About USB Oscilloscope
USB oscilloscope is one of the 4 types of oscilloscope. The other 3 types of oscilloscope are called digital oscilloscope, analog oscilloscope, handheld (portable) oscilloscope.
Before describing the USB oscilloscope, it is necessary to briefly explain the concept of the oscilloscope, how it works and how it is connected to the circuit.
What is an oscilloscope?
The measurement device that allows to see the changes in the electrical voltage depending on time is called an oscilloscope. It is commonly known that a voltmeter is used to make such a measurement under normal conditions. But there are some distinctive features between these 2 devices. The voltmeter can only show the user the magnitude and direction of the voltage in the circuit numerically.
Oscilloscope is a device that facilitates understanding by presenting the change of voltage depending on time with a user-friendly approach in a two-axis graph more clearly.
USB Oscilloscopes, what is the difference?
At first glance, USB Oscilloscopes prove their usefulness: They are small, lightweight and very powerful. Yet when you actually use an USB oscilloscope, it is only then you truly understand and appreciate how revolutionary this device is.
As you may already know, there are four main types of oscilloscopes: Analog oscilloscope, digital oscilloscope, portable oscilloscope and USB oscilloscope. Even though they have minor differences in design and function, all four types basically do the same job. Similar to the digital and portable oscilloscopes, USB oscilloscope is known for its light weight and portability. As a result, the main reasons why people opt for USB oscilloscope are these two: USB oscilloscope is so small and compact that you can practically carry it in your pocket. Moreover, it is compatible with cell phones, computers and tablets. And the best thing about USB oscilloscope is its very competitive price: USB oscilloscope is very cheap compared to the other types of oscilloscopes.
Who Use Usb Oscilloscope?
Usb oscilloscope has oscilloscopes that work on the same principle as digital oscilloscopes, although they generally serve the same use, there are some differences. Since the usb oscilloscope offers many benefits in terms of effectiveness, they can actually be used in most projects. People who frequently use USB oscilloscope are electronic experts, students and makers.
Electronics Specialists: Electronics specialists are people who work in many projects. For this reason, it is quite logical for them to use auxiliary devices such as oscilloscopes. They get help from usb oscilloscopes while repairing electronic devices such as televisions, cameras, working on circuit design and manufacturing, and performing R&D studies. The viewing of USB oscilloscopes over the computer and not taking up space provides benefits in this type of work.
Students and Makers: Oscilloscopes are used in students and makers dealing with electrical electronics and various circuits. At this point, there are main reasons why USB oscilloscope is preferred more. The fact that the USB oscilloscope is easy to carry is the most important function for students. At the same time, increasing digitalization and the fact that Z generation students are born directly into these technologies facilitates the use of a USB oscilloscope.
The USB oscilloscope can be used by technicians, physicists or medical professionals as well as electronics specialists, students and makers. However, since each oscilloscope type has certain advantages, each group has an oscilloscope type of choice.
How does oscilloscope work principle?
To summarize in the most understandable way; After the electron beams occur in a cathode ray tube, it begins to hit the screen covered with special chemical (phosphorus), and phosphors are illuminated with each beat, providing an image on the screen.
These electron beams spread to the screen of the oscilloscope in a very short time and turn the electrical values we measure into graphics that we can see.
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How to connect the oscilloscope to the circuit?
Since the oscilloscope is a voltage measuring device in the circuit, just like the voltmeter, it is connected parallel to the circuit just like the voltmeter. Different types of oscilloscope probes can be found to make this connection.
Oscilloscope probes will be connected to the device with screw connectors called BNC and will help the oscilloscope to function.
How USB oscilloscope work and What are the advantages of the usb oscilloscope?
The most distinctive feature of USB oscilloscopes is that other oscilloscopes do not have the display or buttons.
These types of oscilloscopes, which work by connecting to a computer via a USB, are controlled by the computer and their results are displayed on the computer screen and delivered to the user. In order for such devices to work as described, there must be software available on the computer for this device to work as well. Unlike other 3 types of oscilloscopes, USB oscilloscopes that require a computer and software support provide low cost by offering a much more affordable price option compared to other 3 types.
If it is necessary to list the advantages it provides besides the low price because it does not have a screen;
- USB oscilloscopes are easy to carry thanks to their small size.
- The PC screen is larger than other types, so USB oscilloscopes allow users to see the waveforms more clearly.
- The PC interface of USB oscilloscopes makes it easier to process and edit files.
- In order to control oscilloscopes of this type, users can design their own programs and make them ready for use, rather than sticking to a fixed program.
Why USB oscilloscope?
For the electricians, USB oscilloscope is almost revolutionary. It provides great freedom and mobility due to its small size and light weight. Being a highly compact tool, USB oscilloscope allows the electricians to work freely in field. Moreover, it is also considerably lighter than the digital oscilloscope.
Before USB oscilloscopes were in the market, digital oscilloscopes were the go-to option for the experts. However, since their first release, USB oscilloscopes have steadily risen to popularity and according to the technicians, electricians and scientists, USB oscilloscopes will remain the most popular option for a very long time. There is still room for improvement in its design but due to its small size and impressive power, USB oscilloscope is the go-to option for many.
The most widely used oscilloscope type today is digital oscilloscopes. With the use of digital oscilloscopes, which allow fast and high-resolution signals to be generated, the monitored signals can be stopped at any time, triggered and recorded at the desired level.
Digital oscilloscopes are seen as the most preferred type of oscilloscope because they provide such facilities. Digital oscilloscopes are seen as the most preferred type of oscilloscope because they provide such facilities. USB oscilloscope has the same features as digital oscilloscopes and has the same working principle.
USB oscilloscopes work like a digital oscilloscope with a fast and high resolution analog - digital converter (ADC) circuit and button, and a microcontroller that can control display functions. The only difference between the USB oscilloscope and the digital oscilloscope is that it does not have a screen and buttons; It requires a computer and appropriate software in order to give results and to display these results.
USB type oscilloscopes, which can be used at a much more affordable cost compared to other types, are seen as a highly preferred type of oscilloscope thanks to this feature.
What values can be measured with an USB oscilloscope?
The USB oscilloscopes we have examined in detail above can measure all the values that other types of oscilloscopes can measure. Thanks to these oscilloscopes, we can see the values that can be measured as items;
- Phase difference
- Characteristics of semiconductor elements such as diodes, transistors
- Charge and discharge curves of the capacitor
- AC and DC voltage values
- Waveforms of changing electrical magnitudes
- The current passing through the circuit
What should be considered when buying a USB Oscilloscope?
Before purchasing a USB oscilloscope, the usage purpose of the oscilloscope should be determined like all other oscilloscopes. USB oscilloscope prices can range from a few hundred lira to tens of thousands lira, depending on the purpose of use. For example, it will not be logical for a student to use a ten thousand lira USB oscilloscope in a project for the school. Instead, it is much more beneficial for him to choose a USB oscilloscope that will take him to the desired result in accordance with his project. Although analog oscilloscopes are much more affordable than USB oscilloscopes, they are not preferred due to the opportunities we have mentioned. So the only point to be considered here is not the price, but the functionality it provides. Elements such as the size of the oscilloscope, bandwidth, sampling rate, channel number, resolution, input voltage range or supply backlash are also very important.