Oscilloscopes

Training Center Classroom

Welcome to this installment of EE Classroom on Oscilloscopes


As a young child of an electronics engineering father, I became first acquainted with an oscilloscope while stumbling to the bathroom at night. The green glow emanating from an instrument about the size of an end table kept the otherwise dark hallway bright enough. The true purpose of this irreplaceable device no longer escapes me, of course, but the memory still, well, glows. Whether in a home workshop or massive engineering lab, the oscilloscope is truly beyond measure.


In this classroom, we’ll start with some Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO) basics, then move into modulation tutorials from analog to digital to 5G. Walk through a checklist of what to consider when trying to achieve that ideal and accurate measurement. Wondering what it takes to measure harmonics, trace transistor I-V curves, demodulating and playing back AM signals, or decoding logic values into tangible sensor location data? Then access the related content for detailed, step-by-step projects complete with inventory, descriptions, and hardware, software and script instructions.


Hopefully, these resources shine a little light on the pathway towards your continued education.

Aimee Kalnoskas

Senior Editor, EE World Online

Modulation  •  Measurements

The basics of 5G's modulation, ODFM

How to achieve accurate oscilloscope measurements

Analog and digital modulation and modulation measurements

Basics of ampitude distortion

Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing has become the standard modulation format for 5G New Radio. Learn how OFDM works and how it’s used.

It is important to take some simple precautions to ensure that oscilloscope measurements taken are useful and accurate.

Sources of amplitude distortion include noise and interference, but the main source of non-linear amplification and distortion can include noise sources superimposed on the waveform of interest

Because noise is characterized by large amplitude variations, it impacts AM transmission to a greater degree than FM transmission, giving FM a higher signal-to-noise ratio. 

Waveforms  •  CRTs  •  Capacitors

Using an oscilloscope to find unknown capacitance

What does an eye diagram or eye pattern on an oscilloscope mean?

Cathode ray tube testing using an oscilloscope

Waveforms in oscilloscopes and elsewhere

Usually a capacitor’s value in microfarads or picofarads is printed on its housing or there is a color code there. But sometimes we need to measure the amount of capacitance.

There are a few simple tests that can reveal whether a CRT is at least functional and worth additional effort.

Eye diagrams are a quick, visual means to quickly identify whether there are any signal integrity issues before moving on to more refined analysis.

The moving point on a graph having X-Y coordinates such as a time-domain display in an oscilloscope as generated by the sine function corresponds to this most basic of waveforms.

The Basics

CRO Tutorial 2: Working with a Cathode Ray Oscilloscope

CRO Tutorial 1 : Understanding a CRO

Working with oscilloscopes

Learn about the practical details which are necessary for a layman to use one of the very important devices in electronics known as the Cathode-Ray Oscilloscope.

Now it’s time to dive deeper and to know more about the other knobs on a CRO which are helpful in further observation of a signal.

The question is “When should I use an oscilloscope?” or “Do I need an oscilloscope at all?”.