Do you think that the oscilloscope is too complicated, expensive and has no place on your workbench?

Think again...

With this course, you will learn how to use the oscilloscope and take your understanding of electronics to the next level.

Course last updated in December 2022

We updated this course with new lectures that contain demonstrations of the Zoolark electronics multi-tool in oscilloscope mode, a new ESP32 waveform generator, and a fun ESP32 X-Y plot generator.

You will find the new content in sections 3, 9 and 12.

After the multimeter, the oscilloscope is the most useful test instrument for makers.

Oscilloscopes are incredible: They can capture, display, and analyse an electrical input signal.

They can automatically produce all kinds of measurements, like the period, rise time, width, duty cycle, max and min voltages, and lots more, and even decode communications protocols like RS232, and I2C.

Over the last few years, their prices have dropped by a lot, and it is now very common for students and hobbyists to be able to afford one.

Today, budget scopes offer a full array of capabilities.

Unlike the multimeter (which can show the value of a measurement at a single moment in time), the oscilloscope works in two dimensions.

On its screen, the oscilloscope will plot the voltage of your test circuit over time. You can see how voltage changes over time, and get the measurements that describe various aspects of its operation. You can use this information to dive deep into the inner workings of your circuit.

This is the course I wish I had when I was studying engineering. 

Oscilloscopes For Busy People is a project course

The bulk of the course consists of experiments organized as small projects.

Learning a tool, just like learning any technology, is best done when you, the student, are immersed in the technology. 

The best way to do this is through a series of projects designed to give you the opportunity to practice the necessary skills.

This course, as with all our courses, is build with practice-based-learning in its core.

Course hardware requirements

To complete this course, you will need an oscilloscope and a few simple test signal generator circuits. 

To generate the test signals, we use an Arduino Uno and an ESP32, plus a few simple components like buttons, resistors, capacitors and a potentiometer. If you have completed Arduino Step by Step Getting Started and ESP32 For Busy People, you already have everything you need.

If you already have an oscilloscope, you can use it to practice the course experiments. If you don't, you can purchase an inexpensive PC/USB oscilloscope for less than $100.

Are there any prerequisites?


To complete this course, you will need to be familiar with basic electronics. 

Because we will use the Arduino Uno and the ESP32 as low-cost test signal generators, you should also be familiar with these platforms. We provide all circuit schematics and sketches in the course.

This course is suitable for Makers that:

  • ... are ready to ready to move beyond their multimeter.
  • ... are ready to dig deeper and understand what is going on in their circuits over time.
  • ... want to understand what is an oscilloscope and how it works before they purchase one.
  • ... already have an oscilloscope but are not sure how to use it.

The oscilloscope is an amazing instrument that can help you gain a deeper understanding of electronics and how devices work.

Being able to see a capacitor charging, or how a PWM signal’s duty cycle changes, can be a powerful tool in your learning journey.

Beyond learning, an oscilloscope is a very useful tool when you work to verify, maintain and troubleshoot electronic devices.

It addition to the multimeter, it gives you the ability to literally probe a circuit and see it working (or not working). Over time, as you become more proficient in using it, the oscilloscope will allow you to know exactly what is going on in a circuit instead of only guessing.

What is this course about and what to expect?

Review by a course graduate

Excellent and very Interesting

Clive Wilby

I did not immediately register for the course as I could not imaging it being of much interest. How wrong could I be!
I have used scope quite extensively, but these were the old-style vintage ones and getting them to trigger in my case was a matter of twiddling knobs until I got something useful displayed.
After the course I know how to set trigger points and much more. While I would like to have a scope similar to the one Peter uses it is out of my price range. What was very useful is that the course also covers the use of a PC/USB scope, and I have now purchased one and I am looking forward to playing with it.
The decoding of Serial (duplex), I2C communication was very interesting, and I now understand the use of those weird timing diagrams you find in the various spec sheets.
The scope experiment that are used are perfect to demonstrate the subject matter.
Even if you think you are proficient with a scope, I believe you will learn a lot from this excellent course.

Here's what you'll get:

  • Oscilloscopes For Busy People.
  • Clear and logical instructions and examples.
  • Downloadable schematic diagram for the test circuits.
  • Downloadable sketches for the Arduino Uno and ESP32 signal generators.
  • Lifetime access.

Which option is best for you?


Once-off payment, best for self-sufficient learners on a budget.

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  • Permanent access.
  • Study at your own pace.
  • Single payment.
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  • One-on-one sessions with mentor.
  • Monthly subscription.
  • Cancel when you complete the course.
Price in your currency:


Get one-on-one live meetings with a mentor, learn to master.


  • Access all course content.
  • Permanent access.
  • Study at your own pace.
  • Monthly subscription.
  • Access to community discussion space.
  • Access to lecture page comments.
  • Includes 2 hours of video one-on-one consultation sessions with an instructor.
  • One month of priority support via instant messaging.
  • Pay as you go: purchase more time with an instructor at any time.


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What's in this course? 

S1. Introduction

01 – Introduction

S2. Getting started

02 – What is the oscilloscope?
03 – Getting comfortable with your oscilloscope

S3. Experiments

04 – Measure an RC circuit
05 – Button press and response
06 – “See” ultrasounds using the Ultrasonic sensor
07 – Measure a PWM signal
08 – Servo motor control signal
09 – Measure waveforms created by an ESP32
10 – Display and Decode UART (RS232) communications
11 – Decoding I2C communications
12 – Lissajous figures

The course instructor

The course instructor is Peter Dalmaris, PhD.

Peter has created over 20 other courses on technology education.

He is the author of Maker Education Revolution, a book on how making is changing the way we learn and teach.

He is also the host of Stemiverse, a podcast in which he discusses education and STEM with the shakers and movers of technology and science education from around the world.

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