Oscilloscopes are not what they used to be before. Today oscilloscopes are not just used to plot graph of voltage versus time on the screen. But at present the newly rising demands for multiple features have made oscilloscopes to go beyond being a mere box to user friendly instrument to a certain extend. All these have been achieved by using sophisticated and high-end software. In recent times, the integration of oscilloscope with instruments like multimeters, function generators, frequency counters, logic analysers and spectrum analysers has made it easier and faster for the user to analyse the system under test. Hence, the race is on between vendors, who are adding more features at competitive prices to attract customers.
US manufactures holds over 70 % of the world market share for oscilloscope. The international market for oscilloscope is predicted to grow between $50 to $100 million per year. The oscilloscope market in the Asia pacific region is growing very faster compared to all other geographies. Communication, electronic manufacturing, aerospace, military and defense are primary end-user industries of oscilloscope. The reason behind fast blossoming and driving growth in the oscilloscope market is development of oscilloscope with new feature and introduction of the product in the market as soon as possible. This is the approach followed by china to dominate export-driven market with low manufacturing costs.
Types of oscilloscope available in market
The working of analog oscilloscope is based on signal voltage and electron beam. When measured signal voltage is supplied to the vertical axis or horizontal axis of the electron beam. The electron beam starts moving from left to right or up and down on the screen, which is coated with luminous phosphor that glows whenever electron beam hits the screen. Therefore, depending upon the voltage supplied, the electron beam traces a waveform on the screen. The problem with analog oscilloscope surfaces when analog oscilloscopes are operated at low or high frequencies. At low frequencies, the signal appears as a bright and slow-moving dot sketching different waveform from conventional waveform. At high frequencies, the display or waveform becomes very dim. Hence, interpretation of waveform becomes difficult.
There are three types of oscilloscope viz. Digital storage oscilloscopes, digital phosphorous oscilloscopes, and digital sampling oscilloscope. The working of digital oscilloscope is different from analog oscilloscope. Digital oscilloscopes use an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to convert measured voltage into digital information. To describe waveforms, digital oscilloscopes acquire the waveform as a series of samples, and store these samples until they good enough to be classified as a waveform.
Advantages : High bandwidth, Single-shot ability, Colour displays, Portable design, Increased measurement capability
Using current technology, size of traditional oscilloscope has been shrunk to a size, which fits in the hand. Also, size and weight of a digital voltmeter has been reduced, which makes it a natural choice for both bench and field service applications, including digital and analog signals; telecommunications; GPS, TV, and audio signals; line-operated equipment; and sensors.
PC Oscilloscopes design basically consists of different instruments connected to CPU.
- Offers two to four-channels with better resolution, sampling rate and a large memory buffer.
- Due to the regular updates of software, PC oscilloscope remains on a par with emerging technology.
- The USB ports powers the unit, eliminating the need for an external power supply
- Usually voltage ranges from +/- 20mV make it suitable for a wide range of applications, including general analog, audio and digital design.
- PC oscilloscope provides high accuracy to produce high-quality waveform.
Oscilloscopes have transformed from a voltage measuring box into a versatile instrument. Research has been carried out to speed up the working on complex high-speed patterns of signals. Just like other industries where innovations in software technologies have contributed to better growth, use of software. In oscilloscope industry is taking oscilloscope to altogether higher platform making it user-friendlier.