Test and Measurement News

August 2004

PicoScope 3000 Series USB Oscilloscopes

Announced last month, the PicoScope 3000 range comprises of three new 8 bit oscilloscopes with key specifications as follows:

  • 200 MHz bandwidth
  • 1 MB buffer memory
  • 10 GS/s repetitive sampling
  • 200 MS/s single shot sampling
  • 100 MHz spectrum analyzer
  • Built in signal generator
  • Fast USB 2.0 interface (USB 1.1 compatible)

Our website now includes expanded details on this range of USB oscilloscopes including an explanation of the advantages of the large 1MB buffer memory.

New Application Note — Phase Change Materials

This application note looks at the implications of adding a latent heat storage medium to water. A potential application of this technology would be to boost the energy efficiency of a domestic heating system.

Read the phase change materials application note

Oscilloscope Users — Your Feedback Required

This month we are asking for some feedback from owners of our ADC-2xx and PicoScope 3000 range of oscilloscopes.

Several customers have asked for soft or hard cases to allow the oscilloscope to be packed away neatly together with its cables, probes and leads. We have also had requests for mounting kits so that the oscilloscopes can be mounted into a spare PC disk drive bay.

To gauge which options are the most popular, please help us by completing our online survey .

TC-08 Users Required for Magazine Article

If you own and regularly use a TC-08 data logger we would like to hear from you. We have been approached by a journalist writing an article on temperature measurement who would like to be put in touch with some customers.

The main requirement is that you regularly use the product, but if your application is interesting or unusual as well, so much the better.

To be put in touch, please email marketing@picotech.com with brief details of your application.

Technical Tip — Oversampling with the PS3000 series

Oversampling is a technique used with oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers to reduce noise and effectively increase resolution and dynamic range.

To look at an 1 kHz sine wave on an oscilloscope, you might record 1000 samples at 10 kS/s. If however you take 4000 samples at 40 kS/s then average together blocks of 4 samples you will have reduced any random noise pick up and effectively increased the resolution of your sampled data by 1 bit.

The PicoScope 3206 can sample at 200 MS/s and collect up to 1 million samples. This performance is far more than is required for some applications such as when looking at audio signals. By oversampling the data by 256 times, you can effectively increase the resolution of the oscilloscope from 8 bits to 12 bits.

The main disadvantage of oversampling is that it can slow down the screen update rate as more samples have to be transferred back to the PC, with the fast USB 2.0 interface of the PicoScope 3000 series this effect is minimal. The other potential disadvantage is that oversampling acts like a low pass filter so has the effect of reducing or removing high frequency signals. This is usually not an issue for the spectrum analyser where you have chosen the frequency range of interest, but can be an issue when using the oscilloscope as it may suppress spikes and other signals you wish to observe.

With the PicoScope 3000 series it is possible to set different oversample settings for the oscilloscope and spectrum analyser. To do this open win.ini (usually in c:\windows) in a text editor such as notepad.

Next find the section that starts with [PicoScope for Windows] and add two additional lines as follows:

MaxScopeOversample=1

MaxSpectrumOversample=64

In the above example, we have set the scope oversample to 1 (no oversample) this ensures any high frequency spikes will be displayed properly. If you wish to filter an oscilloscope trace to remove random noise, try using the Current | Filtered display mode instead.

By setting the spectrum oversample to 64 we effectively gain 3 extra bits of resolution, so increase the dynamic range of the spectrum analyser. The max oversamples can be set between 1 and 256, but please note that it is not always possible to oversample - for example if you set the spectrum analyser frequency to 100 MHz then the hardware is already sampling at 200 MS/s so no oversampling is possible.

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