An oscilloscope is ideal for measuring and analyzing electronic signals. If you are going to put your faith in one, you need to know that it is well placed. For this reason, we have put together a buying guide that will help you choose a great one for your needs, whatever you are testing or keeping track of. We hope that it helps you make the best choice for yourself.
Choose Your Bandwidth
There are some who say that you should choose an oscilloscope that has approximately 5x more bandwidth than the maximum frequency of your signal. However, the price can influence this decision for some people.
Choose a device that does not skimp on the probes. You should get probes that match, if not exceed, your scope’s bandwidth.
The Sampling Rate. Overall, you will find that oscilloscopes read RTS (Real-Time Sampling) or ETS (Equivalent-Time Sampling). You should decide what you need before you consider bringing any of them home.
If you need to see clearly what you are looking at, you may want to choose an oscilloscope that has at least a 12-bit resolution but may even want to go a little higher than that. Some can go up to 16-bit and are much more accurate than standard 8-bit.
If you need to keep track of your readings, you need to make sure that it has a good memory and that you can access those readings with ease. To keep track over a longer time period, you want to make sure it doesn’t dump the memory quickly.
In the past, we had 2-4 channel oscilloscopes. With all the technology around today, this may not be enough. There are mixed-signal options that can provide up to 16-digital channels and 2-4 analog channels.
Tips and Tricks: Do You Need an Oscilloscope?
Tips and tricks can be very helpful if you are new to using oscilloscopes. The best option is to discover what an oscilloscope is and whether you need one or not. The truth is you will often need one for:
- 1. You can use these things when determining the frequency or amps of a signal. This can be helpful if you are debugging a circuit input, output, or internal system.
- 2. If you have noise in your circuit or feel that it is not performing well, you can easily find out what is going on with these devices.
- 3. Do you need to know the shape of the wave?
- 4. Are you trying to discover what the quantifying phase difference is between two different signals?
- 5. How accurate should it be? Accuracy matters when it comes to these devices for some people and some applications. You have to make sure that it will meet your needs with an accurate, digital display.
Digital Oscilloscope FAQs
We have some very common questions and their answers to make your life easier. They are things that every buyer must consider, especially if they are novices when it comes to using an oscilloscope.
Q. What Is a Good Probe?
A. For oscilloscopes, the most commonly used probe is going to be a passive probe. This makes them ideal for hobbyists and more.
Q. Are They Safe to Use?
A. Overall, using these devices is safe. However, you should always use a probe that is rated for the volts and frequencies that you are working with. You should also never connect to anything without proper protection.
Q. Can They Download Waveforms to a PC or send them to a TV?
A. Some of these devices do have that ability. You will have to check the oscilloscope that you want to make sure that it will do what you want them to do, especially if you are looking for these features.