Test and Measurement News

December 2015

Software updates: OS X, Linux and MATLAB

PicoScope beta updates for OS X and Linux

These new bugfix releases are available:

  • PicoScope Beta 6.11.8.11 for Mac (download)
  • PicoScope Beta 6.11.8.10 for Linux (instructions) - not suitable for Fedora versions 20 and above

Updated PicoScope 6000 Series support for MATLAB

Users of MathWorks MATLAB can download the latest PicoScope 6000 Series support package from the PicoScope® 6000 Series - MATLAB® Generic Instrument Driver page on MathWorks File Exchange.

Release notes

  • Reworked examples including new ETS mode example
  • Support for triggering of signal generator using the AUX IN input and other minor fixes

Focus on: SENT serial protocol decoding

The serial decoding feature in PicoScope 6.11 Beta can decode 17 protocols including RS-232/UART, CAN bus, SPI and I²C. Serial decoding is included as standard, at no extra charge, with every copy of PicoScope 6. This month we focus on one of the recently added automotive protocols, SENT.

Background – SENT (Single Edge Nibble Transmission) is a serial interface originally designed for automotive applications. Lower in cost than other serial protocols, SENT has become popular in high-resolution sensor applications such as throttle position, pressure, mass airflow and temperature.

Data is normally transmitted as two 12-bit data words in a message frame. Data is transmitted as nibbles – 4 bits of data encoded in the timing of successive falling edges.

SENT decoding with PicoScope – The first step is to acquire the SENT signal using PicoScope. Then select Serial Decoding from the Tools menu and set up a new SENT decoder. The decoder will show the decoded SENT messages in the PicoScope scope view alongside the analog signal. PicoScope can also display SENT data in a table. Double-click a message in the table to highlight the same message in the scope view.

Read more about PicoScope's serial decoding capabilities

Top Ten DrDAQ projects

The DrDAQ Data Logger is an ideal building block for your next educational or hobby project. With a wide array of built-in sensors and I/Os, it can almost certainly measure and control the variables in your experiment - and if it can't, you can easily create your own custom sensors and interfaces. The software is just as flexible, with the ready-made PicoLog application for logging to spreadsheets and charts, plus a free software development kit (SDK) to allow you to control the device from your own application.

We've compiled this list of the ten most interesting uses of DrDAQ reported on our forum:

If you've developed your own application, please tell us about it in the DrDAQ section of our forum.

Tech Tip: Zero Offset function in PicoScope 6

Ever wished you could null out the voltage offset on your scope or an attached probe? PicoScope 6 now includes this function as part of its Channel Options menu. Click the channel name (such as A) on the toolbar to see this menu, which has a Zero Offset section. After you click Zero you will be asked to remove any probe from the input channel and short-circuit the input to eliminate stray voltages. PicoScope will then perform the adjustment automatically.

Zero Offset is available on all PicoScope oscilloscopes and is handled digitally. A related feature called DC Offset, which operates on the analog signal, is available on PicoScopes with the necessary hardware. It allows you to apply an arbitrary offset voltage to avoid saturating the input. See your PicoScope 6 User's Guide for a list of devices that include this feature.

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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