History is a compelling tale of humans and their continuous flirtations with technological leaps. It is only because of these leaps that each generation is able to live a better and easier life than their predecessors. The process of continuously working to improve our lives as well as the objects we use in this life is what has brought us to this point. And it is precisely what will lead us into a better and even more sophisticated tomorrow.
And who’s the architect of this process of development? Engineers. They are perpetually working on perfecting our electrical devices to make them smarter, to make them more interactive, easier to use as well as efficient. It is through their efforts that we are able to enjoy the comforts that we have today.
One of the lesser known devices that they’ve perfected over the years and will undoubtedly continue to do so is the oscilloscope. However, deciding on which oscilloscope to use can be a formidable task for engineers considering there’s no paucity of excellent alternatives. There are sites like Digilentinc.com that have all the kinds of oscilloscopes that engineers might need. However, how exactly can they opt for the best one?
Here are some factors that should make the ultimate decision easier to make.
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of options to consider for engineers when buying oscilloscopes. However, all oscilloscopes fall in two distinct categories that they should be aware of i.e. the analog and the digital oscilloscope. Most engineers are usually aware of analog oscilloscopes as they have probably worked with one at some point during their career or studies. Most of them prefer the digital option called the Digital Storage Oscilloscopes (DSO) for the wealth of options and features that they offer. However, analog oscilloscopes have distinct characteristics of their own.
In the end, it boils down to the exact needs of the engineers.
It should be noted that there are only a few manufacturers that still produce analog oscilloscopes. In terms of quality and performance, the DSOs hold a significant advantage over their analog rivals. They’re smaller, have single shot ability, a simple user interface and most importantly provide storage and printing.
It ultimately boils down to the minutest details. When it comes to oscilloscopes, a variation of 0.1% can cause a complete disruption of the data and the noise along with it. It is for this reason that modern DSOs are optimized in order to perform at peak capabilities utilizing an 8 bit resolution (8 bit ADC). This allows it to detect a signal change at 0.4% signal change.
In terms of audio, noise, monitoring sense as well as vibrations, the 8 bit oscilloscope is the best choice. However, the 12 and 16 bit alternatives are equally good and will provide similarly effective and efficient results.
DSOs can further be classified into three distinct categories i.e. benthos, handheld and hand-held.
Bench-top provides the best performance considering the cost. Its primary features include FFT spectrum, PC interfaces, disk drives as well as optional extras that users can opt for.
Hand-held oscilloscopes are the best option for engineers that want to remain mobile but don’t want to compromise on quality. However, they’re difficult tpo read in direct sunlight and have a relatively shorter battery life.
PC-base oscilloscopes are growing in use and popularity since it combines the best features of both hand-held and bench-top with few of their drawbacks. They’re also inexpensive and come with a large color display as well as a faster processor.
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