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  • #16
    Jon scopes have come down in price to where they are affordable, but would they aid in repairing welding machines, and if they would, which type would a young interested novice electronics repair person look for?

    Many worthwhile things are affordable when a person gives up drugs, booze, tattoos, p-orn, and brand new expensive mortgaged vehicles.

    My first VOM was a Simpson 260 with the mirror needle reflector way back in the late 60s.
    Last edited by tackit; 09-10-2021, 08:47 AM.

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    • #17
      here it is

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      • #18
        Jim, oscilloscopes definitely have a lot of features and uses, but I honestly would buy other tools first for repairing welding machines and most anything you plug into a wall. I would buy a good multimeter, ESR meter, lab power supplies, and thermal camera. For the long version, many many lines below.

        I didn't buy my tools in this order, but I would first buy a good multimeter that are rated to safely measure up to 1000V (mine are used Flukes because I know they're designed to be safe at.that voltage and used puts them in my price range). I say 1000V because some newer inverters like the XMT 350 have 900+V circuits inside them.

        I would buy an Equivalent Series Resistance ESR meter to test capacitors without having to remove them. Capacitors have a shelf and tend to cause problems/voltage flicker you can usually only see (you can sometimes hear the buzz too) with an oscilloscope or possibly with your VOM.

        I would also get two lab power supplies (current limit control). The ones I use the most are 35V, 3A max linear supplies because they were cheap (used) and about the max power I needed for troubleshooting boards and powering/troubleshooting wire feeders. I used only one for a long time and built my own circuits/converters to get the -12V to -15V many boards also need, but it's easier to just have a second power supply. Current limit control is key to avoid further damage.

        Probably the most expensive recommendation so far is a thermal camera. This would be my first purchase, but it's more expensive so I put it further down the list. I thought I was buying a used Seek Compact Pro (best for higher definition and smaller components) for a screaming deal, but it turned out be the Seek Compact XR (best for seeing further) for an okay deal - the XR works for me for all kinds of things beyond electronics. FLIR has some thermal camera options too. YouTube is your best source for comparing the options. These are worth their weight in gold. I used get by with just the multimeter and isolating (desolder) components that were potentially bad, then tried canned air turned upside down to freeze components and see which ones defrosted fast, and finally just picked up the thermal camera. It is so worth it, in electronics, electrical as well as around and outside the house.

        Import digital oscilloscopes or used analog oscilloscopes are about the only cost effective way to go. I would recommend a digital oscilloscope, and Rigol and Siglent have been pretty popular for a while. I used to have a 4-channel Tektronix, but picked up a digital oscilloscope once I started looking more at boards with microcontrollers. The Rigol DS1054Z (4-channel) still seems to be the best deal, and the used ones go for about the price of the new ones, so it's not too big of a risk. The Analog Discovery 2 is a good PC base (plugs into your computer and you control it from your computer screen) gives you a lot of functions and can take you into a deep dark hole of programming your own test tools if you wanted. The biggest issue with oscilloscopes is they're sensitive to ground loops and overvoltage. This is really a problem with working on machines you plug into a wall that takes special care and/or special equipment to prevent damaging the machine, the oscilloscope, or the operator.

        Hope this helps,
        Jon

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