Top 12 Oscilloscope Probes

Attenuation probes multiply the voltage magnitude range of the oscilloscope by using an internal resistor when combined with an input resistance of the scope creating a voltage divider. Sufficient convenience and accuracy between the signal source and the oscilloscope input are expected from an oscilloscope probe.

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Oscilloscope Probes Buying Guide

An oscilloscope is the most used instrument for electrical engineers or anyone else to measure electronic devices' electrical characteristics. It is responsible for a physical and electrical connection between a test point or signal on an oscilloscope.

Active and passive probes

A passive probe is the most commonly used probe typically supplied with most oscilloscopes. These general-purpose oscilloscope probes are typically available in 1x to 1000x attenuation factor. An active probe is used for taking high-speed measurements greater than 500 MHz on high impedance circuits. They usually have a 50Ω or 1MΩ output impedance. However, they have a limited voltage range.

Probes for measuring differential signals

For measuring differential signals, a differential probe is used. They are also famous for measuring high-frequency signals or signals of very low amplitude. The differential probe provides a differential signal by measuring one channel of the oscilloscope, providing higher performance over a wide range of frequency range.

Current probes

Current probes measure a strong electromagnetic field and convert it to a corresponding voltage for convenient measurement by an oscilloscope. A DC probe measures the magnetic field generated by a DC as it passes through the ferrite core. On the other hand, an AC probe uses a current transformer for measuring AC flowing through the core. A current probe measuring both AC and DC is also available.

Key attributes

There is no one-size-fits-all configuration in oscilloscope probes. Thus, make it a point to check whether the oscilloscope probe meets the physical requirements of your instrument. There should be minimum or no difference between the signal occurring at the tip of the probe and oscilloscope. Some signal source loading is expected while using a probe; however, the loading should be as low as possible. Most probes are not immune to all noise sources, nevertheless using a shielding allows probes to achieve a high level of noise immunity.