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Application Notes

  Bullet Getting Started Bullet Installation/Troubleshooting  
  Bullet Applications & Educational Papers Bullet Test Equipment & Instrumentation  
  Bullet Design & Measurement Techniques Bullet Customer Applications & Circuits  
  Bullet Device Specific    

Bullet DSO-101
Bullet WGM-101


Getting Started



[460 kB]
Using Wavemaker: A Quickstart Guide
(7 pages, updated 9/13)
The Wavemaker software tool by John Foster allows one to convert the image of some waveform into the arbitrary waveform file format for a Syscomp signal generator. This application note provides a quick start guide to using wavemaker.
[47 kB]
Downloading and Executing Packaged Programs and Tcl/Tk Source Code
(10 pages, updated 4/07)
This paper describes how to download and run both compiled executables and source code for the Open Instrumentation Project and Syscomp USB Instruments. Instructions for compiling or "wrapping' the source code are also included.
[260 kB]
Hello Button: An Introduction to Tcl/Tk
(8 pages, updated 4/07)
This paper provides a very brief introduction to the Tcl/Tk programming language, with a focus on using Tcl/Tk.

Applications & Educational Papers



[1685 kB]
LED Flasher
(Updated 10/29)
In this paper, we describe low cost weekend project involving the construction of an LED flasher module for a bicycle.
[754 kB]
Demonstrating Acoustic Resonance
(Updated 8/14)
In this paper, we describe low cost apparatus for demonstrating acoustic resonance in an open or closed tube. The equipment uses the Syscomp CircuitGear CGR-101 signal-generator/oscilloscope to generate and display the acoustic signals. Both the generator and oscilloscope have features that allow very precise measurement of frequency - digital readout of generator frequency, ability to zoom in on a range of generator frequencies, and lissajous display on the oscilloscope.
[650 kB]
Measuring Crystal and Narrow-Band Filter Response
(Updated 9/13)
This article demonstrates how to use the CGR-101 CircuitGearto measure the amplitude and phase response of a crystal or narrow-band filter. The vector network analysis functionality of the CircuitGear is used to plot the response over a narrow range of frequencies for both two terminal devices, such as crystals, and four terminal devices such as a transformer with a tuned secondary.
[600 kB]
Measuring AC Current and Power Factor
(Updated 7/13)
This article covers measuring power factor and AC current with the CGR-101 CircuitGear. Measuring the power factor of non-sinusoidal currents is also covered.
Link Measuring Power Supply Sequencing Using A CircuitGear
(Updated 2/12)
This article discussing using the single-shot triggering feature of the CGR-101 CircuitGearto examine the sequence of a bridge driver in a power supply circuit.
Link Measuring Temperature of Power Supply Heatsinks
(Updated 2/12)
This article discussing using the temperature measurement features of the DVM-101to evaluate the effectiveness of a TO-92 temperature sensor in a power supply heatsink application.
[700 kB]
Measuring Impedance and Frequency Response of Guitar Pickups
(6 pages, updated 5/11)
The CircuitGear CGR-101 oscilloscope/signal-generator has a number of capabilities that make it useful for measuring impedance and frequency response. In this note we show how those features are used to measure the impedance and frequency response of guitar pickups.
[2.1 MB]
CircuitGear Measurements on a Tube Radio
(12 pages, updated 3/11)
New technology and old technology come together, when the Syscomp CGR-101 CircuitGear is used to check out the health and operation of a classic 5-tube AM rable radio from the 1950's. This paper shows how to work safely on tube-type equipment, including isolating from the AC line and dealing with high voltages. The paper shows how the modern techniques of spectrum analysis and vector network analysis yield useful insights into radio operation.
[800 kB]
Interference, Causes and Cures
(47 pages, updated 2/11)
In this sample chapter from Analog Circuit Design, the various causes and cures for intereference are discussed. Includes real-world case studies, practical measurement techniques, theory, and exercises.
[250 kB]

A GPS Data Display
(6 pages, updated 6/10)
There are many applications where one wishes to acquire geographic position data from a GPS receiver. In this particular instance, Peter needed to acquire a series of street light level readings and tag each one with its location. This paper describes a stand-alone program written in Tcl/Tk which communicates to a GPS receiver through a USB-serial port and displays the GPS data.

Click Here for the GPS Tcl/Tk Source Code

[800 kB]
Measuring Camera Shutter Speed
(10 pages, updated 5/10)
The digital camera is a useful instrument for the measurement of light pollution. It can be used to simultaneously create a photographic record of a scene and perform the function of a light meter. If the camera is properly calibrated, the numerical value of a pixel in the image can be related to luminance (brightness) in the image. Then a digital camera becomes a low-costmeasuring instrument, replacing specialized instruments of much higher cost.
[1.2 MB]
A Laplace Transform Cookbook
(41 pages, updated 3/08)
The Laplace transform is a very useful tool in electronic circuit analysis. With an emphasis on practical applications, the Laplace Cookbook shows how to use the Laplace transform to determine the sine-wave frequency response and transient pulse response of an electrical network. The paper includes measurement results that confirm the mathematics, using the Syscomp WGM-101 waveform generator, DSO-101 oscilloscope and Bode Plot software.
[1.3 MB]
Project-Based Learning: Outcomes, Descriptors and Design
(8 pages, updated 7/06)
This paper contains three sections on project-based learning. First, we provide a rationale and a high-level view of projects and their organization. Second, we present some examples from Ryerson University and show how these project descriptors apply. Finally, we describe the Open Instrumentation Project, a new system of electronic instrumentation that support independent and project-based learning.
[33 kB]
Pulse Oximeter Project Exercise
(5 pages, updated 1/08)
This paper outlines a senior level Electrical Engineering project where the student can measure blood oxygen level and heart rate using some simple circuitry and Syscomp USB lab instruments. In this paper, we identify key design decisions and intermediate steps towards a final design.
[121 kB]
Introduction to Digital Spectrum Analysis
(15 pages, updated 12/05)
Syscomp oscilloscope software can be programmed to perform spectrum analysis on a signal. This tutorial paper on digital methods of spectrum analysis explains the theory behind that analysis.

Design & Measurement Techniques



[290 kB]
Waveform Averaging
(2 pages, updated 3/16)
This article discusses waveform averaging in oscilloscope software for improving signal-to-noise ratio.
[121 kB]
Oscilloscope Probes: Theory and Practice
(7 pages, updated 7/07)
This article covers oscilloscope probe construction, loading effects, and compensation. It also discusses proper measurement techniques for high voltages and grounding techniques.

[164 kB]

Connecting to the Oscilloscope and Waveform Generator: BNC Adaptors and Cables
(4 pages, updated 9/06)
This paper examines the different types of BNC connectors and adapters available for testing electronics with Syscomp USB instruments.
[296 kB]
Audio Measurements with a Network Analyzer
(6 pages, updated 9/06)
A look at the practical applications of the Syscomp Network Analyzer software in the realm of audio electronics.
[323 kB]
Low-Cost Curve Tracer Uses PC-Based Scope
(8 pages, 6/07)
Curve tracers are available from various manufacturers as an integrated instrument which includes power supplies, switches, and an XY display. This paper describes how to create a curve tracer using the XY plotting facility of Syscomp USB instruments and some simple external circuitry.
[Link] High Speed Time Domain Measurements - Practical Tips for Improvement
John Ardizzoni
Analog Dialog, Vol. 41, March 2007, pp. 1-6
This paper is a very thorough explanation of oscilloscope probe theory and operation, including calibration techniques. It also demonstrates how to use scope probes in high speed measurements.
[Link] High Speed Amplifier Techniques
Jim Williams
Linear Technology Application Note 47, August 1991, pp. 1-132
This paper is a must-read for anyone interested in high-speed analog circuit design. It is divided into two sections. The first section gives an overview of the practical aspects of high-speed circuit design. The second section is a tutorial on measurement technique - using oscilloscope probes - in high-speed circuitry.




[117 kB]

Windows 7 Installation & Troubleshooting Notes
(1 pages, updated 3/11)
Notes on installing Syscomp device under Windows 7.

[187 kB]
USB COM Port Debug Techniques for Windows XP
(11 pages, updated 1/09)
This paper presents some advanced level techniques for debugging USB COM port problems.

[157 kB]

Installing the DSO-101 Oscilloscope on Ubuntu Linux
(4 pages, updated 10/08)
The application note describes how to install the DSO-101 oscilloscope software on a Ubuntu Linux system. This procedure was tested on an Edubuntu system, Hardy Heron, April 2008. Similar instructions apply to installation of other Syscomp USB instruments.

Test Equipment & Instrumentation



[995 kB]
Avoiding Battery Brownout
(10 pages, updated 6/14)
These days, many amateur astronomers use a GOTO telescope mount - a mount that uses GPS to determine the location, and a computer to aim the telescope. The telescope mount is usually powered by a lead-acid battery. This application note was originally written for these astronomers, but it will be of interest to anyone using a lead-acid battery
The application note shows methods of charging and discharging the battery that prolongs its life. We also show how to measure battery capacity using the Syscomp DVM-101 recording multimeter. And we include design and construction information for an expanded scale voltmeter that can be used as a a 'gas gauge' for a lead acid battery.
[70 kB]
Buffer Amplifier Design
(5 pages, updated 1/11)
In this note we describe methods of increasing the output current of a signal generator. These notes apply specifically to the Syscomp CGR-101 CircuitGear (figure 1) andWGM-201 Advanced Waveform Generator, but will be useful with any signal generator.
[19 MB]

Oscilloscope Development, 1943-1957
(36 pages, updated 4/09)
A review of early oscilloscope technology, with instrument photographs and schematic diagrams.

[362 kB]
How to Buy an Oscilloscope
(12 pages, updated 7/08)
For anyone doing electronics - as a job, studies, or a hobby - the oscilloscope in an indispensable tool. You'll spend a lot of time with your scope, so it's important to get something that does what you need. In this paper, we discuss oscilloscope features and specifications, things that are useful to know before buying and oscilloscope.
[444 kB]
Testing Our Voltmeters: The Syscomp REF-101 Voltage Reference
(5 pages, updated 11/09)
This paper describes testing a number of voltmeters for accuracy using the REF-101 voltage reference.

Customer Applications & Circuits



[810 kB]
Putting the Mac In-Touch with the Physical World
Making the Mac into a Digital Oscilloscope
Miles Pierce (3 pages, updated 4/10)
In an article published in AUSOM, Miles dicusses his experience with the DSO-101running on a Mac.
Copyright AUSOM Inc.
Article originally published in AUSOM News, April 2010. Reproduced with permission. For further details about AUSOM Inc. visit
[415 kB]
Current and Power Waveform Measurement Technique
Ron Pugh (8 pages, updated 3/09)
Oscilloscope inputs generally accept voltage signals with respect to a common ground. In many power control applications, it's useful to measure circuit current and/or differential voltage across some component. This application note shows the circuits and construction of a current sensor and a differential voltage amplifier for such applications.
[Link] 5 MHz, 40dB Amplifier
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
A gain of 100, 5 MHz bandwidth op amp circuit which can be used as an instrumentation gain block.
[Link] Basic Pulsed Circuits for Infrared LEDs and Visible Semiconductor Diode Lasers
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
[Link] 1 MHz Wien-Bridge Oscillator
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
A very simple relatively high frequency Wien bridge oscillator circuit, together with a nice analysis of the frequency error.
[Link] Speed of Light with Nanosecond Pulsed 650 nm Diode Laser
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
A physics exercise which includes information on a transistor avalanche pulse circuit. Avalanche circuits are capable of pulse-widths and rise times in the order of a few nanoseconds.
[Link] Wavemon Sound Card Input Analyzer
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
WaveMon is a simple easy to use Windows application that monitors the PC sound card Line-In signal and acquires statistics on the input signal. It can be easily adapted to low-frequency pulse counting tasks and experiments.
[Link] DC Reference Circuit
Mitch Gallant, Department of Engineering, St. Francis Xavier University
A simple voltage reference that can be used to calibrate and check the accuracy of voltmeters and oscilloscopes.

Device Specific



[278 kB]
DSO101: Using the High Resolution Mode of the DSO-101 Oscilloscope to Display Video Waveforms
(4 pages, updated 10/06)
This application note describes how to use the high resolution capture feature of the DSO-101 to capture and display NTSC video waveforms.

[203 kB]

DSO101: Single-Shot Capture Using the DSO-101 Oscilloscope: Measurements on a Relay
(6 pages, updated 9/06)
This paper highlights the usefulness of the single-shot trigger functions of the DSO-101 oscilloscope. Step-by-step instructions are included explaining how to set up the scope to capture the unique characteristics of relays switching.
[93 kB]
Meta-Instruments and the Open Instrumentation Project
ICUE Conference, Waterloo, Ontario, July 2006
(3 pages, updated 6/06)
This paper includes a description of the USB interface used in the WGM-101 and the DSO-101 instruments with and overview of the 'meta-instrument' concept. The network analyzer program illustrates the concept of meta-instrumentation.
[121 kB]
A Software-Based Network Analyzer
(5 pages, updated 5/06)
The purpose of a network analyzeris to demonstrate the amplitude and phase response or transfer functionof an electrical network. For example, a network analyzer is useful in measuring the amplitude response of an audio tone control. It is possible to make this type of measurement by hand, using the WGM-101 waveform generator and the DSO-101 oscilloscope. The software described in this paper does the job automatically, and plots the amplitude and phase response against frequency.
This paper describes the theory behind the network analyzer. A similar version of the paper appears in the September 2006 issue of Circuit Cellar Magazine.
[195 kB]
WGM101: Creating a Waveform for the WGM-101 Waveform Generator
(6 pages, updated 9/07)
This application note describes how to use various software tools to create arbitrary waveforms such as an ElectroCardiogram (ECG).

Hands-on Exercises



[1340 kB]
Introduction to the Oscilloscope
(10 pages, updated 7/14)
In these exercises we introduce the use of the electronic oscilloscope. The oscilloscope is an electronic eyeball that can display electronic signals, that is, it can show the way a time-varying voltage changes over time.
[363 kB]
Signal Generator Basics
(4 pages, updated 6/14)
In these exercises we introduce the use of the electronic signal generator. The signal generator is a kind of power supply that can produce a time-varying voltage. One can adjust the maximum amplitude of this voltage, the frequency and the shape of the waveform - that is, the way the voltage changes with time.
[812 kB]
Scope Probes: Compensation and Loading
(6 pages, updated 6/14)
For much work with the oscilloscope, one can make a direct, wired connection into the BNC connectors - using an alligator-clip to BNC test lead, or a Binding-Post BNC adaptor. However, when you are observing high frequencies or your signal has abrupt transitions - like a square wave - then you should use the oscilloscope probe
[561 kB]
Capacitor: Time Domain
(4 pages, updated 7/14)
In this exercise we examine the electrical properties of the capacitor. The capacitor is a device for storage of electronic charge (electrons). A battery is used for long-term storage of electronic charge. A capacitor is usually used for short-term storage. Furthermore, storing charge in a battery is inherently much less efficient than storing charge in a capacitor. Most of the charge into a capacitor is available on discharge, even at a very high discharge rate.
[535 kB]
Microphone and Oscilloscope
(5 pages, updated 7/14)
A microphone can be used with an oscilloscope to see the waveforms of various sounds. The oscilloscope may be used to view the shape of the waveform, the spectrum or the frequency response of a loudspeaker or microphone. The speaker and microphone can be used to explore acoustic resonance in an air column.
In this lab exercise, we show the connections for two types of microphones, and an amplifier for these microphones.
[1554 kB]
Spectrum Analyser Basics
(8 pages, updated 6/14)
In a previous exercise, we studied the operation of the oscilloscope (scope). The scope shows a plot of waveform voltage vs time.
In this exercise we introduce the use of the electronic spectrum analyser. The spectrum analyser is a softwarebased feature of the oscilloscope that displays the characteristics of a signal in the frequency domain, that is, a plot of amplitude vs frequency.

Coming Soon!


Book Cover

Click Here to Purchase the Ebook

Analog operation is fundamental to all electronics. Analog electronic circuits process voltages and currents representing signals such as music, video or the position of a robot arm. At the most fundamental level, all electronics are analog in nature.

This textbook is for designers of analog circuitry, whether students, hobbyists or practicing engineers. It focuses on the use of off-the-shelf parts and designs that solve real-world problems.

Analog Circuit Design introduces new material and new ways of considering traditional material. For example:

  • A lever diagram simplifies the design of op-amp based amplifiers and Schmitt triggers.
  • The Laplace Transform is presented as an engineering tool with a minimum of mathematics, using the computer algebra program Maxima.
  • A section on Complete Systems illustrates engineering tradeoffs in realworld design examples.
  • The Zoo shows circuits that illustrate unusual capabilities of electronic circuits, transforming impedance and other tricks.
  • Equipment cooling and electrical interference are killer problems that afflict many engineering projects. Each of these has its own chapter.
  • With 1000+ pages and diagrams, 340 references and an extensive index, Analog Circuit Design will be a useful reference for anyone working in this field.

    ISBN 978-0-9867235-0-6



    Click Here for the Table of Contents


    The textbook Analog Circuit Design is sold in eBook format. The eBook has several advantages. It keeps the cost at a minimum and provides convenient navigation aids such as in-text links to formulae, diagrams and other sections of the book. It's portable: you can put a copy on your laptop or tablet, which beats lugging around a massive volume of paper. That said, there are times when it's nice to have a printed copy.

    Printed Ebook

    You're welcome to make a hard copy version for your own use. Here's one way to do that.

  • Purchase a 4 inch binder to hold the material. We recommend the Avery 4 inch 'One-Touch', heavy duty binder, part number 79704. It's available from Staples. The rings joint quite precisely, making it easy to move paper over them. One thing to note about that binder: on most binders, you can pull the rings apart to open them. Do *not* do that with this binder, you'll bend the rings. Use the 'one-touch' lever.
  • Take the eBook file on a USB key to your local copy shop and print it off, black-and white, double-sided, 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets. Some copy machines can do a three-hole punch at the same time. That saves a lot of work.
  • Print the sheet for the front cover and spine, and the sheet for the rear cover. Use card stock, 11 x 17 inches, and print these in colour. Copy shops often have a shear that you can use to trim these sheets to size. Trim them and insert them in the cover pockets.
  • If the pages are not three-hole punched, you'll have to do it by hand. If you can, do it in the copy shop using their industrial hole-puncher. The light duty ones can only take a few pages at a time, so punching the entire manuscript by that method is pretty tedious.
  • Open the binder and install the sheets. You're done!