This section provides an overview for usb oscilloscopes as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 8 usb oscilloscope manufacturers and their company rankings.
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Oscilloscopes used to be available only as stand-alone models, but recently there has been an increase in the number of USB oscilloscope that connect to the USB port of a PC.
Stand-alone oscilloscopes are very convenient in that they have a screen, controls, and everything else in a single enclosure, so when you want to use it, just turn on the power and it is ready to use. However, because of the dedicated screen and controls, they are inevitably more expensive than USB oscilloscopes. In addition, the dedicated housing requires a separate storage space.
In comparison, USB oscilloscopes are designed to be operated using a PC screen and keyboard, so the dedicated section is not as expensive as the only dedicated parts are the compact main unit for capturing waveforms and the probe. This means that the USB oscilloscope requires less space for storage, and above all, its low cost is a major advantage.
Stand-alone oscilloscopes are generally more powerful than USB oscilloscopes because they are dedicated devices.
They can be used without problems in most applications, in terms of analog and digital waveform acquisition, display, and memory functions. Furthermore, waveform memory uses the PC's internal memory, which has the advantage of a large memory capacity. On the other hand, USB oscilloscopes may not be sufficient for observing and analyzing waveforms in extremely high frequency bands.
Therefore, it is necessary to select a device based on a thorough understanding of the intended use, especially the frequency band to be used.
The main unit of USB oscilloscopes captures the waveform of the object under test, converts it into digital data, and transmits it to the PC via the USB port.
Since USB oscilloscopes are connected to PCs via USB terminals, there are several points to note from this physical connection configuration.
The first is that the USB oscilloscopes and the PC's USB port share the same GND. Therefore, if a high voltage (tens of volts or more) is inadvertently applied to the GND terminal of the USB oscilloscopes, this voltage may enter the PC via the GND of the PC's USB port, which may destroy the PC's USB terminal and lead to PC board failure. Therefore, inadvertent application of high voltages must be avoided.
The second point is the same as the aforementioned, but the withstand voltage of the PC's USB terminal is not so high. Therefore, if a voltage of several tens of volts is inadvertently applied to not only the GND terminal of the USB terminal but also other terminals, the USB port of the PC or the internal circuit board may be damaged.
Third, a stand-alone oscilloscope has dedicated operation buttons, so once you learn how to operate it, it is relatively easy to operate. However, in the case of USB oscilloscopes, all settings are usually adjusted using the PC keyboard. Since many unrelated functions are assigned to each keyboard, it is not an easy task to learn, and the keyboard itself is not as easy to press as that of a stand-alone oscilloscope.
Today, the number of oscilloscopes that can be connected to a PC via USB has increased considerably, and it is even more difficult to find a recent model that cannot be connected. USB oscilloscopes can be divided into the following two types:
USB oscilloscopes are considerably less expensive than the highly functional and specialized oscilloscopes priced at 1,000,000 yen. A handy type oscilloscope costs from 4,000 yen to 10,000 yen. Desk type oscilloscopes are in the price range of 30,000 yen to 50,000 yen. Some handheld models for special applications (e.g., automobile maintenance) cost around 70,000 yen, but these are limited to high-functionality models with professional specifications.
Another reason for the affordable price is the fact that they are not leased from specialized leasing companies or ordered from manufacturers, but are sold on general mail-order websites.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Austin, TX, National Instruments Corporation provides a software-centric platform and systems to engineers and scientists worldwide. NI’s software is used for automated test and measurement applications in manufacturing environment for configuring real-time testing application, sensor configuration and data logging of mixed signals, and monitoring ancillary rotating equipment. NI’s software also enables the mass coordination of connected devices, software deployments, and data communications throughout distributed systems. Recently, NI has begun to develop test systems and solutions for autonomous driving software and hardware validation.
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