An oscilloscope is a tool or instrument that displays and analyzes electronic signals in waveform. As you can see the voltage or signals, an oscilloscope helps you immediately identify any issues that arise in an electronic circuit. Thus, it allows you to determine if a circuit is working properly. A good example of an oscilloscope is the microphone as it turns sound or audio into electrical signals.
Oscilloscopes are electronics test equipment used by engineers, scientists, repair technicians, educators, and physicists to view signal changes over time. An automotive engineer uses them for correlating serial data with analog data, while medical researchers need them for measuring brain waves.
Karl Ferdinand Braun, a German physicist, invented cathode-ray tube (CTR) & an oscilloscope in 1897 but the original commercially available oscilloscope was introduced by General Radio in 1934. Tektronix, the global leader in oscilloscopes, was created in 1946.
Oscilloscopes were formerly called oscillographs.
There are two types of oscilloscopes: analog and digital.
An analog oscilloscope has a horizontal channel, a number of vertical channels, time base, CRT (cathode ray tube) module, and a trigger system. Waveforms are displayed on a green CRT screen using high gain amplifiers. It is considered the “older” version of oscilloscopes.
Almost all modern-day and new types are digital oscilloscopes. This type of oscilloscope uses a high-technology LCD screen. Before displaying the signal onscreen, a digital oscilloscope uses an analog-to-digital converter to change the signal and turn it into a digital stream.
There are five categories of digital oscilloscopes:
- DSO or Digital Storage Oscilloscope
- DPO or Digital Phosphor Oscilloscope
- MSO or Mixed Signal Oscilloscope
- MDO or Mixed Domain Oscilloscope
- The Digital Sampling Oscilloscope (which has a speed that is ten times higher than other oscilloscopes)