Budget Tools Review: UNI-T UTG932E

May 12, 2023




In our last review of the ZEEWEII DSO1511G handheld oscilloscope, I noted that it includes a signal generator. The OWON HDS2102S also includes such functionality, but at the end of the day, multipurpose devices are rarely as good as their dedicated cousins. From an interface standpoint, it’s also difficult to use both capabilities at the same time, so in this post I’ll be reviewing the UNI-T UTG932E function generator.

First Impressions: A Little Impressive

Image Credit: Jeremy Cook

This device, measuring 172mm x 90mm x 68mm, is quite small. While not something you’d want to hold in your hand like the scopes previously reviewed, it would be very easy to pop into a backpack for remote work. While small, it has an impressive array of controls, including a knob and numeric keypad.

BNC connectors for channels 1, 2, and counter/sync are found on the right of side of the unit, and the power switch, power cable, and USB A socket are on the left. The 4.3 inch, 480x272 pixel TFT LCD screen is easy to see. To summarize, it’s a small device (it could likely fit inside an inflated American football), but not so small that you’re sacrificing usability in the same way that you do with a combo/handheld scope.

The external build quality seems quite good, and per this Voltlog review/teardown, it appears to be assembled with good components inside.

Generator Stats:

Full stats are found on the UTG900E datasheet, but here are a few highlights:

  • Output channels: 2
  • Sync/Count BNC connection
  • Frequency Range: 1µHz-30MHz (1µHz-600MHz -962E), 1µHz full-band resolution
  • Sample Rate: 200MSa/s, 14-bit vertical resolution
  • Modulation: AM, FM, PM, FSK
  • Wave Output: Sine, square, pulse, ramp, 24 built-in arbitrary waveforms, noise, and DC
  • Additional waveforms can be created via windows-based software

30 MHz or 60 MHz?

Image Credit: Jeremy Cook

This waveform generator comes in two flavors, 30MHz (UTG932E reviewed here) and 60MHz (UTG962E). While one might posit that 60MHz is twice as good as 30MHz, the improvement between the two is in fact a bit more incremental.

As elaborated upon in the VoltLog video, consider that both units have a sample rate of 200MSa/s. Divide that value by 30MHz, and you get 6.7 samples per cycle. 60MHz gives you 3.3 just samples per cycle, which would seem largely unusable in most situations.

Going through the datasheet, only the sine wave output is listed as having a maximum of 60MHz, with other outputs being only incrementally better than the 30MHz spec. The arbitrary waveform output is the same for both, at up to 10MHz. On the other hand, the difference between the two price-wise is typically in the $50 range, so you might get a reasonable value out of this extra functionality. If you need something that can perform well into the 40-50MHz range, however, you may want to look elsewhere.

Bonus Feature: DC Supply

Image Credit: Jeremy Cook

While generating a DC voltage would seem to be a trivial task for a signal generator, I haven’t found this available on the combo devices that I’ve tested previously. The UTG932E has a dedicated DC output setting ready to use whenever you need a constant ±10V or anything in-between.

Given that a semi-portable device like this will often be used on-the-go without a full lab setup, this could come in very handy. Perhaps other portable device manufacturers will consider implementing this functionality.

Bottom Line: Worth Purchasing?

Based on my initial impressions, I really like this unit, and it will be bittersweet to ship it away to our contest winner. For ~$150, if you need a portable signal generator in the 30MHz range or less, and/or a DC supply, it would be hard to beat this unit. At the same time, if you need to deal with cyclic outputs of over 30MHz, you might want to consider other – likely more expensive and bulky – options.

The UNI-T UTG932E is definitely worth a look if the specs meet your needs. Be sure to register for our giveaway to hopefully have this one sent to you!

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