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Annotate scope displays for improved documentation

24 Feb 2015  | Arthur Pini

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Trace labels
Trace labels let you to annotate each trace with descriptive text. The Teledyne LeCroy oscilloscope used in this article supports multiple labels per trace providing ample annotation. Trace labels can be anchored to the trace or "floated" to any point on the display grid. You have complete control over the placement of the labels within each trace display grid. Figure 4 shows an annotated screen display.


Figure 4: Trace labels provide detailed descriptions of the each trace. Labels may be placed in contact with the trace or may float anywhere within the grid. Each trace supports multiple labels.


Trace labels are associated with each trace and are added from the trace dialogue box. For example, the label on the channel 1 trace (C1) is added from the C1 setup dialogue box. Likewise, the labels associated with the math trace F1 are created and placed from the F1 math setup dialogue. Labels can be placed by dragging them anywhere within the display grid using the oscilloscope's touch screen or a mouse.


Messages
The labels shown so far are fixed attributes either of the display grids or traces. There is also provision to show messages to the operator. This generally is required under remote control in an automated test system. There is a "Message" command which will display a message to the operator in the lower left corner of the display as shown in figure 5.


Figure 5: The message "Move Probe to Test Point 3" in the lower left corner of the display is an example of an operator prompt sent using the oscilloscope's remote control message command.


The message "Move Probe to Test Point 3" is an example of an operator prompt sent over remote control. The message command lets the test programmer prompt the operator for some action during the test. It can be combined with a "Beep" command to emit an audible beep to alert the operator to the message.

The message is independent of any of the screen elements and can be updated and changed as needed. It can also be used as part of the annotation. For instance, a test number might be posted before a hard copy of the screen is made.


Conclusion
Annotation tools help you document the measurements appearing on an oscilloscope screen. Take advantage of screen annotations when archiving test reports, especially when the state of the instrument is not recorded with the screen images.


About the author
Arthur Pini is a technical support specialist and electrical engineer with over 50 years experience in the electronics test and measurement industry. He has supported oscilloscopes, real-time spectrum analysers, frequency synthesisers, digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators for leading manufacturers.


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