Selecting a Frequency Counter on Amazon.com
A frequency counter is a testing device that measures the frequency of an electronic signal. Frequency is the number of cycles measured in the signal per unit of time, typically transmitted by a cyclical process such as a rotation, oscillation, or emitted wavelength. The measurement unit for frequency is hertz (Hz), which represents cycles per second.
Frequency counters are available as stationary or portable models. Both a benchtop style and a handheld frequency counter are commonly used in research and development laboratories or production environments to test or maintain electronic equipment. Frequency counters measure frequency in a specified range, such as 10 Hz to 120 MHz or 50 MHz to 2.5 GHz.
Basic frequency counters have one channel for measuring frequency, but may also provide additional features such as selectable gate times or basic math analysis and statistics such as minimum, maximum, mean, and standard deviation. Gate time represents the unit of time during which frequency is measured, and a selectable gate time may offer a choice between 0.1 seconds and 1.0 second. A universal frequency counter has two channels and may take additional measurements such as period, frequency ratio, level, time interval, single period, rise and fall time, pulse width, duty cycle, phase, and totalize. A microwave frequency counter measures microwave frequencies, which range between 1GHz and 100GHz.
Three different counting methods provide varying degrees of resolution to a frequency counter. In the simplest method, conventional counting, a register counts each cycle of the input signal during a 1 second gate time. With reciprocal counting, the gate time can be adjusted, allowing greater flexibility in measuring. Continuous counting uses high-speed digital circuits to count with higher resolution.
Other factors to consider when choosing between frequency counters include the size and type of display, the number of digits that can be shown in the display, and features such as remote programming or data output capabilities.