Sunday, February 24, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Like many people in this industry, I love technology. Working for Tektronix, I am excited when we are the first to introduce new technology, like the Tektronix MDO4000 Mixed-Domain Oscilloscope. But I am also interested to innovation from other test and measurement suppliers.
Last year, Teledyne LeCroy introduced the WaveRunner HRO, or High-Resolution Oscilloscope. They rebranded it this year as the HDO, or High-Definition Oscilloscope. The idea is to use a 12-bit digitizer instead of an 8-bit digitizer to acquire a waveform. With an 8-bit digitizer, there are 256 voltage levels that define the wave shape. In theory, 12-bits means that there are 4096 distinct voltage levels, a great improvement in resolution. More recently, Agilent introduced the DSO9000H, a competing product that also promises 12-bits of performance through oversampling and processing. Such an oscilloscope should allow you to see small signals in the presence of big ones, provide greater accuracy of DC gain, and less noise on a signal.
So why doesn’t Tektronix provide a 12-bit oscilloscope? Aren’t more bits always better? Let’s review.