How to use your scope

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How to Use Your Oscilloscope and Other Bench Equipment

Have you ever wanted to know how to use an Oscilloscope? What about a function generator? You can probably guess what a Counter does, but what is it good for? Learn how to put electronic bench equipment to good use! We have a great collection of gear and we'll demo its use in this presentation. We'll also go over some of the ways you can get by without a whole set of equipment.


  • Multimeter
  • Oscilloscope
  • Function generator
  • Counter
  • Spectrum analyzer (maybe on PC if the hardware one is broken)


  • Measuring voltage, resistance, and current with a multimeter.
  • Examining the waveform of sounds
  • Examining the spectrum of sounds
  • Making cool Lissajous figures on your scope
  • Measuring Capacitance and inductance with a scope and fnGen (and a counter)
  • Measuring differential signals on an oscope
  • Using the delayed trigger on your Oscilloscope
  • Examining the waveform used by hobby servos
  • On the cheap: measuring L and C with just a handheld DMM and your computer

Equipment Needed for Presentation

  • Oscope, dual channel
  • Sweeping function generator
  • 'normal' function generator (probably the synthesizing fluke)
  • counter (the microwave counter will do)
  • 4x power cables for above
  • 2x BNC-BNC cables
  • 2x BNC Tees
  • 2x Scope probes (one should be 1x and one should be 10x)
  • microphone
  • audio amplifier for microphone
  • Laptop with some sort of 'oscope and FFT software' (of which there are many)
  • adapters to plug probes and stuff into the Laptop
  • a few different capacitors
  • a few different inductors
  • a few different resistors
  • alligator clips to connect to above
  • recording or signal source of 'modem' sounds
  • source of differential signals
  • bench supply or battery for measuring current
  • hobby servo tester
  • hobby servo



0:00:00 Opening and Agenda

0:02:50 Brief History of Oscilloscopes – with Al Klase

0:15:00 Start of Basics of Oscilloscopes – with Alan Wolke

0:19:00 Basic Block Diagram of an Oscilloscope

0:19:50 Oscilloscope / Display Overview

0:23:00 Display Section Functions and Controls

0:28:10 Vertical Section Description

0:33:17 Vertical Scale / Coupling Controls, Input Impedance

0:38:04 Vertical Mode Controls

0:48:05 In-circuit Example of using two traces on the oscilloscope

0:52:41 Horizontal Section Description

0:53:48 Horizontal Sweep Types & Controls

1:10:15 Triggering (Synchronization) Section Description

1:13:19 Trigger Source, Mode and Coupling Controls

1:19:56 Trigger Level and Slope Controls

1:23:29 Introduction to Oscilloscope Probes

1:31:45 1X and 10X Passive Probes

1:34:00 10X Probe Compensation and Use Considerations

1:48:48 XY Mode of Operation

2:00:12 Front Panel Control Layout

2:02:20 Pop Quiz!

2:03:00 Wrap Up: Oscilloscope adds Intuitive Feel to circuit operation

2:04:45 Questions and Answers

2:13:35 Brief History of Oscilloscope Tubes