Best Range Metrics | Hackaday

There was a time when few hobbyists had an oscilloscope and the ones you saw were old military or industrial surplus that was past its prime. Today, you can buy a fancy bezel for about the price of those used bezels that would once have been the envy of every giant research lab. However, this new breed of instruments is generally digital and although they look like an old analog oscilloscope, the way they work leads to some strange pitfalls that [Arthur Pini] covers in a recent post.

Some of his advice is common sense, but easy to overlook. For example, if you stack your four input channels so that each uses a quarter of the screen, that makes sense, doesn’t it? But [Arthur] points out that you lose two bits of dynamic range, which can really increase a sensitive measurement.

It also has tips on how to improve noise on measurements and get the best data from cursors. Again, if you take the time to think about how everything works, it’s pretty obvious: displaying millions of samples on a screen with maybe 2,000 pixels means that each pixel represents a lot of data.

Some of the features he mentions might not be within your grasp, but it’s still an interesting example of how what your eyes tell you isn’t always the truth. The message is an excellent reminder to think about how the oscilloscope works when making measurements.

Of course, if you really want to understand your scope, you have to build it. If you’re not too picky, you can just use your browser.

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