The oscilloscope is one of the most useful test instruments used for electronics development, manufacture, test, service, and repair.
Oscilloscopes, or scopes are an important tool in the armoury of the electronics engineer or tester. An oscilloscope enables waveforms to be seen and in this way makes it very much easier to see any problems occurring in an electronics circuit.
In view of the advantages which they posses, oscilloscopes are an essential tool for any electronics laboratory or area testing electronics hardware.
The name oscilloscope, comes from the fact that it enables oscillations to be viewed. Sometimes the name cathode-ray oscilloscope, or CRO is used. The reason for this is that cathode ray tubes (CRT) used to be used to enable the waveforms to be displayed.
Nowadays, LCDs, or plasma displays are used as they are smaller, and more convenient to use, especially as the do not require the very high voltages of the old CRTs.
The function of an oscilloscope is to be able to display waveforms on some form of display. In the normal mode of operation time is displayed along the X-axis (horizontal axis) and amplitude is displayed along the Y axis (vertical axis). In this way it is possible to see an electronic waveform on an oscilloscope as it may be envisaged. The waveform could be likened to that of the ripples on travelling along the surface of a pond when a stone is dropped into it.
By seeing a waveform in this manner it is possible to see analyse the operation of the circuit and discover why any problems may exist.