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Cathode Ray Oscilloscope
revised July 8, 2012 (You will do two experiments; this one and the Charge-to-Mass Ratio of the Electron experiment. Sections will switch rooms and experiments half-way through the lab.)
During this lab, you will 1. learn how to measure time-varying electronic signals with a cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO). 2. estimate the uncertainty in measurements made with a CRO and estimate the uncertainty in a quantities that are calculated from quantities that are uncertain.
The cathode ray oscilloscope, CRO or simply scope, is used in many fields of basic and applied research and in electronics development and repair. It is generally the
tool of choice for examining signals that change with time on a scale of 1 second to 1 nanosecond. The sketch of the scope in Figure 1 includes a triangular wave signal, a voltage that, as a function of time, continually (and linearly) ramps up and down between two limiting voltages. The operation of the CRO is described in detail in Appendix IX. You should read that appendix before attempting this lab. In this lab, you will learn how to use the CRO to investigate various types of timedependant phenomena that you will encounter in your studies of electricity and magnetism. You should also become more comfortable with certain aspects of sine waves, such as phase differences and the relation of frequency to period, that are critical to understanding interference effects and electromagnetic radiation. This experiment requires that you complete the worksheet worth 30 points that can be found in Appendix XI. Attach the worksheet and graphs from Lab #3A to the paper from Lab #3B and use one cover sheet for both.
You will be using a dual-trace oscilloscope, a special scope probe designed to
Figure 1: Cathode ray oscilloscope controls. 1 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope
mate with the scope. The scope probe resembles a pen with an alligator clip attached to it by a short wire. keep them turned fully clockwise onto their clickstops. a ‘doorbell’ transformer. Be sure that the sweep (18/19) and vertical gain (10/12&11/13) controls (the inner knobs) are kept locked in their calibrated positions at all times. This control is labeled as TIME/DIV where TIME may be measured in seconds (s). (The numbers in parentheses refer to the control locations shown in Figure 1 and are described in Appendix IX. These control the amplification of the signal or how large a given signal appears relative to the vertical or y-axis. microphone and tuning forks. function generator. You should only use the outer companion controls which have discrete. The scope is usually used to plot a changing voltage as a function of time. with the instantaneous voltage read along the vertical or y-axis while time is measured along the horizontal or x-axis.) Set the SOURCE (21) selection switch to INT (for internal triggering). sensitive instruments are generally left on so that they give more stable readings. The alligator clip is for the ground connection and is not needed when the scope probe is connected to “ground-referenced” electronics but is used to establish the ground of other objects you may be measuring. with labels for the important controls. Cathode Ray Oscilloscope 2 . The outer knob has calibrated click stops. the MODE (16) switch to CH1 and the INT TRIG (22) selection switch to CH1. be certain to use the 1X setting.2 DIV. The grid lines are referred to as divisions or DIV. The units may be volts/DIV or millivolts/DIV (mV) depending on where these knobs are set. The horizontal sweep control (18/19) sets the time it takes the scope beam to scan across the screen horizontally. Don’t use the continuously variable inner knob to make any of the adjustments described in this manual. Electronic devices can produce a lot of waste heat and their properties can change with temperature. Some but not all probes let you switch between 1X and 10X where the 10X divides the signal by a factor of 10. These are dual trace oscilloscopes (they have two quasi-independent inputs). milliseconds (ms) or microseconds (μs) depending on the position of this control. Figure 1 is a diagram of the front panel of the scope. Familiarization and Use Turn the POWER switch on and leave it on for the entire lab period. The inner knob lets you vary the setting continuously but means that you no longer have a quantitative reading. so you must select channel 1 [CH 1 (16)] for the following measurements. This hook is exposed by retracting its cover (do not unscrew or remove the cover). Some of the DIV lines have short markings every 2 mm or 0. the MODE(25) to AUTO. your measurements will be meaningless. If your probe has this option. an inner knob that is painted red or grey on most of the scopes and an outer knob. A photograph of the scope is posted on the lab web site. Each of these controls has two concentric knobs. it will cause a short circuit!) The signal connection of the scope probe is a spring loaded hook located inside the tip of the probe. C. The vertical gain controls (10/12 and 11/13) are labeled as VOLTS/DIV. Otherwise. calibrated settings. (DO NOT connect this alligator clip to a signal output. The scope face has a measurement grid that is 8 cm tall by 10 cm long.
If this doesn’t work. ask a TA for help. DON’T USE THE ALLIGATOR CLIP on the probe to connect to this tab! This shorts it out. CCW). With nothing connected to the scope inputs.1. To plug the BNC cable into the oscilloscope. Use the hook inside the retractable tip. the input voltage is effectively set to zero and the scope will plot zero as a function of time. Set the AC-GND-DC (8) switch to DC. but we will actually be using it to check whether you know how to make proper measurements with the scope. 1 kHz square wave signal.1. of one or more periods times the setting of the TIME/DIV knob. C. Push the plug into place and rotate it 90Ε to lock it in position. in cm or DIV. These settings will let you view the signal but you should expect to change them to optimize your measurements. i. C. You should see a spot moving across the screen. a flat line. Use the scope probe to connect the CAL tab to the CH1(6) input of the oscilloscope. are of a higher frequency. The TIME/DIV (18) should be at about 0. ask for help. just multiply by the setting of the TIME/DIV knob or VOLTS/DIV knob respectively. cm. Once you have a stable image. letting you follow signals that themselves are changing faster. If the measurements you are instructed to make below do not agree with the expected values. Set the trigger LEVEL (24) control to the full CW (+) position and then decrease and adjust this knob until you get a stable image. in terms of either mm. Time Measurement The period of the square wave. how well do you think you can determine its position. This CAL signal can be used to check the calibration of the scope settings. Note what happens as you now increase the sweep frequency by turning the TIME/DIV knob clockwise. is the time it takes to repeat itself. Measure the period of the calibration square wave by multiplying the length. adjust the Time/Div switch until you see a sequence of a few cycles of a square wave on the screen.Time and Voltage Measurement The scope has a CAL(26) output tab which supplies a 0.Turn the TIME/DIV(18) knob to the slowest sweep possible (fully counterclockwise. For some arbitrary signal. (Measure as large an image as 3 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope . or DIV (your choice of units)? Later. The term peak-to-peak means that the signal is measured from its absolute maximum to its absolute minimum. If you don’t see this spot.5 ms while the channel 1 VOLTS/DIV (10) should be at about 0.e. Square Wave . This increases the speed as which the scope’s electron beam scans across the face of the scope.5 V peak-to-peak (V pp ). This input is a BNC jack. align the slots of the BNC plug of the scope probe to the pins of the BNC jack on the scope. a common form of coaxial connector. Connect the BNC plug on the other end of the scope probe to the scope’s Channel 1 input.2 V/div. as for any repetitive wave. or top to bottom.1. try adjusting the vertical position (14) which should be somewhere near its midpoint. when you need to convert your estimate of this error into an error in time or voltage. Setting this triggering is often the trickiest part of using an oscilloscope. You may assume that any errors in the scope electronics are negligible and that the only errors are due to your ability to judge the position of a signal on the screen. You will have to estimate the accuracy of many of your measurements. Adjust the vertical gain (VOLTS/DIV) and vertical position so that the signal almost fills the screen vertically.
2. Voltage Measurement Determine the peak-to-peak voltage of the square wave by multiplying the measured height of the square wave by the setting of the VOLTS/DIV. Remember that frequency is just one over the period. Are your CRO measurements of the transformer voltage consistent with the DMM measurements? This probably won’t appear to be the case at first.) You can shift the signal horizontally using the x-position control (20) to start or end the sweep at some convenient mark on the CRT. Use the period you measured to calculate the frequency (and estimated error) of the calibration signal. Connect the HIGH output of your function generator to channel 2 of your scope. but that’s what you often have at an outlet.) Sketch the waveform (don’t forget to label the scales on your sketch). Another reason is that the DMM measures the RMS (root mean square) voltage. C. Another common signal is a sine wave [V = V 0 sin(ωt + φ)] such as the 110-volt AC power line. the vertical sensitivity and other controls until you get a stable picture. Turn on the function generator and set it to produce sine waves at about 60 Hz with a magnitude similar to that of the 2 2 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope 4 .possible to obtain the highest possible precision in your time measurements. Note that you can offset the signal (14) to make this measurement easier. C. (It probably won’t be a very good sine wave. V rms is proportional to the square root of this factor or the square root of ½. Knowing this. One reason for this is that your oscilloscope measurement was a peak-to-peak voltage. Connect the center and either one of the two outer terminals of the transformer to the CH 1 input of the oscilloscope. You will use a doorbell transformer to reduce the signal to a safer level. Alternately. V pp = 2 2 V rms . Compare this result with the expected value of 0.2 Measurements of a Sine Wave You have been looking at a square wave. they vary significantly for various types of AC signals. If there are 4 full periods on the screen. measure the time for all 4 and divide by 4 to get the period. This is twice the amplitude of the sine wave. given by ∫ V 0 cos (ωt ) dt (1) V RMS = < V > = ∫ dt where the integrals are over one period. δ(1/T) = (δT)/T2 . To find the error in the frequency. you should use the ‘derivative’ method. in this case you will also have to divide your error estimate by 4. although the two are the same for a DC signal. V RMS is more closely related to the strength of a signal than is V 0 . change the TIME/DIV so that 12 periods fill your screen. the V 0 term the equation V 0 sin(ωt + φ).1. over any number of whole periods. leaving the transformer connected to channel 1. are your scope and DMM measurements consistent? You can view a cleaner sine wave using a function generator. Adjust the sweep time. the meter should read less than half of your scope measurement. Remember too that more careful measurements can be made if you adjust the calibrated VOLTS/DIV knob so that the signal almost fills the screen vertically. Use a DMM set to measure AC voltages to check the voltage output of the transformer. Measure and record the period and calculate the frequency. The integral of cos2(ωt)dt divided by the integral of time. is just ½. Taken all together.5 V pp . Measure and record the peak-to-peak voltage of the signal. Switch the scope to CHOP MODE (16) to view both channels 1 and 2 but set the trigger (22) to channel 2.
The speed of this drift corresponds to the rate at which your Lissajous pattern changes shape. adjust the scope and function generator settings. This will produce Lissajous figures which allow for very quick visual comparison of the relative frequency and phase of two signals (but which are rarely used except as special effects in science fiction movies). What’s the difference? It’s just the phase difference between the x and y signals. slowly increase the frequency of the signal from the function generator until it is approximately doubled. ω is an angular frequency and t is time. Measure this frequency and sketch the Lissajous pattern. Sketch the pattern you observe on the scope at a few representative times as it changes. The signal on which the scope is triggered should remain steady while the other sine wave gradually drifts to the left or right. The controls of your function generator are poorly marked and calibrated and should not be trusted to be accurate. Next. switching quickly back and forth between XY mode and a 2 ms sweep setting to observe the corresponding effect on the Lissajous pattern. C.120 Hz and locate the simplest.) Vary the frequency between 60 . chop mode and note the gradual phase change of the oscillator signal relative to the transformer signal. To understand what is happening. Switch the oscilloscope back to 2 ms TIME/DIV. hopefully you can see that you would just trace out a 45º line. What happens if the phase difference between x and y slowly changes with time? The pattern slowly drifts from a line to a circle and back. adjust the scope so that the channel 1 signal appears on the top half of the screen while channel 2 occupies the bottom half. (It’s a lot harder to explain the shape of a Lissajous pattern when the frequencies of the two signals are different but the drift in the pattern is still related to a drift in their relative phases. connected to the yaxis (CH2). Try adjusting the trigger level (24) to see how it shifts the point at which the trace starts. Adjust the frequency (slightly) and output amplitude of the function generator until you see a circle and a diagonal straight line at an angle of roughly 45º with the horizontal alternately appear on the screen . Lissajous Figures An alternate method for comparing two signals is to plot one on the horizontal (X) axis and the other on the on the vertical (Y) axis. Try adjusting the frequency to make the drift larger or smaller. confirm that it is roughly 120 Hz and sketch this Lissajous pattern. Measure the frequency with the scope. What changes if x = Acosωt and y = Asinωt? Now you would sketch out a circle. (In principle. set to 60 Hz. then fine-tune it to produce a fairly stable Lissajous pattern.3. Change the trigger source to channel 1 to see the effect. If someone told you to make an xy plot as a function of time of a signal given by x = Acosωt and y = Acosωt. Use your scope to determine that you have the settings right.transformer. Set the oscilloscope to operate in X-Y mode (TIME/DIV knob (18) fully CW) with the output of the transformer still connected to the x-axis (CH1) and the sine-wave output of the function generator. To do this. since x = y at every instant of time. If necessary. think back to your high school trigonometry course. The amplitudes and periods of the two signals should be comparable. nearly stable pattern in this range. where A is some arbitrary amplitude. there are an infinite number of patterns in this range of 5 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope . since the sin function is just the cos function shifted by 90º.
(There are a few pairs of tuning forks that produce particularly clear beat patterns. Use AC coupling and a high sensitivity (the signal will be small) and set the trigger source to channel 1.) Beats are the phenomenon that two sine waves of similar frequencies add to produce a signal that looks like a sine wave Figure 2: Example of beats. ignoring the drifts caused by slowly varying phases. if you add a 1000 Hz tone to a 1060 Hz tone. 2).? Can you match the tone of your tuning fork? Can you and your lab partner(s) sing in harmony and produce beats? (Only the BEST lab partners can do this!) Cathode Ray Oscilloscope 6 . For example. etc. whose frequency is the average of the original sine waves with an overall modulation at a frequency given by half the difference in the original signals (Fig. C. humming.) Note that the loudest sound comes from the opening in the sounding box. Since the beats will be at a lower frequency than the signal from a single tuning fork. Attach a microphone to the channel 1 input. stable pattern to appear. strike both simultaneously and try to hear beats and see them on the scope (a definition of beats is given below). you will have to slow your scope’s sweep speed by one or two ‘clicks’ of the TIME/DIV knob to see them.) Try to analyze the experiment and/or the theory to determine what conditions on the frequencies are necessary for a relatively simple. These are marked with matching colored squares or circles. (Change the sweep speed and vertical gain as necessary to make a good measurement. you will produce a 1030 Hz tone that increases and decreases in magnitude at 30 Hz. Find the frequency of a tuning fork struck with the rubber end of the mallet supplied to you. although this is not required for the worksheet.) If you have time. What is the frequency of your speaking voice? What are the highest and lowest frequency tones you can vocalize by singing. Borrow another fork from a neighbor. you may wish to investigate the sound of your own voice using the microphone and scope. not directly from the vibrating metal tines. The 30 Hz is sometimes called an envelope that modulates the amplitude of the 1030 Hz signal. Sound Waves Disconnect all of the input leads from the scope and set the sweep to 1 msec/div. (The AM in AM radio refers to a similar modulation.4.frequencies but one should stand out as simpler than any others.
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