You need to test, we're here to help.

You need to test, we're here to help.

30 October 2013

Back to Basics: Controlling an Oscilloscope (Part II)

An example of a touch screen-equipped oscilloscope.
Figure 1: An example of a
touch screen-equipped
oscilloscope.
In a recent post, we discussed how to control a modern digital oscilloscope using the front-panel controls. That was a natural place to begin, given that it's the "traditional" means of controlling the instrument and the one that most seasoned users cut their teeth on. But there's more than one way to skin this cat these days. Many of today's oscilloscopes carry touch screens that do everything the front-panel controls can do, plus some things they cannot do.

23 October 2013

Video: How to Set Up and Use Cursors

As a follow-up to a recent post with an oscilloscope front-panel tour, we want to dig a little deeper into one aspect of controlling the instrument, and that's how to set up and use cursors. But instead of describing it in prose, it makes more sense to show you. So enjoy this brief tutorial video that will get you started with cursors! We're demonstrating on a Teledyne LeCroy HDO4054, but most of what we're showing you translates to other manufacturer's instruments.

16 October 2013

Going From FFTs to Spectrum Analysis

Spectrum Analyzer software for the HDO series oscilloscopes provides an intuitive user interface
Figure 1: Spectrum Analyzer software for the HDO series
oscilloscopes provides an intuitive user interface
In earlier posts, we looked at a) the basics of fast-Fourier transforms (FFTs) and b) how to set up an FFT on a modern digital oscilloscope. In this post, we'll take a brief look at what that modern scope can do with an FFT, provided that scope is outfitted with software that will let it take full advantage. After all, the object of an FFT is to transform a time-domain waveform into the frequency domain. Sounds kind of like a spectrum analyzer, no?

09 October 2013

Waveform Generator Tricks: Pulse-Width Modulation

Teledyne LeCroy's WaveStation waveform generator
Figure 1: Teledyne LeCroy's WaveStation
waveform generator
Imagine that you're designing a digital control circuit but you really want it to behave like an analog circuit. Say, something like light dimmers, or a motor controller. A tried-and-true approach is to use pulse-width modulation (PWM) to have your digital control logic emulate the behavior of analog control. And your handy-dandy waveform generator, if so equipped, is a great way to generate a PWM signal to test out your design.

02 October 2013

Back to Basics: Controlling An Oscilloscope (Part I)

Front of HDO6054 oscilloscope
Figure 1: Front of HDO4054 oscilloscope
At first glance, the front of today's oscilloscopes can be daunting. For starters, there's an array of physical "hard" controls. Relatively recent models may also sport touch screen displays with so-called "soft" controls. For one thing, getting familiar with the front of these instruments is only a matter of experimentation and common sense. And for another, what at first may seem complex is carefully designed to make the instrument as easy to operate as possible. This is the first installment of a projected series of posts that will explain how to control a modern oscilloscope. Here, we'll start with the front panel.