Test and Measurement News

November 2007

New 500 MHz Scope Probe and Accessories

To keep pace with the increasing bandwidth of our scopes, we have added three new high-frequency accessories to our product range this month:

  • 500 MHz 10:1 scope probe
    A passive high-impedance oscilloscope probe designed and calibrated for use on instruments having an input impedance of 1 MO shunted by 15 pF. It may be compensated for use with instruments having an input capacitance of 10 to 35 pF. The probe also has high-frequency compensation adjustment.
  • 50 Ω attenuator set
    The TA050 attenuator set consists of four coaxial attenuators, with ratios of 3 dB, 6 dB, 10 dB and 20 dB, designed for use with signals up to 1 GHz on 50-ohm lines. Each attenuator has a male and a female BNC connector.
  • 50 Ω feedthrough terminator
    The TA051 feedthrough attenuator is a coaxial terminator with BNC connectors. It is useful for connecting signals from 50-ohm sources into instruments with high-impedance inputs, such as oscilloscopes. Bandwidth is 1 GHz.

All of these items are available from our website.

Changes to This Newsletter

To make sure that you receive the Pico news that is relevant to you, from next month we will be producing two newsletters instead of one. These are the two new titles:

  • Pico Technology Test & Measurement Newsletter
  • Pico Technology Automotive Newsletter

At first you will automatically receive both newsletters. Each one will contain instructions in case you wish to cancel your subscription to one or both of them. If you do nothing, then you will continue to receive both newsletters.

Questions and Answers

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

Q. How do I change the frequency band on the PicoScope 6 spectrum analyzer?
A. First, make sure that you have the latest version, PicoScope 6.0.12, which has a greatly improved spectrum analyser. Now you should be able to use the zoom tools on the toolbar at the top of the window to zoom in and out on the frequency axis. For example, to zoom in, click the zoom-in tool button (a magnifying glass with a plus sign on the lens). The mouse pointer becomes a zoom-in tool. You can then click on the frequency axis where you want the band to start, drag to the point where you want it to stop, then release the mouse button. PicoScope will zoom in to show the frequency band you have selected without changing the vertical scaling.

Q. What is the difference between oversampling and Resolution Enhance?
A. Oversampling means capturing samples faster than the requested sampling rate, then averaging groups of samples to produce a smoothed set of samples. This is the noise reduction technique used in PicoScope 5. The drawback of this method is that the scope must be able to sample faster in order to generate the extra samples. Resolution Enhance uses a finite impulse response filter to smooth out the data, reducing the effect of noise at the expense of low-pass-filtering your signal. This is the method used in PicoScope 6.

Q. How can I get EnviroMon to display in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius?
A. There is an option to display units in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. Go the the Settings menu and select Configuration. Click the General button, then the Temperature button, and you will see the Units selection box that allows you to select your temperature units.

Technical Support Service

Our Technical Support service is second to none, but do you know the best way to get in touch with us? Just in case you are not sure, here is a reminder of our support contact details:

Everything you need to know about contacting Pico for technical support is here on our website.

Our support forum is a mine of information. Search it to see if your query has been answered before, or post your question and wait for one of our specialists to reply. Some of our well-informed customers and distributors may also step in to help.

Support Help Line. If you cannot find an answer on the forum, or your enquiry is urgent, call our Technical Support help line on 01480 396395 (or +44 1480 396395 outside the UK). Our technically expert staff will deal with the issue as quickly as possible. You can also email us at support@picotech.com, Skype us at pico_tech_support, or write to us at the address at the end of this newsletter.

Help Desk Tracking System. Our technical specialists use a tracking system to make sure that your enquiry is followed up to your satisfaction. You can log in to the system yourself if you want to follow the progress of your enquiry or submit a new one.

Pico Products in Action

There are many published examples of Pico products in use. Here are a couple of interesting ones that we have seen recently:

PicoScope 5 at the Open University. The Open University’s Interfaculty Electronics and Computing department has produced this educational video showing how to construct a crystal radio. They use a Pico oscilloscope to capture the audio waveform. The PicoScope software is ideal for this because it uses a PC to produce its high-resolution display, which then be easily captured in a video recording.

ADC-212 at scopeboy.com. Steve Conner describes how he used an ADC-212 to capture waveforms from his Tesla coil. As well as the impressive photographs, his report shows that even our older products are still being put to good use. Despite being overtaken by our newer USB scopes, the ADC-212 is still popular and is still supported by PicoScope 5. More power, Igor!

Automotive News

Auto-Solve Diagnostic Assistance E-book reduced in price

With over 180 web pages and over 320 technical illustrations, the Auto-Solve Diagnostic Assistance CD-ROM provides help on a wide range of topics and vehicle problems – including turbochargers, starting circuits, variable valve timing, fault codes and fuel injection. Also included on the CD-ROM is an extensive waveform library together with diagnostic flowcharts to assist in fault diagnosis and problem solving.

The Auto-Solve Diagnostic Assistance CD-ROM is a valuable automotive diagnostic tool and an ideal companion to the Automotive Diagnostics Kit. Now that we've reduced the price by a third, there's no reason not to add it to your library.

Find out more about the Auto-Solve Diagnostic Assistance CD-ROM

New product: S-hook

As a PicoScope user, you know that it can be difficult to keep all those test cables tidy in the engine bay. Well, we have come up with a small but indispensable accessory to make this task easier. The S-hook is about 100 mm (4 in) long and coated in plastic and rubber to protect the vehicle's paintwork and your cables. Hook one end underneath the bonnet or hood, and use the other end to hang a bundle of cables up to about 25 mm (1 in) thick.

Order your S-hook today

Forthcoming automotive exhibitions and training dates

Sandown Park, Surrey, UK
20-21 November 2007

Engine Management Diagnostics using PicoScope
Kingston College, Kingston upon Thames, UK
20-21 December 2007


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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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)

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

Asia-Pacific Office:
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