Keysight - The Memory Depth of a USB Modular Oscilloscope

Reprinted courtesy of Agilent Technologies

Introduction

Selecting the right oscilloscope to carry out your daily work is an important task. As you start the selection process, you probably will compare the specifications and features of various oscilloscopes. The first few things that you will need to look into are the bandwidth range of the oscilloscope, the sampling rate speed, the number of channels supported, and of course, the price as well as the accessories that is bundled along. However, a specification that you should not overlook is the memory depth of the oscilloscope.


In this application note, you will discover how a deep memory provides numerous advantages to benefit you in your measurement. Towards the end of this document, you will also learn how to use the bundled software that comes with every purchase of the Agilent U270xA - the Agilent Measurement Manager (AMM) - to transfer data points captured in the U270xA oscilloscope memory into your computer and to make a conversion program of your choice to translate the data points into actual amplitude values for post processing and analysis.


Why is memory depth important?

To understand the importance of memory depth in an oscilloscope, we must first examine how the sampling rate affects the operation of an oscilloscope. A high sampling rate is an important advantage for every oscilloscope. However, the sampling rate specification stated in its data sheet will only show you the maximum achievable sampling rate of the oscilloscope. You will notice that the sampling rate starts to drop when you increase the oscilloscope time base setting above a certain duration. In other words, the sampling rate will not constantly stay at the maximum value (as published in its data sheet) throughout the time base range of the oscilloscope...


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