Basic Concepts

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 070–8690–01

First Printing: February 1993

Copyright E Tektronix, Inc., 1992, 1993. All rights reserved. Tektronix products are covered by U.S. and for eign patents, issued and pending. The following are registered trademarks: TEKTRONIX, TEK, TEKPROBE, and SCOPE MOBILE.

Basic Concepts

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Why Read This Book? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Need More Copies? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Oscilloscope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What Can You Do With It? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Analog and Digital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How Does an Oscilloscope Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Analog Oscilloscopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Digital Oscilloscopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sampling Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Real Time Sampling with Interpolation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Equivalent Time Sampling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oscilloscope Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Measurement Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Types of Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sine Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Square and Rectangular Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sawtooth and Triangle Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step and Pulse Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Waveform Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frequency and Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Performance Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bandwidth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rise Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vertical Sensitivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sweep Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gain Accuracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Time Base or Horizontal Accuracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sample Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ADC Resolution (Or Vertical Resolution) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Record Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Setting Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grounding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ground the Oscilloscope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ground Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Setting the Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 1 2 3 5 6 7 7 8 10 10 11 13 13 15 15 15 16 16 17 17 17 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 22

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes

i

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Channel Invert . . . . . . . Horizontal Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alternate and Chop Display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Compensating the Probe . . Trigger Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acquisition Controls for Digital Oscilloscopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stopping and Starting the Acquisition System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Controls . . . . . . . . . . Trigger Holdoff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Using Active Probes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trigger Controls . Time Base Selections . . . . . . . . . . . Bandwidth Limit . . .Table of Contents Probes . . . . . . . . . . . . . Math Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Using Current Probes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Voltage Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Written Exercise Answers . . Trigger Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Input Coupling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sampling Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Magnification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Using Passive Probes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XY Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Position and Seconds per Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acquisition Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trigger Level and Slope . . . . . . . . . . . . . Display Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vertical Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Where to Clip the Ground Clip . . . . . . . . . . Phase Shift Measurements . . . . Time and Frequency Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trigger Coupling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What's Next? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trigger Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pulse and Rise Time Measurements . . . . . . . Measurement Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Display . . . . . . . . Position and Volts per Division . . . . . . . . . . . . Written Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 24 25 25 25 26 29 29 29 30 30 31 31 31 32 33 33 33 34 34 34 35 36 36 37 37 38 39 39 40 40 41 43 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 58 G1 I1 ii Basic Concepts . . . . .

read the manual provided with your oscilloscope to learn specific information about how to use it in your work. Oscilloscopes let you see" events that occur in a split second. and other invisible forces are everywhere in our physical universe. for classroom instruction). use part number 062-9323-01. vibrating particles. Why Read This Book? If you are a scientist. You do not need any mathematical or electronics knowledge. you will be able to: H H H H H Describe how oscilloscopes work Describe the difference between an analog and digital oscilloscope Describe electrical waveform types Understand basic oscilloscope controls Take simple measurements If you come across an unfamiliar term in this book.Introduction The oscilloscope is an essential tool if you plan to design or repair electronic equipment. Energy. After reading this book.. Sensors can convert these forces into electrical signals that you can observe and study with an oscilloscope. technician. This book serves as a useful classroom aid. check the glossary in the back for a definition. Individual copies are available by ordering part number 070-8690-01. engineer. To order a packet of 50 copies (e. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 1 . or electronics hobbyist.g. read this book to get a solid understanding of oscilloscope basics. This book empha sizes teaching you about oscilloscopes how they work and how to make them work for you. Need More Copies? Additional copies of this book are available on request through your local Tektronix representative. The concepts presented here provide you with a good starting point. If you are using an oscilloscope for the first time. It lets you see" electrical signals. Then. you should know how to use an oscilloscope. It includes vocabulary and multiple choice written exercises on oscilloscope theory and controls.

Inc. MA 01201 In the U.S. you may also call the Tektronix National Marketing Center toll free: 1-800-426-2200 2 Basic Concepts .O. P Box 1520 .. Pittsfield.Introduction For More Information If you have comments or questions about the material in this book. write to: Tektronix.

You can tell how much of the signal is noise and whether the noise is changing with time. Horizon XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 3 . except that it has a grid drawn on its screen and more controls than a television. Here are a few: H H H H H H You can determine the time and voltage values of a signal. You can see the moving parts" of a circuit represented by the signal. Y (voltage) Y (voltage) X (time) Z (intensity) Z (intensity) X (time) Figure 1: X. You can tell if a malfunctioning component is distorting the signal. and Z Components of a Displayed Waveform An oscilloscope looks a lot like a small television set. The front panel of an oscilloscope normally has control sections divided into Vertical. what can you do with it. You can find out how much of a signal is direct current (DC) or alternat ing current (AC). Y. You can calculate the frequency of an oscillating signal.) This simple graph can tell you many things about a signal. In most applications the graph shows how signals change over time: the vertical (Y) axis represents voltage and the horizontal (X) axis represents time. The intensity or brightness of the display is some times called the Z axis. (See Figure 1.The Oscilloscope What is an oscilloscope. The oscilloscope is basically a graph displaying device it draws a graph of an electrical signal. and how does it work? This section answers these fundamental questions.

The Oscilloscope tal. and Trigger sections. Figure 2: The TAS 465 Analog Oscilloscope Front Panel Figure 3: The TDS 320 Digital Oscilloscope Front Panel 4 Basic Concepts . See if you can locate these front panel sections in Figures 2 and 3 and on your oscilloscope. There are also display controls and input connec tors.

mechanical stress. They are indispensable for anyone designing or repairing elec tronic equipment. An automotive engineer uses an oscilloscope to measure engine vibrations. pressure. The possibilities are endless. Light Source Photo Cell Figure 4: Scientific Data Gathered by an Oscilloscope XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 5 . a microphone is a transducer. an oscilloscope can measure all kinds of phe nomena.The Oscilloscope What Can You Do With It? Oscilloscopes are used by everyone from television repair technicians to physicists. A medical researcher uses an oscilloscope to measure brain waves. The usefulness of an oscilloscope is not limited to the world of electronics. such as sound. With the proper transducer. For example. A transducer is a device that creates an electrical signal in re sponse to physical stimuli. or heat. light.

How ever. Analog equipment works with continuously variable voltages. Oscilloscopes also come in analog and digital types. while digital equipment works with discrete binary numbers that may represent voltage samples. a conventional phonograph turntable is an analog device. This gives an immediate picture of the waveform. a compact disc player is a digital device. ADC 1010 0001 0010 0101 Analog Oscilloscopes Trace Signals Digital Oscilloscopes Sample Signals and Construct Displays Figure 5: Digital and Analog Oscilloscopes Display Waveforms For many applications either an analog or digital oscilloscope will do. An analog oscilloscope works by directly applying a voltage being measured to an electron beam moving across the oscilloscope screen. The voltage deflects the beam up and down proportionally. each type does possess some unique characteristics making it more or less suitable for specific tasks. People often prefer analog oscilloscopes when it is important to display rapidly varying signals in real time" (or as they occur). They can process the digital waveform data or send the data to a computer for processing. Also. Digital oscilloscopes allow you to capture and view events that may happen only once. a digital oscilloscope samples the waveform and uses an ana log to digital converter (or ADC) to convert the voltage being measured into digital information. It then uses this digital information to reconstruct the waveform on the screen.The Oscilloscope Analog and Digital Electronic equipment can be divided into two types: analog and digital. In contrast. For example. they can store the digital waveform data for later viewing and printing. tracing the waveform on the screen. 6 Basic Concepts .

Analog Oscilloscopes When you connect an oscilloscope probe to a circuit. (An electron beam hitting phosphor inside the CRT creates the glowing dot. several of the internal systems are similar. the voltage signal travels through the probe to the vertical system of the oscilloscope. an attenuator reduces the signal voltage or an amplifier increases the signal voltage. Vertical System Display System Attenuator Vertical Amplifier CRT Probe Horizontal System Trigger System Sweep Generator Horizontal Amplifier Ramp Time Base Figure 6: Analog Oscilloscope Block Diagram Depending on how you set the vertical scale (volts/div control). Triggering the XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 7 . Next. you need to know a little more about how oscilloscopes display a signal." Horizontal sweep is a term referring to the action of the horizontal system causing the glowing dot to move across the screen. The signal also travels to the trigger system to start or trigger a horizontal sweep.The Oscilloscope How Does an Oscilloscope Work? To better understand the oscilloscope controls. Voltage applied to these deflection plates causes a glowing dot to move. the signal travels directly to the vertical deflection plates of the cathode ray tube (CRT). Analog oscilloscopes work somewhat differently than digital oscilloscopes. Figure 6 is a simple block diagram that shows how an analog oscilloscope displays a measured signal.) A positive voltage causes the dot to move up while a negative voltage causes the dot to move down. However. Analog oscilloscopes are somewhat simpler in concept and are described first. followed by a description of digital oscillo scopes.

Use the trigger level to stabilize a repeating signal. The triggering of the oscilloscope. The trigger is necessary to stabi lize a repeating signal. Next. (See Figure 8. you need to adjust three basic settings to accommodate an incoming signal: H The attenuation or amplification of the signal. however. the digital oscilloscope collects data for the entire waveform and then displays it.000 times each second. Use the sec/div control to set the amount of time per division represented horizontally across the screen. H H Also. Untriggered Display Triggered Display Figure 7: Triggering Stabilizes a Repeating Waveform In conclusion. the dot may sweep across the screen up to 500.The Oscilloscope horizontal system causes the horizontal time base to move the glowing dot across the screen from left to right within a specific time interval. When you attach a digital oscilloscope probe to a circuit. The horizontal system's 8 Basic Concepts . adjusting the focus and intensity controls enables you to create a sharp. the vertical system adjusts the amplitude of the signal. to use an analog oscilloscope. the analog to digital converter (ADC) in the acquisition system sam ples the signal at discrete points in time and converts the signal's voltage at these points to digital values called sample points. It ensures that the sweep begins at the same point of a repeating signal. visible display. resulting in a clear picture as shown in Figure 7. At higher speeds.) With the added systems. just as in the analog oscilloscope. digital oscilloscopes contain addi tional data processing systems. Digital Oscilloscopes Some of the systems that make up digital oscilloscopes are the same as those in analog oscilloscopes. Together. as well as triggering on a single event. Many sweeps in rapid sequence cause the movement of the glowing dot to blend into a solid line. the horizontal sweeping action and the vertical deflection action traces a graph of the signal on the screen. The time base. Use the volts/div control to adjust the amplitude of the signal before it is applied to the vertical deflection plates.

More than one sample point may make up one waveform point. and trigger settings to take a measurement. you need to adjust the vertical. enhancing the display. the waveform points make up one waveform record. The sample points from the ADC are stored in memory as waveform points. Display Acquisition System Vertical System Processing Analog to Digital Convertor Digital Display System Attenuator Vertical Amplifier Memory Probe Horizontal System Sample Clock Trigger System Clock Time Base Figure 8: Digital Oscilloscope Block Diagram Fundamentally.The Oscilloscope sample clock determines how often the ADC takes a sample. The number of waveform points used to make a waveform record is called the record length. The rate at which the clock ticks" is called the sample rate and is measured in samples per second. Pretrigger may be available. horizontal. The trigger system determines the start and stop points of the re cord. Depending on the capabilities of your oscilloscope. allowing you to see events before the trigger point. The display receives these record points after being stored in memory. Together. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 9 . with a digital oscilloscope as with an analog oscilloscope. additional processing of the sample points may take place.

the oscilloscope collects as many samples as it can as the signal occurs." Linear interpolation simply connects sample points with straight lines. Sine interpolation (or sin x over x interpolation) connects sample points with curves. H Real Time Sampling with Interpolation Digital oscilloscopes use real time sampling as the standard sampling method.The Oscilloscope Sampling Methods The sampling method tells the digital oscilloscope how to collect sample points. In real time sampling. However. (how fast depends on the oscilloscope's maximum sample rate) the oscilloscope cannot collect enough samples. (See Figure 9. Interpolation con nects the dots. With sine inter polation. It can build a picture of the waveform over time. accurately played back. Interpolation is a processing technique to estimate what the waveform looks like based on a few points. for faster signals.) Sin x over x interpolation is a mathematical process similar to the oversampling" used in compact disc players. a digital oscilloscope easily collects more than enough sample points to construct an accurate picture. The digital oscillo scope can do two things: H It can collect a few sample points of the signal in a single pass (in real time sampling mode) and then use interpolation. a signal that is sampled only a few times in each cycle can be accurately displayed or. (See Figure 10.) For single shot or transient signals you must use real time sampling. Waveform Constructed with Sample Points Sampling Rate Figure 9: Real time Sampling Digital oscilloscopes use interpolation to display signals that are so fast that the oscilloscope can only collect a few sample points. 10 Basic Concepts . in the case of the compact disc player. Using this process. points are calculated to fill in the time between the real samples. as long as the signal repeats itself (equivalent time sampling mode). For slowly changing signals.

) You see the waveform slowly build up like a string of lights going on one by one.The Oscilloscope Sine Wave Reproduced using Sine Interpolation 100 90 Sine Wave Reproduced using Linear Interpolation 10 0% Figure 10: Linear and Sine Interpolation Equivalent Time Sampling Some digital oscilloscopes can use equivalent time sampling to capture very fast repeating signals. Waveform Constructed with Sample Points 1st Acquisition Cycle 2nd Acquisition Cycle 3rd Acquisition Cycle nth Acquisition Cycle Figure 11: Equivalent time Sampling XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 11 . with random sampling the points appear randomly along the waveform. With sequential sampling the points appear from left to right in sequence. Equivalent time sampling constructs a picture of a repetitive signal by capturing a little bit of information from each repetition. (See Figure 11.

The Oscilloscope 12 Basic Concepts .

you know the voltage has changed. Sine Wave Damped Sine Wave Square Wave Rectangular Wave Sawtooth Wave Triangle Wave Step Pulse Figure 12: Common Waveforms XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 13 . Any time there is a flat horizontal line. Any time you see a change in the height of the waveform.Oscilloscope Terminology Learning a new skill often involves learning a new vocabulary. This idea holds true for learning how to use an oscilloscope. An oscilloscope measures voltage waves. This section describes some useful measurement and oscilloscope performance terms. ocean waves. Straight diagonal lines mean a linear change rise or fall of voltage at a steady rate. Measurement Terms The generic term for a pattern that repeats over time is a wave sound waves. A voltage waveform shows time on the horizontal axis and voltage on the vertical axis. Sharp angles on a waveform mean sudden change. brain waves. One cycle of a wave is the portion of the wave that repeats. you know that there is no change for that length of time. and voltage waves are all repeating patterns. Figure 12 shows common waveforms and Figure 13 shows some common sources of waveforms. A waveform is a graphic representation of a wave. Waveform shapes tell you a great deal about a signal.

Oscilloscope Terminology Figure 13: Sources of Common Waveforms 14 Basic Concepts .

DC stands for direct current. Basically. although the voltage alter nates too. such as a battery produces. Figure 15 shows examples of square and rectangular waves. It is particularly important when analyz ing digital circuitry. Sine Wave Damped Sine Wave Figure 14: Sine and Damped Sine Waves Square and Rectangular Waves The square wave is another common wave shape. The rectangular wave is like the square wave except that the high and low time intervals are not of equal length. (AC stands for alternating current. The voltage in your wall outlet varies as a sine wave. Test signals produced by the oscillator circuit of a signal generator are often sine waves. It is a standard wave for testing amplifiers good amplifiers increase the amplitude of a square wave with minimum distortion. Figure 14 shows examples of sine and damped sine waves. It has harmonious mathematical properties it is the same sine shape you may have studied in high school trigonometry class. Most AC power sources produce sine waves. and computer circuitry often use square waves for timing signals. radio. which means a steady current and voltage. a square wave is a voltage that turns on and off (or goes high and low) at regular intervals.Oscilloscope Terminology Types of Waves You can classify most waves into these types: H H H H Sine waves Square and rectangular waves Triangle and sawtooth waves Step and pulse shapes Sine Waves The sine wave is the fundamental wave shape for several reasons. Television. Square Wave Rectangular Wave Figure 15: Square and Rectangular Waves XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 15 .) The damped sine wave is a special case you may see in a circuit that oscil lates but winds down over time.

such as the horizontal sweep of an analog oscilloscope or the raster scan of a television. Figure 17 shows examples of step and pulse shapes and a pulse train.Oscilloscope Terminology Sawtooth and Triangle Waves Sawtooth and Triangle waves result from circuits designed to control volt ages linearly. A collection of pulses travelling together creates a pulse train. The transitions between voltage levels of these waves change at a constant rate. The step indicates a sudden change in voltage. These transitions are called ramps. Step Pulse Pulse Train Figure 17: Step. Figure 16 shows examples of sawtooth and triangle waves. and Pulse Train Shapes 16 Basic Concepts . The pulse indicates what you would see if you turned a power switch on and then off again. like what you would see if you turned on a power switch. Pulses are also common in x ray and communications equipment. Sawtooth Wave Triangle Wave Figure 16: Sawtooth and Rectangular Waves Step and Pulse Shapes Signals such as steps and pulses that only occur once are called single shot or transient signals. Digital compo nents in a computer communicate with each other using pulses. Pulse. It might represent one bit of information traveling through a computer circuit or it might be a glitch (a defect) in a circuit.

This section describes some of the most common measurements and terms. it has a frequency. so that 1/period equals the frequency and 1/frequency equals the period. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 17 . Usually one of these points is ground (zero volts) but not always you may want to measure the voltage from the maximum peak to the minimum peak of a waveform.Oscilloscope Terminology Waveform Measurements You use many terms to describe the types of measurements that you take with your oscilloscope. for example. The word amplitude commonly refers to the maximum voltage of a signal measured from ground or zero volts. So. 1 2 3 Frequency 3 Cycles per Second = 3 Hz Period 1 Second Figure 18: Frequency and Period Voltage Voltage is the amount of electric potential (a kind of signal strength) between two points in a circuit. the sine wave in Fig ure 18 has a frequency of 3 Hz and a period of 1/3 second. Frequency and Period If a signal repeats. The waveform shown in Figure 19 has an amplitude of one volt and a peak to peak voltage of two volts. Period and fre quency are reciprocals of each other. A repeating signal also has a period this is the amount of time it takes the signal to complete one cycle. The frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) and equals the number of times the signal repeats itself in one second (the cycles per second). referred to at the peak to peak voltage.

the waveform labeled current" is said to be 90° out of phase with the waveform labeled voltage. One cycle of a sine wave has 360°. Sine waves are based on circular motion and a circle has 360°. 0 90 180 270 360 +1 0 -1 Figure 19: Sine Wave Degrees Phase shift describes the difference in timing between two otherwise similar signals. Voltage Current 0 Phase = 90 Figure 20: Phase Shift 18 Basic Concepts . In Figure 20. Phase shifts are common in electronics. you can refer to the phase angle of a sine wave when you want to describe how much of the period has elapsed. Using degrees." since the waves reach similar points in their cycles exactly 1/4 of a cycle apart (360°/4 = 90°). as shown in Figure 19.Oscilloscope Terminology Phase Phase is best explained by looking at a sine wave.

An oscilloscope can not accurately display pulses with rise times faster than the specified rise time of the oscilloscope.Oscilloscope Terminology Performance Terms The terms described in this section may come up in your discussions about oscilloscope performance. Rise time may be a more appropriate performance consider ation when you expect to measure pulses and steps. (This 70. the bandwidth tells you the frequency at which the displayed signal reduces to 70." a term based on a logarithmic scale. This is usually listed as a percentage error. The fastest sweep speed of an oscilloscope is usually given in nanoseconds/div. this specification indicates how fast the trace can sweep across the screen. the capability of the oscilloscope to accurate ly respond decreases. Gain Accuracy The gain accuracy indicates how accurately the vertical system attenuates or amplifies a signal.7% of the applied sine wave signal. Sweep Speed For analog oscilloscopes. As signal frequency increases. Understanding these terms will help you evaluate and compare your oscilloscope with other models. allowing you to see fine details. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 19 . Bandwidth The bandwidth specification tells you the frequency range the oscilloscope accurately measures.7% point is referred to as the -3 dB point. Vertical Sensitivity The vertical sensitivity indicates how much the vertical amplifier can amplify a weak signal. The smallest voltage a general purpose oscilloscope can detect is typically about 2 mV per vertical screen division. Vertical sensitivity is usually given in millivolts (mV) per divi sion. This is usually listed as a percentage error. Time Base or Horizontal Accuracy The time base or horizontal accuracy indicates how accurately the horizontal system displays the timing of a signal. By convention.) Rise Time Rise time is another way of describing the useful frequency range of an oscilloscope.

Record Length The record length of a digital oscilloscope indicates how many waveform points the oscilloscope is able to acquire for one waveform record. The faster the oscilloscope can sample. The maximum record length depends on the amount of memory in your oscilloscope. the more accurately it can represent fine details in a fast signal. Some digital oscilloscopes let you adjust the record length. the sampling rate indicates how many samples per second the ADC (and therefore the oscilloscope) can acquire. in bits. ADC Resolution (Or Vertical Resolution) The resolution. Maximum sample rates are usually given in megasamples per second (MS/s). Since the oscilloscope can only store a finite number of waveform points. the sample rate changes with changes made to the sec/div control to maintain a constant number of waveform points in the waveform record. Calcula tion techniques can improve the effective resolution. of the ADC (and therefore the digital oscilloscope) indicates how precisely it can turn input voltages into digital values. 20 Basic Concepts . You can acquire either a detailed picture of a signal for a short period of time (the oscilloscope fills up" on waveform points quickly) or a less detailed picture for a longer period of time.Oscilloscope Terminology Sample Rate On digital oscilloscopes. there is a trade off between record detail and record length. Typically. The minimum sample rate may also be important if you need to look at slowly changing signals over long periods of time. Some oscilloscopes let you add more memory to increase the record length for special applications.

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 21 . including knobs that appear insulated. However. To solve this problem. you also need to ground yourself. The oscilloscope needs to share the same ground as any circuits you are testing. with a prop erly grounded oscilloscope. Grounding is also necessary for taking accurate measurements with your oscilloscope. Ground the Oscilloscope Grounding the oscilloscope is necessary for safety. Properly grounding the oscilloscope protects you from a hazardous shock and grounding yourself protects your circuits from damage. how to ground the oscilloscope. wear a grounding strap (see Figure 21). Integrated circuits have tiny conduction paths that can be dam aged by static electricity that builds up on your body. the current travels through the grounding path to earth ground rather than through you to earth ground. You can ruin an expen sive IC simply by walking across a carpet or taking off a sweater and then touching the leads of the IC. any part of the case. This strap safely sends static charges on your body to earth ground. Grounding Proper grounding is an important step when setting up to take measure ments or work on a circuit. If a high voltage contacts the case of an ungrounded oscilloscope. and compensate the probe. To ground the oscilloscope means to connect it to an electrically neutral reference point (such as earth ground). which keeps any possible shock hazard away from the user. it can give you a shock. Ground your oscilloscope by plug ging its three pronged power cord into an outlet grounded to earth ground.Setting Up This section briefly describes how to set up and start using an oscillo scope specifically. These oscilloscopes have insulated cases and controls. Ground Yourself If you are working with integrated circuits (ICs). Some oscilloscopes do not require the separate connection to earth ground. set the controls in standard positions.

depending on the model and type (analog or digital). Intensity Control Focus Control Vertical Section Horizontal Section Trigger Section Figure 22: Front Panel Control Sections of an Oscilloscope Some oscilloscopes have an AUTOSET or PRESET button that sets up the controls in one step to accommodate a signal. 22 Basic Concepts . Your oscil loscope may have other sections. it is helpful to set the controls to standard positions before taking measurements.Setting Up Connect to Earth Ground Figure 21: Typical Wrist Type Grounding Strap Setting the Controls After plugging in the oscilloscope. It is divided into three main sections labeled Vertical. Horizontal. Multiple channels are handy for comparing waveforms. take a look at the front panel. This is where you attach probes. Most oscilloscopes have at least two input channels and each channel can display a waveform on the screen. Notice the input connectors on your oscilloscope. If your oscilloscope does not have this feature. and Trigger.

refer to the manual that came with your oscilloscope. To minimize circuit loading. It is important to use a probe designed to work with your oscilloscope. Passive probes provide you with an excellent tool for general pur pose testing and troubleshooting. A probe is more than a cable with a clip on tip. The unintentional interaction of the probe and oscilloscope with the circuit being tested is called circuit loading. Descriptions of these probes follow. you will probably use a 10X attenuator (passive) probe. Probes Now you are ready to connect a probe to your oscilloscope. If you are not sure how to do any of these steps. with more emphasis given to the pas sive probe since this is the probe type that allows you the most flexibility of use. many other types of probes exist. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 23 . no measurement device can act as a perfectly invisible observer. However. Probes are designed not to influence the behavior of the circuit you are testing.Setting Up Standard positions include the following: H H H H H H H H H H Set the oscilloscope to display channel 1 Set the volts/division scale to a mid range position Turn off the variable volts/division Turn off all magnification settings Set the channel 1 input coupling to DC Set the trigger mode to auto Set the trigger source to channel 1 Turn trigger holdoff to minimum or off Set the intensity control to a nominal viewing level Adjust the focus control for a sharp display These are general instructions for setting up your oscilloscope. It is a high quality connector. Your oscilloscope probably arrived with a passive probe as a standard accessory. carefully de signed not to pick up stray radio and power line noise. Two examples are active and current probes. For more specific measurements or tests. The Controls section beginning on page 29 describes the controls in more detail.

and the input of an oscilloscope. In contrast. the 10X attenuator probe makes it difficult to look at signals less than 10 millivolts. By convention. so be sure to use this type of probe when measuring signals above 5 kHz. such as 10X. The 10X (read as ten times") attenuator probe minimizes circuit loading and is an excellent general purpose passive probe. Without this circuitry. Oscilloscope Input 10X Probe 9 MW One Tenth of Signal (1 Vp p ) at Input 10 Vp p Signal x pF 1 MW Probe Compensation Adjustment 20 pF Figure 23: Typical Probe/Oscilloscope 10 to 1 Divider Network 24 Basic Concepts . If your probe has this feature. The 1X probe is similar to the 10X attenuator probe but lacks the attenuation circuitry. attenuation factors. Because it attenuates the signal. its adjustment. you must set the type of probe you are using or read from the proper 1X or 10X marking on the volts/div control. The 10X attenuator probe improves the accuracy of your measurements. However with some oscillo scopes. Circuit loading becomes more pronounced at higher frequencies. magnification factors like X10 have the X first. Many oscilloscopes can detect whether you are using a 1X or 10X probe and adjust their screen readouts accordingly. but it also reduces the amplitude of the signal seen on the screen by a factor of 10. The 10X attenuator probe works by balancing the probe's electrical proper ties against the oscilloscope's electrical properties.Setting Up Using Passive Probes Most passive probes have some degree of attenuation factor. Figure 23 shows a simple diagram of the internal workings of a probe. Use the 10X attenuator probe as your standard probe. more interference is introduced to the circuit being tested. but keep the 1X probe handy for measuring weak signals. 100X. Before using a 10X attenuator probe you need to adjust this balance for your particular oscillo scope. Some probes have a convenient feature for switch ing between 1X and 10X attenuation at the probe tip. such as for the 10X attenuator probe. make sure you are using the correct setting before taking measure ments. This adjustment is called compensating the probe and is further described on page 26. have the X after the factor. and so on.

Setting Up Figure 24 shows a typical passive probe and some accessories to use with the probe. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 25 . cause little or no interference in the circuit. Marker Ring Adjustment Tool Marker Ring Retractable Hook Tip IC Protector Tip BNC Connector Alligator Clip Ground Lead Figure 24: A Typical Passive Probe with Accessories Using Active Probes Active probes provide their own amplification or perform some other type of operation to process the signal before applying it to the oscilloscope. Current probes use jaws that clip around the wire carrying the current. These types of probes can solve problems such as circuit loading or perform tests on signals. In practice. such as the metal chassis of a stereo you are repairing. they. you clip the grounding clip to a known ground in the circuit. Probes come with an alligator clip attachment for grounding the probe to the circuit under test. Active probes require a power source for their operation. therefore. They are available for measuring both AC and DC current. sending the results to the oscilloscope. This makes them unique since they are not connected in series with the circuit. and touch the probe tip to a test point in the circuit. Using Current Probes Current probes enable you to directly observe and measure current waveforms. Where to Clip the Ground Clip Measuring a signal requires two connections: the probe tip connection and a ground connection.

A poorly adjusted probe can make your measurements less accurate. You should get into the habit of compensating the probe every time you set up your oscilloscope. Probe Compensated Correctly Probe Adjustment Signal Note Proper Amplitude of a 1 MHz Test Signal Probe Undercompensated Probe Adjustment Signal Note Reduced Amplitude of a 1 MHz Test Signal Probe Overcompensated Probe Adjustment Signal Note Increased Amplitude of a 1 MHz Test Signal Figure 25: The Effects of Improper Probe Compensation 26 Basic Concepts . you need to compensate it to balance its electrical properties to a particular oscilloscope. Figure 25 shows what happens to measured waveforms when using a probe not properly compensated.Setting Up Compensating the Probe Before using a passive probe.

always attach any accessory tips you will use and connect the probe to the vertical channel you plan to use. You compensate a probe by: H H H H H Attaching the probe to an input connector Connecting the probe tip to the probe compensation signal Attaching the ground clip of the probe to ground Viewing the square wave reference signal Making the proper adjustments on the probe so that the corners of the square wave are square When you compensate the probe. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 27 . This way the oscilloscope has the same electrical properties as it does when you take measurements.Setting Up Most oscilloscopes have a square wave reference signal available at a terminal on the front panel used to compensate the probe.

Setting Up 28 Basic Concepts .

Common controls include: H An intensity control to adjust the brightness of the waveform. described in this section. The position of your oscilloscope in the earth's magnetic field affects waveform alignment.The Controls This section briefly describes the basic controls found on analog and digital oscilloscopes. Digital oscilloscopes may not have a trace rotation control. VERTICAL MENU Button DC AC GND CPLG VAR INV BW Off On Off On 20 MHz Full Figure 26: Vertical Controls XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 29 . Digital oscillo scopes may not have a focus control. Figure 26 shows a typical front panel and on screen menus for the vertical controls. Your oscilloscope also has controls for setting the input coupling and other signal conditioning. As you increase the sweep speed of an analog oscilloscope. Remember that some controls differ between analog and digital oscilloscopes. H H H Vertical Controls Use the vertical controls to position and scale the waveform vertically. you need to increase the intensity level. A trace rotation control to align the waveform trace with the screen's horizontal axis. A focus control to adjust the sharpness of the waveform. Display Controls Display systems vary between analog and digital oscilloscopes. your oscilloscope probably has controls not discussed here. Other display controls may let you adjust the intensity of the graticule lights and turn on or off any on screen information (such as menus).

The Controls

Position and Volts per Division
The vertical position control lets you move the waveform up or down to exactly where you want it on the screen. The volts per division (usually written volts/div) setting varies the size of the waveform on the screen. A good general purpose oscilloscope can accu rately display signal levels from about 4 millivolts to 40 volts. The volts/div setting is a scale factor. For example, if the volts/div setting is 5 volts, then each of the eight vertical divisions represents 5 volts and the entire screen can show 40 volts from bottom to top (assuming a graticule with eight major divisions). If the setting is 0.5 volts/div, the screen can display 4 volts from bottom to top, and so on. The maximum voltage you can display on the screen is the volts/div setting times the number of vertical divisions. (Recall that the probe you use, 1X or 10X, also influences the scale factor. You must divide the volts/div scale by the attenuation factor of the probe if the oscilloscope does not do it for you.) Often the volts/div scale has either a variable gain or a fine gain control for scaling a displayed signal to a certain number of divisions. Use this control to take rise time measurements.

Input Coupling
Coupling means the method used to connect an electrical signal from one circuit to another. In this case, the input coupling is the connection from your test circuit to the oscilloscope. The coupling can be set to DC, AC, or ground. DC coupling shows all of an input signal. AC coupling blocks the DC component of a signal so that you see the waveform centered at zero volts. Figure 27 illustrates this difference. The AC coupling setting is handy when the entire signal (alternating plus constant components) is too large for the volts/div setting.
DC Coupling of a 1 Vp p Sine Wave with a 2 V DC Component 4V 4V AC Coupling of the Same Signal

0V

0V

Figure 27: AC and DC Input Coupling

30

Basic Concepts

The Controls

The ground setting disconnects the input signal from the vertical system, which lets you see where zero volts is on the screen. With grounded input coupling and auto trigger mode, you see a horizontal line on the screen that represents zero volts. Switching from DC to ground and back again is a handy way of measuring signal voltage levels with respect to ground.

Bandwidth Limit
Most oscilloscopes have a circuit that limits the bandwidth of the oscillo scope. By limiting the bandwidth, you reduce the noise that sometimes appears on the displayed waveform, providing you with a more defined signal display.

Channel Invert
Most oscilloscopes have an invert function that allows you to display a signal upside down." That is, with low voltage at the top of the screen and high voltage at the bottom.

Alternate and Chop Display
On analog scopes, multiple channels are displayed using either an alternate or chop mode. (Digital oscilloscopes do not normally use chop or alternate mode.) Alternate mode draws each channel alternately the oscilloscope com pletes one sweep on channel 1, then one sweep on channel 2, a second sweep on channel 1, and so on. Use this mode with medium to high speed signals, when the sec/div scale is set to 0.5 ms or faster. Chop mode causes the oscilloscope to draw small parts of each signal by switching back and forth between them. The switching rate is too fast for you to notice, so the waveform looks whole. You typically use this mode with slow signals requiring sweep speeds of 1 ms per division or less. Figure 28 shows the difference between the two modes. It is often useful to view the signal both ways, to make sure you have the best view.

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes

31

The Controls

Alternate Mode: Channel 1 and Channel 2 Drawn Alternately

Chop Mode: Segments of Channel 1 and Channel 2 Drawn Alternately

Drawn First

Drawn Second

Figure 28: Multi-Channel Display Modes

Math Operations
Your oscilloscope may also have operations to allow you to add waveforms together, creating a new waveform display. Analog oscilloscopes combine the signals while digital oscilloscopes mathematically create new waveforms. Subtracting waveforms is another math operation. Subtraction with analog oscilloscopes is possible by using the channel invert function on one signal and then use the add operation. Digital oscilloscopes typically have a subtraction operation available. Figure 29 illustrates a third waveform created by adding two different signals together.

Channel 1 Display

ADD Mode: Channel 1 and Channel 2 Combined

Channel 2 Display

Figure 29: Adding Channels

32

Basic Concepts

This setting is a scale factor. each horizontal division represents 1 ms and the total screen width represents 10 ms (ten divisions). Changing the sec/div setting lets you look at longer or shorter time intervals of the input signal. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 33 . For example. Many oscilloscopes have what is called a delayed time base a time base sweep that starts after a pre determined time from the start of the main time base sweep. HORIZONTAL MENU Button MAIN DELAY XY VAR TRCSEP TRIG POS REC LENGTH Figure 30: Horizontal Controls Position and Seconds per Division The horizontal position control moves the waveform from left and right to exactly where you want it on the screen. Figure 30 shows a typical front panel and on screen menus for the horizon tal controls.The Controls Horizontal Controls Use the horizontal controls to position and scale the waveform horizontally. the horizontal sec/div scale may have variable timing. The seconds per division (usually written as sec/div) setting lets you select the rate at which the waveform is drawn across the screen (also known as the time base setting or sweep speed). allowing you to set the horizontal time scale in between the discrete settings. The delayed time base requires the setting of a delay time and possibly the use of delayed trigger modes and other settings not described in this book. Refer to the manual supplied with your oscilloscope for information on how to use these features. if the setting is 1 ms. Using a delayed time base sweep allows you to see events more clearly or even see events not visible with just the main time base sweep. As with the vertical volts/div scale. Time Base Selections Your oscilloscope has a time base usually referred to as the main time base and it is probably the most useful.

The Controls Trigger Position The trigger position control may be located in the horizontal control section of your oscilloscope. Varying the horizontal trigger position allows you to capture what a signal did before a trigger event (called pretrigger viewing). possibly. analog oscilloscopes only display the signal after receiving the trigger. Digital oscilloscopes can provide pretrigger viewing because they constantly process the input signal whether a trigger has been received or not. XY Mode Most oscilloscopes have the capability of displaying a second channel signal along the X axis (instead of time). Pretrigger viewing is a valuable troubleshooting aid. In contrast. This is called XY mode. the trigger merely tells the oscilloscope to save the present data in memory. you will find a longer discussion on page 47. find the cause. you can trigger on the problem. Magnification Your oscilloscope may have special horizontal magnification settings that let you display a magnified section of the waveform on screen. A steady stream of data flows through the oscilloscope. For example." Horizontal trigger position control is only available on digital oscilloscopes. It actually represents the horizontal position of the trigger in the waveform record. if a prob lem occurs intermittently. 34 Basic Concepts . record the events that led up to it and.

Auto Auto Level Normal Single Sequence Video Line Video Field odd even both TRIGGER MENU Button MODE SRC CPLG SLOPE HOLDOFF Vert Ch1 Ch2 Add Line EXT 1 10 DC Noise Reject HF Reject AC LF Reject Rising Falling Min Variable Figure 31: Trigger Controls The trigger makes repeating waveforms appear static on the oscilloscope display. Figure 31 shows a typical front panel and on screen menus for the trigger controls. Imagine the jumble on the screen that would result if each sweep started at a different place on the signal (see Figure 32).The Controls Trigger Controls The trigger controls let you stabilize repeating waveforms and capture single shot waveforms. Figure 32: Untriggered Display XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 35 .

The Controls Trigger Level and Slope Your oscilloscope may have several different types of triggers. You select the slope and voltage level of one side of the comparator. The trigger circuit acts as a comparator. the trigger level and slope controls provide the basic trigger point definition. For edge triggering. Several sources can trigger the sweep: H H H H Any input channel An external source. the oscilloscope generates a trigger. H The slope control determines whether the trigger point is on the rising or the falling edge of a signal. A rising edge is a positive slope and a falling edge is a negative slope. H Figure 33 shows you how the trigger slope and level settings determine how a waveform is displayed. pulse. Positive Slope Negative Slope Triggering on the Positive Slope with the Level Set to 3 V Zero Volts Input Signal 3V 3V Triggering on the Negative Slope with the Level Set to 3 V Figure 33: Positive and Negative Slope Triggering Trigger Sources The oscilloscope does not necessarily have to trigger on the signal being measured. video. Consult your oscilloscope instruction manual for details on other trigger types. When the trigger signal matches your settings. such as edge. other than the signal applied to an input channel The power source signal A signal internally generated by the oscilloscope 36 Basic Concepts . The level control determines where on the edge the trigger point occurs. Edge triggering is the basic and most common type and is the only type discussed in this book. or logic.

Trigger Modes The trigger mode determines whether or not the oscilloscope draws a waveform if it does not detect a trigger. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 37 . trigger ing on video signals. In normal mode the oscilloscope only sweeps if the input signal reaches the set trigger point. Some oscilloscopes also include special modes for single sweeps. Auto mode causes the oscilloscope to sweep. your oscilloscope may also have high fre quency rejection. you will probably use both modes: normal mode because it is more versatile and auto mode because it requires less adjustment. channel 1 while displaying channel 2. In practice. Trigger Coupling Just as you can select either AC or DC coupling for the vertical system.The Controls Most of the time you can leave the oscilloscope set to trigger on the channel displayed. otherwise (on an analog oscilloscope) the screen is blank or (on a digital oscilloscope) frozen on the last acquired waveform. you can choose the kind of coupling for the trigger signal. for example. It is also the best mode to use if you are looking at many signals and do not want to bother setting the trigger each time. Note that the oscilloscope can use an alternate trigger source whether displayed or not. or automatically setting the trigger level. a timer in the oscilloscope triggers the sweep. Besides AC and DC coupling. So you have to be careful not to unwittingly trigger on. and noise rejection trigger cou pling. low frequency rejection. These special settings are useful for eliminating noise from the trigger signal to prevent false triggering. This ensur es that the display will not disappear if the signal drops to small voltages. If no signal is present. Normal mode can be disorienting since you may not see the signal at first if the level control is not adjusted correctly. even without a trigger. Common trigger modes include normal and auto.

so that the oscilloscope only triggers on the first eligible trigger point. Acquisition Interval Acquisition Interval Trigger Points Trigger Level Holdoff Holdoff No Triggering Recognized During Holdoff Time Holdoff With Holdoff Without Holdoff Figure 34: Trigger Holdoff 38 Basic Concepts . Trigger holdoff is an adjustable period of time during which the oscilloscope cannot trigger. Figure 34 shows how using trigger holdoff helps create a usable display.The Controls Trigger Holdoff Sometimes getting an oscilloscope to trigger on the correct part of a signal requires great skill. This feature is useful when you are triggering on complex waveform shapes. Many oscilloscopes have special features to make this task easier.

Figure 35 shows you an exam ple of an acquisition menu. H Sample Mode: This is the simplest acquisition mode. The time between sample points is called the sample interval. waveform points can be created from a composite of sample points taken from multiple acquisitions. Waveform points are the digital values that are stored in memory and displayed to form the wave form. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 39 . This fact leads to the existence of several different acquisition modes in which one waveform point is made up from several sequentially acquired sample points. A description of the most commonly used acquisition modes follows. Recall from the first section that sample points are the digital values that come directly out of the Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). The time value difference between waveform points is called the waveform interval. Look over the acquisition options on your digital oscilloscope while you read this description. Additionally. The oscilloscope creates a waveform point by saving one sample point during each waveform interval.The Controls Acquisition Controls for Digital Oscilloscopes Digital oscilloscopes have settings that let you control how the acquisition system processes a signal. which leads to another set of acquisition modes. Figure 35: Example of an Acquisition Menu Acquisition Modes Acquisition modes control how waveform points are produced from sample points. The sample interval and the waveform interval may be but need not be the same.

there are usually one or more buttons on the front panel that allow you to stop and start the acquisition system so you can analyze waveforms at your leisure. and are able to capture fast signal changes that would occur between the waveform points if in sample mode. in envelope mode. multiple samples taken within one waveform interval are averaged together to produce one waveform point. Average Mode: In average mode. Peak detect mode is particularly useful for seeing narrow pulses spaced far apart in time. However. the acquisition controls will allow you to choose which one to use for acquiring signals.The Controls H Peak Detect Mode: The oscilloscope saves the minimum and maximum value sample points taken during two waveform intervals and uses these samples as the two corresponding waveform points. H H H Stopping and Starting the Acquisition System One of the greatest advantages of digital oscilloscopes is their ability to store waveforms for later viewing. This feature is commonly called single sweep or single sequence and its controls are usually found either with the other acquisition controls or with the trigger controls. Sampling Methods In digital oscilloscopes that can use either real time sampling or equivalent time sampling as described on page 10. Additionally. In this case. Envelope Mode: Envelope mode is similar to peak detect mode. Hi Res Mode: Like peak detect. The result is a decrease in noise and an improvement in resolu tion for low speed signals. the oscilloscope saves one sample point during each waveform interval as in sample mode. even at very slow time base settings (long waveform interval). Note that this choice makes no difference for slow time base settings and only has an effect when the ADC cannot sample fast enough to fill the record with waveform points in one pass. To this end. the minimum and maximum waveform points from multiple acquisitions are combined to form a waveform that shows min/max changes over time. Digital oscillo scopes with peak detect mode run the ADC at a fast sample rate. Peak detect mode is usually used to ac quire the records that are combined to form the envelope waveform. How ever. waveform points from consecutive acquisitions are then averaged to gether to produce the final displayed waveform. hi res mode is a way of getting more information in cases when the ADC can sample faster than the time base setting requires. you may want the oscilloscope to automatically stop acquiring after one acquisition is complete or after one set of records has been turned into an envelope or average waveform. Average mode reduces noise without loss of bandwidth but requires a repeating signal. 40 Basic Concepts .

The Controls Other Controls So far we have described the basic controls that a beginner needs to know about. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 41 . Your oscilloscope may have other controls for various functions. Some of these may include: H H H H Measurement cursors Keypads for mathematical operations or data entry Print capabilities Interfaces for connecting your oscilloscope to a computer Look over the other options available to you and read your oscilloscope's manual to find out more about these other controls.

The Controls 42 Basic Concepts .

Many digital oscilloscopes have internal software that will take these measurements automatically. The Display Take a look at the oscilloscope display. Knowing how to take the mea surements manually will help you understand and check the automatic measurements of the digital oscilloscopes. 10%. The two most basic measurements you can make are voltage and time measurements. This section discusses methods for taking measurements visually with the oscilloscope screen. Many oscilloscopes also have 0%.Measurement Techniques This section teaches you basic measurement techniques. The graticule is usually laid out in an 8 by 10 division pattern. Each vertical and horizontal line constitutes a major division. 90%. Labeling on the oscilloscope controls (such as volts/div and sec/div) always refers to major divisions. The tick marks on the center horizontal and vertical graticule lines (see Figure 36) are called minor divisions. Notice the grid markings on the screen these markings create the graticule. Just about every other measurement is based on one of these two funda mental techniques. and 100% markings on the graticule (see Figure 36) to help make rise time measurements. de scribed on page 46. Rise Time Marks 100 90 10 0% Minor Division Marks Major Division Figure 36: An Oscilloscope Graticule XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 43 . Many oscilloscopes display on the screen how many volts each vertical division represents and how many seconds each horizontal division repre sents.

Use the RMS (root mean square) voltage (VRMS) to calculate the power of an AC signal. The oscilloscope is primarily a voltage measuring device. Once you have measured the voltage. Usually one of these points is ground (zero volts) but not always. Voltage Peak Voltage Peak to peak Zero Volts Rms Voltage Figure 37: Voltage Peak and Peak to peak Voltage You take voltage measurements by counting the number of divisions a waveform spans on the oscilloscope's vertical scale. From any two of these quantities you can calculate the third. expressed in volts. You must be careful to specify which voltage you mean. Calculations are more complicated for AC signals. which is usually twice Vp. Adjusting the signal to cover most of the screen vertically. between two points in a circuit. Ohm's Law: Voltage + Current Current + Resistance Voltage Resistance Voltage Currente Current Resistance + Power Law: Power + Voltage Figure 37 shows the voltage of one peak (Vp) and the peak to peak voltage (Vp p). For example. Another handy formula is the power law: the power of a DC signal equals the voltage times the current. then taking the measurement along the 44 Basic Concepts .Measurement Techniques Voltage Measurements Voltage is the amount of electric potential. but the point here is that measuring the voltage is the first step towards calculating other quantities. Voltages can also be measured from peak to peak from the maximum point of a signal to its minimum point. Ohm's law states that voltage between two points in a circuit equals the current times the resistance. other quantities are just a calculation away.

A readout shows the voltage or time at their positions. Like voltage measure ments. cursors are two horizontal lines for voltage measurements and two vertical lines for time measurements that you can move around the screen.) XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 45 . makes for the best voltage measurements. Basically. makes for the best time measurements. Take Amplitude Measurements at Center Vertical Graticule Line Figure 38: Measure Voltage on the Center Vertical Graticule Line Many oscilloscopes have on screen cursors that let you take waveform measurements automatically on screen. so once you know the period. without having to count graticule marks. Time and Frequency Measurements You take time measurements using the horizontal scale of the oscilloscope. having smaller divisions. The more screen area you use. Time measurements include measuring the period. (See Figure 39. Taking time measurement along the center horizontal graticule line. the more accurately you can read from the screen.Measurement Techniques center vertical graticule line having the smaller divisions. the frequency is one divided by the period. pulse width. Frequency is the reciprocal of the period. and timing of pulses. time measurements are more accurate when you adjust the portion of the signal to be measured to cover a large area of the screen.

Standard pulse measurements are pulse width and pulse rise time. This also explains why most oscilloscopes have 10% and 90% mark ings on their screen. Pulses can become distorted and cause a digital circuit to malfunction. Rise time is the amount of time a pulse takes to go from the low to high voltage. the rise time is measured from 10% to 90% of the full voltage of the pulse. Pulse width is the amount of time the pulse takes to go from low to high and back to low again. See Figure 40 for these measurement points. This eliminates any irregularities at the pulse's transition cor ners.Measurement Techniques Take Time Measurements at Center Horizontal Graticule Line Figure 39: Measure Time on the Center Horizontal Graticule Line Pulse and Rise Time Measurements In many applications. the details of a pulse's shape are important. By convention. and the timing of pulses in a pulse train is often significant. By convention. Rise Time 100% 90% Voltage 50% Pulse Width 10% 0 Fall Time Figure 40: Rise Time and Pulse Width Measurement Points 46 Basic Concepts . the pulse width is measured at 50% of full voltage.

You can also tell their frequency ratio.) This mode of operation opens up a whole new area of phase shift measurement techniques. To become an expert at capturing pulses. (This method only works if both signals are sine waves.) This set up is called an XY measurement because both the X and Y axis are tracing voltages. measured in degrees. From the shape of the Lissajous pat tern. Phase Shift X:Y Ratio Frequency 1:1 0 45 90 180 270 360 1:2 0 1:3 0 1:4 0 1115 2230 45 6730 90 15 30 60 90 120 2230 45 90 135 180 Figure 41: Lissajous Patterns XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 47 . since it allows you to see fine details of a fast pulse. Horizontal magnification is another useful feature for measuring pulses. Phase Shift Measurements The horizontal control section may have an XY mode that lets you display an input signal rather than the time base on the horizontal axis. The waveform resulting from this arrangement is called a Lissajous pattern (named for French physicist Jules Antoine Lissa jous and pronounced LEE sa zhoo). Figure 41 shows Lissajous patterns for various frequency ratios and phase shifts. The phase of a wave is the amount of time that passes from the beginning of a cycle to the beginning of the next cycle. Phase shift describes the difference in timing between two otherwise identical periodic signals. This involves inputting one signal into the vertical system as usual and then another signal into the horizontal system. you should learn how to use trigger holdoff and how to set the digital oscilloscope to capture pretrigger data. (On some digital oscilloscopes this is a display mode setting. One method for measuring phase shift is to use XY mode. you can tell the phase difference between the two signals. as described earlier in the Controls section.Measurement Techniques Pulse measurements often require fine tuning the triggering.

Practice using your oscilloscope and read more about it. 48 Basic Concepts . Soon its operation will be second nature to you. The measurement techniques you will use depend on your application. subtracting noise from a signal. capturing elusive transient signals.Measurement Techniques What's Next? This section has covered basic measurement techniques. Other measure ment techniques involve setting up the oscilloscope to test electrical compo nents on an assembly line. and many others that would take too much room to list. but you have learned enough to get started.

Part I and Part II.Written Exercises This section contains written exercises that cover information in this book. The exercises are divided into two parts. Part I covers information presented in these sections: H H The Oscilloscope Oscilloscope Terminology Part II covers information presented in sections: H H H Setting Up The Controls Measurement Techniques XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 49 .

12. 11. Acquisition Analog Bandwidth Digital Frequency Glitch Period Phase Pulse Waveform Point Rise Time Sample Point Time Base Transient ADC Resolution Volt Definition A B C D E F G H I J K L The unit of electric potential difference. 14. 10. measured in bits. The oscilloscope's process of collecting sample points from the ADC. The number of times a signal repeats in one second. The raw data from an ADC used to calculate waveform points. A frequency range. M Something that operates with continuous values. 5. Answers begin on page 58. Term used when referring to degree points of a sine wave. A performance measurement indicating the fastest edge a given oscillo scope can accurately display. a width. A stored digital value that represents the voltage of a signal at a specific point in time.Written Exercises Part I Exercises The following exercises cover information presented in these sections: H H The Oscilloscope Oscilloscope Terminology Check how well you have absorbed the information in these sections by doing this short self test. 2. 8. processing them. Term 1. Vocabulary Exercise Write the number of the definitions in the right column next to the correct words in the left column. 4. 3. 13. An intermittent error in a circuit. 9. 15. 50 Basic Concepts . The amount of time it takes a wave to complete one cycle. Oscilloscope circuitry that controls the timing of the sweep. A signal measured by an oscilloscope that only occurs once. A performance measurement indicating the precision of an ADC. 6. and storing them in memory. N O P Something that operates with discrete values. A common waveform shape that has a rising edge. and a falling edge. 7. 16.

b. 1. Analog oscilloscopes measure analogs. d. d. c. Analog oscilloscopes do not have an acquisition system. Starts a horizontal sweep. Shows you the current time of day. Sets the amount of time represented by the horizontal width of the screen. Analog oscilloscopes do not have on screen menus. b. Calculate the frequency of a signal. c. All the above. d. b. The difference between analog and digital oscilloscopes is: a. Adjusts the vertical scale. while digital oscilloscopes first convert the voltage into digital values. All the above. whereas digital oscillo scopes measure digits. The time base control of the oscilloscope does the following: a. Voltage is on the vertical axis and time is on the horizontal axis. With an oscilloscope you can: a. 2. b. On an oscilloscope display: a. Find malfunctioning electrical components. Analog oscilloscopes apply a measurement voltage directly to the display system. Some statements have more than one right answer. c. A straight diagonal trace means voltage is changing at a steady rate.Written Exercises Using Oscilloscopes Exercise Circle the best answers for each statement. 4. Sends a clock pulse to the probe. Analyze bird calls. d. An oscilloscope's vertical section does the following: a. 5. Acquires sample points with an ADC. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 51 . c. Attenuates or amplifies the input signal. d. Lets you adjust the brightness of the display. c. 3. b. A flat horizontal trace means voltage is constant.

b. The sweep speed. b. A frequency measured in hertz. 7. Pulse trains.Written Exercises 6. The bandwidth. some things you might consider are: a. d. All repeating waves have the following properties: a. All the above. The vertical sensitivity. b. The ADC resolution. When evaluating the performance of an analog oscilloscope. d. c. If you probe inside a computer with an oscilloscope. Sine waves. A bandwidth measured in hertz. All the above. c. you are likely to find the following types of signals: a. 8. A period measured in seconds. Ramp waves. c. d. 52 Basic Concepts .

must be reset to accept another trigger event. or light intensity into an electrical signal. A processing technique used by digital oscilloscopes to eliminate noise in a signal. Answers begin on page 58. 10. 4. then constructs a display. 7. A device that converts a specific physical quantity such as sound. Coupling Earth Ground Equivalent Time Graticule Interpolation Real Time Signal Generator Single Sweep Transducer D E F G H I J K L XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 53 . A trigger mode that triggers the sweep once. 12. A conductor that connects electrical currents to the Earth. A sampling mode in which the digital oscilloscope collects as many sam ples as it can as the signal occurs. 11. 6. using inter polation if necessary. 3. Term 1. pres sure. The method of connecting two circuits together. 9.Written Exercises Part II Exercises The following exercises cover information presented in these sections: H H H Setting Up The Controls Measurement Techniques Check how well you have absorbed the information in these sections by doing this short self test. The grid lines on a screen for measuring oscilloscope traces. A connect the dots" processing technique to estimate what a fast waveform looks like based on only a few sampled points. A test device for injecting a signal into a circuit input. 8. 2. 5. strain. Averaging Mode Circuit Loading Compensation Definition A B C The unintentional interaction of the probe and oscilloscope with the circuit being tested which distorts a signal. A sampling mode in which the digital oscilloscope constructs a picture of a repetitive signal by capturing a little bit of information from each repetition. Vocabulary Exercise Write the letter of the definitions in the right column next to the correct words in the left column. A probe adjustment for 10X attenuator probes that balances the electrical properties of the probe with the electrical properties of the oscilloscope.

c. The trace rotation control is useful for: a. d. Ground the oscilloscope with the proper three pronged power cord. Circuit loading is caused by: a. A 10X attenuator probe being uncompensated. Scaling waveforms on the screen. b. Learn to recognize potentially dangerous electrical components. Prevent damaging the circuit being tested. 4. Putting too much weight on a circuit. To operate an oscilloscope safely. b. b. c. Some statements have more than one right answer. d. All the above. The probe and oscilloscope interacting with the circuit being tested. 1. c. All the above. Compensating a probe is necessary to: a. Grounding an oscilloscope is necessary: a. c. Detecting sine wave signals. All the above. An input signal having too large a voltage. you should: a. Avoid touching exposed connections in a circuit being tested even if the power is off. 54 Basic Concepts .Written Exercises Using Oscilloscopes Exercise Circle the best answers for each statement. b. Aligning the waveform trace with the screen's horizontal axis on an analog oscilloscope. d. Improve the accuracy of your measurements. c. To provide a reference point for making measurements. b. 2. 5. 3. For safety reasons. d. Measuring pulse width. Balance the electrical properties of the 10X attenuator probe with the oscilloscope. d. To align the trace with the screen's horizontal axis.

b. d. b.Written Exercises 6. c. c. All the above. Averaging mode. 7. Attenuate or amplify an input signal. Peak detect mode. The volts per division control is used to: a. b. All the above. Scale a waveform vertically. c. d. d. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 55 . c. 11. Sample mode. c. Set the numbers of volts each division represents. A digital oscilloscope's acquisition controls let you specify: a. The acquisition mode that best reduces noise in a repeating signal is: a. Stabilize repeating waveforms on the screen. 9. Envelope mode. Capture single shot waveforms. d. 8. Disconnects the input signal from the oscilloscope. d. How sample points are processed to form waveform points. Whether the oscilloscope uses real time or equivalent time sampling to collect sample points. In normal mode the oscilloscope only sweeps if the input signal reaches the trigger point. Causes a horizontal display to appear on the screen. Position a waveform vertically. b. Setting the vertical input coupling to ground does the following: a. c. The trigger is necessary to: a. d. otherwise the screen is blank. b. All the above. The difference between auto and normal trigger mode is: a. Mark a particular point of an acquisition. 10. In normal mode the oscilloscope only sweeps once and then stops. b. Auto mode makes the oscilloscope sweep continuously even with out being triggered. All the above. Whether to average a collection of records to form a waveform. Lets you see where zero volts is on the screen.

13. b. c.1 ms. You should: a. 0. If the seconds/division is set at 0. d. the largest signal that can fit on the screen (assuming an 8 × 10 division screen) is: a. b.Written Exercises 12. c. 1 ms. the amount of time represented by the width of the screen is: a. d. c. 62. d. pulse width is measured: a. Check that the oscilloscope is set to display the channel that the probe is connected to. 0. Check that the screen intensity is turned up. Set the trigger mode to auto since norm mode blanks the screen. b. b. At 90% of the pulse's maximum voltage.5 volts peak to peak. At 50% of the pulse's maximum voltage. c.5 millivolts peak to peak. At 10% of the pulse's maximum voltage. Check that the probe isn't shorted and make sure it is properly grounded. At 10% and 90% of the pulse's maximum voltage. The two most basic measurements you can make with an oscilloscope are: a. 15.5. 56 Basic Concepts . Voltage and pulse width measurements. e. Time and voltage measurements. 4 volts peak to peak. You attach a probe to your test circuit but the screen is blank.1 kHz. c. f. By convention. Set the vertical input coupling to AC and set the volts/division to its largest value since a large DC signal may go off the top or bottom of the screen.1 ms. 0. d. d. 1 second. 16. Check that the oscilloscope is set to trigger on the input channel you are using. Pulse width and phase shift measurements. 8 volts peak to peak. If the volts/division is set at 0. 14. Time and frequency measurements. b.

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes 57 .Written Exercise Answers to the written exercises are on the back of this sheet.

3. 5. L M O N 5. 9. 8. F K E Part II: Oscilloscope Usage Exercise Answers 1.C. 12. 6. 11.D Part II: Vocabulary Exercise Answers 1. 3. 2. D A. 10. D A.C 5. Part I: Vocabulary Exercise Answers 1. C A. 7. I K B A Part I: Oscilloscope Usage Exercise Answers 1. 2. 8.B 7.Written Exercise Written Exercise Answers This section provides the answers to all written exercises in the previous sections. 16.D 3.B. D B.B B A. 15. 12. 11. 16. 14. 10. J I C 10. 2. 4. 4. 11.D D D 9. 3. 15. C B B G 58 Basic Concepts . 4. 7. 2.C D D B 13. G A L 4. 6. 8. 14. 8. D J E C 9. 12. D C 5. G F H P 13. 6. D A. B. 6. H B D 7.

XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes G1 . distorting the signal. Chop Mode A display mode of operation in which small parts of each channel are traced so that more than one waveform can appear on the screen simultaneously. Bandwidth A frequency range. CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) An electron beam tube in which the beam can be focused on a luminescent screen and varied in both position and inten sity to produce a visible pattern. Attenuation A decrease in signal voltage during its transmission from one point to another. Alternate Mode A display mode of operation in which the oscilloscope completes tracing one channel before beginning to trace another channel. Circuits connected with a wire are directly coupled.Glossary AC (Alternating Current) A signal in which the current and voltage vary in a repeating pattern over time. A television picture tube is a CRT. Coupling The method of connecting two circuits together. Averaging A processing technique used by digital oscilloscopes to eliminate noise in a signal. Circuit Loading The unintentional interaction of the probe and oscilloscope with the circuit being tested. ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) A digital electronic component that con verts an electrical signal into discrete binary values. Amplitude The magnitude of a quantity or strength of a signal. circuits connected through a capacitor or a transformer are indirectly (or AC) coupled. In electronics. amplitude usually refers to either voltage or power. Compensation A probe adjustment for 10X probes that balances the capacitance of the probe with the capacitance of the oscilloscope.

Interpolation A connect the dots" processing technique to estimate what a fast waveform looks like based on only a few sampled points. Graticule The grid lines on a screen for measuring oscilloscope traces. Earth Ground A conductor that will dissipate large electrical currents into the Earth. The frequency equals 1/period. A conducting connection by which an electric circuit or equipment is connected to the earth to establish and maintain a reference voltage level. measured in Hertz (cycles per second). Division Measurement markings on the CRT graticule of the oscilloscope. DC (Direct Current) A signal with a constant voltage and current. a unit of frequency.000 Hertz. the unit of frequency.000 Hertz. Ground 1. The voltage reference point in a circuit.000. 2. Glitch An intermittent error in a circuit. a unit of frequency.Glossary Cursor An on screen marker that you can align with a waveform to take accu rate measurements. Hertz (Hz) One cycle per second.000. Envelope The outline of a signal's highest and lowest points acquired over many repetitions. Focus The oscilloscope control that adjusts the CRT electron beams to control the sharpness of the display. Gigahertz (GHz) 1. Frequency The number of times a signal repeats in one second. Megahertz (MHz) 1. a unit of frequency. Equivalent time Sampling A sampling mode in which the oscilloscope constructs a picture of a repetitive signal by capturing a little bit of information from each repeti tion.000. G2 Basic Concepts . Kilohertz (kHz) 1000 Hertz.

The period equals 1/frequency." since oscilloscopes are often used to measure oscillating voltages. Real time Sampling A sampling mode in which the oscilloscope collects as many samples as it can as the signal occurs. usually having a pointed metal tip for making electrical contact with a circuit element and a flexible cable for transmitting the signal to the oscilloscope. Noise An unwanted voltage or current in an electrical circuit. measured in degrees. and a fast falling edge. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes G3 . usually twice the Vp level. Pulse A common waveform shape that has a fast rising edge. Microsecond (ms) A unit of time equivalent to 0. RMS Root mean square. Peak Detection An acquisition mode for digital oscilloscopes that lets you see the ex tremes of a signal. Nanosecond (ns) A unit of time equivalent to 0. The word oscilloscope comes from oscillate. Oscilloscope An instrument used to make voltage changes visible over time. Peak to peak (Vp p) The voltage measured from the maximum point of a signal to its mini mum point. Probe An oscilloscope input device.000001 seconds. Peak (Vp) The maximum voltage level measured from a zero reference point. Record Length The number of waveform points used to create a record of a signal. Period The amount of time it takes a wave to complete one cycle.001 seconds.Glossary Megasamples per second (MS/s) A sample rate unit equal to one million samples per second.000000001 seconds. Millisecond (ms) A unit of time equivalent to 0. a width. Phase The amount of time that passes from the beginning of a cycle to the beginning of the next cycle.

Transient A signal measured by an oscilloscope that only occurs once (also called a single shot event). Signal Generator A test device for injecting a signal into a circuit input. Single Sweep A trigger mode for displaying one screenful of a signal and then stop ping. strain. Single Shot A signal measured by an oscilloscope that only occurs once (also called a transient event). The time base is set by the seconds/division control.Glossary Rise Time The time taken for the leading edge of a pulse to rise from its minimum to its maximum values (typically measured from 10% to 90% of these values). A positive slope increases from left to right. Trace The visible shapes drawn on a CRT by the movement of the electron beam. G4 Basic Concepts . Sweep Speed Same as the time base. Slope On a graph or an oscilloscope screen. Sweep One horizontal pass of an oscilloscope's electron beam from left to right across the CRT screen. the ratio of a vertical distance to a horizontal distance. Time Base Oscilloscope circuitry that controls the timing of the sweep. the circuit's output is then read by an oscilloscope. Sine Wave A common curved wave shape that is mathematically defined. Square Wave A common wave shape consisting of repeating square pulses. or light intensity into an electrical signal. Sample Point The raw data from an ADC used to calculate waveform points. Transducer A device that converts a specific physical quantity such as sound. while a negative slope decreases from left to right. pressure. Screen The surface of the CRT upon which the visible pattern is produced the display area.

Glossary Trigger The circuit that initiates a horizontal sweep on an oscilloscope and determines the beginning point of the waveform. Volt The unit of electric potential difference. Trigger Level The voltage level that a trigger source signal must reach before the trigger circuit initiates a sweep. Waveform A graphic representation of a voltage varying over time. XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes G5 . expressed in volts. Trigger Holdoff A control that inhibits the trigger circuit from looking for a trigger level for some specified time after the end of the waveform. Z axis The signal in an oscilloscope that controls electron beam brightness as the trace is formed. between two points. Waveform points are calculated from sample points and stored in memory. Voltage The difference in electric potential. Waveform Point A digital value that represents the voltage of a signal at a specific point in time.

Glossary G6 Basic Concepts .

7 Auto trigger. 7 Amplitude. defined. 29 C Calculations current. G 2 Delayed trigger. 40 envelope. 40 defined. 25 ADC. Analog to digital. 21 defined. Typical.Index A Abbreviations. G 1 Control settings. defined. G 1 Amplifier. G 2 kHz. 31 Chop mode. 15 defined. 23. 39 Acquisition system. 43 E Earth ground. 30 defined. G 3 RMS. G 3 MS/s. 47 Front panel controls. G 1 ADC resolution. G 1 Current probes. G 2 Hz. 7 defined. 22 vertical. G 2 Divisions. 33 Digital oscilloscopes. G 3 Vp. defined AC. 11 defined. 19 defined. G 1 Attenuator. defined. G 3 AC. G 3 Vp p. G 2 Equivalent time sampling. G 3 ns. 39 averaging. 39 Acquisition modes. 15 defined. 44 Channel invert. 30 DC. defined. 22 Convertor. G 2 Envelope. 22 Averaging. G 2 Cursors. 44 resistance. 25 defined. G 1 DC. 40 sample. G 2 Focus control. G 2 GHz. 7 Attenuation. 8 Display controls. 37 Focus. 45 Frequency ratios. G 1 Circuit loading. G 1 Acquisition controls. 30 CRT. 31 Chop display mode. G 1 Compensation. 29 Frequency. defined. 40 hi res. 32 Alternate display mode. 8 Active probes. G 2 F False triggering. G 1 Analog oscilloscopes. G 1 ADC. G 1 Ground. defined. 40 defined. 25 Cursor. 44 voltage. eliminating. G 2 Frequency measurements. G 2 ms. 37 Autoset. G 1 B Bandwidth. G 1 Bandwidth limit. 31 D DC. 6 Coupling AC. defined. G 2 MHz. 31 Alternating mode. 13 Division. G 3 ms. defined. 22 XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes I1 . 44 power. 6 defined. 20 Add mode. 22 trigger. 40 peak detect. 17 defined. 23 Controls horizontal. 45 Cycle. G 1 CRT.

G 3 Peak detect. G 3 Peak to peak. 19 Period. G 2 Glitch. 32 subtracting waveforms. G 2 I2 Basic Concepts . defined. G 3 H Hertz. defined. G 2 Hi res. 24 Probes. 25 Grounding strap. 44 Megahertz. 24 Peak. G3 Microsecond. 43 Performance terms. 10 defined. 45 voltage. 16 K Kilohertz. 21 Grounding yourself. 26 what is it. 9 defined. 43 time. 44 peak to peak. defined. 21 L Lissajous patterns. G 2 Ground clip. G 3 Phase. G 3 Percent markings. defined. 33 Horizontal system. 47 Power law. 7 I Input connectors. 13 Measurements frequency. G 2 Megasamples per second. G 3 Probe compensation how to. G 2 Ground. 18 Phase shift measurements. defined. 16 defined. defined. 46 Pulse train. 3 Pulse measurements. 16 defined. 5 M Magnification. G 3 Noise. 32 Measurement terms. 7 digital. 47 Oscilloscopes analog. G 3 P Passive probes. 7 Horizontal accuracy. G 3 Phase shift. defined. 19 Horizontal controls. 45 rise time. 8 digital and analog. horizontal. 30 Intensity control. defined. defined. G 2 Graticule. 40 Horizontal position. 34 Probe. 21 Grounding the oscilloscope. 45 pulse width. defined. 44 defined. G 3 Normal. 43 defined. 45 peak. 7 purpose of. G 3 Millisecond. defined. 23 Pulse. 44 Oscilloscope defined. 34 Math operations adding waveforms. 40 Peak detection. 22 Input coupling. 29 Interpolation. 33 time base. G 2 Invert. defined. 6 how they work.Index G Gain accuracy. 18 defined. 19 Gigahertz. 17. G 3 what is it. 32 N Nanosecond. defined. 17 defined. 44 period. 22 Pretrigger. 37 O Ohm's law. 44 Preset.

G 3 Rectangular wave. 34 Trigger slope.Index R Ramps. defined. defined. position control. 9 Record length. 37 noise reject. 16 Sweep. 13 defined. 35 Trigger coupling AC. G 4 Sweep speed. 37 Trigger holdoff. 15 Resolution. 20 Rise time. 39 defined. 37 DC. 11 Real time sampling. G 3 Square wave. 44 Volts per Division control. 33 Sequential sampling. 15 defined. defined. 30 T Terminology. G 4 Transient. G 5 Waveform points. G 5 XYZs of Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes I3 . 11 Signal generator. 8 maximum. 30 Vertical controls. G 5 types. defined. 8 Sample rate. 33 main. 10 interpolation. 29 Vertical resolution. G 4 delayed. 9. 10 Sampling modes. G 4 Trace rotation. 19 Vertical system. 10 real time. G 4 Single shot. 33 defined. G 5 Trigger level. 16 Random sampling. 20 Sampling equivalent time. G 4 Sine wave. 5 defined. 44 Voltage measurements. 29 Transducer. 37 Trigger position. 20 defined. 7 Volt. 7. 20 Vertical scale. 33 Time base accuracy. 34. 45 using graticule. 44 peak to peak. G 4 Sine waves. G 5 Waveform point. 37 Low frequency reject. G 4 Triangle wave. G 4 Sample points. 17 defined. 45 Trace. 36 S Safety. G 4 Static electricity. 13 20 Time base. G 5 Voltage. 10 defined. 19 Time measurements. defined. defined. 39 Sample point. 10 Sawtooth wave. 37 high frequency reject. 19 defined. 16 defined. 44 rms. 9. defined. 15 Single shot. G 4 RMS. G 4 Single sweep. 16 Slope. 15 damped. 16 Scale. 36 Trigger source. defined. defined. 47 Z Z axis. 36 Trigger controls. 30 Vertical. defined. G 4 Seconds per division. 44 Voltage measurement using cursors. 37 normal. 39 X XY mode. 7 V Variable gain. G 3 Record. 21 Sample. G 5 peak. G 4 Trigger system. 38 defined. 30 Vertical sensitivity. horizontal. 16 Trigger defined. 21 Step. defined. G 5 Trigger modes auto. defined. 36 defined. 19 defined. 43 Screen. G 4 W Waveform.

Index I4 Basic Concepts .