Slowly getting my house in order (aka tidy my desk) whilst doing actual work. Unfortunately I looked at the Bench check thread and its raised serious kit envy and some questions - none of which are earth shattering but if over the coming weeks people chip in their opinions it may prove illuminating.
So, my desk, which has to be tidy to resolve NDA issues before I can take a picture - is two iMacs (one macOS, older one Windows 10) + an extra screen for the iMac. And attendant keyboard / mice. As much of what I do is firmware or, being the hacker I described at the top of the thread, some database / UI work for the other end of the project (SQL db of some sort, PHP, JS, [HTML, CSS], Python). In front of these two machines is two or three archaeological layers of small PCBs - either own unpopulated or work-in-progress plus a metric-$!±§-ton of vendor dev boards, cables, tools etc.
What is conspicuously absent other than the actual desk surface which I believe is white, is a desktop multimeter, an oscilloscope or a voltage/current controlled power supply.
I have a basic Fluke for when I need to take an accurate reading (usually to calibrate some sensors or battery voltage measurements) plus a Mooshi-meter (dual channel MM over Bluetooth) plus some others that can be put in harms way. I’ve a variety of wall warts at varying voltages plus some small 18650 5V & 3.3V output power thingies.
I do have one of those Sainsmart 200KHz LCD oscilloscopes and whilst ferreting about for where that was, a Bitscope (no probe input, just the digital cables). But I’ve never needed to use them for real - or never thought to use them for real - or known when would be a good time to use them (despite the acknowledged limitations of them).
Most of what I do is very modular and each element can be checked in isolation & swapped out - so debugging hardware is quite rare for me - it’s more the perils of the firmware coupled with the vendors take on providing drivers without examples. If I need to check one of the radio modules (WiFi, 2.4GHz or LoRa) are outputting something, I have known good kit to check with and at worst, an SDR & a cheap VNA to see if there’s any actual signal. Mostly the VNA is to sort though bags of antennas to find a good one for when I need some actual range.
I do see people saying things like “put a 'scope on the I2C line to see what’s happening” but I’m not clear on when or how people arrive at such a situation unless they have really gone to town with their PCB design.
I can see an AD2 being useful for tracking the sequencing of activity from wake, work to sleep across an IoT device as I develop more & more busy ones. But I could in theory use the Bitscope for that. I already have a couple of the power profiler kits for capturing the battery use. It would be interesting to play with an Otti to see if it’s worth the 4x price, I sort of doubt it.
So, have I spent the last 40+ years being held back without my pushbutton multimeter and 'scope?
Why do you have yours, how often does it get proper use and what for?
Or to put it another way, if (or when) your bench caught fire, what would you save & why?