Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds

Using an oscilloscope

The cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO) is a powerful tool. It acts as a voltmeter. This collection of experiments will help to reveal the variety of its uses.

Each model of CRO will have its own selection of controls, so it will pay to learn to 'drive' your own model. Some of the experiments may need slight modification to take account of this.

The modern alternative to standard bench top oscilloscopes are PC-based digital oscilloscopes such as Picoscope. These offer the same functionality as cathode ray oscilloscopes (voltage and time display, waveform storage, analyzing sound spectra) but can also offer extra features.


Using a CRO as a voltmeter

Using a CRO to show an AC waveform

Using a CRO to show different waveforms

Using a CRO to measure short time intervals

Using a CRO to show acoustic waveforms

Using a CRO to show rectification by a diode