How to Use an Oscilloscope


Oscilloscopes are devices that allow you to visualize very fast changes in voltage over time, especially those that are too difficult to accurately track when using a multimeter. This is represented by a line from one side of a screen to another, which represents a graph of voltage on the Y axis and time along the X axis.

Oscilloscopes come in analog and digital varieties, though the controls available on either type tend to be similar, and they all typically have the same basic controls in common. For the demonstration video above, GalcoTV is using a digital oscilloscope.

All oscilloscopes typically have these controls:

  • At least one input where an oscilloscope probe or coaxial cable can be attached
  • A screen with a grid overlay
  • A volts/div control that allows you to adjust how many volts are represented by each vertical increment of grid overlay on the screen, which works similarly to a zoom function in and out of the y axis
  • A time/div control that acts similarly to the previous control, but for the X axis instead of the y axis
  • A vertical position/offset that lets you move up and down in the y direction
  • A horizontal position/offset that allows you to move left and right
  • And a trigger level that allows you to stabilize the waveform displayed on the screen


To learn about how to use these controls and general oscilloscope operating principles, check out the video.


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