One essential tool needed for experimenting with electronics is a Function Generator. A function Generator outputs various waveforms which can be used in your experiments. Common waveforms are sine, square, triangle and sawtooth which are illustrated in the below picture.
The waveforms can be adjusted by frequency’s, amplitude, and shape. The function generator has a rating of how high it can create a waveform. The rating is usually in Mhz. So if you have a 20Mhz function generator, you could adjust the frequency as high as 20 Mhz.
Function generator can be helpful when you need to create a wave for a circuit you are testing. A good function generator should have a sweep setting that will go though a frequency range. This can be helpful when you are looking for how your circuit will respond to different frequency’s. An example, let say you have a low-pass filter and you need to know what are its cutoff points. You can just set the function generator to sweep though a predefined frequency range. As it sweeps you will see at what frequency the low-pass filter cuts off. Another use would be to have a function generator power a 555 timer circuit.
Function generators are a must have in any electronic lab.