For our most recent survey, we asked, “When you use an off-the-shelf sensor assembly, how much functionality is built into it?” We put up various categories that covered levels of sophistication and complexity. Maybe it's just a very simple sensor, and you build all the circuitry to massage the signals. That could include amplification, level shifting, perhaps a multiplexer, and then an ADC — oh, and power supply circuitry, too. At the other end of the spectrum, you could buy a sensor in a- ox that plugs into your computer via USB cable (for example).
This survey drew 124 respondents. Roughly 23% said they just use a bare-bones sensor. About 28% said they add some simple circuitry, like a couple of transistors or perhaps an op-amp. About 22% add more sophisticated circuitry like an ADC and serial interface. And slightly less than 10% toss in an microcontroller unit. So roughly three-quarters of you are doing varying amounts of design and fabrication of real circuitry. Our faith is restored. We know that there is still good amounts of hands-on analog design being done.
And with that second-to-last category, we see that more than one-eighth of the respondents were using very sophisticated versions based on analog front ends. Only one respondent chose “something else.” Maybe that's the one person who just bought an off-the-shelf data acquisition system and plugged in a USB cable — no soldering required.
In our current poll, we take a closer look at your preferences for scopes.