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Oscilloscope Lab Summary

In this lab, I learned how to use an oscilloscope and how to obtain useful information from it. The main overview of the lab is provided in the Lab Manual. My procedure, thoughts, and data are provided in my lab notebook:

Summary of Data

SJK 23:40, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
23:40, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
Good reporting of your final values, and the essential inclusion of estimate of uncertainty. Importantly, I like how you describe what your uncertainty means. Yes, you're right that taking repeated measurements (that are independent--you try to reduce correlation between individual measurement attempts) will allow you to estimate your uncertainty in a more rigorous way.
  • Fall Time= 51.20±5ms (cursor)
  • Fall Time= 48.24±3ms(measure)

The first measurement, was obtained by using the oscilloscope's 'cursor' and the second was obtained using the 'measure' feature. Because of the discrepancy between my cursor measurement and the oscilloscope's built in measurement, I think a reasonable uncertainty is ±3ms for the 'measure' time and ±5ms in the 'cursor' time -- I am not as certain in my cursor measurement. However, if I were to repeat the lab, I would take more measurements so that I could reduce my experimental uncertainty and use error analysis techniques. The time that I decided to use in calculating the time constant, τ, was the oscilloscope's 'measure' measurement:

  • Vf=Vo·exp(-t/τ), Vf/Vo=0.1, t=48.24ms
  • τ=20.95ms


  • In this lab, I learned how to use the oscilloscope and some of its features. In particular, I learned how to use triggering, I learned about AC coupling, how to view and manipulate an input signal, and how to make useful measurements. I am sure that these are useful skills which I will continue to develop throughout the semester.
  • I definitely didn't go outside of the standard procedure as much as I would have liked. Although I did get to try out many of the oscilloscope's features, there are many more that I was unable to test out due to the time constraint. In fact, I never even got to the FFT section, or to the 'Other' section that came after.
  • To make the lab better, it might be a good idea to give students an opportunity to get started on the very first day of lab so that they have more time to mess around with the device.
SJK 23:42, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
23:42, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
This is a very good lab summary. Future summaries will probably be longer, given the need to report some more things. But everything about your summary is very good -- my main comments were in your raw data notebook, so make sure to look at that. Great work!