Analogue Oscilloscope: A Comprehensive Guide

Analogue Oscilloscope: A Comprehensive Guide

Analogue oscilloscopes have been used in various industries for testing and debugging electrical equipment for many years. They are still popular today due to their accuracy and versatility.

Even though many digital technologies exist, many people still use analog oscilloscopes because they work really well.

Analog scopes are also called cathode-ray oscilloscopes. This can be abbreviated to CRO. They may not have all the functionality of digital scopes. However, they can still provide the capabilities you need for most laboratory and general test applications.

Analogue scopes are frequently relegated to the back of a laboratory test equipment inventory. However, these test equipment can still be helpful in various scenarios. Some individuals choose to use them in conjunction with more sophisticated digital scopes. Prefer to use them against more advanced digital scopes. In some instances, analogue scopes can still be bought new. However, the number and selection of these test instruments are fast reducing.

Analogue Scope Basics

An analog scope works by using a cathode ray tube (CRT). This was, for many years, the only way to show images. People have used it for TVs for a long time. But now, there are other types of displays like LCDs, LEDs, and more. But all these new displays need digital signals to work.

The cathode ray tube used in oscilloscopes was different from that used in televisions. The cathode ray tube used electrostatic deflection rather than magnetic deflection in oscilloscopes. Instead of magnetic deflection, electrostatic deflection is used. This allowed it to control the electron stream much more quickly, allowing analogue oscilloscopes to operate at very high frequencies. On the other hand, television sets used a magnetic beam deflection scheme that did not provide sufficiently high-frequency operation.

The analogue scope uses a cathode ray tube to display signals differently. The Y-axis is the instantaneous value of the voltage, and X-axis is a waveform that goes up and down.

As the voltage of the ramp waveform increases, Analogue scopes are frequently relegated to the back of a laboratory test equipment inventory. However, these test equipment can still be helpful in various scenarios. Some individuals choose to use them in conjunction with more sophisticated digital scopes. The trace moves in a horizontal direction across the screen. When it reaches the end of the screen, the waveform returns to zero, and the trace begins again.

This approach lets us see how the amplitude of a waveform changes over time. This can be seen on a cathode ray tube.

Analogue Oscilloscope Operation

The analogue oscilloscope can show stable images of incoming waveforms. It has a lot of blocks that help it do this. This oscilloscope was used for many years, and its circuitry was well-tested.

AC / DC Selection

When looking at a signal, only the AC elements are of interest. A capacitor can be connected in series with the input to block the DC content in these circumstances. This will make the signal easier to see without overloading the DC content. Selecting the AC option will mean that low-frequency signals may be limited as you use a capacitor. Check the scope specification for low-end performance.

Y Attenuator

The signals need to be at the right level for the Y amplifier to work correctly. The signals pass through the Y attenuator.

Y Amplifier

The Y amplifier is important because it amplifies the output to the drivers on the cathode ray tube. This amplifier needs to be very linear so that the accuracy of the oscilloscope is maintained.

Y Deflection Circuit

The signal is amplified and passed to the Y deflection circuit. This circuit uses the amplified signal to create a high enough voltage to move the cathode ray tube plates. Oscilloscope deflection is used on a CRT because it gives the rapid response that an oscilloscope requires.

Trigger Circuitry

A trigger system is several blocks on the circuit diagram of the analogue scope. To ensure that the steady waveform is displayed on the screen, set the ramp waveform to start at the same point on each cycle of the incoming signal you want to monitor. This way, you will always see the same point on the waveform at the same position on the screen.

The ramp is initiated by the trigger circuit. The signal is extracted from the incoming signal by the trigger. When a certain voltage level is attained, the ramp begins. Most oscilloscopes allow you to change the trigger point.

The signal from the Y amplifier is used to create a new, conditioned signal. This signal is then sent through a Schmitt trigger circuit. You can choose whether the trigger point happens when the waveform rises or falls. The signal from the trigger is then used to start a ramp.

You can also use a signal from an external source. This can be a convenient feature because you might need to take the trigger from another source different from the incoming signal.

Blanking Amplifier

A blanking amplifier is used to ensure that the screen is blanked when the ramp or timebase circuit restarts. This amplifier sends a pulse to the grid of the cathode ray tube, which stops the electron flow and makes the screen black for that period.

Analogue Scope Controls

There are many controls on an analog oscilloscope to see the waveform in the way you need.

Most of the controls will be recognizable to anyone who has previously used digital scopes. But a few might be different.

The following are some of the most important controls:

Focus control

The focus control is no longer needed on modern test instruments. Still, it was an important element of the older cathode ray oscilloscopes. The focus ensured that the dot that scanned the screen remained as clear as possible, and in this way, it could deliver a good trace. It is clear that as the control is adjusted, the dot or trace becomes more definite and less hazy.

Intensity Control

The intensity control is needed on analog scopes. Because the brightness of the dot or trace varies depending on how quickly the scan is made. Controlling the intensity means getting a clear trace with the right brightness.

The intensity control is often used because it is found that as the writing speed increases, the trace becomes steadily dimmer. Despite the intensity control, it ultimately becomes difficult to see. Faster writing speeds are necessary for higher frequency transmissions.Analogue oscilloscopes, as a result, have a limited frequency range, as illustrated below. An analogue oscilloscope can often detect frequencies up to about 1 GHz, its maximum frequency. Other types of oscilloscopes will be necessary for addition to this.

Signal Inputs

On a cathode ray oscilloscope, the signal input or Y-axis is controlled by some different knobs and buttons.

Vertical Gain

When it comes to digital and analogue oscilloscopes, the vertical gain control is the same. This control effectively makes the waveform bigger or smaller to fit the screen. There may be a variable control to allow a small amount of additional variation in some cases. But be aware that the calibrations will no longer be accurate and reliable if activated. It is always best to leave this position where the calibrations are correct.

Vertical Position

The vertical position control is used to move the trace to the right side of the screen.

AC / DC / Gnd

Selecting the input coupling required for the scope is accomplished using this control. If you want to see the whole DC voltage, use DC coupling. If you only want to see the signal, then use AC coupling. Keep in mind that AC coupling will cut off low frequencies. There may also be a ground position on some scopes.

Many analogue oscilloscopes include more than one channel, which is quite convenient. This means that they can compare different signals. Most scopes have two channels, but some newer ones have four. More than four channels are very rare, but they can exist.


The timebase control on the oscilloscope is one of the most significant. This will let you change how fast the scope scans. The speed will be measured in time per division on the cathode ray tube. It can go from very slow, scanning a second or more per centimeter to microseconds or less per centimeter. You need to choose the right time base speed to display the waveform you need.


The trigger control on an analogue oscilloscope is one of the most critical controls on the instrument. This control helps create a stable signal that can be seen on the screen. The controls are typically like those found on any other form of an oscilloscope. However, they have been tailored specifically for the use and techniques of analogue scopes.

Trigger Level

The trigger level sets the point at which the waveform starts. This is the point at which the trigger fires. For an analogue oscilloscope, this starts the ramp generator. This will show the waveform from this point on the screen. Unlike digital scopes, analogue scopes directly display the waveform.


This control delays triggering for a short period. This way, it prevents triggering from happening too quickly. This can help make some waveforms look more stable, especially if the trigger level exceeds once during a complex waveform.

Alt / Chop

When using a dual or multiple channel scope, this model is available. When displaying the waveform, the cathode ray oscilloscope has two alternatives. Displaying one waveform after another is possible. “Chopping” the signal can be used to display a little portion of one signal followed by a small portion of the next, and so on is possible. Because the chopping rate is significantly higher than the signal frequency, the waveforms appear as two separate signals. Often it is possible to see if you speed up the timebase a lot.

Cathode ray oscilloscopes / analogue oscilloscopes have several controls that are used often. Other controls may be included on the particular instrument being used for testing.

Analogue Scope Advantages and Disadvantages

Even though digital scopes are becoming more popular, there are still many areas where an analogue oscilloscope can be very useful.

The following are the advantages of using an analog oscilloscope or a cathode ray oscilloscope:


Analog scopes are generally less expensive than digital scopes. This is because the technology is well-established, and fewer development costs are involved. The component and production costs are also higher for digital scopes, making them more expensive to produce.


Analog oscilloscopes can provide good performance for many laboratory and service situations. They are better than other options for some purposes.

In company availability

Analog oscilloscopes are often found in stores, even when all the other digital scopes are used. Provided that their performance is satisfactory, the analogue option may be the best way to go.

The Disadvantages of Using an Analog Scope Are:

High-end performance:

Many high-end digital oscilloscopes can do more than those that use analogue technology.

Ranges Available:

Many oscilloscope manufacturers and suppliers have focussed on digital oscilloscopes. So the range of analogue scopes available is much less than it used to be. However, some are still available, and others can be found from used test equipment suppliers. Often it is possible to get a good deal on a used analogue scope if you use a reliable supplier.

Even though digital technology is becoming more popular, analogue oscilloscopes are still good to test instruments. They may not have all the features of a digital scope, but they can still be reliable.

There are few analogue oscilloscopes available for purchase these days. However, many can still be found on the second user market. They can also be found in laboratories where they have not been superseded by newer models.

Frequently Asked Questions About Analogue Oscilloscope

What Is the Difference Between Analog and Digital Oscilloscopes?

Analog oscilloscopes show the waveform’s original form, while digital oscilloscopes convert the original analog waveform into digital numbers. The digital oscilloscope then stores these numbers in a digital format.

What Is an Analogue Storage Oscilloscope?

Analogue oscilloscope technology is a way to show pictures of things happening. It uses a tube with something inside that will keep the picture on the screen for longer than other kinds of screens. When working with this type of screen, you must exercise caution since if you move too quickly, it can be difficult to see what is going on.

What Would Analog Oscilloscope Be Better At?

Analog signals look better on a CRT. They are clear and sharp because the crt can focus on them well. This method allows you to view the details more clearly. However, digital scopes sometimes give false readings because aliasing can be problematic.

What Does a Digital Oscilloscope Do?

A digital oscilloscope is an electronic device that captures, processes, views, and stores data representing the relevant signals of an operator.

What Is the Main Advantage of Using a Digital Storage Oscilloscope?

A digital storage oscilloscope can keep a picture of what is happening for a long time if the power supply to the digital memory is not interrupted.

What Type of Oscilloscope Do I Need?

When selecting an oscilloscope, make sure to choose one that has a wide bandwidth so that it can accurately capture the highest frequency of your signals. Remember “the five-times rule” – choose an oscilloscope and probe combination that offers at least 5 times the maximum signal bandwidth for better measurements with fewer errors.

What Is Analogue Storage?

Analog recording methods store audio signals as physical textures on phonograph records or as fluctuations in the field strength of magnetic recordings. Analog transmission methods use audio signals to distribute content.

How Does Oscilloscope Music Work?

An oscilloscope is a device that uses a two-axis graph to show how a waveform changes over time. The horizontal axis represents time, and the vertical axis represents the waveform’s amplitude. Oscilloscopes are commonly used in music production to help with dynamics processing and sound synthesis.

What Are the Advantages Disadvantages of a DLA As Compared to an Oscilloscope?

DLAs are better than oscilloscopes at catching errors because they store more data points. However, they have some disadvantages. One is that they cannot measure analog signals accurately. Another is that time intervals can be inaccurate, and finally, a more extensive voltage range is required.

What Are the Disadvantages of Oscilloscope?

Oscilloscopes are more expensive than other electronic measuring instruments, such as multimeters. Oscilloscopes are also more sophisticated and can be more costly to repair if damaged. Oscilloscopes can only analyze signals in real-time, so no storage memory is available.

What Is the Difference Between Analog and Digital Systems?

Digital systems use binary code, which is a system of just 0s and 1s. An analog system sends electronic pulses with different strengths to represent data. A digital signal is either on or off, while an analog signal has a continuous range of values.