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Let it be medical researchers, physicists or even automotive mechanics…..these all professionals use oscilloscope.But what oscilloscope actually is ?
Oscilloscope is a device that shows the wave forms of electronic signals as the output and these waveforms can then be analyzed.
Normally their are four sections in a typical oscilloscope. One of these sections is a display unit, the other three are namely horizontal controls, vertical controls and trigger controls.The CRT was seen as a part of display unit in earlier days but now LCD panels are being used.The vertical section comprises of a selector knob which is volts per division, selector switch and the vertical input. It is the vertical section with the help of which the amplitude of the signal can be controlled.The horizontal section comprises of the selector switch which is seconds per division, also it has the horizontal input. It is the horizontal section with the help of which the time base of a signal can be controlled.
The trigger section can serve multiple purposes such as it can begin the time base event,it can even be programmed to respond to the events whether internal or external.The trigger section comprises of the external trigger input,the selector switch ,the source switch .The trigger can be of various types such as the external trigger,the edge trigger,the video trigger and the delayed trigger.
The front panel consists of focus control, intensity control,astigmatism,beam finder, graticule,time base control,holdoff control, vertical sensitivity control, coupling control polarity control, vertical position control, horizontal sensitivity control, horizontal position control,dual trace control,delayed sweep control and sweep trigger control .
Modern day oscilloscopes have multiple interfaces thereby allowing us to control it even from remote locations with the help of an external software.The USB , the ethernet,the serial port and the GPIB are the most commonly employed interfaces in order to connect to the oscilloscope .
Their exists a variety of oscilloscopes serving variety of purposes .Some of them are as follows.
Cathode ray oscilloscope – These oscilloscopes were often uses in the earlier days.They just had the basic sections such as vertical and horizontal amplifiers, power supply and a timebase.They are termed as analog scopes.
Dual beem oscilloscope – As the name suggests , these oscilloscopes are capable of displaying two signals at the same time.The drawbacks of the multitrace oscilloscope have been resolved in the dual beem oscilloscope.
Analog storage oscilloscope – In order to display the trace pattern for quite longer period of time an extra trace storage is utilised.Due to this extra storage it is possible to view the output for some more time than usually it used to be .
Digital oscilloscope – The digital oscilloscopes require the analog to digital converter to convert the voltage samples into the digital form.It uses digital memory instead of electrostatic storage to store data ,hence the data can be certainly stored for quite long without causing any alterations.The signals here can be processed at higher speeds.
Mixed signal oscilloscope – As the name suggests the mixed signal oscilloscope allows mixing of signals that is the input can consist of a very few analog channels and many digital channels.
Mixed domain oscilloscope – The mixed domain oscilloscope is different from others as it provides spectrum analysis with the help of an extra feature called RF input. Here it is possible to bring about the time correlation of events belonging to time domain with those belonging to frequency domain.
PC based oscilloscopes – These are the oscilloscopes that perform the tasks such as displaying and controlling with the help of personal computers. LAN or USB can be used to connect an external oscilloscope to the personal computer.
Some of the devices where oscilloscopes are used are spectrum analyser, transistor analyser,time domain reflectometers, ignition analyser, electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram waveform monitors etc.