Test and Measurement News

August 2015

New PicoScope Beta with improved touchscreen support

PicoScope Beta 6.11.5 has improved touchscreen support for graph manipulation: you can now use pinch to zoom and drag to pan. You can also use the mouse wheel to zoom the scope view horizontally. We have fixed a number of bugs detailed in the release notes, which you can read when you download the software.

Get a free copy of PicoScope Beta 6.11.5 from Downloads

PicoScope 9000 Series sampling oscilloscopes latest

The PicoScope 9000 Series sampling oscilloscopes are specialized USB-connected measuring instruments for viewing high-speed, repetitive signals such as serial data streams and test patterns. They are available with bandwidths of 12 GHz and 20 GHz, and with optional TDR (time-domain reflectometry), TDT (time-domain transmissometry) and optical-input capabilities.

Updated Programmer's Guide

For those developing custom applications for the PicoScope 9300 Series sampling oscilloscopes, an updated PicoScope 9300 Series Programmer's Guide is now available. This includes new instructions on programming the oscilloscopes in TDR (time-domain reflectometry) and TDT (time-domain transmissometry) applications as well as measurement of optical parameters. These sampling oscilloscopes can be controlled from a PC through either the USB or Ethernet port to provide all the functions available in the PicoSample 3 software, including:

  • Time-domain display and characterization of repetitive signals up to 20 GHz bandwidth
  • Multiple math functions of input channels
  • Eye pattern analysis
  • Automated amplitude and timing measurements to IEEE 1057–2007
  • Measurement of optical parameters (with the PicoScope 9321 optical-input model)

Find out more about the PicoScope 9000 Series

Differential TDR probing challenge solved

Pico Technology now recommends the GigaProbes DVT30-1MM Dual Probe TDR Interconnect Analysis Kit for use with the PicoScope 9000 Series. The DVT30 is a 30 GHz balanced odd-mode 100 Ω differential time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probe, featuring conductive diamond-tipped contacts that can make a reliable connection to differential striplines and device pads on PCBs. It is thus ideal for making accurate measurements of signal levels and impedances on high-speed differential data lines. The DVT30-1MM can also be used on 50 Ω single-ended circuits using the adaptors included in the kit.

Read more about the DVT30 at gigaprobes.com

Focus on: SENT serial decoding

SENT serial protocol decoding is one of the features added to recent PicoScope beta releases (R6.11.4 and onwards). SENT (single-edge nibble transmission) is mainly used in automotive sensors where low cost and high reliability are the key requirements. There are many different sensors, all with slightly different data formats, so PicoScope gives you a menu of the most popular sensors and decodes the data accordingly. PicoScope can decode both the Fast and Slow channels of a SENT connection.

PicoScope's serial decoding feature is neatly integrated into the oscilloscope display, so you can view the analog bus waveforms and the decoded data together on the same timebase. This makes it easy to trace decoding errors back to the original waveform where you might find a glitch, spike or timing error. Decoded data can also be shown in a table, allowing you to see a huge amount of information at a glance and filter, search or export it. There is also a feature to load a 'link file' – a text file or spreadsheet that maps numerical data to human-readable text labels.

More information on PicoScope's SENT serial protocol decoding

Video of the month: PicoScope in demo mode

This month's video, again by electronics blogger and PicoScope enthusiast Colin O'Flynn, is an introduction to the PicoScope 6 software for those who don't (yet) own a PicoScope. This video is a good place to start if you're not sure whether PicoScope is what you need. After watching the video we recommend that you download your own copy of PicoScope (free from our website) and try it for yourself. Most of the advanced features work without having a scope plugged in - except that you can't capture your own data, of course.

Watch PicoScope 6 Software - Quick Overview using Demo Instrument on YouTube

Tech Tips: Linux and LabVIEW SDKs

Opening PicoScopes with Linux SDK

Q. My Linux SDK application can't connect to my PicoScope 2204A. My PC (Ubuntu 14.04 x86_64) does work with the device with the provided PicoScope application (Mono) so it must be something very simple I have forgotten since this is my first attempt at using the PicoScope library.

A. The first thing to try when you have a problem like this is to run the usbtest utility. In this case, the utility pointed out that the user did not have write permission for the device, which meant that the driver was unable to open it. The README file installed with your driver (in, for example, /opt/picoscope/share/doc/libps3000) explains how to add the correct permissions to your user account.

PicoScope and SDKs for Linux

Two USB TC-08s in LabVIEW

Q. Can I control more than one USB TC-08 in National Instruments LabVIEW®?

A. Yes, you can, and to help you there is an example in the SDK to illustrate this. Obtain the latest USB TC-08 SDK from www.picotech.com > Downloads, and inside you will find an example called 2UnitSelect.vi.


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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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