Top & Best Oscilloscope: How to choose the best in 2021?
In today’s article we will help you choose the oscilloscope, this measuring device very popular with engineers, professionals and students of electrical and electronics in general.
Fundamental to the development, manufacture and maintenance of electronic systems, oscilloscopes are also widely used to measure physical phenomena such as sound waves, light, heat, pressure, among others, accurately and quickly.
Follow this Review to the end and check out the best product options, in addition to the features that you must pay attention to in order to make the best choice of oscilloscope to meet your needs.
First, the most important
- The oscilloscope is available in several models and configurations. Choose according to the intended use.
- Model, bandwidth, number of channels, sampling rate, sampling mode and memory depth are some of the features to consider when purchasing.
- There are options for oscilloscopes with wide price variations on the market. Simpler portable models can be purchased for R $ 250 or more. Bench models, more robust and complete, can cost more than R $ 3,000.
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Ranking: The 3 best oscilloscopes
Whether for small repairs or large projects, everyone who works in the electronics area has already needed the help of an oscilloscope. If the need is frequent to acquire this product it is the ideal option not only to assist in the activities but to improve and develop the user’s skills.
If you have no idea where to start when choosing your oscilloscope, here are the most interesting models of the product to inspire you. Check out:
Now that you’ve checked out these cool oscilloscope suggestions in our Ranking, let’s go to the Buying Guide. In this section you will follow the most relevant information about the oscilloscope, so that you can more safely choose the model that best suits you.After all, this is an expensive product, and if chosen well it could be useful for a few decades. Therefore, the wise choice is fundamental, since simply choosing the most expensive one will not guarantee that it is suitable for the intended use.
What is the oscilloscope?
The oscilloscope is a device for measuring electrical and electronic signals, where the measurement takes place through the presentation of graphs, where the vertical axis indicates the signal strength while the horizontal axis represents time.
It is considered one of the most important instruments for the work of professionals in the area, being indispensable for the development, manufacture and maintenance of electronic systems.
The digital versions are more and more modern to meet the demands of measurements every day faster and more accurate, improving the capacity of technical analysis of electronic systems in the most diverse applications.
What are the main uses of an oscilloscope?
Despite being considered by the laypeople to be a very specific and complicated equipment, the use of the oscilloscope is not limited to the world of electronics. The equipment can be adaptable to different areas and professional profiles, from physicists to maintenance technicians.An automotive engineer, for example, can use the oscilloscope to correlate analog sensor data with the data sent by the electronic injection module. A medical researcher can measure brain waves.
In addition, with the use of appropriate sensors, the equipment is capable of measuring various physical phenomena such as sound waves, light, heat, pressure, etc., making the instrument’s applications countless.
What are the advantages of an oscilloscope?
Knowing what the product is about and also who are the professionals who most use this equipment, you can already have a good idea of the advantages it offers.Its versatility is the greatest of them, since it can be used for several purposes. In addition, it is highly efficient and accurate. Although it is a more expensive product, the oscilloscope provides improvement and learning. It is worth mentioning that for correct use, experience and practice are necessary.
How to choose the ideal oscilloscope?
The ideal oscilloscope is one that fits and meets your needs, combining quality, durability and good value for money. For this reason, the perfect oscilloscope model may vary from user to user.Basically, today we have analog and digital oscilloscopes on the market.
Digital devices may or may not be equipped with a USB connection, which allows the connection and transmission of data to a computer. They can also be of the bench or portable type, with reduced proportions and ideal for external or field services.
Digital oscilloscopes are ideal for analyzing large volumes of data or for those who need to store data for later analysis, thanks to their greater memory capacity.
Already the analog require manual data collection, and are much more robust. They are more suitable for analyzing signals in real time, as they allow the adjustment of focus and display intensity, providing a clearer visualization.
Analog equipment also allows the classification of intensity, through a function that automatically points out anomalies in the signal, facilitating the perception of problems
Where to buy?
Purchasing criteria: Factors to compare the different oscilloscope models
To finish this article, we’ll give you another helping hand to make a successful purchase and choose your oscilloscope like a professional.
Check the list of features for which you should be aware when comparing models, types and brands of this product:
- Number of channels
- Sampling rate
- Sampling mode
- Memory depth
For the avoidance of doubt, we will detail each of these characteristics below. Check out!
Bandwidth is measured in Band Width (BW) and represents the frequency range of the input signal that the oscilloscope is capable of analyzing. To work perfectly, it is recommended that the equipment has a frequency analysis capacity between 2 to 5 times greater than the system to be analyzed.
The greater the difference in values between the sensitivity of the equipment and the frequency of the signal processed, the more complete and accurate the data capture and measurement will be.
Number of channels
The channel on an oscilloscope allows you to measure and record one signal at a time. The most popular devices are those with two or four channels, which can reach 8 channels or more in special equipment. For use in simultaneous measurements the channels need to be isolated from each other.
The two-channel models are the most sought-after and most cost-effective on the market, serving standard users well. Equipment with more channels can be quite expensive and unnecessary for conventional uses.
Models with larger capacities are only needed for very specific uses, such as simultaneous analysis of three or more signals, for example, as in three-phase applications, variable frequency motor drives, high-power inverters and industrial motors.
The sample rate of an oscilloscope is called the Sample Rate. It determines the amount of information that can be obtained from the same signal in a given period of time. The greater the amount of information acquired, the more accurate the device’s graphic measurement will be.
For the most accurate data capture and graphic representation possible, the combination of the Sample Rate and the bandwidth must have a minimum ratio of 3: 1.
Sample Mode, or oscilloscope sampling mode, can be of the type:
Real Time Sampling – RTS : Real-time sampling, with initial signal processing in various waveforms made from digital analog converters (ADC).
With this sampling mode, the oscilloscope analyzes instantly captures signal spectrum data at each shot of the equipment, according to the sample rates and sample spacing settings predetermined by the user. The information collected is processed at points that will form the representative graph.
Elapsed Time Sampling – ETS : Equivalent time sampling requires programming the trigger by the user to obtain samples. Programming can be done depending on time, intervals, a specific variable condition, among other patterns. It is a more suitable method for repetitive signals.
Memory depth is a unique feature of digital oscilloscopes. This measure directly influences the limit quantity of samples of the same signal that the device can take.
The greater the memory depth of the chosen model, the more details and data it will be able to store from a single signal, resulting in a deeper and more accurate analysis.
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