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  • EEVblog #162 – Oscilloscope Probe Shock

    Posted on April 12th, 2011 EEVblog 42 comments

    Dave shows how the piezoelectric effect applies to oscilloscope probes.

    Dave’s entry for the My Tektronix Scope contest:
    Please VOTE for it here once per day for the rest of April -Thanks!
    http://mytektronixscope.com/videos/#vote

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    • Jeff

      Voted.

      Unemployed? How come? Trying to make a full-time occupation from video blogging now or going freelance design?

      Best of luck in your endevours whatever they may be.

    • Lisa

      Hi Dave,
      Best of luck. I noticed the contest rules state the video be between 1 and 5 minutes long, yours is nearly 10. I wonder if the judges will consider it? That aside, as a young player I found it very interesting.
      Lisa

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        This is the directors cut. The uploaded contest one was just under 5 min.

    • http://www.elvtechnology.com.au Shaun Clarke

      Couldn’t it be called cheating to have multiple votes from the same person?

      • HammerFET

        Well they let you vote everyday so not really cheating…

        Either way, everyone make sure they vote and Dave will have this easy!

        Or at least beat the dude who shows how to measure the voltage of a battery with an oscilloscope… ‘¬_¬

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Not cheating, they actually allow that. One vote per IP address per day!

    • Nick

      It’s not cheating, it’s devotion…

    • Drone

      He he… One sure way to win Tektronix contest is to submit the video showing the same probe tapping phenomenon, but use the Agilent scope and probe instead!

      Or maybe the Agilent kit doesn’t do it?

      Younger Players indeed; hurrumph…..

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        The fixed x10 Agilent probes do it too. As do all my other brand probes.

    • PedroV

      Hi Dave!

      Best of all luck with you professional future!
      I would like to ask a thing from you:
      Now that ‘you are free’ can you maybe dig deeper in the PCB Design?!
      I believe you have a lot to tell us and we a lot to learn.. :)

      Best of all luck!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yes, I have plans on doing that. Sadly though, even though I have a lot more free time to work on stuff, it’s still not nearly enough!

    • Dimlow

      Duh! Its the switch in the probe!!!!

      My HP probes don’t have a switch and I don’t get this effect.

    • Morten Larsen

      I would be nice with a recurring donations option on your donate link now that you are a full time blogger.

      Keep up the great work.

    • FreeThinker

      Router reboot…….Router reboot……Lol

      • Colin

        Dimlow,
        it is not the switch, how could a contact between similar metals generate an EMF? Microphony in ceramic capacitors is well known, as is the triboelectric effect in cable. Broadcasters know about this. It’s an easy mistake to make, if you don’t have wider knowledge of many industries and applications.
        Colin

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    • inse

      Dave, do you really think this effect is relevant in practice?
      I can hardly imagine bumping around the probes while measuring.

      BTW, is it your tedious 1012 or TDS1012 scope?
      ;-)

      regards..

      • http://maggidev.com Ben

        Dave you have something unique going on here, it’s about the attitude of the show, I think you pretty much got the hang of it when you did the arduino review, I which you talked about the new generation of “hackers”, there’s a new identity growing behind this community and I think is people like you that is making it happen.
        I’m not making any comparison here but most of us have at least read one or more Stephen Hawking’s books, he’s the guy who got an entire new generation of people interested into cosmology, just like string theorist are doing it the field of physics.
        You and many other people like you are doing just the same with the electronic enthusiasts community.
        I think you’re making the right choice by hanging on to the show, best of luck !

        Regards.
        Ben.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Dave, do you really think this effect is relevant in practice?
        I can hardly imagine bumping around the probes while measuring.

        I’ve seen it happen on rare occasions. Some probes are lot more sensitive to others.
        The ESD problem I showed in a early blog is much more likely to happen though.

        BTW, is it your tedious 1012 or TDS1012 scope?

        That did sound a bit NZ didn’t it? :->

    • http://jonw0224.tripod.com Jonathan Weaver

      Dave,

      I’ve been following for about a year. I wish you the best of luck on your professional endeavors. Thanks for doing this blog.

      Wish you the best,

      Jonathan

    • huh

      (voted)

      Dave, now please connect a couple of those probes to an audio amplifier and play a drum solo:)

    • Florian

      On my Rigol DS1052E the effect is barely noticeable with like <50mV Vpp

    • Rasto

      I’ve clicked on the link for Vote, and for some reason I automagically gave vote to that RS323 chick. It gave me no option to choose where my vote should go. I think it’s better to ask people to click on Vote button on that page instead of providing #Vote link, which probably randomly chooses video.

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    • Crapouille

      Hi Dave, very interesting and important post. I’m just a computer science engineer but one week ago, a teamworker of mine told me that he realized that some capacitors have a piezo effects. Shake it and u obtain a signal ! It’s due to the (cheap ?) material used (sorry I cannot remember its name). So it’s important to know that if u realize some embedded cards who can vibrate (typically DC motor controllers …)

    • http://darknet.co.za Wesley

      Hi Dave, I always enjoy your show! I’m not an electronics engineer by any means, but a software one, only dabbling in electronics every so often.

      Reading @Rasto’s comment I voted via the main site and not the link given, seems like the RS232 video has quite a few accidental votes, oops!

      Best of Luck!
      Wes, South Africa

    • http://simf1.blogspot.com/ Kubing

      you will beg to die rather than make it manually

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    • vk6zgo

      Hi Dave,

      Most of the other entries are pretty much in

      the “well–duhhh!” category,but yours & the RMS

      measurement one are the most interesting.(I’m

      pretty sure I’ve read something about the

      latter back in the “dreamtime”!)

      The RS232 lady lost me halfway,but then,I don’t

      have a DSO.

      The DC voltage bloke has just discovered what

      most people fixing stuff with an oscilloscope

      have,in that it’s quite easy to check dc levels

      as you go,without changing instruments.

      I have seen the effect you describe,but never

      thought to investigate it.

      My vote goes to you,although the RS232 lady is

      much better looking.

      VK6ZGO

    • Raff

      Good on you Dave, hope your new career goes well! You have my vote!

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    • vk6zgo

      Well,today the RS232 lady & the keyfob bloke

      are neck & neck in the lead.

      The lady is nice but a bit confusing,& looking

      at a keyfob doesn’t thrill me much (I’ve done

      it with a real spectrum analyser,& it wasn’t

      a hell of a rush then!)

      The kA thing is interesting,but he didn’t do

      much of a job crushing the can.

      Cheers,

      VK6ZGO

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yes, funny how they have more than double the votes I do, they must both have MUCH BIGGER audiences than me! :->

    • Shieldcracker

      I wonder how you can cancel this effect, especially if you are working on an engine or some other mechanical device.

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    • Slobodan

      I got two emails so far from Lonela, where she asks for me to vote for her (RS232 for Dummies…and stop button feature – by Ionela). I dont know where did she got my e-mail.

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    • http://obtuze.wordpress.com Arijit

      I did some similar experiment with a 100nF ceramic capacitor. I whacked it and found some shocks. Here is the link…

      http://obtuze.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/ripples-and-peizoelectic-effects/

    • Pingback: Ripples and piezoelectric effects… « Obtuze

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