DS1054Z tricks, less known or undocumented (Part 1)



DS1054Z is a digital oscilloscope made by Rigol. This particular model is very popular now. It is so popular because it has tons of features and it is

  • hackable:
    This model was designed to be upgradable by buying unlocking codes from Rigol, without adding or modifying the oscilloscope’s hardware. Bandwidth upgrade from 50MHz to 100MHz, advanced triggers, memory depth, serial decoding protocols and so on, are all possible by simply typing a code on the oscilloscope’s screen. There is a free tool that can generate the upgrading codes: it’s called riglol.
  • built very well:
    Rigol used to be a manufacturer for Agilent. Agilent was just re-branding the Rigol oscilloscopes and sell them as Agilent oscilloscopes.
  • cheap:
    Only USD $400 for a 4 channels oscilloscope is affordable even for hobbyists and makers.

I am not affiliated or payed by Rigol in any way, just a happy DS1054Z owner.


Here is some less known info about DS1054Z

  1. Any DS1054Z can be turned into the highest model of the DS1000Z family, the DS1104Z. All you need to do is to simply type a code on the oscilloscope’s screen. The hardware for the DS1054Z, DS1074Z and DS1104Z is the same. DS1054Z is just a software limited version of a DS1104Z. DS1104Z is the top of the DS1000Z series, and is 2-5 times more expensive than a DS1054Z.
  2. Being LXI ready, the scope can be controlled by SCPI commands sent over LAN without installing any drivers on the PC side. No NI VISA, no IVI drivers and no Rigol drivers are required when controlling the oscilloscope over LAN.
  3. All you need when controlling the scope over LAN is simply a TCP socket using port 5555. You can even send SCPI commands manually, by using Telnet or NetCat. NetCat (AKA ‘nc’) is recommended, since Telnet protocol might filter out some characters, like i.e. chr(0). There is a NetCat version for Windows too.
  4. The SCPI programming manual for DS1000Z series scopes is incomplete. If you feel like some SCPI commands are missing, like e.g. MASK:DATA?, then check the programming manuals from the higher models (like DS2000 or even DS4000) in order to find out the correct syntax. Most of them will also work for DS1000Z series too.
  5. To check the firmware version normally, press UTILITY -> SYSTEM -> SYSTEM INFO in the “MENU” buttons group, but to check for more software details (undocumented):
    Quickly press buttons MENU -> MENU -> FORCE -> MENU on “TRIGGER” buttons group, then go to info panel by pressing buttons UTILITY -> SYSTEM -> SYSTEM INFO in the “MENU” buttons group.
  6. To find out the manufacturing date by serial number:
    DS1ZA yy ww xxxxx
    yy: 15=2013, 16=2014, 17=2015, 18=2016
    ww: week number in indicated year
  7. The latest firmware update can be downloaded without registration from:
    or from http://int.rigol.com/Support/SoftDownload/3



MHz – Megahertz
PC – Personal Computer
LXI – LAN Extensions for Instrumentation
SCPI – Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments
LAN – Local Area Network

NI – National Instruments, http://www.ni.com
VISA – Virtual Instrument Software Architecture
IVI – Interchangeable Virtual Instrument
TCP – Transmission Control Protocol
AKA – Also Known As

Zero Parts Thermostated Soldering Station

A quick and dirty temperature controller for a soldering iron. It is made out of lab test equipment and a Python script.


Usually a dedicated soldering station is used to control the temperature of a soldering iron, but this time, a PC, a DP832 power source, a DS1054Z oscilloscope, and a Python script were all used together to control a soldering iron.

Why use $3k+ lab equipment instead of a $30 soldering station?

Because I have a few cheap ($3-$4) soldering iron handles and a bag of fake Hakko 900M tips, but no soldering station for them, and I was curious to see how well these can perform in comparison with the other type of the fake Hakko tips that I have, the T12 series.

T12 type are definitely better then 900M type. T12 are also five to ten times more expensive then 900M, but how worst the 900M series can be? Does the 900M deserve their space on a workbench?



There are some very cheap soldering iron handles available as spare parts. They usually work with 900M type tips, the heating element has 50W at 24V, and the temperature sensor is a 40uV/*C type K thermocouple integrated into the heating element. Mine were Gordak type handles.


These cheap soldering irons use Hakko 900M series type of tips, but despite their similar heating element and similar soldering tips, the temperature sensor is different between the Hakko and the clones. Hakko uses an RTD, while the rest of the other producers are using a K type thermocouple.

The total cost for a non-Hakko complete handle with one tip included and free shipping is about 3-4 USD, and a pack of 10 soldering tips is about 2-3 USD with free shipping.


To test these soldering irons, an adjustable power source (Rigol DP832) and an oscilloscope (Rigol DS1054Z) were used. Both the source and the scope have LXI, meaning they are remote controllable from a PC via SCPI commands sent over LAN (for acronyms please see the end section, ‘Acronyms’).



The oscilloscope probe is connected to the soldering irons thermocouple. The power source is connected to the heating element of the soldering iron.


How it works

The PC runs a Python script that sends commands to the oscilloscope and to the power source, in order to implement a PID temperature control loop.


Temperature can be changed in steps of five degrees Celsius by pressing the Up/Down arrow keys. Python source code is available at https://github.com/RoGeorge/SCPI_solder_station.

The PC reads the thermocoulpe voltage from the oscilloscope, calculates the thermocouple temperature and sends commands to adjust the voltage of the power source that feeds the heating element. The temperature is kept stable enough to make a first impression about the heating power of these kind of soldering irons.


This solution was implemented mostly for testing purposes, to see how well various soldering irons and tips performs. It can be used for real soldering too, but not recommended.



If something goes wrong, this setup might become a fire hazard.
Just in case you want to replicate it, do not leave it unattended.


– Does this setup works?
– Yes.

– Does these soldering handles needs a PID control loop?
– No. For 900M soldering tips, the sensor is too loosely coupled with the tip. The sensor is inside the heating element, so keeping the heating element at a constant temperature does not imply the soldering tip will stay at a constant temperature too.

– Can the tip temperature be properly calibrated?
– No. The handle temperature can easily vary within 10-20*C from the room temperature, but there is no cold junction compensation for the thermocouple inside the handle. Assuming you measure the room temperature, and the sensor is perfectly coupled with the tip, the temperature offset can still vary in a range of 20*C from the set temperature, depending of the handle temperature variations.

– Can these handles be used for occasional/hobby soldering?
– Yes.

– Can these handles be used for heavy work or precision soldering?
– No. The soldering tip arrives at the working temperature only 10-20 seconds later after the sensor temperature has stabilized, which makes any temperature control pretty useless. It seems that the 900M soldering is based mostly on the heat accumulated into the metal of the tip, but the temperature sensor is in the heating element, so the tip can not be maintained at a precise temperature during soldering. Also, no matter which tip model from the 900M series I choose, it can not provide enough heat to solder on a big ground plane.


RTD – Resistance Temperature Detector
PC – Personal Computer
LXI – LAN Extensions for Instrumentation
SCPI – Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments
LAN – Local Area Network
PID – Proportional-Integral-Derivative