EE & Technical Support Specialist Arthur Pini frequently writes about oscilloscopes – especially DSOs – for EDN. His recent article is titled, “Trigger an oscilloscope, get a stable display.”
The first oscilloscope I ever used professionally was an old synchronized sweep instrument. Obtaining a stable display on that old oscilloscope was an art. Now I appreciate all the triggering tools available on even the most basic oscilloscopes.
An oscilloscope trigger synchronizes the oscilloscope’s timebase to the input signal, producing a stable display. In analog oscilloscopes, the trigger initiates the sweep generator so that the horizontal sweep is synchronous with the vertical signal. Digital storage oscilloscopes (DSOs) produce the same effect through a different method. In DSOs, the digitizer runs continuously and the trigger event marks the associated data in the acquisition memory, locking the signal data for display, measurement, and further processing.
Today’s DSOs include relatively simple edge triggers, more sophisticated “smart” triggers, and still more complex “augmented” triggers. Let’s look into these multiple trigger implementations.