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Instrument for displaying time-varying signals / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An oscilloscope (informally scope or O-scope) is a type of electronic test instrument that graphically displays varying voltages of one or more signals as a function of time. Their main purpose is capturing information on electrical signals for debugging, analysis, or characterization. The displayed waveform can then be analyzed for properties such as amplitude, frequency, rise time, time interval, distortion, and others. Originally, calculation of these values required manually measuring the waveform against the scales built into the screen of the instrument.[1] Modern digital instruments may calculate and display these properties directly.

A Tektronix model 475A portable analog oscilloscope, a typical instrument of the late 1970s
Oscilloscope cathode-ray tube, the left square-shaped end would be the blue screen in the upper device when built in.
Typical display of an analog oscilloscope measuring a sine wave signal with 10 kHz. From the grid inherent to the screen together with the user-set parameters of the device shown at the upper display rim, the user may calculate the frequency and the voltage of the measured signal. Modern digital oscilloscopes automatically set the measurement parameters and calculate/display the signal values automatically.

Oscilloscopes are used in the sciences, engineering, biomedical, automotive and the telecommunications industry. General-purpose instruments are used for maintenance of electronic equipment and laboratory work. Special-purpose oscilloscopes may be used to analyze an automotive ignition system or to display the waveform of the heartbeat as an electrocardiogram, for instance.