Why Are Oscilloscopes So Expensive?

One of the most why are oscilloscopes so expensive  tools when troubleshooting a circuit is the ability to see how a signal changes over time. A multimeter is very good at measuring a steady voltage across a circuit, but when you want to see the shape of an analog waveform or the bits and bytes being transmitted from one device to another in a digital circuit, it takes a scope.

Using a scope can make finding a problem in a circuit much easier. If a voltmeter shows a sudden spike in voltage, it may be that the circuit is oscillating. Alternatively, a scope can reveal the exact shape of an audio waveform or the timing of the opening and closing of contacts in a switch.

Exploring the Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope

A scope consists of a display, vertical and horizontal controls and a trigger control. Older scopes used a cathode-ray tube (CRT) for the display, but most modern models use an LCD or plasma screen. Some models have a graticule, a set of horizontal and vertical reference lines that help the user to calibrate the instrument. Other features include a volts-per-divide (V/div) selector knob, a horizontal sweep control and a vertical deflection adjuster.

The cost of a digital oscilloscope is mainly related to its bandwidth, which determines the maximum range of frequencies that the scope can accurately capture. A higher bandwidth scope will be more expensive, but it will also be better able to view delicate signals and provide more accurate measurements.

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