This section provides an overview for handheld oscilloscopes as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at
the list of 7 handheld oscilloscope manufacturers
and their company rankings.
What Is a Handheld Oscilloscope?
Handheld Oscilloscopes, as the name Handheld implies,
are small oscilloscopes that can be carried by hand. It can also be known as a portable oscilloscope.
An important feature of these oscilloscopes is that they can be used outdoors and portable, as they can be used for 5 to 7 hours on battery power and weigh only about 2 kg.
Product specifications vary by manufacturer, but the following are general values:
Bandwidth: up to 200 MHz
Instantaneous sampling rate: 1G Sa/s
Equivalent sampling rate: 50G Sa/s
Memory length: 2Mpts
Number of channels: 2 to 4 channels approx.
Applications for Handheld Oscilloscopes
Handheld Oscilloscopes are used in a variety of situations, taking advantage of their portability, which is their greatest feature.
- Investigations and work in the field
- Floating and differential measurements at the measurement bench
- On-site signal measurement, pass/fail judgment, and early detection of abnormalities
- Measurement and evaluation by moving the workbench
- Testing of automobiles, etc.
Some oscilloscopes have more specialized features than regular oscilloscopes for these applications.
- Size and portability for measurement in confined spaces
- Durability to withstand long hours of use in harsh environments
- Number of channels for floating measurements in the field
- Long continuous operation on battery to prevent work interruption
- Simultaneous acquisition of digital control and power signals
- Built-in powerful analysis tools for efficient verification work
Features of Handheld Oscilloscopes
Handheld Oscilloscopes have the following features because of their intended use in portable applications.
- Recording and Storage Functions
Large-capacity, long-time data recording, playback, and zoom functions. Some products have internal storage data points of up to about 7M and recording time of up to 18 hours (9000 hours with USB port).
- High-Precision Multimeters
Supports various types of measurements such as voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, diode, and continuity.
Some multimeter displays have about 6000 counts.
- Trend Plotting
Many are equipped with a measurement trend plot analyzer function, allowing for onsite pass/fail decisions, identification, and quick detection of abnormal signals.
Some scopes have 800k point capacity and 24+ hour recording time.
- Computer Connectivity via USB Host or PC Link Software
While some products have powerful analysis functions themselves, others can be connected to a computer to enhance work efficiency.
Differences from Handy Oscilloscopes
There is no clear definition of the difference between a handheld and a portable oscilloscope, but a portable oscilloscope is larger and heavier than a handheld oscilloscope, and its performance is closer to that of a stationary oscilloscope.
The size and weight are larger than those of the handheld oscilloscopes, but the performance is closer to that of a stationary oscilloscope. This type of oscilloscope is ideal for such cases.
The following is an example of a typical oscilloscope from a major manufacturer:
- Frequency bandwidth from 100MHz to 200MHz.
- 21 types of automatic measurement, waveform calculation, and FFT spectrum analysis.
- Multiple waveform screens can be imported, replayed, and reviewed for quick detection of signal anomalies.
- Waveform limit testing allows up to 4 signals to be automatically monitored and compared to pre-defined waveforms for pass/fail decisions.
- Floating measurement is also possible with 4 channels.
- Sample rate of up to 5 GS/s at 10K points.
- Product weight is 2.2 kg.
- The internal battery provides 7 hours of continuous operation.
Disadvantages of Handheld Oscilloscopes
Handheld Oscilloscopes have the following disadvantages compared to stationary oscilloscopes, which are the same as the handheld type, but they offer various functions in a small housing:
- Lack of expandability: Many of them do not allow the addition of probes or modules, and the frequency bandwidth expansion is also limited in many cases.
- Insufficient storage media capacity: Because of its small size, it is necessary to transfer acquired data to a PC immediately when handling a large amount of measurement data.
- Cannot handle increasingly sophisticated on-site fault isolation: Trigger function is weak for isolating complex phenomena.
- The environment in which the system is used is becoming harsher year by year: The system's resistance to temperature and water is weak.
In the future, Handheld Oscilloscopes will need to address the following issues:
- Functions and performance equivalent to stationary type
- Expandability to handle any situation
- High environmental performance, such as robustness to withstand harsh conditions, dustproof and waterproof.
*Including some distributors, etc.