You'll see in my blogs that I don't use state-of-the art lab equipment.
That may point out that I'm a cheapskate. And yes, that's part of the story.
But the real reason is that I believe in modest means. I've learned that during my electronics studies.
I learned electronics in the 1st half of the 80's, when two things were different from now. Lab equipment was much more expensive. And there was a big crisis.
These days, I can afford to purchase a +100MHz, 4 channel oscilloscope, even mixed signal if I stress my budget a little. But I don't do that. I use a second hand DS1052E.
And I believe that my education learned me a great thing: learn to design and work with tolerance, fault margins and uncertainty.
I like to think that that is the best thing I got out of my education. Try to design with the worst component possible. Make a stable design with 10% tolerance. Use transistors with high Hfe range.
Deal with the real world at its worst.
These things force you to get a deep understanding of the problem domain. Almost an organic understanding.
The same with meters and other lab gear. When you have high-end material, it's easy to replicate tests.
When you deal with modest means, the brain has to jump in. You learn.
If you find yourself in a situation where your test gear isn't optimal, you have several choices.
The two most popular ones are:
- give up or
- think further.
When you choose #2, you learn. You understand and grow.
You'll often see articles from me where I use a mediocre meter, or where the signal on my oscilloscope shows significant ringing. That's my own choise. I like to go for the core of the problem.
I'm not looking for perfect images. I want to see that my design works. Or I want to see what happens in a circuit.
If precision is not part of the problem domain - I ignore it and don't take measures to avoid it. If the integrity of the signal does interest me, I use better measurement methods.