Digital Oscilloscope


An oscilloscope or scope is an electronic measuring instrument that creates a visible two-dimensional graph of one or more electrical potential differences. The horizontal axis of the display normally represents time, making the instrument useful for displaying periodic signals. The vertical axis usually shows voltage. The display is caused by a "spot" that periodically "sweeps" the screen from left to right.

Digital storage oscilloscope Oscilloscope software running in WindowsThe digital storage oscilloscope, or DSO for short, is now the preferred type for most industrial applications, although simple analogue CROs are still used by hobbyists. It replaces the unreliable storage method used in analogue storage scopes with digital memory, which can store data as long as required without degradation. It also allows complex processing of the signal by high-speed digital signal processing circuits. The vertical input, instead of driving the vertical amplifier, is digitised by an analog to digital converter to create a data set that is stored in the memory of a microprocessor. The data set is processed and then sent to the display, which in early DSOs was a cathode ray tube, but is now more likely to be an LCD flat panel. DSOs with colour LCD displays are common. The data set can be sent over a LAN or a WAN for processing or archiving. The scope's own signal analysis software can extract many useful time-domain features (e.g. rise time, pulse width, amplitude), frequency spectra, histograms and statistics, persistence maps, and a large number of parameters meaningful to engineers in specialized fields such as telecommunications, disk drive analysis and power electronics.

Important digital oscilloscope products:

Manufacturer Model Condition Description Specs
B&K Precision 2530B New (GSA discount) 25 MHz, 500 MSa/s Digital Storage Oscilloscope 2530B
Instek America Corp. GRS-6032A New (GSA discount) 30MHz, 100MS/s. (Analog/Digital) GRS-6032A
Instek America Corp. GRS-6052A New (GSA discount) 50MHz, 100MS/s (Analog/Digital) GRS-6052A
Keysight Technologies Inc. 54754A New (GSA discount) Differential TDR module 54754A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1004A New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 4-channel, 60 MHz DSO1004A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1014A New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 4-channel, 100 MHz DSO1014A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1024A New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 4-channel, 200 MHz DSO1024A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1052B New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 2-channel, 50 MHz, 16k memory DSO1052B
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1072B New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 2-channel, 70 MHz, 16k memory DSO1072B
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1102B New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 2-channel, 100 MHz, 16k memory DSO1102B
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO1152B New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, 2-channel, 150 MHz, 16k memory DSO1152B
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO6014L New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, LXI, 4-channel, 100 MHz DSO6014L
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO6054L New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, LXI, 4-channel, 500 MHz DSO6054L
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO6104L New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope, LXI, 4-channel, 1GHz DSO6104L
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO90254A New (GSA discount) Infiniium Oscilloscope - 2.5 GHz, 20 GSa/s, 4 Ch DSO90254A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO90404A New (GSA discount) Infiniium Oscilloscope - 4 GHz, 20 GSa/s, 4 Ch DSO90404A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO90604A New (GSA discount) Infiniium Oscilloscope - 6 GHz, 20 GSa/s, 4 Ch DSO90604A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO9064A New (GSA discount) Infiniium DSO - 600 MHz, 5/10 GSa/s, 4 Ch DSO9064A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO90804A New (GSA discount) Infiniium Oscilloscope - 8 GHz, 40 GSa/s, 4 Ch DSO90804A
Keysight Technologies Inc. DSO9104A New (GSA discount) Oscilloscope - 1 GHz,4 channel DSO9104A
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Digital Oscilloscopes by different manufacturers:

Example usage

The classic use of a scope is to diagnose a failing piece of electronic equipment. In a radio, for example, one looks at the schematic and tries to locate the connections between stages (e.g. electronic mixers, electronic oscillators, amplifiers).

Then one puts the scope's ground on the circuit's ground, and the probe of the scope on a connection between two of the stages in the middle of the train of stages.

When the expected signal is absent, one knows that some preceding stage of the electronics has failed. Since most failures occur because of a single faulty component, each measurement can prove that half of the stages of a complex piece of equipment either work, or probably did not cause the fault.

Once the failing stage is found, further probing of the defective stage can usually tell a skilled technician exactly which component is broken. Once the technician replaces the component, the unit can be restored to service, or at least the next fault can be isolated.

Another use is to check newly designed circuitry. Very often a newly-designed circuit will misbehave because of bad voltage levels, electrical noise or design errors. Digital electronics usually operates from a clock, so a dual-trace scope is needed to check digital circuits. "Storage scopes" are helpful for "capturing" rare electronic events that cause defective operation.

Another use is for software engineers who must program electronics. Often a scope is the only way to see if the software is running the electronics properly.