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Digital Oscilloscopes: Powerful Tools For Eet Laboratories

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Electrical ET Labs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.437.1 - 8.437.12



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Paper Authors

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Walter Banzhaf

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3549

Digital Oscilloscopes: Powerful Tools for EET Laboratories

Walter Banzhaf, P.E.

Ward College of Technology, University of Hartford


The digital oscilloscope has gained in popularity as the laboratory measurement tool of choice in EET laboratories, and much has been written about integrating its use into existing courses.1,2 This paper will present some innovative ways to use a digital oscilloscope that have proven to be easily accomplished and highly useful in baccalaureate undergraduate EET courses, from first year through fourth year.

Digital oscilloscopes are increasingly found in academe and in industry because of the many advantages they offer compared with analog oscilloscopes. These advantages include the digital oscilloscope's ability to: • perform automated measurements of voltage (average, maximum & minimum, RMS, peak to peak), and time (period, frequency, rise time & fall time, duty cycle, pulse width, phase shift & time delay between channels 1 and 2) • provide a reasonable display for most waveforms using the "autoscale" button • print and/or store waveforms on disk • store instrument settings to speed setup time for experiments • store waveforms for comparison with live waveforms • perform mathematical operations on channels: add, subtract, multiply, integrate, differentiate, fast Fourier transform (FFT) • capture transient events and store them for analysis and/or viewing • reduce noise on waveforms using digital averaging • perform routine calibrations and diagnostic tests on itself • turn on "infinite persistence" to store a record of waveform behavior • show and record displays of very slow phenomena, with up to 50 seconds per horizontal division

Some of these advantages of digital oscilloscopes are less well known, and are not often utilized in undergraduate laboratories; it is these that will be illustrated in this paper. An Agilent 54621A oscilloscope was used for all examples shown; other manufacturers' oscilloscopes have similar features.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Banzhaf, W. (2003, June), Digital Oscilloscopes: Powerful Tools For Eet Laboratories Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12523

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