Test and Measurement News

April 2011

PicoScope 9000 Series Training Videos: Part 3

We have three new screencasts explaining basic and intermediate levels of operation of the PicoScope 9000 Series software. This information has been compiled specially for users of the PicoScope 9000 Series 12 GHz PC Sampling Oscilloscopes, our low-cost, compact instruments designed for testing high-speed serial data signals, interconnect, cables and circuit boards.

The videos are presented by Pete Darby, Pico Technology’s expert in microwave instrumentation and sampling oscilloscopes. The videos are embedded in our website, so you can watch them on any computer without having to install a player or download huge files. The latest titles are:

and there are more to follow!

Explore our library of videos on our YouTube channel

Product Focus: USB DrDAQ

Why should you upgrade to the new USB DrDAQ low-cost data logger?

  1. Its USB port is compatible with new laptops and PCs. The old DrDAQ required a parallel port, which is no longer a standard feature of new computers.
  2. The USB port makes the new DrDAQ faster. The parallel-port version was limited to 15,000 samples per second, measured on a typical parallel-port PC, and the computer’s CPU needed to collect each sample individually. The USB version has a new block mode that can collect data at 1 million samples per second, and the computer's USB port receives the data without interrupting the CPU for each sample.
  3. The new model has a wider range of sensors, inputs and outputs, many of which are improvements or additions to the original DrDAQ specification:
  • 24-bit RGB LED (was red only)
  • 4 digital I/Os (was 1 output only)
  • 2 PWM outputs
  • 2 pulse-counting inputs
  • pH/redox sensor input (was pH only)
  • 3 external sensor inputs (was 2)
  • ±5 V data logger/oscilloscope input (was +5 V logger input only)
  • AWG output

The USB DrDAQ is compatible with the PicoScope and PicoLog software, allowing it to be used as both an oscilloscope and a data logger.

Read more about the USB DrDAQ

Tech Tips

We are continually adding features to PicoScope 6 to make it easier to use. Here are a few measurement-related features that you may have missed:

  • Editable rulers: Rulers are the dashed lines that you can drag onto a waveform to measure voltage or time. When rulers are in use, a table appears showing all of the ruler measurements. Did you know that you can edit these measurements by clicking on them and typing a new value, and the rulers will move accordingly? This makes it easy to set accurate limits for pass/fail tests.
  • Ruler legend: The ruler legend (the table showing the ruler measurements) has ‘minimize’ and ‘close’ buttons in the top right corner. Minimizing the table shrinks it to save space without disturbing the rulers. Closing the table instantly removes all the rulers.
  • Tracking rulers: In the ruler legend, you will see a padlock symbol at the end of each row. This is normally unlocked, meaning that the two rulers on that channel are independent. Clicking the symbol changes the rulers to ‘locked’ mode, which forces the rulers to follow each other when dragged. This is useful when you want to display a fixed time or voltage interval.

If your version of PicoScope 6 doesn’t have these features, download a free update now.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions and answers that have cropped up recently on our discussion forum:

Q. Changing the number of PicoScope capture buffers. I have a PicoScope 4227, and I was wondering if there is any way to increase its capture buffer capabilities. Right now the software can maintain up to 32 “buffers”. I can decrease the sampling resolution in order to control how much time is captured in each buffer. What I had in mind is whether it would be possible to tell the software to automatically save to disk each buffer once it is captured, and once the 32 buffers are full then simply continue overwriting from the first one (which would be already saved on disk).

A. You can increase the number of buffers by going into Tools->Preferences. The maximum number is 10,000. You can actually capture your waveforms straight to disk by using the Alarms feature under Tools->Alarms. You will need to change it from “Beep” to “Save Current Buffer” and make sure it is enabled or selected. This feature does not limit the number of waveforms you can save.

Q. Manually installing the PicoLog 1000 Series driver. I am developing an application in VB that uses the Picolog 1216. Since I don’t want to install the PicoLog software application, I followed the instructions in the picoreadme file to copy the .inf and .sys files to the appropriate Windows directories. However, when I plug the device in, the New Hardware Wizard says it does not find the information to install the hardware.

A. As well as the files mentioned above, you also need to run the DPInst.exe file. If you have a 32-bit operating system, use the DPInst.exe from the x86 folder. For a 64-bit operating system, run the DPInst.exe from the amd64 folder (regardless of your processor manufacturer).

Events

Please visit Pico Exhibitions for the latest list of exhibitions and trade shows that Pico and its representatives will be attending.

We're hiring!

Thanks to our continuing success and growth Pico are always seeking talented people to join our company.

Please visit https://jobs.picotech.com/ to see our current vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you!

Software releases

Our latest software releases are available as free downloads. To check which release you are using, start the software and select Help > About.

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Contact details

UK HQ:
Pico Technology, James House, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 8YP, England
Tel.: 01480 396395 (+44 1480 396395)
Fax: 01480 396296 (+44 1480 396296)

Pico Technology North America Inc.
320 N Glenwood Blvd.
Tyler
TX 75702
United States
Tel:+1 800 591 2796 (Toll Free)
Fax:+1 620 272 0981

Email: sales@picotech.com