Adventures in Science: How to Use an Oscilloscope

Staring at the multitude of buttons, switches and knobs on the face of an oscilloscope can be daunting. For this "Adventures in Science," we show you how to take basic measurements with an oscilloscope.

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Last week, we went over bench power supplies, which brings us to another defining tool you might find on an electronics bench: the ever useful oscilloscope!

Oscilloscopes allow you to visualize how electrical signals change over time. This means you can measure periodic and transient signals, which might be too fast for your digital multimeter to catch. Oscilloscopes can be indispensable for debugging circuits.

In the video, I talk about why 10x probes are useful, how to tune the compensation capacitor in a 10x probe, how to measure periodic signals, and how to set up a single capture trigger for a transient signal. I hope that this works as a starting place for someone who might be just beginning with oscilloscopes.

Once again, if you prefer the written word, we have a tutorial to guide you:

How to Use an Oscilloscope

February 25, 2014

How to work the dials and buttons on an oscilloscope, and a glossary of the o-scope lexicon.

I know that I covered just the basics in the video, and there are many, many more features packed into most oscilloscopes. What other tips and tricks might you mention to a beginner?

Interested in learning more foundational topics?

See our Engineering Essentials page for a full list of cornerstone topics surrounding electrical engineering.

Take me there!


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