My Account
Shopping Cart 0 item(s)
View Cart
Facebook Google Plus LinkedIn

The Single Channel Oscilloscope

Posted by Peter Hiscocks on 9/29/2017
We've recently seen a number of announcements for single channel digital
oscilloscopes. Some are configured like a (very large) pen. This is
convenient, but the single channel is a real limitation.

A single channel scope can display one signal, so it can show you a signal
at that point in the circuit: amplitude, frequency, waveform shape and so
on. That's certainly useful.

However, a large part of oscilloscope use is to determine the relationship
between two or more signals.  For example, when signal A transitions high,
does signal B transition low?  What is the time spacing between those two
events?  That information requires a two-channel display.

If two channels are good, are four channels even better? There are some
measurement situations where four channels are useful, but this is more a
matter of convenience than necessity.

Suppose you need to view three signals A, B and C and you have a two-channel
scope.  Then you could view and trigger from the A signal on channel 1.
Then use channel 2 to view signal B and then signal C.  You can see B and C
individually and relate them back to signal A, so you can determine the time
relationship between all three signals.

It is more convenient to have all four traces visible, but this creates
other challenges: keeping track of which trace is which, and configuring the
various display and triggering controls.

The cost of an oscilloscope is spread over different components: the analog
front end, the digital and microprocessor section, the power supplies and
the physical case.  For a two channel scope, the additional cost is in the
second analog front end.  Given the additional utility of a two channel
scope, we think it's worth it.  So, you may find an application where a
single channel scope is fine.  For general purpose circuit debugging,
however, you'll need a scope with at least two channels.
Share |

 Technical Papers

 The Single Channel Oscilloscope
 Curing Circuit Oscillation
 Testing a Selenium Rectifier
 Yes, we test IGBTs
 Negative Tracking Power Supply

 September 2017
 October 2016
 June 2016
 March 2016
 January 2016
 August 2015
 July 2015
 May 2015
 February 2015
 January 2015
 October 2014
 September 2014
 June 2014
 March 2014
 February 2014
 September 2013
 July 2013
 April 2012
 February 2012
 January 2012
 October 2011
 September 2011
 June 2011
 March 2011
 January 2011
 December 2010
 October 2010
 September 2010
 May 2010
 April 2010
 December 2009
 November 2009
 April 2009
 March 2009
 December 2008
 October 2008
 September 2008
 June 2008
 May 2008
 March 2008
 February 2008
 September 2007
 August 2007
 July 2007
 June 2007
 October 2006
 September 2006
 July 2006
 May 2006
 March 2006