The rapid changes caused to the voltage with time are detected through the equipment named oscilloscopes. Oscilloscopes are used for the calculation of the voltage fluctuations where the multi-meter becomes ineffective in measuring it with the changing time.
On measuring the voltage change using the best oscilloscope for hobbyist, one can see a signal line on the screen that stretches out horizontally. This signal line shows the fluctuations in the passing voltage based on a system of graphs that reveals the voltage changes caused with running time.
The time is measured on the X-axis, whereas, the voltage is measured on the Y-axis of the graph.
There are two different types of oscilloscopes that can be seen for electrical measurements. The types are as follows:
- Analog Oscilloscope.
- Digital Oscilloscope.
Both the oscilloscopes are similar regarding controls and operation. However, the digital oscilloscope has some of the functions on the LCD which are directly present on the screen menu rather than being controlled through buttons or knobs as in an analog oscilloscope.
Steps to measure frequency on an oscilloscope
The measurement of frequency on an oscilloscope can be formulated and calculated using the below-mentioned steps:
- The signal must be primarily put by the operator or user in the input port of the oscilloscope. Less sophisticated cables or dedicated probes can be used to pass the signals through them.
- A trigger source must be initiated by the operator which would enable the scanning process for the oscilloscope. The signal tracing can be seen in the oscilloscope starting from the level of threshold. There can make a possible alteration in the signal scopes. The alterations can also be due to some different sources.
- To display the complete vertical range of the signal in a bigger format, the operator must set and adjust the voltage scale. It must be ensured that the scale is set appropriately to fit the screen range of the oscilloscope.
- The setting must also be done for the time base. This helps the display to spread evenly so that the full cycle of the signal is displayed across the screen starting from the left-hand side and moving on to the right-hand side.
- This is the time when the user must decide the initial and the end point of the complete cycle. This point can always be set according to preference of the operators, i.e. the max voltage to the initial maximum voltage displayed. This can also be the point where the zero mark for the voltage passes from the negative end to the positive end. This can be set according to any of the identifiable characteristic of the passing signal.
- The operator must note the waveform shapes of the passing signal. This is when the operator needs to identify the initials and the endpoints. The identification can be remembered by marking down or capturing an image of the screen. The best way is to put markers on the points on top of the oscilloscope’s screen display or just seeing it all the way through. The oscilloscope can internally automatically measure the frequency too.
- There will be horizontal divisions appearing, and the number of these horizontal divisions must be measured between the initial and the endpoints by the operator. The operator must then multiply the time base with the number of appearing divisions so that the period of the signal is obtained.
- The inverse of the period shows the frequency. For example, if the time base states three milliseconds, the frequency is represented in the format, 1/ (3 X 10^-6 sec). The calculation can be done using a pen and a paper, and this depends on the oscilloscope outputs displayed. The determination and analysis of the results can also be done statistically for the pulses shown on display.
- Before setting up the frequency measurements, in particular, a thorough examination of the signals must be done by the operator. This ensures that the measurement is represented accurately for the complete signal and is not an assumption or artifact of the feature for the selected signal that is triggered.
Accurate measurement and setting up a digital oscilloscope while calculating the frequency
The best digital oscilloscope can be used as best hobby oscilloscope by individuals who operate as an electronic device to view, emit, and measure electrical signals. The device consists of screens for displaying the graph, inputs, and other control features. To start the operation and calculation of frequency, an electrical signal must be plugged in the input source. Usually, there are two input sources in the digital oscilloscopes. The oscilloscope must be powered on and to make the signals visible, the volts and the time division settings must be appropriately adjusted. The time division is the horizontal scale on the screen’ whereas, the voltage division is the vertical scale. The time is showing changes commensurately when the time division is adjusted.
Both the settings must be set accurately by the operator till the signal becomes apparent on the screen. The digital oscilloscopes measure the frequency through waveform period calculation in the form of 1/period = frequency. The period can be determined by locating the center point of the minimum and the maximum values of the waveform. Simultaneously, also be measuring the time starting from the first point of center in the data of the waveform to the third central point. It must be remembered that the digital oscilloscopes have a limitation for the horizontal resolution.
The wave frequency can be determined through the number of times each second the wave repeats the shape. The frequency cannot be directly determined using the oscilloscope, however; the closely associated parameters can be measured as periods. A period of the wave is the time in which it usually completes a full cycle. There are a lot of cheap oscilloscopes available throughout the marketplace that engineers prefer due to low cost and greater efficiency. An oscilloscope is considered as one of the essential tools in the electronics and electrical laboratories.