Oscilloscopes and Vectorscopes

Whether analog or digital, oscilloscopes and vectorscopes are two pieces of electrical test equipment that are used in a variety of diagnostic purposes. Fields ranging from engineering to medicine all use these devices to help them understand the waveforms that they are working with. Using probes connected to an input source, the machine is able to detect the waveform and display it on the screen for trained professionals to analyze it.

What are oscilloscopes and vectorscopes?

An oscilloscope is a specialized tool for testing electronic signals, specifically for monitoring and recording voltages from one or more sources. This information is then displayed on a graph of voltage vs. time. This allows the user to observe and analyze patterns in the signal to better understand its source. Data points such as amplitude, frequency, and distortion are all things that this type of equipment can facilitate answers to. There are digital oscilloscopes as well as analog, and most contain at least two channels for analyzing waveforms.

Vectorscopes are a variation on the standard design, and they are used particularly in audio and video applications. Vectorscopes are able to analyze two different incoming signals and display them on the screen simultaneously. This instrument makes it possible for the user to determine relationships between the two different inputs visually. Some oscilloscopes are able to do something similar but vectorscopes differ, especially in analyzing video signals. They are also able to use specialized receivers that are compatible with standard television signals in order to accept them as a valid input.

What are oscilloscopes used for?

They are used in a variety of different disciplines, including medicine, engineering, science, and communications. Although they are designed to analyze voltages, which make them natural electronic testing equipment, they are also able to analyze other sources of input, such as sound or vibrations. They do this by converting the energy present in these waves into a voltage that can be analyzed by the equipment. Some models come with the ability to do an automatic analysis of the waveform, instead of requiring those using it to be able to manually measure and calculate measurements themselves. They can be set for horizontal or vertical scale adjustment.

What are vectorscopes used for?

Vectorscopes are commonly used in audio and video applications. Unlike their parent device, they don't plot the incoming signals as a graph over a certain period of time. Instead, they display them as a plot of X and Y coordinate values, which makes it possible to do a number of other specialized analyses. This makes it possible for users to visually compare inputs and look for patterns and similarities between two or more inputs. Vectorscopes are able to work very well with video inputs. This is because they have specialized graticules that are able to accept standard TV input or video input and analyze it.