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RS Pro DSO entry: Debugging Complex Control Systems

What I will use the oscilloscope for

There are many personal engineering projects that could benefit significantly from a professional digital storage oscilloscope and is a piece of kit that is noticeably missing from my work-bench.

I design and build a lot of complex control systems that employ multiple signalling protocols as the logic moves through each sub-system. This can be anything from analogue sensor input voltages, CMOS and TTL logic voltages, CANBUS, I2C, RS232 and SPI networking, as well as PWM FET, switching for motor control. Each sub-system has differing signal monitoring and bandwidth requirements that a basic multi-meter cannot meet, hence the need for a high-quality storage-oscilloscope.

I am currently designing one of my biggest maker projects yet, my MK.3 robotics platform. The need to debug much more complex, high-speed, interconnected and critically reliable systems will depend greatly on tools such as this. Having the use of multiple debugging channels will greatly accelerate the development process as I attempt to incorporate more self-driving and autonomous elements into the platform such as LiDAR, computer vision and IOT telemetry.

The piece of test equipment I use the most

For all projects, I am very reliant on my RS multi-meter. It is great for fault-finding DC power supplies, testing voltage drops across switching transistors, debugging logic levels and checking amplifier bias voltages. However, it can be limited when more in-depth detail is required, especially in AC-heavy environments, which is where an oscilloscope would ideally take over.

Test equipment picture

A keen electronic engineer with a passion for automotive systems and autonomous robotics. A progressive love of cars, engines and classic mechanics. Advocate for clean energy, transport and alternative fuels. Compulsive tea drinker. BrightSpark 2017. BEng MIET

8 Oct 2018, 7:34