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White Paper: Connectivity

Selecting Your Next Oscilloscope: Why Digital Triggering Matters


Your oscilloscope trigger determines the precise moment in time your instrument captures critical events of interest. Triggering is often overlooked as a key selection parameter until after the instrument is purchased. Oscilloscopes with superior trigger parameters and functionality provide an edge for development teams to quickly and effectively debug and test. A superior triggering system can save significant time trying to isolate difficult-to-find events, allowing engineers to improve designs more quickly.

Engineers are quick to recognize and compare banner specifications such as bandwidth, record length, and sample rate. Comparative assessment of the goodness and quality of oscilloscope triggers can be more elusive. Traditional oscilloscope triggering is based on analog circuitry with the signal being split into a data path and a separate trigger path. Newer oscilloscope architectures contain a single path shared by both the signal and triggering. This single path approach is known as digital triggering. Digital trigger has numerous advantages versus historical analog trigger architectures.

Digital trigger circuits incorporate a number of advantages that older analog trigger technologies don’t include. Understanding these attributes makes it easier to determine how important these advantages are for a team when choosing an oscilloscope.

This white paper provides an explanation of analog versus digital triggering architectures, user advantages for scopes that have digital triggering, as well as how to determine if a scope has a digital or analog trigger.

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