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What is an Oscilloscope?

Hello there!

Do you know what the oscilloscope is, how to use it or why is it good to know a few things about this device? You see, technology of the 21st century is based on electrical signals. They are all around us starting from a heartbeat to your mobile phone charger. Electrical signals come in various shapes, waveforms, strengths and frequencies. Each of these signal properties carries an information directly understandable to us or to other devices. An oscilloscope is a device for observation and measurements of all electrical signals. From the oscilloscope measurements and signal visualization one can extract all the information carried by the observed signal. For example: the voltage level of your phone battery tells you how much time there is left for you to surf on the Internet. Information about the health state of your heart is hidden in the shape of your heartbeat signal and so on. So these are the reasons why the oscilloscope is the basic instrument in electrical engineering and beyond. Let us now tell you how oscilloscope works. Let's take a simple circuit shown here and see how voltage measurements are done. Circuit consists from battery, lightbulb and connecting wires. Battery voltage will run electrical current through closed circuit and the lightbulb will start glowing. For measuring battery voltage we need to connect an oscilloscope probe parallel to the battery and connecting wires. After connection of an oscilloscope probe the electrical charge will flow from positive wire to the oscilloscope input. On the oscilloscope input is the so called analog to digital converter - ADC. This is the integrated circuit which will take the samples of input voltage in constant time steps and provide them to oscilloscope logic. After ADC collects enough samples of measured voltage this array is then sent by oscilloscope logic to the screen. Consequently on the screen we will see a visualization of battery voltage in respect to the time where y-axis represents voltage and X-axis time. For better visualization our samples 1 2 3 and so on are connected with line. If you google oscilloscope under image search you will get something like this. Now this is not same as our red pitaya oscilloscope so what is the difference? Red pitaya's oscilloscope has a web user interface which means that all physical buttons and screen are moved from the box to your PC phone or tablet so instead of using one big device for signal measuring controls and visualization you use red pitaya for acquisition and the rest is on your PC. This enables you simple usage and much more flexibility.

So you learned what is an oscilloscope, now start using it and find out even more interesting stuff and of course in our next video we will tell you more about red pitaya and oscilloscope so stay tuned, subscribe and best wishes!

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