Test and Measurement News

April 2013

New Feature in PicoScope Beta: Signal Generator Triggers!

In response to customer requests, we are testing a new Signal Generator Triggers feature in the R6.7.17 beta release of PicoScope. This is a significant upgrade to the operation of our oscilloscopes, and allows you to start and stop the signal generator under the control of an external signal. The signal can be any of these:

  • the oscilloscope’s main trigger
  • the EXT input (if available)
  • a mouse click

The number of cycles produced after each trigger is configurable from 1 to over 1 billion.

To find the controls for Signal Generator Triggering, click the Signal Generator button on the toolbar and set the Triggers box to ‘Active’.

Signal Generator Triggers are supported by all current PicoScope oscilloscopes with a signal generator except the PicoScope 2204/2205 and the PicoScope 4226/4227.

Download the beta release now and be one of the first to try this new feature. Free to all PicoScope owners!

Signal Generator Triggers and other new features are introduced in our latest YouTube video: Latest features in PicoScope. Remember: you can download and test the beta version without affecting any standard release of PicoScope that you may have on your computer.

Watch now and find out what the new beta release can do for you

USB 3.0 PicoScope Winner

The PicoScope 3207A and 3207B are the world’s first USB 3.0 oscilloscopes. These are now the top models in the PicoScope 3000 Series, with more bandwidth, lightning-fast sampling, larger buffer sizes and an improved timebase accuracy of ±2 ppm.

Without further delay, here is the lucky winner of last month’s prize draw:

Michel Meindre, of France

The basic specifications of the new USB 3.0 PicoScope oscilloscopes are as follows:

PicoScope 3207
Model Bandwidth Sampling Buffer FG / AWG
PicoScope 3207A 250 MHz 1 GS/s 256 MS FG
PicoScope 3207B 250 MHz 1 GS/s 512 MS FG+AWG

Tech Tips: AUX Trigger; PicoScope Streaming and Zoom

Here are some of the latest tips thought up by our technical support experts. Keep watching our forum for more great ideas.

Using AUX trigger

Q. I am using a PicoScope 6403, and I am interested in using the external trigger input. I have tried using the PicoScope 6 software with the following trigger settings — Simple Edge; Source: AuxIO; Threshold: 500 mV — but I cannot get the trigger working. Please could you give me some advice?

A. First, remember that the AUX input on the PicoScope 6000 Series has an input impedance of 50 Ω. Either the output impedance of your signal generator must match this, or you must adjust the trigger levels to compensate. Second, since the main channels of the PicoScope 6000 Series scopes have switchable input impedance, you can feed the trigger signal into an input set to 50 Ω to view the trigger signal exactly as it will appear at the AUX input. Adjust the trigger settings to suit this signal, then move the signal to the AUX input.

PicoScope streaming mode and zoom

Q. have captured 5 seconds of a 12 MHz serial data signal with a PicoScope 6000 Series scope, but when I zoom in, the resolution is too poor to see the bit sequence. What can I do about this?

A. This deep–memory scope is capturing enough data to preserve every detail of the signal, but at the slow timebase you are using, the software uses ‘streaming mode’ by default. In this mode, the waveform is drawn progressively, in low detail, as data comes in from the device and is only drawn in full detail when the capture is complete. To see the data in full detail all of the time, switch to ‘block mode’. This is done in Tools > Preferences > Sampling: change Slow Sampling Transition to 1 s/div (or anything slower than the timebase in use). PicoScope will then wait until the end of the 5 second capture before drawing the whole waveform, which will show up clearly when zoomed.

Focus on: Signal Generators

To continue this month’s signal generator theme (see Section 1), here is a summary of the built–in signal generator capabilities of PicoScope oscilloscopes. If your scope has a signal generator, you will a Signal Generator button on the PicoScope 6 toolbar. The range of available controls will depend on whether the scope has a function generator (pre–defined signals only) or an arbitrary waveform generator (pre–defined and user–defined signals). You can also use the software development kit supplied to write your own application for controlling the signal generator.

Oscilloscope model(s) SG max freq SG sample rate AWG? AWG buffer size
PicoScope 2204 and 2205 100 kHz 2 MS/s Y 4 kS
PicoScope 2206 to 2208 1 MHz 20 MS/s Y 8 kS
PicoScope 3204A to 3206A 1 MHz 20 to 100 MS/s N  
PicoScope 3000 MSOs 1 MHz 20 to 100 MS/s Y 8 to 30 kS
PicoScope 3404A to 3406A 1 MHz 20 MS/s N  
PicoScope 3404B to 3406B 1 MHz 20 MS/s Y 8 to 16 kS
PicoScope 4226 and 4227 100 kHz 20 MS/s Y 8 kS
PicoScope 4262* 20 kHz 192 kS/s Y 4 kS
PicoScope 5203 and 5204 20 kHz 125 MS/s Y 8 kS
PicoScope 6402A to 6404A 20 kHz 200 MS/s N  
PicoScope 6407 20 kHz 200 MS/s Y 16 kS

* Low–distortion 16 bit signal generator with 102 dB typical SFDR

Follow the links above for full specifications, or see an overview of PicoScope oscilloscopes.


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Software releases

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