This section provides overview, applications, and principles of oscilloscopes. Also, please take a look at the list of 23 oscilloscope manufacturers and their company rankings.
An oscilloscope is an instrument that outputs electrical signals as waveforms on a screen, and is characterized by its ability to observe signal changes over time in two dimensions.
Oscilloscope is broadly classified into analog oscilloscope and digital oscilloscope.
An analog oscilloscope is an oscilloscope that observes input signals by scanning an electron beam over the tube surface of a cathode-ray tube to draw waveforms. The input signal to the oscilloscope is almost immediately displayed with just a short delay time.
An oscilloscope that converts input signals into digital data using an A/D converter, stores the data in its memory, and then shows the waveforms on a display. Unlike an analog oscilloscope, it is a collection of discrete data, so the data is complemented from data to data and displayed as a smooth curve.
Oscilloscopes observe electrical signals as waveforms, allowing you to visually check the operation of electronic circuits. By using an oscilloscopes, it is possible to check the signal waveforms in electronic circuits and verify that they are operating as intended in the design.
In the operation verification of high-speed digital circuits, signals must be captured at a reliable timing that is not affected by digital signal fluctuations (jitter), and oscilloscopes are used to set the timing.
Oscilloscopes are also useful in repairing electronic equipment because they can trace the signal waveforms of various parts of an electronic circuit to locate the faulty part if the cause of the equipment failure is in the electronic circuit.
In a conventional analog oscilloscopes, the signal input from the probe is transmitted to the oscilloscope's vertical amplification circuit. The signal is attenuated or amplified in the vertical amplifier circuit and then transmitted to the vertical deflector plate of the cathode-ray tube.
The voltage applied to the vertical deflector plate scans the electron beam up and down. This sequence of events is the principle of oscilloscopes. The input signal is simultaneously transmitted to the trigger circuit, and the electron beam starts scanning horizontally the moment the signal matches the set trigger condition.
In digital oscilloscopes, the input signal is converted to digital data by an A/D converter and the data is sequentially stored in memory. Then, after a specified period of time has elapsed from the moment the input signal meets the trigger condition, the storage of new data is stopped.
As a result, the above memory records the signals before and after the timing when the trigger condition is met, and these signals are displayed as waveforms on the display. In other words, the signal waveform before the trigger can also be observed.
The data stored in the memory can also be used for waveform analysis, e.g., frequency analysis of signals by FFT operations. Furthermore, the data can be output to a memory card for analysis and data storage on a PC.
When selecting oscilloscopes, it is important that it has sufficient specifications for the measurement. Specifically, frequency response, sampling rate, number of channels, memory length, and available probe types should be considered.
In addition to the basic use of oscilloscopes for observing waveforms, current oscilloscopes applications are expanding to include timing verification, waveform analysis, and compliance testing, and the measurement range and functionality are increasing accordingly. Therefore, there is a need to select a model with functions suitable for the purpose of use.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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