mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine

Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


Trends in oscilloscope technologies
10 October 2018, Test & Measurement

The faster and more complex electronic circuits become, the greater the performance requirements are for the equipment with which to test and verify their performance. At the same time, the smartphone revolution has elevated users’ expectations in terms of ease of use and versatility. We asked Jason Strydom, account manager at Comtest, to elaborate on some of the ways in which oscilloscope technologies are advancing to keep pace with these demands.

What are some of the latest features in user interfaces?

The user interface is one of the biggest changes more recently, with a move towards larger touchscreens and USB-based devices. Larger touchscreens are now coming in high definition with true design for touch. This improves the sensitivity of the touchscreen and allows the user to more accurately control what they need to on it.

There is also a trend with light-up buttons on the device which change colour depending on which channel is selected. This ensures that the user knows which channel he is taking his measurement on or adjusting the settings for.

USB-based oscilloscopes, on the other hand, are bringing this functionality at a lower cost as they are able to interface to an already existing PC with a monitor for greater control compared to the previous instruments in the industry.

These options now make using these devices more ergonomic and allow the user to reference and control the instrument more easily so they can get their desired measurements faster, and save time during the design and development cycle.

What must engineers consider with regards to data interfaces?

Interfaces are all about what you want to do with the data or instrument. USB connection has become a great way to get your data locally and fast; this is useful if you want to use RF software on a PC coupled to the oscilloscope.

Alternatively, if users require remote connection then an IP connection can be very useful for controlling the instrument over a network (e.g. someone in their office being able to control an instrument that is in the lab). Additionally, for a Windows-based device, a video output port could be considered to incorporate multitasking on the device.

GPIB, among other interfaces, can be used to incorporate the device into an automated test system. PXI is an open standard that only a few vendors support, and is typically used where users need to incorporate multiple different types of high-speed instruments (not just an oscilloscope) into a particular system.

How are bandwidth and channel counts keeping pace?

We are seeing bandwidth upgrades and higher channel counts on mid-range instruments, indicating the mid-range is shifting upwards. We now have options for up to 8 channels on a single device, something that hasn’t been common until recently.

We also have the ability to synchronise multiple instruments, should the user need more than 8 high-speed measurement channels. Additionally, there are options to upgrade the standard bandwidth on many devices, even after the device has been acquired by an end user.

What other features are engineers looking for?

There are a few standard criteria that users should always be on the lookout for, such as bandwidth at least 5 times faster than signal speed, sample rate at least 5 times faster than your signal, and enough input channels

It is also important to consider having compatible probes of the right type (passive probes, active probes, current probes, near-field probes for RF, or even high-speed probes with a solder connection onto the board to be tested). Accessories (transit cases, software for in-depth analysis, adaptors, preamplifiers or even interposers), easy operation, connectivity, serial bus decoding, and in-country support are also important factors.

Additional features that users should be looking for are integration of time and frequency domain (RF) analysis on a single device, visual triggering, power measurements, built-in demonstration files so the user can see how to easily set up their acquisition, and the ability to mount network drives on non-Windows oscilloscopes.

For more information contact Jason Strydom, Comtest, +27 10 595 1821,,

Supplied By: Comtest
Tel: +27 10 595 1821
Fax: +27 11 608 1525
  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Passive intermodulation analyser
    30 April 2019, Actum Electronics, Test & Measurement
    Passive intermodulation (PIM) is one of the main causes of faults in modern networks. PIM can significantly reduce the network quality with regard to range and data transmission. PIM is caused by a number ...
  • Vacuum test fixture
    30 April 2019, Electronic Industry Supplies, Test & Measurement
    With its newly designed vacuum test fixtures, Ingun has simplified mass testing of a small number of PCB (printed circuit board) versions. The vacuum test fixture combines intuitive handling and a robust, ...
  • Optical spectrum analyser
    30 April 2019, Coral-i Solutions , Test & Measurement
    Anritsu announced the sales launch of the new MS9740B spectrum analyser which has been developed for evaluating the output characteristics of optical active devices used by optical communications systems. ...
  • New scan capabilities for EMI receiver
    30 April 2019, Concilium Technologies, Test & Measurement
    Keysight Technologies has added time domain scan (TDS) and real-time scan (RTS) capabilities to the N9048B PXE electromagnetic interference (EMI) receiver, enabling real-time measurements and diagnostics ...
  • Passive intermodulation analyser
    27 March 2019, Actum Electronics, Test & Measurement
    Passive intermodulation (PIM) is one of the main causes of faults in modern networks. PIM can significantly reduce the network quality with regard to range and data transmission. PIM is caused by a number ...
  • Arbitrary waveform generator
    27 March 2019, Vepac Electronics, Test & Measurement
    Tektronix launched the AWG70000B arbitrary waveform generator with new features that enable it to fully support the testing of complex electronic warfare and wireless communications systems that require ...
  • Battery optimisation software for IoT devices
    27 February 2019, Concilium Technologies, Power Electronics / Power Management, Test & Measurement
    Keysight Technologies has introduced the X8712A IoT device battery life optimisation software solution, to ensure optimal battery life prior to device deployment to accelerate troubleshooting and device ...
  • Calibration and the challenges of choice
    27 February 2019, Concilium Technologies, Test & Measurement
    A poor or incomplete calibration can lead to significant errors in your measurements. The time to develop a product may exceed your original schedules and production yields may be too low if the test ...
  • Compact and rugged test fixture ranges
    27 February 2019, Electronic Industry Supplies, Test & Measurement
    In order to offer a compact test fixture solution, Ingun’s manual test fixtures MA 350/F, MA 360/F, MA 260/F and MA 160/F were designed for testing small PCB series. These compact units not only meet ...
  • Coaxial components for high-frequency testing
    27 February 2019, Coral-i Solutions , Test & Measurement
    Anritsu has introduced W1 coaxial components that are metrology-grade designed and manufactured to deliver precision performance and repeatability for high-frequency measurements. Comprised of a W1 ...
  • EXFO tests terabit research network
    27 February 2019, Lambda Test, Test & Measurement
    EXFO, C Spire and Nokia Bell Labs have collaborated on a demonstration of a terabit-speed research network. To put it into context, networks running at this speed would make it possible to download ...
  • Arbitrary function generator
    27 February 2019, Comtest, Test & Measurement
    Despite their importance in electronics testing and their wide adoption, arbitrary function generators (AFGs) have lagged behind other test instrumentation in terms of usability, making do with small ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.