Test and Measurement News

August 2009

Website Back to Normal

We’re sorry if you recently tried to visit our website (www.picotech.com) but found only an error message. This was caused by the total hardware failure of our web server on Monday 20th July. We did, of course, have a backup copy of the site, but our web hosting company was unable to give us a replacement machine to run it on!

After a great effort by our webmaster, we now have the site running from a new location. You can access all of our product information, place orders, download the latest software, and consult the technical library.

Everything else at Pico is working at full efficiency. You can phone, email or fax your orders and we will process them promptly. Also, as usual, you can call our technical specialists for expert advice for just the cost of a standard phone call, or visit our forum to discuss our products.

Our apologies, again, if you were temporarily unable to find what you wanted on our website. Thank you for your patience!

Interested in a Trade-In Scheme for Scopes?

Would you like to trade in your old parallel-port oscilloscope or serial-port data logger for a brand-new USB model? We are thinking about setting up such a scheme, but it will only be worth organising if enough people are interested.

If you would like us to go ahead with this offer, please let us know. It would be even more helpful if you could tell us which Pico products you have and which new ones you would like to buy. You do not have to give us your email address, but if you do, we promise not to use it for any purpose except to contact you about this offer.

Oscilloscopes Compared in Evaluation Engineering Magazine

The July edition of Evaluation Engineering Magazine includes a review of oscilloscopes, with a focus on getting good value for money. Naturally, this is an area where Pico oscilloscopes do particularly well, since with PC scopes you don't pay again for all the hardware that you already have in your PC.

The review starts off with a comparison of PC-based and bench-top scopes. It points out, for example, that you get a much bigger display with a PC-based scope, and that, when developing your own software, it's easier to write code on a PC to drive a PC-based scope than to work with the embedded operating system on a bench-top scope.

The article continues with a detailed breakdown of the main specifications of a scope, and shows how the offerings from various manufacturers differ. For example, we are one of the few companies to offer 12-bit resolution (16-bit in enhanced mode) in our mainstream scopes, and to provide several megasamples of memory as standard in most of our scopes.

Teach Yourself About Sampling Rates and Aliasing

Maybe you know about “aliasing”, the cause of phantom waveforms that sometimes appear on digital scopes when the sampling rate is too low, but you've never actually seen it for yourself. We’ve found a simulator that shows you it happening as you adjust the controls, on the website of one of our USA automotive distributors, Autonerdz. There is also a sampling rate calculator to simplify the task of getting the right number of samples on your PicoScope.

We’d like to point out that aliasing is not as common a problem as it used to be, particularly when using the current range of Pico oscilloscopes with deep memory. The high-performance memory in our scopes allows them to optimise the sampling rate without the need for user intervention, so that under most conditions you don’t have to worry about aliasing…but it’s always good to be prepared.

Visit “The Autonerdz DSO Sample Rate Calculator

Questions and Answers

Here is a selection of the questions that have cropped up recently on our support forum and elsewhere:

Q. Does my new PicoScope 2204 scope have a built-in function generator, or do I need to buy one?
A. The PicoScope 2203, 2204 and 2205 come with a built-in function generator. You can even draw your own waveforms with the waveform editor in PicoScope 6.

Q. How many PT-104s (USB version) can I connect to a single PC?
A. In theory you can have up to 20 serial-port devices but we would not recommend that, especially with a PT-104, as it will be very slow. We have tried it with 4 PT-104s using USB-to-serial converters though.


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

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

Asia-Pacific Office:
Pico Technology, Room 2252, 22/F, Centro, 568 Hengfeng Road, Zhabei District,
Shanghai 200070, PR China
Tel: +86 21 2226-5152

Email: sales@picotech.com