owon as well as another to the seller, this doesn’t look like a good unit to me.

Owon LCD vs USB comparison

Owon LCD vs USB comparison

As the caption of the above image clearly states, in this image you can look at the real thing and at the software running on my laptop visualizing the very same data.
This actually is a really nicely made piece of (Chinese) software: instead of visualizing a bmp or jpg or anyway a copy of the frame buffer of the instrument (like some Tektronix do over ethernet), this downloads the data stored in the O’scope memory and then redraws that data using the resolution of your laptop. So it scales much much better than a 640×480 bmp!
It also allows you to move traces around, albeit apparently only vertically: I haven’t been able to move anything horizontally, there isn’t even a slider! The darn thing allows you to zoom in and out, but it’s all useless as you can’t pan horizontally…
Now the thing has all the data stored, you can even change the time slicing and this would in turn put more or less of the data in view, but panning is out of question… heck I don’t get how one could forget such a feature!

So to sum it up a bit, I didn’t expect fireworks from a 200€ piece of tech, and I’d be very satisfied with my prize if it weren’t for the advertised but missing features. I hope Owon will chime in to let me know what happened to this particular O’scope.

More in-depth analysis of the performance would require more complex signals that I’m unable to generate here at home.
Let the 100KHz I2C signal suffice for the time being.



by reading here and there I discovered there are at least two firmware versions around for this scope, 5.3 and 6.2 or something like that. The latter is the one with FFT. Interestingly some users on the DSLreports forum noted how OWON UK is totally oblivious of this, asserting the 5022 doesn’t have any FFT capability that is exclusive of the 6062 model and above. Videos on youtube are there to testimony the contrary. I’ve sent that email, and also contacted a local reseller of Owon, we’ll see what comes out.



  1. […] not always true, but it is with regards to the recent Owon PDS5022s Impressions post. I went searching for an oscilloscope at the best price I could […]

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