Purchasing a New Oscilloscope?

It is a good strategy to try out a new product prior to making the purchasing decision.  Right?  So, how do you do this when needing a digital scope?  Often they are ordered through a company purchasing department or website where only specifications and reviews/comments from other users are used in the decision making process.

Well, I have a better idea.  Why not go to a retail store where they have them in stock and sample models on the shelf where you can test them and operate the controls to make sure it will do what you want?

And, you ask, where do we find such a retail store?  Not at Walmart or BestBuy or even Radio Shack!  No, they are a totally different kind of enterprise.

There is one place that I highly recommend; it is a place that any electrical engineer or electronics professional cannot go without staying for at least a full hour  drooling over the diversity of products on display.  These retail stores are as big as a Home Depot and have as many skus (stock keeping units) in their inventory as a Walmart Superstore!  These stores carry products from a single 1,000 ohm resistor to a zener diode to computer parts, boards, antennas, transformers, drives, monitors, PCs, laptops, printers, voltmeters, games, batteries and much, much more.   And, yes, digital oscilloscopes.

So, where are these stores?  They are in California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.  The name is FRYS.  See:


The store I recently visited is the one in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It had 10 models on the shelf ranging in price from  a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.  Brands being displayed were LeCroy, B&K, Tektronix and Fluke.

Visiting a FRYS store is  and experience that will brighten your day and give you a renewed enthusiasm for the good old days when electronic parts stores were in every city.  But, what a store they are.  Clearly, FRYS is thee megastore for electronic components and gadgets.   It is nearly impossible to go in without bringing something back to the lab or office or home.  Last time I visited the Las Vegas store to see what they had in scopes (to write this article) I pickup up a Kingston USB flash with 8GB memory for under $15!

I will be looking for you next time I go to FRYS.  We will meet at the digital oscilloscope section and I will see you playing with the Fluke pocket scope.  Goodbye for now!

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