As an electronics hobbyist it seems like everybody has an oscilloscope, but why? What makes it more useful than a volt meter or any other test equipment? Maybe you picked up an advanced desktop Oscilloscope for a few hundred dollars or a small handheld one like the Xprotolab around $50 (US). Now what can it really do?
The simple answer of what does an oscilloscope do is the display an input Voltage over a defined time frame. This definition while accurate simply scratches the surface of what can be discovered while using an oscilloscope to test a circuit.
'The "Mains" wiring in the wall can be very dangerous to you and your test equipment!' Please review the specific article below if you want to test this safely. Also see EEVBlog #279 - How NOT To Blow Up Your Oscilloscope! for an overview of the warnings involved.
All electronics need power of some kind. Most people don't know (nor need to know) about the kind of power supply to use or what the differences are.
- Transformer Power Supply (wall wart)
- Switched-mode Power Supply (USB wall wart) Switched Mode Power Supply @Wikipedia
- Linear Voltage Regulator (with USB wall wart)
- Advanced: Measure an Outlet (110V @ 60Hz to 220V @ 50Hz)
Digital Storage Tutorials
Oscilloscope Models used for the photos and images on this site.