I’ve been wanting an oscilloscope for a while now. The minimum specs are something like 100 MHz four channel. Hopefully it’s something reasonably good as well — Agilent, Tektronics, or LeCroy would be ideal.

The problem is that I can’t even remotely justify something like that. The cost to enter something like that starts at $3,000 and goes up quickly. By the time you have the scope that you want you’re easily at $5,000-7,000.

Of course I can look at off-brand scopes like Rigol — but those come with their own set of bugs and oddities. Not to mention that even those scopes weigh in at $1,500-$3,000.

So I was surfing around eBay and found an old Agilent that’s not booting with a CMOS checksum error. Yes, all modern scopes run an OS. All of them take time to boot. This particular one would normally run Windows 95. (!) It’s not booting though. But it’s a 1GHz scope! From Agilent! Like for realsies.  :-D

It should be fixable. Probably a dead CMOS battery.

~$500-600 for a 1GHz scope might be worth the effort to fix. At the end of it I would have a 1GHz scope if I can get it working. If not I suppose I can resell it. Hell, if I can fix it I can resell it for $3,000-$4,000 as a working scope.

But it is a gamble.

Should I take it?