An oscilloscope is a common measurement device used in laboratories. It used to measure and view changes in the electrical voltage over a time period in the waveform. Simply put, they draw a graph of the instantaneous signal voltage as a function of time.
Oscilloscopes differ from voltmeters. Voltmeters only measure the magnitude and direction of the voltage in the circuit numerically. A USB oscilloscope uses the USB (Universal Serial Bus) to link to a hardware device and derives power from it as well.
In an environment where electronic equipment needs to be tested, USB oscilloscopes are low-cost, space-saving, high-performance devices. They utilize the processing power, screen, and power supply from Personal Computers (PCs) to take precise measurements of variation in electrical impulses.
Divided into Horizontal Division (Hor Div) and Vertical Divisions (Vert Div), these devices can display alternating current (AC) or pulsating direct current (DC) waveforms. Hor Div displays time from left to right and Vert Div displays instantaneous voltage.
On a USB oscilloscope the time readings are in seconds per division (s/div), milliseconds per division (ms/div), microseconds per division (s/div), or nanoseconds per division (ns/div). The change in electrical impulses is displayed in volts per division (V/div), millivolts per division (mV/div), or microvolts per division (µV/div).
A typical oscilloscope can measure AC or DC waveforms with frequencies from 1 hertz (Hz) to several megahertz (MHz). High-end devices can measure up to several hundred gigahertz (GHz) as well.
Usage of USB Oscilloscopes:
USB oscilloscopes are utilized in various tasks, by physicists, medical professionals, students and electronic experts alike, for basic production to highly technical jobs. They are central to numerous jobs including designing, troubleshooting, testing, repair or analysis.
Electronics Specialists use USB oscilloscopes while repairing televisions, cameras or when working on circuit design, Research & Development (R&D) and manufacturing.
Students and Makers dealing with electrical electronics and various circuits prefer USB oscilloscope for its ease of use and portability.
Why is a USB Oscilloscope Useful?
A USB oscilloscope is very useful because you can use the software programs to control the sweep rate, vertical deflection, and a host of other functions. The PC interface makes it super easy to edit and save waveforms for future analysis and as reference.
This also gives the capability to view several waveforms at the same time with multiple color display options. These devices are extremely portable and since they use the computers power source, you won’t have to worry about powering your device.
The USB oscilloscopes can measure phase difference, frequency, characteristics of semiconductor elements such as diodes, transistors. They also measure the charge and discharge curves of the capacitor and the current passing through the circuit.
In conclusion, USB oscilloscopes are available with a wide range of capabilities from entry-level USB scopes to sampling oscilloscopes with bandwidths in the GHz region.
Elements such as the size of the oscilloscope, bandwidth, sampling rate, channel number, resolution, input voltage range, or supply backlash should be carefully considered before buying one most suitable for your requirements. These instruments provide considerable cost savings without compromising on performance.