Technology is far away from being fault free. For all the latest bells and whistles that get released day after day, few of these gadgets and devices truly work to perfection. Human error will always exist, and technology is obviously manmade, so a few oversights in design and efficiency are bound to occur on occasion. Plenty of glitches can crop up too! But how are these issues remedied?
Well, the solutions are found easily through utilising diagnostic machines that work to problem solve and detect errors; from circuitry overload to component malfunctions. With the right knowledge and equipment, there’re no technological mishaps that you can’t rectify!
Consequently, here’s a quick look into the oscilloscope that you can use to detect faults in technology – as well as a quick overview of the technical knowledge you’ll need to utilise it!
What is an Oscilloscope?
Few people have heard of oscilloscopes, but they’re easy enough to understand. The best (and most common) analogy to use here is to think of a heart rate monitor that you can find in any hospital today. They look like a computer and show a thin line that occasionally wiggles upward when a heartbeat is dedicated. Well, oscilloscopes work in a similar way on machinery, instead of people!
Oscilloscopes, also colloquially known as o-scopes, detect and analyse the electronic waves, frequencies and signal voltages that technological devices and circuitry omit. In this sense, they also diagnose the ‘life’ and condition of the machines they monitor. This nifty piece of equipment is readily available and very affordable, but you will need some intricate knowledge to ensure you use and read it’s data correctly.
These gadgets can also detect even the smallest, yet most crippling malfunctions that arise in things like cars, mobile phone signals, and radar communication systems, which displays how much of a multipurpose instrument it truly is. Like most technology, these devices are now transferring into a digital phase too, instead of just being a physical piece of equipment. Ultimately, they’re far from ‘specialist’ equipment – most people could likely find a use for one. But how can they be used?
How to Use an Oscilloscope
There’re many things you should look for in a good oscilloscope; wide-reaching bandwidth, accurate waveforms, compliance test software and varying channel inputs to use. This will ensure that your data is presented as quickly and accurately as possible, in terms of the voltage, time variants, magnitude and frequency that it detects in a device. Because there’re so many versatile oscilloscopes out there, it’s important to research independently so that you can find the best/most affordable option available to you.
When reading your data, you should look out for the display screen where a two-dimensional graph can be viewed. As you’re essentially measuring the electrical signal in technology and how it changes over time, time is represented by the x axis and voltage of the signal by the y axis. This is what you’ll analyse and draw your conclusions from. More recently developed oscilloscopes will feature LCD screens, which will display multiple readings and waveforms at one time.
You can also adjust the screen at your leisure by utilising the various channel inputs. You can zoom in or out and even horizontally on a signal to examine waves in greater detail, more intricately inspect horizontal and vertical divisions, and detect even minor murmurs and faults in the voltage. It’s accurate and detailed, and the user is fully in control!