Making Sure You Get the Most Accurate Measurements Through Calibration


For those of you familiar with WaveForms 2015, you know that you can install it on either your Mac, Linux, and Windows machines. You probably also know that it provides the user interface for the Analog Discovery 2, Analog Discovery, and Electronics Explorer Board.

all 4 demo

The Oscilloscope of WaveForms 2015 in Mac, Windows, and Linux.

When you first open WaveForms 2015, the first window you will see is the Device Manager. In the Device Manager, you can pick the way you want to run WaveForms 2015, whether that is with one of the above mentioned boards or in Demo Mode.

If you are connected to a device, not only can you use all of the tools included in WaveForms 2015, but you can take advantage of two of the often-overlooked tools within the Device Manager. These are the Rename tool and the Calibration tool.

The Rename tool allows you to give your device a unique name. This way, if you are collaborating in a large group with say, multiple Analog Discovery 2‘s, they won’t all show up with the same default name (Discovery2). You can name it a combination of upper or lower case letters, and numbers.

2 - rename

The Rename tool can be accessed through the Device Manager.

That’s pretty neat, but in my opinion the most powerful tool in the Device Manager of WaveForms 2015 is the Calibration tool.

To open the Calibration Window, in the top left of the Device Manager, click Calibrate.

1- device manager

In the Calibration window you’ll see the Calibrate tab, with all of the tools you can calibrate, the Parameters tab, and the References tabs. The Parameters and References tabs contain values used to define the calibration of the device. I highly recommend that you don’t change these manually if you can avoid it.

Using a reliable DMM, a breadboard, and some pin headers, you can use the Calibration Wizard to do an automatic calibration. To launch the Calibration Wizard, click on the Wizard button at the top of the Device Calibration Window.

The device calibration window. You can see the wizard button on the top left.

The Device Calibration Window. You can see the Wizard button on the top left.

The Calibration Wizard will take you through a series of measurements and automatic calibrations. To view the full instructions for getting an accurate calibration, check out this Device Calibration tutorial.

The initial set up for calibration.

The initial set-up for calibration.

At the end you can see that after calibration my Analog Discovery 2 was much more accurate than before:

Both images show channel one of the oscilloscope reading a zero from waveform generator one. The left capture shows without calibration, and the right capture shows with calibration.

Both images show channel one of the oscilloscope reading a zero from Waveform Generator one. The left capture shows without calibration, and the right capture shows with calibration.

For more information about getting started with your Analog Discovery 2, make sure to check out the AD2 quick start video series.

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When I started school I wasn’t interested in any of things I’m passionate about now. In fact originally I started out wanting to study art. But then I decided I didn’t want to have people telling me what to create, so I changed to music. Then I decided I didn’t want to ruin a hobby by making it my career. At the same time my Physics class was teaching a unit on the physics of music, and I thought that was way interesting, so I changed to physics. Then by the time physics was over I decided that the coolest part of physics was electricity and magnetism, and I may as well get a degree that transfers directly into a career. So while all this was happening, I was attending Shoreline Community College, and during that time I found my passion, or rather presented itself repeatedly, until I realized, maybe I should take a hint from the universe. While at community college, I was asked to help at the high school by tutoring chemistry students. Then I was asked to help at the elementary school by being a math Olympiad coach. I continued both because I found I really enjoyed it. I also had an opportunity, and was hired to be a tutor in the Math Learning Center at the Community College, a job I really loved. At the same time I was working as a Nanny, which I had been doing for several years, the main reason because I could and would answer the hard questions the kids asked honestly (i.e. why is the sky blue). I then was recommended by the patrons of the MLC to the transfer tutoring center (private tutoring,) and developed a wait list of students. Through all these opportunities at some point I realized that I loved watching people go from totally lost, to masters of a subject. I was also forced to admit that having all these opportunities continually renewed, I must have been somewhat good at it. So I decided I wanted to teach, which fits with my mission oriented personality. I saw a serious lack of passionate ECE professors in the institutions I attended. At WSU I continued this trend by being ask to TA for computer science and electrical engineering, being a TA for a total of 4 semesters. This continued by getting an amazing opportunity in my first semester at Washington State University to work at Digilent, an educational company. So even if I didn’t want to teach, turns out I can’t avoid it. Luckily it is my main passion.

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