What to Consider When Opting for a USB Oscilloscope

USB oscilloscopes, which are used to observe and measure electrical signals, are becoming more popular as continual enhancements are made in performance and functionality.

This boost in oscilloscope functionality has expanded into multiple industries. We’re talking everything from OEM production lines to academic research, which is a strong indication to how far these tools have come in recent years. Still, there are some specifics to consider when opting for a USB oscilloscope.

The basic setup

The setup of a USB oscilloscope is similar to the standard digital storage device you’ve seen before with added capability provided by an attached computer. The typical digital storage device setup is limited to the unit’s own processing mechanism.

Beyond displaying changes in electrical signals as a function of time, USB oscilloscopes can be adjusted for pre-conditioning processes. This includes amplification, adjusting the DC offset and filtering to find the optimal range for the application. Much of the control comes from software applications that also allow for configurable parameters.

What to consider for a USB oscilloscope

Early model USB oscilloscopes were seen as nothing more than toys. But as both measurement and computing technology has progressed, the functionality and performance levels available today will meet a wide variety of applications.

The level of performance and functionality required for your application gives you options on the cost of the equipment. Bandwidth, sampling rate, channel count, and specific measurement capabilities are all important factors to consider.

Also, give consideration to any supporting accessories and software which may be needed. For example, you wouldn't want to specify an oscilloscope that meets the technical demands of your project without ensuring that the probes that go along with it will meet those demands too. Software should be easy to install and easy for any user to navigate.

Know your application, know your goals, and there's likely a USB oscilloscope that will match your needs perfectly. MATsolutions can help you find the product for your needs. Visit our website to view our oscilloscope product offerings, or contact us for more information.