Latest news at Pico Technology

Product news

New PicoSource Pulse Generators!

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The new PicoSource PG900 Series differential pulse generators can stimulate a transmission path, device or network with a broad-spectrum signal in a single instant. These signals are invaluable for making high-speed broadband measurements in many fields such as time-domain reflectometry, semiconductor testing, gigabit interconnect and port testing, and in radar systems.

Despite the dominance of high-speed differential data in today's digital, computing, interconnect and telecommunications systems, it was hard to find cost-effective, fast-transition differential pulse generators... until now!

Highlights of the new PicoSource PG900 Series differential pulse generators:

  • 60 ps edge step recovery diode outputs, amplitude adjustable up to 6 V (PG911)
  • 40 ps edge tunnel diode outputs, fixed > 200 mV amplitude (PG912)
  • Dual-technology model (PG914) with both types of output
  • Differential outputs with programmable deskew in 1 ps steps
  • Signal characteristics specified in detail
  • USB-connected
  • Graphical control software (for Microsoft Windows) included

PicoScope 9000 Series sampling oscilloscopes latest

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The PicoScope 9000 Series sampling oscilloscopes are specialized USB-connected measuring instruments for viewing high-speed, repetitive signals such as serial data streams and test patterns. They are available with bandwidths of 12 GHz and 20 GHz, and with optional TDR (time-domain reflectometry), TDT (time-domain transmissometry) and optical-input capabilities.

Updated Programmer's Guide

For those developing custom applications for the PicoScope 9300 Series sampling oscilloscopes, an updated PicoScope 9300 Series Programmer's Guide is now available. This includes new instructions on programming the oscilloscopes in TDR (time-domain reflectometry) and TDT (time-domain transmissometry) applications as well as measurement of optical parameters. These sampling oscilloscopes can be controlled from a PC through either the USB or Ethernet port to provide all the functions available in the PicoSample 3 software, including:

  • Time-domain display and characterization of repetitive signals up to 20 GHz bandwidth
  • Multiple math functions of input channels
  • Eye pattern analysis
  • Automated amplitude and timing measurements to IEEE 1057–2007
  • Measurement of optical parameters (with the PicoScope 9321 optical-input model)
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Differential TDR probing challenge solved

Pico Technology now recommends the GigaProbes DVT30-1MM Dual Probe TDR Interconnect Analysis Kit for use with the PicoScope 9000 Series. The DVT30 is a 30 GHz balanced odd-mode 100 Ω differential time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probe, featuring conductive diamond-tipped contacts that can make a reliable connection to differential striplines and device pads on PCBs. It is thus ideal for making accurate measurements of signal levels and impedances on high-speed differential data lines. The DVT30-1MM can also be used on 50 Ω single-ended circuits using the adaptors included in the kit. [2009-08]

Introducing PicoAssured

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** NEWSFLASH - Some prices now even lower! - See latest price list **

PicoAssured is the new range of high-quality refurbished products from Pico Technology. You can now buy ex-demonstration and recently discontinued oscilloscopes at less than their original prices and still enjoy these first-class benefits:

  • Five-year warranty
  • Free software updates
  • Basic and advanced software features included as standard
  • Free technical support

The PicoAssured range of oscilloscopes includes:

PicoScope 2200 Series
(data)
50 to 200 MHz
2 channels
Arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) built in
From £244.30 /
US $403 /
€296
PicoScope 3200A Series
(data)
60 to 200 MHz
2 channels
Function generator or AWG built in
From £339.15 /
US $560 /
€410
PicoScope 3400A Series
(data)
60 to 200 MHz
4 channels
Function generator or AWG built in
From £509.15 /
US $840 /
€616
PicoScope 3000 MSO Series
(data)
60 to 200 MHz
2 analog channels + 16 digital
AWG built in
From £551.65 /
US $910 /
€667

[2015-04]

New deep-memory oscilloscopes!

We've just released the next generation of PicoScope 3000 Series oscilloscopes: the PicoScope 3000D Series. All scopes in this range feature deep memory, allowing high sampling rates to be maintained even at slower sweep speeds for capturing long waveforms in fine detail. Here's a summary of the specifications of the new PicoScope 3000D Series:

  • 2 or 4 analog channels
  • Up to 200 MHz bandwidth
  • Up to 512 MS buffer size
  • Built-in arbitrary waveform generator (AWG)
  • USB 3.0 interface
  • Powered by USB¹
  • Optional 16-channel logic input for mixed-signal oscilloscope (MSO) operation
  • Advanced PicoScope software with digital triggering, serial decoding, mask limit testing, math channels and many other features, all included as standard
Model Channels² Bandwidth Buffer memory      
PicoScope 3203D 2A 50 MHz 64 MS      
PicoScope 3203D MSO 2A+16D 50 MHz 64 MS      
PicoScope 3204D 2A 70 MHz 128 MS      
PicoScope 3204D MSO 2A+16D 70 MHz 128 MS      
PicoScope 3205D 2A 100 MHz 256 MS      
PicoScope 3205D MSO 2A+16D 100 MHz 256 MS      
PicoScope 3206D 2A 200 MHz 512 MS      
PicoScope 3206D MSO 2A+16D 200 MHz 512 MS      
PicoScope 3403D 4A 50 MHz 64 MS      
PicoScope 3403D MSO 4A+16D 50 MHz 64 MS      
PicoScope 3404D 4A 70 MHz 128 MS      
PicoScope 3404D MSO 4A+16D 70 MHz 128 MS      
PicoScope 3405D 4A 100 MHz 256 MS      
PicoScope 3405D MSO 4A+16D 100 MHz 256 MS      
PicoScope 3406D 4A 200 MHz 512 MS      
PicoScope 3406D MSO 4A+16D 200 MHz 512 MS      

1. AC adapter supplied for 4-channel operation with low-power USB ports
2. A = analog, D = digital

[2015-01]

New range of mixed-signal PicoScopes

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The new PicoScope 3000D Series Mixed-Signal Oscilloscopes (MSOs) are ideal for engineers working on a diverse range of embedded systems. These compact USB-connected devices form a complete portable test system, with two or four analog channels and sixteen digital channels as well as a built-in arbitrary waveform generator.

“We have completely redesigned the PicoScope 3000 Series MSOs,” explained Managing Director Alan Tong. “The key specifications—sampling rate, buffer size and display update rate—have all been improved, while we’ve retained the benefit of USB-powering that makes PicoScopes so much more convenient and portable than their traditional benchtop equivalents.”

The PicoScope 3000D Series MSOs are available with analog bandwidths from 60 MHz to 200 MHz. Maximum digital input frequency is 100 MHz, equivalent to a data rate of 200 Mb/s (5 ns pulse width) on each channel. All models come with a USB 3.0 interface and are fully compatible with USB 2.0, giving high performance and fast update rates with both port types. [2014-09]

A PicoScope with eight high-resolution channels

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The new 8-channel PC oscilloscope from Pico Technology offers the perfect solution for advanced multi-channel applications. Housed in a compact and rugged enclosure, the PicoScope 4824 features 12-bit resolution, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, and an integrated 14-bit arbitrary waveform generator (AWG).

Managing Director Alan Tong explains “The new 8-channel PicoScope has the same small footprint as Pico’s existing 2 and 4-channel models, and can replace the cumbersome full-sized scope on your workbench”. Like all PicoScopes, the 4824 is small, light, and highly portable; despite its high specification it is entirely powered via USB and does not require a bulky separate adaptor. [2014-09]

Pico news

Tech Tip: DrDAQ as pH alarm

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Q. I want to use the output from the pH probe on the DrDAQ to turn a pump on when the pH exceeds a set value. Is there software available or some info on using the output pins to control a solid-state relay?

A. Yes, you can do this using the PicoLog application supplied with your DrDAQ. The Edit channel > Parameter options dialog has an Alarm button: click this, enable the alarm, set the lower and upper thresholds, and PicoLog will activate an alarm sound when the pH goes out of range. Now check one of the relevant Digital Output boxes to make PicoLog activate the desired output at the same time as the sound. The outputs are nominally 0 volts low, 3.3 volts high, with 2.2 kΩ source impedance, suitable for driving an NPN transistor or a solid-state relay. 01-2016

Focus on: 1-Wire serial protocol decoding

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The serial decoding feature in PicoScope 6.11 can decode 17 protocols including RS-232/UART, CAN bus, SPI and I²C. Serial decoding is included as standard, at no extra charge, with every copy of PicoScope 6. This month we focus on one of the recently added protocols: 1-Wire.

1-Wire is a serial communications bus system developed by Dallas Semiconductor Corp. (now Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.) It provides low-speed data, signaling and power over a single line. 1-Wire is similar in concept to I²C, but with lower data rates and longer range.

1-Wire bus topologyA typical network consists of a single master device connected to one or more slaves. Communication is bidirectional half-duplex, bit-sequential, with the LSB transmitted first. Speeds of 16 kbps standard mode and 142 kbps overdrive mode are supported. The master device can interrogate the network to discover what slave devices are connected and obtain their IDs. In most devices, power is derived from an internal power storage capacitor that stores charge when the 1-Wire line is in the idle high state.

PicoScope can decode as many 1-Wire signals as you have inputs on your oscilloscope, or even a mixture of serial protocols at the same time. Its serial decoding table lists detailed properties for each data packet: start and end time, reset and presence pulse durations, command code, command and data. Optionally it can also show voltage and duration statistics. The selected packet is highlighted in both graphical and table views for easy cross-referencing. You can filter and search the data, and export the decoded data to spreadsheet or text files.

Read more about PicoScope's 1-Wire serial decoding 01-2016

PicoScope R6.11.7 released

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A new release of PicoScope 6, the software for PicoScope oscilloscopes, is now available to download. R6.11.7 includes all the new features and improvements from previous beta and stable versions, so we strongly recommend that you update your copy. As always, it's free of charge to all PicoScope oscilloscope users.

Here's a round-up of the improvements since R6.10:

  • Improved touchscreen support: pinch to zoom, drag to pan
  • Faster math channels: now with up to 5 million samples
  • 6 times faster serial decoding (typical figure)
  • 7 improved serial decoders: RS-232/UART, CAN, FlexRay, I²C, I²S, LIN, SPI
  • 10 new serial protocols: 1-Wire, DCC, DMX 512, Ethernet 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, PS/2, ARINC 429, SENT (Fast and Slow), USB

These are in addition to the standard features of PicoScope 6 such as spectrum analysis, automatic measurements, advanced triggers, persistence display, alarms, mask limit testing, reference waveforms, XY mode and custom probes. All these and more are available free of charge to PicoScope owners.

Download PicoScope 6.11.7 now, free of charge 01-2016

Tech Tip: Zero Offset function in PicoScope 6

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Ever wished you could null out the voltage offset on your scope or an attached probe? PicoScope 6 now includes this function as part of its Channel Options menu. Click the channel name (such as A) on the toolbar to see this menu, which has a Zero Offset section. After you click Zero you will be asked to remove any probe from the input channel and short-circuit the input to eliminate stray voltages. PicoScope will then perform the adjustment automatically.

Zero Offset is available on all PicoScope oscilloscopes and is handled digitally. A related feature called DC Offset, which operates on the analog signal, is available on PicoScopes with the necessary hardware. It allows you to apply an arbitrary offset voltage to avoid saturating the input. See your PicoScope 6 User's Guide for a list of devices that include this feature. [2015-12]

Top Ten DrDAQ projects

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The DrDAQ Data Logger is an ideal building block for your next educational or hobby project. With a wide array of built-in sensors and I/Os, it can almost certainly measure and control the variables in your experiment - and if it can't, you can easily create your own custom sensors and interfaces. The software is just as flexible, with the ready-made PicoLog application for logging to spreadsheets and charts, plus a free software development kit (SDK) to allow you to control the device from your own application.

We've compiled this list of the ten most interesting uses of DrDAQ reported on our forum:

If you've developed your own application, please tell us about it in the DrDAQ section of our forum. [2015-12]

Focus on: SENT serial protocol decoding

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The serial decoding feature in PicoScope 6 can decode 17 protocols including RS-232/UART, CAN bus, SPI and I²C. Serial decoding is included as standard, at no extra charge, with every copy of PicoScope 6. This month we focus on one of the recently added automotive protocols, SENT.

Background – SENT (Single Edge Nibble Transmission) is a serial interface originally designed for automotive applications. Lower in cost than other serial protocols, SENT has become popular in high-resolution sensor applications such as throttle position, pressure, mass airflow and temperature.

Data is normally transmitted as two 12-bit data words in a message frame. Data is transmitted as nibbles – 4 bits of data encoded in the timing of successive falling edges.

SENT decodingSENT decoding with PicoScope – The first step is to acquire the SENT signal using PicoScope. Then select Serial Decoding from the Tools menu and set up a new SENT decoder. The decoder will show the decoded SENT messages in the PicoScope scope view alongside the analog signal. PicoScope can also display SENT data in a table. Double-click a message in the table to highlight the same message in the scope view.

Read more about PicoScope's serial decoding capabilities [2015-12]