Oscilloscopes typically provide multiple approaches to acquiring and displaying data. The two most common and most distinct approaches are continuous acquisition and single-sequence acquisition.
In continuous acquisition mode, the waveform is generally displayed in real-time as the data points are acquired. Depending upon the time base being used, the scope may use either of the approaches below to display the data:
In single-sequence acquisition, the data are not displayed to the plot window as they are acquired. Instead, the data are saved in memory (buffered). Once an entire plot window worth of data points have been saved, they are simultaneously displayed to the plot window. This approach is similar to the second approach in continuous acquisition except that once the wave form has been displayed to the plot window, data acquisition stops. Also, the way in which data are displayed is not dependent upon the time base. The overall effect is that a single “snapshot” of the waveform is displayed to the screen. This data acquisition approach is especially useful if a limited amount of data is desired near some “event”.