Rigol DS1052E = ‘sub-standard’ product

15 Jan

I did not have a lot of money to spend but wanted an oscilloscope for use in the forum, so that I could reverse engineer some protocols on the PCB’s as well as look into the Digital noise on the sound channel.
So I decided to purchase a genuine oscilloscope from a reliable supplier (If there is any such thing in China) I had heard good things about Rigol, unfortunately it was a 7 hour round trip to the supplier to pick the product up.

After carefully unpacking and setting the scope up and checking various details:
Software is listed as version: 00.02.05 SP1
Genuine guarantee card, with Rigol serial number
Problem number1
You need to register your equipment before you get access to any information… and it takes 24 hours, after 3 days the registration still has not been processed.

You can ask why I did not get the documents off the CD that comes with the product, well I also received the CD that had obviously been walked on in the factory.

So lets proceed.

Now lets put the device into: Run Control ->run/stop mode.
The current trigger mode is Slope rising or Slope falling and these work fine.

Then if we change the trigger mode to : Slope UP/DOWN

Finally we take the scope out of Run Control ->run/stop mode, back into Run mode:
rigol failure

OK maybe something is not right, lets power off the Scope wait 5 minutes and retry the procedure:

rigol failure 2

You have to be kidding me right, I corrupted the Scope just by setting a mode via the front panel?
Several more resets and the Scope is still screwed, but since I suffer from the delusion of being an engineer I restart the scope one more time, but this time I pressed the Run/Stop button on startup (there is a 2 second window between the boot-up screen and the scope crashing).

Magically the scope comes back to life, obviously the ‘run/stop’ is preventing the errored software from running,but as soon as I change from the ‘stop mode and enter ‘Run’ mode the scope crashes again.

One more boot-up with the product set to ‘stop’ mode, but this time I go back into the trigger menu and ‘unset’ the mode from slope mode back to edge mode.

Once this is done, the product can again be safely taken out of ‘stop‘ mode, and no longer crashes, but if you follow the above procedure then the situation is 100% repeatable.

Now a number of questions present themselves:
1. How the hell can a product like this ship from a factory that claims it has ‘quality control’?
2. Why does the product not have a watch-dog that forces it to reset to default settings after a crash?
3. Why does the system not range check the screen memory to ensure that if there is a problem it does not rampage off through memory, but instead resets.
4. What is Rigol trying to achieve?

After re-checking the product box, it is clearly sealed with Rigol ‘sticky tape’ and has not been opened and re-sealed, also the product is clean and not marked as refurbished/repaired.

Over to you Rigol……….. (lets see how proactive your PR department is)

Ok so today(17-Jan-2010), I am finally given access to the Rigol website where I can download manuals, there is NO firmware available on the site, so I cannot re-flash the scope to see if the issue is just related to corrupted firmware.
STILL no answer to the technical questions related to the scope and the screen corruption, even though they were posted inside the Rigol website related to ‘Technical questions’ , maybe I should also file a ‘bug report’

Waiting on Rigol, but it is becoming apparent that you are ‘fine’ as long as you do not have a problem with one of their products, but if you do have a problem then………….


Leave a Reply



  1. John O'Hare

    February 19, 2011 at 4:43 am

    How are you getting in with this problem?

    • bob

      February 19, 2011 at 7:25 am

      The scope was returned to the shop, interestingly they said a load more were returned with this version of the firmware.

      Now the firmware has been bumped to:
      00.02.05 SP2

      But I have to say Rigol support is completely dire, you pay for a product and you basically get nothing back from them, they just do not care.
      If I had paid more than $150us for this I would have been really angry, but I paid a low price and got what I paid for.

      (The scope was NOT upgraded/ or tampered with)

  2. AstroJIG (Jordi)

    April 9, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Thanks a lot for this article.

    I just received my scope and after few minutes navigating through the options a came across the “dreaded slope feature”… and the whole thing crashed.

    After twenty reboots without a clue how to reset the whole thing (it starts always where you halted it) I came accross this post. Problem solved.

    I’ve got the (DS1052E) 00.02.05 SP1 as well. I hope to find a better debugged firmware somewhere.

    • bob

      April 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      Well it made me really annoyed,
      just glad the post at least helped one person.
      Interestingly I was told that this version of FW was only available in China, it is all part of an attempt to prevent people from upgrading the scope to a 100Mhz version. Personally I’m of the mind that they should just give it up and spend the R&D on adding extra options to both models.

  3. Fanch

    May 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hello ,

    I Fixed that similar problem by following this procedure :
    – DS1052E must be siwtch OFF
    Then connect one probe on channel 1 and connect it to both GND and square signal (at the right bottom)
    Switch the oscilloscope ON
    – Then press quickly the RUN/STOP Button, a perfect square signal should now appears ,no more black screen.
    – Then install the very last Firware from USB key as your
    00.02.05 SP1 release has a bug and has been identified at RIGOL’s.