What Is the Importance of Oscilloscope? Don’t Miss Out!

by Chris Lewis.

You might have already seen a tablet-like device that mechanics use while diagnosing different parts of the vehicle. That tablet-like device is not an ordinary Android tab or Apple tab that you would find in the market. In fact, those specially designed to make the maintenance and diagnosing process easier to carry out.

Well, if you are fairly new to the car maintenance scenario, you might not even know what an oscilloscope is. In fact, you might wonder what is the importance of an oscilloscope. Well, we are here to answer all of that for you.

We will not only describe its importance and make you familiar with it but also will provide you all the basics that you would need to know before operating these tablet-like devices.

Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will have a clear idea about these and will know why they are actually used for.

What Exactly Is an Oscilloscope?

What Exactly Is an Oscilloscope?
What Exactly Is an Oscilloscope?

Before we get into the details of the functionality and the importance of the device, we would like to let you know what exactly these devices are. In a nutshell, an oscilloscope is the heart rate monitor for the car parts.

A patient in the hospital bed would require constant monitoring of the heart rate for knowing whether that person is in a normal state or not. The same principle applies to these devices too.

Types of Oscilloscope

Types of Oscilloscope
Types of Oscilloscope

There are mainly two types of oscilloscopes available in the market. And we are going to give a brief idea about both of them. They are as follows:

  • Analog

Even though we have referred to a heart rate monitor while trying to give you a general idea about these, heart rates are all digital, but not all of the oscilloscopes are digital.

Many of the models are analog. Those are the oldest iteration of the device. However, many of the manufacturers are still offering these to offer a budget option to the users.

These mainly utilize high gain amplifiers to output a waveform image to a green cathode tube display. Most of these will come packed with multiple vertical channels, trigger systems, a CRT module, a time base, and a horizontal channel.

The vertical channel will mostly include a preamplifier, an attenuator, a line for the analog delay, and a vertical amplifier. That amplifier will output the captured waveform to the CRT display that will remain connected to the device.

On the other hand, the horizontal channel will have internal and external work modes. The trigger systems that will pack will have an adjustment mechanism for the level that will decrease and increase the levels.

  • Digital

The modern version of the analog oscilloscope is the digital one. In fact, these are the ones that you are mostly going to stumble upon in the market.

Instead of using a CRT panel, these will implement a much more modern LCD. These go through an extra step to output the signals on the screen.

The signals are first captured in analog form, and then they are converted into a digital stream with a converter. After converting, the signals are displayed.

As the signals that are outputted are digital, no CRT screens are required, which makes the design more compact and removes most of the complexities.

Because of the inclusion of the converted, more signal manipulation operations can be done in the device.

As a result, most of the digital ones will be able to carry out most of the intricate mathematical operations within seconds. You would not have to figure out those by applying equations by yourself with these.

Basics of Oscilloscope

Basics of Oscilloscope
Basics of Oscilloscope

As we have mentioned earlier, we would give you a quick rundown of the basics of the device. Like we promised, the basics of the device are:

  • Sample Rate

This indicates the number of samples that the device can read in one second. The higher the rate, the faster and accurate the waveforms will be.

  • Bandwidth

The bandwidth states the range of the frequencies that the device is capable of measuring. A typical digital oscilloscope will be able to read bandwidths that are within fifty MHz to a hundred GHz.

  • Channels

This where you would insert different tools with the device; there would be typically two to four channels in these devices.

  • Probes

The probes are what you are going to insert into the channels of the device. It will allow you to connect with different wired parts and components of the car.

What Are the Systems of Oscilloscopes?

What Are the Systems of Oscilloscopes?
What Are the Systems of Oscilloscopes?

Basically, an oscilloscope will have four main systems. They are horizontal, vertical, display, and trigger. Each of them is for specific functions.

First, the horizontal system is used for finding out the sample rate of the transmitting device. It will also determine the length of the record and position the scaling of the waveform that is going to get displayed on the LCD.

Second, the vertical system is used to scale the waveforms vertically. Lastly, the trigger will enable the system to stabilize the repetitive waveforms it is going to receive.

Why Are Oscilloscopes Important?

With all the topics aside, let us talk about the main thing that brought you here — the importance of these devices. Unlike some of the electronic monitor devices out there, this tool can accurately measure the voltage of the electronic parts.

Aside from that, these can also give you an in-depth analysis of the parts that are not functioning properly.

Most of them will also support ECU coding that will let you change the source code of the parts that you are diagnosing. Alongside that, many will also come with added functions that will enable you to measure the current that is being consumed by the parts.

In a nutshell, this device is one of the essential tools that will enable you to carry out vehicle maintenance tasks properly.


Hopefully, after going through the entire article, you now know what is the importance of the oscilloscope. That being said, we wish to conclude here by hoping that we were able to provide you enough information regarding the device and what each of the functions of the device is.

About Chris Lewis.

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