Test and Measurement News

December 2012

PicoScope 3406B Prize Draw Result!

The PicoScope 3406B is a high–performance 4 channel USB oscilloscope that’s perfect for a wide range of analog and digital design, troubleshooting, testing and measurement tasks. With 200 MHz bandwidth, 128 MS deep buffer memory, built–in signal generator and arbitrary waveform generator, it gives you a complete test bench in one compact unit.

The waiting is over! The winner of the prize draw is:

Allan Pietersen, of South Africa

Our thanks to all of you who entered. If you didn’t win, a new PicoScope 3406B could be yours for only £1349 (about US$2225 or €1632 at current exchange rates). Other models in the PicoScope 3000 Series are also available from only £399 (about US$658 or €483).

Things You Didn’t Know About PicoScope

Reference waveform delay

You may have used PicoScope’s Reference Waveforms feature, which lets you freeze a captured trace on the screen for comparison with a live trace. You can save and load these reference waveforms to and from disk, or export them as MATLAB files. But did you also know that you can shift the timebase of a reference waveform relative to live data? It’s easy to do: just click the color–coded axis control button at the bottom of the y axis for the reference waveform and adjust the box marked ‘Delay’.

Frequency sweep

Most PicoScopes have a function generator or arbitrary waveform generator built in. This can generate a range of fixed waveforms such as sine waves and square waves, but it also has a frequency sweep function. In the signal generator dialog, click the ‘Sweep Mode: Active’ check box and fill in the sweep type, stop frequency, frequency increment and time interval. The signal generator will then vary the output frequency between the specified limits at the specified speed. A swept sine wave is useful for testing the frequency response of an amplifier or filter, especially when used with high–resolution scopes such as the 12–bit and 16–bit models in the PicoScope 4000 Series.

2012 New Product Round–Up

2012 was a busy year for Pico product launches. To help you keep up to date, here is a review of the products released over the last year.

We also released new software features and drivers (all free of charge!) includingLinux drivers for the PicoScope 6000 Series and others, LIN bus and FlexRay decoding in PicoScope, 10x faster oscilloscope data streaming, MATLAB support forPicoScope 3000 Series A/B scopes, and a Raspberry Pi driver for the USB DrDAQ.

PicoScope 6000 Series A and B oscilloscopes

This range of high–performance oscilloscopes was updated with six new models to cater for a wide range of budgets and applications. They are all USB–connected, with 4 input channels plus a signal generator output, and are supplied with the latest PicoScope software. Each scope is packaged with a set of 4 matched x10 passive probes.

Model Bandwidth Sampling Buffer FG/AWG
PicoScope 6402A 250 MHz 5 GS/s 128 MS FG
PicoScope 6402B 250 MHz 5 GS/s 256 MS FG + AWG
PicoScope 6403A 350 MHz 5 GS/s 256 MS FG
PicoScope 6403B 350 MHz 5 GS/s 512 MS FG + AWG
PicoScope 6404A 500 MHz 5 GS/s 512 MS FG
PicoScope 6404B 500 MHz 5 GS/s 1 GS FG + AWG

Full specifications and ordering details

PicoScope 3000 Series 4–channel oscilloscopes.

This range of high–speed scopes was extended with six new 4–channel models. These USB–powered scopes have everything you need for everyday test and measurement: bandwidths up to 200 MHz, external trigger input, signal generator or AWG output, and an optional DC input to save your laptop battery.

Model Bandwidth Sampling Buffer FG/AWG
PicoScope 3404A 60 MHz 1 GS/s 4 MS FG
PicoScope 3404B 60 MHz 1 GS/s 8 MS FG+AWG
PicoScope 3405A 100 MHz 1 GS/s 16 MS FG
PicoScope 3405B 100 MHz 1 GS/s 32 MS FG+AWG
PicoScope 3406A 200 MHz 1 GS/s 64 MS FG
PicoScope 3406B 200 MHz 1 GS/s 128 MS FG+AWG

Full specifications and ordering details.

PicoScope 3000 Series mixed–signal oscilloscopes

These new oscilloscopes combine a deep–memory 2–channel USB oscilloscope with a 16–bit logic analyzer. They can debug, measure and test mixed–signal hardware while taking up very little space on your workbench. As they are USB–powered, there’s no need to carry an external power supply: just connect to the nearest PC, run the PicoScope software and your oscilloscope is ready for use.

Model Bandwidth Sampling Buffer FG/AWG
PicoScope 3204 MSO 60 MHz 500 MS/s 8 MS FG+AWG
PicoScope 3205 MSO 100 MHz 500 MS/s 32 MS FG+AWG
PicoScope 3206 MSO 200 MHz 500 MS/s 128 MS FG+AWG

Full specifications and ordering details.

Sampling: maximum single–channel sampling rate. FG: function generator. AWG: arbitrary waveform generator.

Best of the Web

Here are some PicoScope and PicoLog applications that we’ve spotted on the web recently. Please tell us if you find any more that you’d like to share!

  • Arduino laser rangefinder — shows the simple use of a ruler to measure a time interval from the trigger point.
  • Emona TIMS-301C Telecommunications Training System (700 KiB PDF) — shows how high–resolution screen shots from the PicoScope display are ideal for use in a training manual. Try doing that with a 320x240 LCD screen!
  • techPowerUp PSU ripple measurements — the author has used PicoScope’s Save As Image feature to create illustrations without the clutter of toolbars and menus. You can paste these images straight onto your website with no editing required.
  • Pearse Project — high–resolution USB data logging meets aviation history. The ADC-24’s differential inputs enable it to monitor four load cells with no common ground.

Tech Tips

Maximizing your scope’s buffer memory

Q. I’m unable to get more than 1 M or 1.25 M samples with a single channel active at 100 MS/s on the PicoScope 3204A. How do I approach the advertised 4 M samples?

A. The number of samples available depends on many factors, two of which are the trigger mode and the timebase. When the trigger mode is set to Auto or Repeat and the timebase is faster than 200 ms/div (assuming default settings), the scope divides its internal memory into two alternating buffers, with one half dedicated to USB transfers. This means that slightly less than half of the memory is available for each capture. To ensure that you can use the full memory of the scope with fast timebases, simply change the trigger mode to Single.

Laptop or desktop for the PicoScope 4262 Very High Resolution Oscilloscope?

Q. I have the PicoScope 4262 which I like very much. Are there any advantages to be gained by using a laptop running on its internal battery over a desktop PC running from its mains switchmode PSU? The theory I have in my head (whether justified or not) is that battery power would be a cleaner source of USB power for the PicoScope rather than the noisy nature of a switchmode in a desktop PC.

A. The PicoScope 4262 will work fine regardless of the PC and its power as great care is taken inside the unit to filter out any noise from the PC. Given its high dynamic range you do however have to be careful that whatever you are testing is not picking up any noise from the PC or other nearby equipment as some laptops and desktops do produce electrical noise. Signal cables with good quality screening are essential.


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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

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Pico Technology, James House, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots,
Cambridgeshire, PE19 8YP, United Kingdom
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