Introduction to Oscilloscope and its usage

Introduction to Oscilloscope and its usage


Oscilloscope is an electronic device that is used to visualize the electric signals. Different types of signals can be viewed on it e.g., sinusoidal signals, triangular signals, and rectangular signals etc. There can be many sources of electronic signals. Some oscillators produce sinusoidal signals. Comparator circuits produce rectangular signals whose magnitude may vary from one saturation value to another. In some circuits it’s between +Vp to –Vp. Other source of electric signal is a well renowned device called Function generator. We can produce all types of signals (sinusoidal, triangular, rectangular, and saw tooth) of different frequencies and magnitude.  How oscilloscope works is explained in the following paragraphs.


How to visualize the signals on Oscilloscope?

In order to visualize signals on oscilloscope, first we need to know its main parts. We can easily locate a square window or a screen on it. It is actually a rectangular box on which we have two axes. The x-axis usually represents the time scale of your signal and y-axis represent the magnitude of the signals. The maximum magnitude that is representable on the oscilloscope varies from one oscilloscope to another. Now, we have more advanced oscilloscopes so we can view larger signals by adjusting their scales. Recently, we can view signals of almost 1000v. Similarly, we can also view the high frequency signals. That’s really a big achievement.

Some of the oscilloscopes have markers that make it easy to measure parameters. These parameters are frequency, average value, peak value. Bu default oscilloscope measures the peak value of the signal. But in advanced oscilloscopes, we can also measure many properties of a signal. In digital oscilloscopes we have also an option “auto”. By pressing this the scales are automatically adjusted and oscilloscope is triggered correctly.

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Calibrating Oscilloscope

Before you connect any signal that you want to visualize, you need to calibrate it. By calibration we mean to automatically set the horizontal and vertical scales. Designers have designed a built in circuit in the oscilloscope that generates a square waveform of 3Vp-p with the frequency of 1 kHz. Now, what we need to do is to connect the probes of oscilloscopes with that socket or pins. This will let you know either the scales are appropriately set or not. By appropriate we mean either the time scale and voltage scale is properly set or not.  Once an exact waveform appears on the screen, it means you don’t need to set the scales (horizontal and vertical).

Bode Plot

Another advantage of oscilloscope is that it can also produce the bode plot. The bode plot shows the frequency response of the signal. That is usually used during the analysis of filters.

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