An oscilloscope is a versatile and powerful electronic test equipment. Apart from the obvious electrical and electronic engineering applications, it has numerous other applications, like in the automotive and medical sectors.
An oscilloscope is a piece of electronic test equipment whose main function is to graphically display a varying electric voltage as a two-dimensional voltage vs time plot. Other functions of an oscilloscope are to analyze the frequency, amplitude, duty cycle, rise time, distortion, etc.
Utilization of Oscilloscopes in Applications
The field of application of oscilloscopes is not just limited to electrical and electronic engineering sectors, rather it has multifold applications in various other sectors as well. Some of the most important applications are discussed below-
Research and Development
During the designing and prototyping of any electronic or electrical device, it is required to know the input-output and various other characteristics of the design. Oscilloscopes provide such data with high precision. It is an indispensable tool for designing any electronic or electrical device.
Oscilloscopes can be used to analyze any type of communication signal. There are specialized oscilloscopes that can work in the GHz range. So, they can easily analyze Radio, Television, Cellular, or even microwave communication signals. With special probes, it can even analyze EM signals directly.
An oscilloscope is a must-have tool for troubleshooting and repairing any faulty electronic device. Oscilloscopes are used to detect faulty components by analyzing the input and output of a faulty circuit and comparing it to the standard values of the input and output of the circuit.
Electromagnetic compliance or electromagnetic interference of an electrical device can be measured by an oscilloscope. It can measure the device’s ability to function in its intended electromagnetic environment without creating intolerable electromagnetic disturbances in the environment.
An oscilloscope is used to analyze and troubleshoot a vehicle’s electrical and electronic systems accurately. It can check a vehicle’s fuel injectors, spark plugs, fuses, ignition coil, or run a diagnosis on a vehicle without a start condition.
Medical devices such as electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG), electrocardiogram (ECG), etc. are specialized oscilloscopes. These devices are extremely vital because they provide life-saving data on a patient’s brain activity, and muscle activity and can monitor the cardiac activity of a patient.
With differential amplifier probes, an oscilloscope can perform power analysis. It can measure and analyze the operating properties of power electronics and electrical components. Autotransformers and Switching Mode Power Supply’s ripple and modulation can be analyzed using an oscilloscope.
Jitter is the deviation of a periodic signal from its true periodicity. High bandwidth circuits have very fast clocks and signals, so they are prone to jitter. Oscilloscopes can represent, analyze and debug signal jitter and calibrate timing for clocking applications.
Signal tracing is a technique to detect a faulty component in a circuit. The input signal is traced through the different components starting from the input. The oscilloscope can detect unexpected signals and analyze minor anomalies in the component operation. Thus, the faulty component can be identified.
Oscilloscopes can recreate a signal extremely accurately. It can measure all the important values (voltage, frequency, amplitude, duty cycle, distortion, etc.) of a signal precisely. Using these data various analyses of a signal can be performed. It can also perform mathematical operations on a signal.
Oscilloscopes are generally used to assist in dynamic processing and sound synthesis in music production. It is generally placed in the last stage of music production so that it can analyze the cumulative effect of the effects and plugins mixed in the signal before the oscilloscope.
What is the most important application of an oscilloscope?
The most important application of oscilloscopes is in the electronics design and prototyping sector. The theoretical circuit characteristics may differ greatly from the practical circuit, so a great deal of tweaking and adjustments are needed. Without an oscilloscope, it is impossible to properly design a circuit.
The oscilloscope is an extremely versatile electronic test equipment. It has its application in every field that deals with electrical signals. So, almost the entire electronic and electrical engineering sector is dependent on the oscilloscope. Even the medical, automotive, and music sector has extensive usage of an oscilloscope.