PC Oscilloscopes (PCOs) are rapidly replacing traditional digital storage oscilloscopes (DSOs) as the essential item for your test equipment arsenal. Here are 10 reasons why:
- Compact and portable units
- Uses your PC monitor to provide a large and detailed color display
- Signal storage is limited only by your PC’s storage capability
- Captured waveforms and instrument settings can easily be shared with others
- New functionality through free software updates
- Can be used with desktop or laptop PCs
- High-speed USB 3.0 connection (parallel port oscilloscopes are also available)
- Hardware and software in one package
- Use your PC Oscilloscope for data acquisition
- A complete test and measurement lab in one unit
1. Compact and portable units
By integrating several instruments into one small unit, PC Oscilloscopes (PCOs) are lighter and more portable than traditional test equipment. When used with a laptop computer, you can carry a complete electronics lab in the same bag as your PC.
2. Uses your PC monitor to provide a large and detailed color display
The display of a traditional oscilloscope is limited by the physical size of the oscilloscope, and may only be a single color. With a PC Oscilloscope your computer controls the display, so not only do you get a full color display, but the display can be the size of your monitor, projector or plasma display.
3. Signal storage is limited only by your PC’s storage capability
PC Oscilloscopes store the signals that you are measuring directly on your PC. With the power of today’s modern PCs this gives you vast storage capabilities. Along with allowing you to record lengthy signals this also lets you save signals for reviewing at a later date.
4. Captured waveforms and instrument settings can easily be shared with others
Need to show your customer or colleague the signal you have captured? Just save the waveform and email them a copy. They don’t have a copy of the oscilloscope software? No problem – just export it as text, an image or in a binary format for use with third-party software. (If they want to set up their equipment to run the same test, simply send them the oscilloscope settings too.)
5. New functionality through free software updates
If you’re lucky you can return a traditional DSO to the supplier for a firmware upgrade and maybe get improved functionality. With a PC-based oscilloscope new features and improved functionality can be added at any time with a simple software update. Free software updates means that a PC Oscilloscope is one of the few things that can actually become more powerful and useful with age.
6. Can be used with desktop or laptop PCs
PC Oscilloscopes are external devices that are connected to your PC using the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus (USB). Virtually every laptop or desktop PC sold comes with multiple USB ports so there’s no problem using your PC Oscilloscope with either a desktop or a laptop PC.
7. High-speed USB 3.0 connection
USB 3.0 can transfer data at speeds of up to 1 GS/s. Using powerful PC Oscilloscope software it give you incredible performance with fast screen updates and the ability to stream data.
8. Hardware and software in one package
Choose PC Oscilloscopes that come complete with the hardware and software in one package.
9. Use your PC Oscilloscope for data acquisition
Using the sw, you can transform your PC Oscilloscope into a data logger that can log data over extended periods of time.
10. A complete test and measurement lab in one unit
When you buy a PC-based oscilloscope make sure you don’t just get an oscilloscope: make sure you also get a spectrum analyzer, meter and data logger rolled into your PC-Oscilloscope choice. Some models even include a built–in signal generator or arbitrary waveform generator. So with a PC Oscilloscope you really do get a complete test and measurement lab in one cost–effective unit.
NorthTree Associates is a distributor and supplier of Electronic Test & Measurement Equipment. Companies represented include ITIC USB 2.0 Protocol Analyzers, LabNation SmartScopes, Micsig Oscilloscopes, Oscium iOS Test Tools, OWON Oscilloscopes.