Newbie question

Hi All,
I wanted to take my hobby to the next level and get myself an oscilloscope. I am looking at the DSO Nano V2, but, as a newbie, am a bit confused. On my first project, I want to simply measure the frequency output on an IR LED beacon (using a 556 timer). I want to verify the carrier is at 38KHz and pulse is at 1200Hz. What confuses me is that on all the screen samples I see on the Nano, I was hoping to see something that showed the frequency in HZ? Is this an option that I am not seeing that can be selectable? Or do I have to interpret the frequency by some other means? Sorry that this is probably a really ‘green’ question for most of you, but I am new to oscilloscopes.


The oscilloscope shows the amplitude as a function of time. So along the x-axis you have the time. If you have e.g. a 1200 Hz signal, each period takes 1 s / 1200 = 0.8 ms. So if you set the timescale (indicated as time per division = vertical dotted line on the scope screen) to 0.1 ms/Div, the whole period takes 8 divisions on the screen, which is 2/3 of the screen since there is 12 divisions. Zoom out to a scale of 1 ms, and you’ll see 1 ms * 12 / 0.8 ms = 15 periods on the screen.

@tormod, thx. To make sure I understand you correctly, if I have it set at 0.1ms, I would know I am getting 1200Hz if a single waveform (peak to peak) shows across 8 divisions? Did I get that right?

Yes, you can call it “peak to peak” although that expression usually means the voltage difference between the highest and lowest value of a signal. The period is the time before the signal repeats itself. So if you have a sinus signal the period will be the time between two high peaks, or between two low peaks, or between two crossings of zero in the same direction, you get the idea.