Test and Measurement News

February 2009

New Linux Drivers for the PicoScope 2000 and PicoScope 3000 Series

New 32 and 64-bit Linux drivers (R2. are now available for the PicoScope 2000 Series. This release enables oversampling for the PicoScope 2000 Series ultra-compact scopes (PicoScope 2203, 2204 and 2205). The 32 and 64-bit Linux drivers for the PicoScope 3000 Series have also been updated recently to R3.6.4.4.

Download the latest Linux drivers

New, Faster PicoScope Software

You may not know about the work that we have been doing behind the scenes to make our scopes work faster. Most of our USB scopes now support a new mode called “fast USB streaming”, and the newer models have a feature called “rapid triggering”. Read on for details.

Fast USB streaming

If you are a PicoScope 6 user then you will experience fast USB streaming as faster screen updates when using the medium and slow timebases. If instead you are writing your own software using the PicoScope API (Application Programming Interface), then you will be able to transfer data into your application data faster, at up to 10 to 20 MB/s depending on the PC and the USB driver. Another benefit of fast USB streaming is that longer records are now possible, up to 2 MS in PicoScope 6 and unlimited in size in users' application software.

Rapid trigger mode

Rapid trigger mode is available on our newest scopes, beginning with the PicoScope 4000 and 5000 Series. It allows the scope to capture multiple waveforms in its buffer memory with the minimum of ‘dead time’—as little as 1 microsecond—between captures. This means that you can capture a sequence of intermittent events with less risk of missing one while the trigger is being re-armed. In PicoScope 6, you can scroll through the captured waveforms using the same waveform buffer controls that you use for other trigger modes.

To get the benefit of fast USB streaming and rapid triggering, download the latest PicoScope 6 software and PicoScope drivers now, free of charge.

PicoScope 9201 in EDN Innovation Awards

The PicoScope 9201 12-GHz PC Sampling Oscilloscope has just made it through to the final stage of the EDN 19th Annual Innovation Awards (2008). The awards “recognize unique, state-of-the-art electronics products”, which is certainly true of the PicoScope 9201. If you have seen this scope in action then you will know that it’s one of the fastest USB sampling scopes in its price range, and it includes some very advanced software with built-in eye diagram measurements and industry-standard mask tests.

Help us spread the news about the PicoScope 9201: go to the EDN Awards site and vote now!

PicoScope 4000 Series Now Available

Launched last month, the PicoScope 4000 Series is our latest range of high-precision oscilloscopes. The 12-bit resolution, extended to 16 bits in resolution enhance mode, is ideal for analysing audio, noise and vibration, as well as for general-purpose test and measurement work. The new scopes have a deep 32-MS memory that is “always on” without affecting performance, so you no longer need to juggle memory size and sampling rate. Here are the main specifications:

  • 80 MS/s sampling rate
  • 32 MS buffer memory
  • 20 MHz bandwidth
  • ±50 mV to ±100 V input ranges
  • 1% voltage accuracy
  • 2 and 4 channel versions
  • Includes PicoScope 6 oscilloscope software with built-in spectrum analyzer

Find out more about the PicoScope 4000 Series

Questions and Answers

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

Q. I am planning to buy the PicoScope 2203 to do measurement on a radio MPX signal. This signal is from 0 - 100 kHz maximum. This is done for calibrating the output and input of some radio utilities. Is the frequency response from 0 - 100 kHz flat or are there any things I need to consider?
A. The frequency response is flat under DC coupling. AC coupling causes the response to roll off below about 1 Hz.

Q. How can I use a PicoScope 2204 to automatically write one sweep for each trigger to disk? The trigger rate is once every few minutes, and the sweep speed somewhere around 50 MS/s. I need to write both channels to disk automatically on trigger.
A. You can do this using PicoLog. In the Recording dialog, set the Recording method to Fast Block and set Action at end of run to Repeat after delay. PicoLog will then trigger on the specified condition, wait for the specified delay and then be ready to trigger again, saving a block of data to disk each time.

Q. I have a PicoScope 2202 and am looking for a way to check frequency responses on tube amplifiers. I tried the sound card but it has an unacceptable frequency response to send to the amp in order to measure the input and output of the amp. I see now that the PicoScope 2000 Series ultra-compact scopes include a function generator. On the PicoScope 2203, 2204 and 2205, can you use Visual Basic and set a frequency, duration, and amplitude on the function generator? Can you address and control the function generator from a development environment?
A. The PicoScope 2203, 2204 and 2205 (but not the PicoScope 2202) have a function generator that goes from DC to 100 kHz with a frequency sweep feature. You can use the




functions in the DLL to set up the signal generator. These are documented in the 2000 Series Progammer’s Guide available on our website.


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.

About this newsletter

To make sure that your Pico newsletter reaches your inbox every month, add listmaster@picotech.com to your email address book or safe list. If you found this newsletter useful, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. Back issues are available from our newsletter archive.

Contact details

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.
TX 75702
United States
Tel:+1 800 591 2796 (Toll Free)
Fax:+1 620 272 0981

Email: sales@picotech.com
Web: www.picotech.com
Web technical support: www.picotech.com/tech-support/
Twitter: picotech
Facebook: Pico-Technology