What are Oscilloscope Used for: Do you Really Need an Oscilloscope?

Tons of people are on a quest to find the answer to “what are oscilloscope used for?. So, it is evident that though oscilloscope has been with us for long, its applications still puzzle many. So, through this article, you will discover the various ways you can use an oscilloscope.

Why You Need an Oscilloscope?

What are Oscilloscope Used for

You see, a multimeter can help you measure a single number of voltages of a circuit. But what happens when you start building complex circuits? You can’t use an ammeter in such cases; You will take forever to complete your task. As such, using an oscilloscope will not be an option.

While using an oscilloscope, you can view the voltage of a circuit as signals in the screen of an oscilloscope. Consequently, you can see the signals in the form of waves. What’s more, the waves are displayed in the form of a graph. So, you can analyze the signals on a more detailed level.

Besides, by observing the waves, you can troubleshoot the circuit to identify the connections that aren’t working as you desire. An oscilloscope can convert signals such as sound and vibration into voltages and display the waves on the screen. As a result, the conversion smoothens the troubleshooting process.

Sneak Peek into the Types of Oscilloscopes

As you discover what are oscilloscopes used for, it’s also crucial you understand the types of oscilloscopes available. The two types are digital and analog oscilloscopes. In a nutshell, digital scopes are the most dominant and generally have more capabilities than their counterparts.

Analog Oscilloscopes

Analog oscilloscopes are prized for transient troubleshooting applications since they have powerful transient effects. What’s more, thanks to the transient effects of analog scopes, the phosphors on the CRT monitor of analog oscilloscopes allow high-speed signals to build up. And as a result, the CRT gets a more intense glow.

These scopes rarely lead to false readings which mostly take place as a result of aliasing problems. As such, they offer a better dynamic range than a digital oscilloscope. Besides, if you will ever have to work with audio and analog video work, this oscilloscope will help you do the task seamlessly— it can handle low-speed digital signals well.

Digital Oscilloscopes

These are the modern oscilloscopes. They contain a set of buttons, knobs, probes along with multiple attachment points. As such, they look complicated than the analog oscilloscopes. However, they are easy to use. And what’s more, the high-end digital phosphor oscilloscopes have the same capabilities as the analog oscilloscopes.

See How You Can Choose the Best Oscilloscope

Sampling rate and bandwidth are the key factors that determine the performance of an oscilloscope. But how does this information help you choose the best oscilloscope? The sampling rate determines the scope’s ability to capture transient. And the bandwidth of an oscilloscope will limit the frequency of repetitive signals of your scope. You see now?

so, before purchasing an oscilloscope, check the value of the sample rate of the scope; It must be twice the highest frequency. Also, check the maximum input voltage of the scope. Hint: Look in the probe; the value is specified there.

You can’t understate the value of a scope with a good number of channels; That’s crucial. You see, the more the channels, the more circuits you can measure at a time. Moreover, aim to get a scope with a high memory depth. As such, you will be able to store, display, and analyze a wider portion of the signals you will be working with.

Have a Glimpse of the Cost of an Oscilloscope

Like any other device or item, oscilloscopes come at different prices. But generally, digital scopes are less expensive than the analog scopes. Some of the factors driving the price difference of oscilloscopes include the speed of the chips used in the scope and the measurement bandwidth.

You can get a scope with a bandwidth of 200 MHz with just a few hundred dollars. But a scope with a bandwidth of 1 GHz may cost you up to $30,000. Moreover, if you’re s beginner in working with scopes, you should aim for a scope that offers you just enough performance. However, if you’re on the other side of the spectrum (intermediate to expert scope user level), you will need to pay more for greater performance.

Final Thoughts

Oscilloscopes are crucial to the success of any electrical engineer or technician. Or even to any other person who deals with circuits. More so, knowing what are oscilloscopes use for is of equal importance. Ultimately, remember to be extra cautious while shopping for an oscilloscope. For greater results, use the hands-on advice from this article and you’ll get the best scope for your job.

FAQ’s

  • What is the best cheap oscilloscope?

Some of the best cheap oscilloscopes include the Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope 2 Channels, Tektronix 1052B 50 MHz, 2 Channel, Digital Oscilloscope and Tektronix MDO3104 1 GHz Mixed Domain Oscilloscope, 4 Analog Channels, and 1 GHz Spectrum Analyzer. However, do your research and determine if the oscilloscopes best suit your needs.

  •  What is a good beginner oscilloscope?

It’s one that can give just enough performance. Remember, the sampling rate and bandwidth are the key factors that determine the performance of the oscilloscope you opt for. So, an oscilloscope with a bandwidth of at least 200MHz is a great choice. Also, aim to get an oscilloscope with a probe rated for higher voltage than the signal strength you will be working with.

  • How much does an oscilloscope cost?

You can get a scope with a bandwidth of 200 MHz with just a few hundred dollars. But a scope with a bandwidth of 1 GHz may cost you up to $30,000.

  • Why is an oscilloscope so expensive?

Some of the factors driving the price difference of oscilloscopes include the speed of the chips used in the scope and the measurement bandwidth. Also, most of the hardware parts needed to make a scope are relatively expensive. Consequently, the cost of manufacturing oscilloscopes is high.

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