The PicoScope 2104 and 2105 are the new hand-held additions to our PC Oscilloscope range. The PicoScope 2105 converts any laptop or desktop PC with USB support into a powerful oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and meter without the need for additional probes or power supplies, yet is only slightly larger than a conventional oscilloscope probe.
The PicoScope 2105 is suitable for a wide range of trouble- shooting tasks on analogue and digital circuits. It has a 100 megasample per second real-time sampling rate, a repetitive signal sampling rate of 2 gigasamples per second thanks to digital equivalent-time sampling, and a 25 MHz analogue bandwidth. The instrument has eight input voltage ranges from ±100 mV to ±20 V, and overvoltage protection to ±50 V. The USB interface and plug-and-play software make installation easy, and you can set up, start and stop the unit by pressing a single pushbutton. An entry-level version, the PicoScope 2104, is also available to suit less demanding applications.
The PicoScope 2104 and 2105 PC Oscilloscopes are supplied with the PicoScope oscilloscope software and PicoLog data logging software, a 32-bit driver with fully documented programming interface, and example programs in C, Visual Basic, Delphi, LabVIEW and VEE. The software is compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP.
PicoScope, our PC oscilloscope software, has a number of display modes that provide more than just a real-time view of your waveforms. You can select these modes in the Scope Options dialog, which you open by choosing Settings | Options or pressing the F5 key. Two modes in particular are useful for spotting transients and glitches: Analog Intensity mode and Digital Color mode. Both of these modes work best with the trigger set to Repeat.
Analog Intensity mode simulates the persistence of the phosphor on the screen of an analogue oscilloscope. New traces are drawn at full intensity, and then fade away as they get older. Stable, repetitive signals are continually redrawn in the same place and therefore remain at full intensity, while transients fade away quickly, allowing you to distinguish them from the main signal. With persistence set to “Infinite”, you can also use this mode to evaluate eye patterns and jitter.
Digital Color mode is a variation on Analog Intensity mode that uses varying colour instead of varying intensity. Newer waveforms appear as hotter colours, making it much easier to see the difference between stable signals and transients
Nick Hibberd, of Hibtech Auto-Electrical Diagnostics, uses a PicoScope Automotive Oscilloscope to track down a faulty knock sensor. Along the way, he explains how these sensors work and how to get the best out of your oscilloscope.
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When you buy a PicoScope Automotive Oscilloscope Kit, you get not only a high-performance PC oscilloscope, but also a lifetime of technical support and free access to our growing library of waveforms and technical articles. This month, we have waveforms captured using the FirstLook Engine Diagnostic Sensor from the exhaust pipe and fuel pressure regulator of a Nissan Micra, and from the inlet manifold of a Ford RS Turbo. This remarkable sensor, available from Pico, offers a fast and accurate method to diagnose automotive engine problems such as burnt valves, bad injectors and other performance problems without major disassembly of the engine.
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