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An Oscilloscope is simply an instrument used to measure voltage waveform with respect to time.
With the conceptual definition out of the way, let’s know, with some technical explanation, the meaning of a digital oscilloscope.
A digital oscilloscope is a sophisticated device with different software and electronic hardware modules that work together to identify, process, view, and store data from relevant signal operators. A digital oscilloscope can also be referred to as Digital Storage Oscilloscopes (DSO) or Digit; Sampling Oscilloscopes (DSO).
In this article, we will highlight the advantages of using a digital oscilloscope. Not being bias, we will also list some of the drawbacks of using it too. Let’s have a quick run-up of a digital oscilloscope’s basic components before we get to that.
Basic Element of a Digital Oscilloscope
Based on internal design, an Oscilloscope can either be Digital or Analogue. Both function on the same principles. However, there’s a difference in the way data is rendered to the operator. For a digital oscilloscope to perform optimally, it should have the following;
- Analogue Vertical Input Amplifiers
- Analogue-Digital Converter and a Digital Waveform Memory
- A Time Base with a Trigger and Clock drive
- Circuits for Waveform Displaying and Restructuring
- LED or LCD Display Screen
- Power Source
Advantages of Digital Oscilloscope
There are a lot of advantages a digital oscilloscope has over the analogue type. We’ll briefly discuss some of these advantages below;
- Store Data/Readings — a digital oscilloscope can store digital data for future reference and analysis, upload it to a computer, generate a hard copy, or store it on a hard drive.
- Real-time Data Analysis — with the help of a storage memory, a digital oscilloscope can analyse signals in real time, as well as large samples of data.
- Display Data in Different Ways — the digital oscilloscope doesn’t only record what’s available on the screen; thus, it offers a variety of storage, processing, and display options.
- Best for Waveform Analysis — it’s ideal for presenting more detailed and complicated signal waveforms. Especially on problems involving calculations of specific portions of the waveforms.
- Analysis of higher frequencies — a digital oscilloscope can analyze signals with high frequency due to the presence of advanced DSP algorithms.
Disadvantages of Digital Oscilloscope
With the benefits of using it out of the way, let’s look at some potential drawbacks of using the device.
- It requires ADC, µP, and acquisition memory for measurement.
- It’s relatively expensive, and they cost more depending on the model and features supported.
In the real sense, there’s no drawback in using a digital oscilloscope over the analogue type, except the additional cost of getting one.