Test and Measurement News

January 2016

PicoScope 6.11 released!

A new release of PicoScope 6, the software for PicoScope oscilloscopes, is now available to download. R6.11 includes all the new features and improvements from previous beta and stable versions, so we strongly recommend that you update your copy. As always, it's free of charge to all PicoScope oscilloscope users.

Here's a round-up of the improvements since release 6.10:

  • 6 times faster serial decoding (typical figure)
  • 7 improved serial decoders: RS-232/UART, CAN, FlexRay, I²C, I²S, LIN, SPI
  • 10 new serial protocols: 1-Wire, DCC, DMX 512, Ethernet 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, PS/2, ARINC 429, SENT (Fast and Slow), USB
  • Improved touchscreen support: pinch to zoom, drag to pan
  • Faster math channels: now with up to 5 million samples

These are in addition to the standard features of PicoScope 6 such as spectrum analysis, math channels, automatic measurements, advanced triggers, persistence display, alarms, mask limit testing, reference waveforms, XY mode and custom probes. All these and more are available free of charge to PicoScope owners.

Download PicoScope 6.11 now, free of charge

Focus on: 1-Wire serial protocol decoding

The serial decoding feature in PicoScope 6.11 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 protocols: 1-Wire.

1-Wire is a serial communications bus system developed by Dallas Semiconductor Corp. (now Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.) It provides low-speed data, signaling and power over a single line. 1-Wire is similar in concept to I²C, but with lower data rates and longer range.

1-Wire bus topologyA typical network consists of a single master device connected to one or more slaves. Communication is bidirectional half-duplex, bit-sequential, with the LSB transmitted first. Speeds of 16 kbps standard mode and 142 kbps overdrive mode are supported. The master device can interrogate the network to discover what slave devices are connected and obtain their IDs. In most devices, power is derived from an internal power storage capacitor that stores charge when the 1-Wire line is in the idle high state.

PicoScope can decode as many 1-Wire signals as you have inputs on your oscilloscope, or even a mixture of serial protocols at the same time. Its serial decoding table lists detailed properties for each data packet: start and end time, reset and presence pulse durations, command code, command and data. Optionally it can also show voltage and duration statistics. The selected packet is highlighted in both graphical and table views for easy cross-referencing. You can filter and search the data, and export the decoded data to spreadsheet or text files.

Read more about PicoScope's 1-Wire serial decoding

Recent new products: PicoScope 3000D Series

The PicoScope 3000D Series was the major product release of 2015. These oscilloscopes are the workhorses of the PicoScope range, with high bandwidths and sampling rates, deep memory, USB 3.0 ports for maximum performance, and a choice of 2-channel, 4-channel and MSO models. Here's a summary of the specifications:

  • 2 or 4 analog channels
  • Up to 200 MHz bandwidth
  • Up to 512 MS buffer size
  • Built-in arbitrary waveform generator (AWG)
  • USB 3.0 interface (also compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Powered by USB
  • Optional 16-channel logic input for mixed-signal oscilloscope (MSO) operation
  • Advanced PicoScope software with digital triggering, serial decoding, mask limit testing, math channels and many other features, all included as standard

Prices range from £349 / US$576 / €423 for the 2-channel, 50 MHz PicoScope 3203D to £1445 / US$2385 / €1749 for the 4-channel, 200 MHz mixed-signal PicoScope 3406D MSO with 16 digital inputs.

Data sheets, specifications and an explanation of features

Tech Tip: DrDAQ as pH alarm

Q. I want to use the output from the pH probe on the DrDAQ to turn a pump on when the pH exceeds a set value. Is there software available or some info on using the output pins to control a solid-state relay?

A. Yes, you can do this using the PicoLog application supplied with your DrDAQ. The Edit channel > Parameter options dialog has an Alarm button: click this, enable the alarm, set the lower and upper thresholds, and PicoLog will activate an alarm sound when the pH goes out of range. Now check one of the relevant Digital Output boxes to make PicoLog activate the desired output at the same time as the sound. The outputs are nominally 0 volts low, 3.3 volts high, with 2.2 kΩ source impedance, suitable for driving an NPN transistor or a solid-state relay.


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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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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)

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

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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