Last updated on December 4th, 2019 at 06:21 am
An oscilloscope was first known as an oscillography, and informally it was called as a scope or o-scope, CRO (cathode ray oscilloscope) or DSO (digital storage oscilloscope).
The digital storage oscilloscope is the modern type of oscilloscope. The best hobby oscilloscope is a kind of electronic test instrument that allows observation to be taken for varying degrees of signal voltages.
The plot is usually two-dimensional of one or more signals as a function of time.
This article will provide you with the basic information about oscilloscope, it uses and details.
We have also covered the details of the top two oscilloscopes that you can consider if you are looking to buy one. Keep scrolling!
What Is An Oscilloscope Used For?
Description of the Oscilloscope
The basic oscilloscope is typically divided into four different sections:
- The display
- Vertical controls
- Horizontal controls
- Trigger controls
The display of the oscilloscope usually consists of CRT or cathode ray tube or LCD panel which is laid out with both vertical as well as horizontal reference lines that are referred to as graticule.
The CRT displays need to be additionally equipped with three controls: focus, intensity, and beam finder.
The Vertical section of the oscilloscope controls the amplitude of the displayed signal.
This section is also equipped with a vertical beam position knob for tuning and adjusting.
The horizontal section of the oscilloscope controls the time base or sweep of the instrument.
The primary control of this section is the seconds per division or seconds/division selector switch.
Similar to the vertical section, there is also a horizontal input for plotting the dual signals for the x- and y-axis.
The horizontal beam position knob is also located in this section of the oscilloscope.
The last section of the oscilloscope is the trigger section that controls the start event of the sweep.
The primary and principal controls of trigger section are the source and the coupling selector switches.
There is also an external trigger input and the level adjustment in this section of the oscilloscope.
Apart from the basic instrument, most of the modern oscilloscopes are also supplied with the probe.
The probe will be connected to any input on the oscilloscope instrument and typically can resist ten times the oscilloscope’s input impedance.
Some of the probes have a switch allowing the operator to bypass the resistor when required or when it is appropriate.
Size of the Oscilloscope
The modern oscilloscopes are light in weight and area portable electrical instrument which is compact enough and can be carried easily by one person.
The laboratory grade oscilloscopes or the older units use vacuum tubes and are mostly benchtop devices and has to be mounted into dedicated carts.
Whereas the special purpose oscilloscopes can be rack mounted or permanently mounted into custom instrument housing.
Uses of Oscilloscopes
An oscilloscope is used to observe the changes in the electrical signal over a period of time such that the voltage and time which is continuously graphed against a calibrated scale.
The graphing of the plot is known as a waveform that can be analyzed for various properties such as amplitude, rise time, frequency, time interval, distortion, and many more.
In traditional oscilloscopes, the calculation of these values needed manual measuring of the waveform against the calibrated scales that were built into the screen of the instrument.
For accurate results, you can adjust the oscilloscope to get repetitive signals as a continuous shape on the screen of the oscilloscope.
The storage oscilloscope can allow capturing of the single events by the instrument and the waveform can be displayed for a relatively long time.
It also allows the observation of the events too fast to be directly perceptible.
The general purpose oscilloscopes are used for the maintenance of equipment as well as laboratory work.
The special purpose oscilloscopes can be used for analyzing an automotive ignition system, or one can view the display of the waveform of a heartbeat as an electrocardiogram.
Previously, oscilloscopes used CRTs, i.e. cathode ray tubes as the display element; therefore, they were called as cathode ray oscilloscopes and linear amplifiers for signal processing.
The storage oscilloscopes used special storage cathode ray tubes to maintain the steady display of a single brief signal.
Later the cathode ray oscilloscopes were largely superseded by the modernized digital storage oscilloscopes as best hobby oscilloscope having a thin display panel, fast analog-to-display converters, and digital signal processors.
The best oscilloscope can be used for Audio. The most frequent use of an oscilloscope is the troubleshooting and malfunctioning of the electronic equipment.
An oscilloscope can reveal that the circuit is oscillating.
In electronic equipment such as the connections between the stages- e.g. electronic oscillators, electronic mixers, amplifiers, etc. –
may be probed for the expected signal you can use the oscilloscope as a simple signal tracer.
If the expected signal is absent or is incorrect, then it is that some of the preceding stages of the electronics are not operating correctly.
Once you found out the faulty stage, further probing can usually be done by the skilled technician as to exactly which component has failed and faulty.
When the faulty component is replaced, the unit can be used again for service.
Another use of an oscilloscope is to check the newly designed circuitry. In most cases, the newly designed circuit might misbehave due to design errors or bad voltage levels or electrical noise, etc.
Digital electronics usually operate from a clock and so dual trace scope showing both the clock signal, and the test signal is useful.
The storage oscilloscopes are useful for capturing the rare electronic events that cause defective operation.
Difference between a digital oscilloscope and an analog oscilloscope
Here, we are trying to give a clear-cut picture of how digital oscilloscopes differ from analog oscilloscopes.
- Analog oscilloscopes: They are obviously the older forms of oscilloscopes that used to display images and waveforms on a CTR or Cathode Ray Tube. These oscilloscopes are much economical when put against the modern-day digital oscilloscopes. The components of Analog oscilloscopes are much basic and so are the functionalities offered by them. While they would do fine in many of the industrial operations, they are nowhere a competition to the high-end features offered by the digital counterparts.
- Digital oscilloscopes: These are modern day oscilloscopes designed to assist professionals with a wide range of features in addition to the basic functioning of measuring electric signals. They aid in performing extensive, advanced research and applications. From performing typically brain-taxing mathematical calculations, measurements and functions to having better input range, sampling rate, bandwidth etc., Digital oscilloscopes are certainly a few steps ahead than the good ol’ analog scopes. Well, you’ll be paying a little higher for these though!
Top oscilloscopes to buy this year
Listed below are of the two of the most trusted digital oscilloscopes which you can rely upon.
The oscilloscope features a load of mathematical functions that would be of help to professionals, graded intensity, a 4 channel display and much more.
Moreover, it becomes easy to operate for even beginners are there are help and explanations available for first-time operators. You can read Rigol DS1054Z reviews.
Key features of Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope:
Given below are the features of the Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope which helps the product stand out from the crowd.
- 4 channel display: One of the best features of the Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope is that it offers 4 channel display, enabling users to simultaneously know and compare signals of various devices/sources. Even if you are a fan of 2-channel oscilloscopes, you will know the difference and benefits once you have used it.
- Top notch graded intensity display with high resolution: Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope offers a much detailed display, with 800 x 480 pixels. It comes with the best of the graded intensity display that is available on the market today. The display is pretty alike to that of analog and has as much as 64 shaded levels. The display is oriented in offering a much greater level of information.
- Added features and functions: in comparison to its predecessors and several other products on the market, Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope has many advances features and math functions aimed at helping professionals out and making the task much convenient.
- Bandwidth: Rigol DS1054Z comes with a bandwidth of 50 Mhz, which you can further expand to 100 MHz. Apart from bandwidth, memory depth and frequency too are expendable.
- Construction and durability: The Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope is solidly constructed to have a durable life.
With Siglent, these factors are kept at their best.
Key features of Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope:
Listed below are the features that keep this product of Siglent Technologies ahead from the crowd of oscilloscopes available in the market right now. Read the Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E Reviews.
- Bandwidth: This is what measures an oscilloscope’s capability to measure the electric signals. Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E Digital Oscilloscope comes with a bandwidth of 200 megahertz.
- High resolution and great display: Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope comes with a resolution score of 28, which translates into some 258 levels. A greater resolution is certainly more preferable in an oscilloscope as it is crucial for accurate measurement of timings during signal changes.
- Silent operation: one of the plus points of Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E Digital Oscilloscope is that it doesn’t produce too much of audible sounds as in case of several other oscilloscopes. Some noises are generally produced by these machines which are indeed rooted in their components.
- Advanced features: Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E Oscilloscope comes with several advanced and high-end features despite being a budget-friendly, entry-level oscilloscope. These features are basically brought in by the architecture which embeds the Zynq-7000 SoC. There are also all the other basic features at their best including a USB port for transferring and storing data, other ports like USB communication, LAN, etc., separate CD or software packages and much more.
- This is the best USB oscilloscope
So, in this article, you read about the basic introduction as well as the use of oscilloscopes. Further, we reviewed some of the best digital oscilloscopes available in the market now. hope this article has given you the insight to the details of the oscilloscope that you were looking for.