Three simple oscilloscope hacks you can't live without

Posted By : Lanna Cooper

In this video, Keysight take a quick minute to cover three oscilloscope hacks used on a regular basis.

Number 1, keyboard shortcuts!
With benchtop scopes, most people use the front panel to control scope. Some of you probably use a remote interface - graphical or programmatic, but you’re in the minority. For those of you who physically sit in front of the scope, or at least nearby, you’ve almost certainly had a moment where you couldn’t quite reach the Run or Stop button.

That’s where keyboard comes in handy. For this scope, you can use F5 for Run, F6 for stop, and F10 for single! If you want to go to the next level, you can even get a little USB or Arduino board and create a foot switch or custom keyboard. If you want to play around with that, there’s code in the comments. Many higher end oscilloscopes have a full suite of keyboard commands built in.

Number 2, custom profiles
You can save custom profiles using setup files. Setup files are easy to create, you just set up the scope the way you want it, and save off the profile. This is super useful if you’re sharing a scope and don’t like how your cube-mate leaves the scope…Erin. Or, if you have a couple of main tasks you use the scope for, you can save a profile for each task.

For example, you could have a setup for protocol decoding, a setup for power testing, a setup for mask testing. This is especially useful if you want to name channels, are using probes or cables with custom attenuation settings, or have an annoying cubemate. If you have a community scope, you can also save your setup profile to a flash drive and keep it from getting deleted or overwritten.

Number 3, pushable encoder knobs
This is a big one that a lot of people don’t know about. If your scope has pushable encoders behind your front-panel knobs, there’s a good chance you can do this. Pushing a knob automatically zeros out or centers that control. For example, pushing the Ch 1 offset knob centres that channel around 0.

Pushing the horizontal offset knob centres your trigger point on screen. My favorite is the trigger level knob - a push will automatically sense the peak-to-peak voltage of the signal and set the trigger point to 50%. It’s a quick, easy way to get a preliminary trigger setup. For some of the knobs wouldn’t make sense to zero them out or centre them, like the Volts-per-division knob and the time-per-division knob. Pushing these will toggle the knob sensitivity between course and fine adjustments.

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