Test and Measurement News

November 2010

New PicoScope Beta

A new beta release of PicoScope, R6.5.42, is now available for download from our website. This important release contains the following improvements:

  • RS232/UART and SPI formats added to serial decoding mode.
  • PicoScope can now check online for updates.
  • The “Open Device” dialog now shows pictures of devices for quicker identification.
  • Reduced startup time.
  • Create animated GIFs from the File menu (much faster than before).
  • Improved capture rate, on average by 176%.
  • Reduced memory usage while running.
  • New user interface languages: Czech, Polish, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch.

As this is a beta release, we cannot guarantee that it is free of bugs or other errors. If you find a problem, please report it to support@picotech.com.

There is also an update to our mainstream PicoScope 6 release:

PicoScope 6.4.92: fixes .NET2 compatibility bug

See Software Releases - New Features for the latest list of changes and additions to the mainstream software. Remember that all PicoScope updates, including additional new features, are free of charge.

Learn More About PicoScope

Article: Find Glitches Faster with PicoScope

In recent releases of PicoScope, we have added a number of improvements to make it easier to find rare and intermittent events such as glitches and bursts of interference. There are other new features to help search for events in the deep memory of scopes such as the PicoScope 6000 Series, which have up to 1 billion samples of waveform storage.

Find Glitches Faster with PicoScope, a new article added to our Application Notes collection this month, explains various techniques such as mask limit testing, rapid triggering, persistence displays and the buffer navigator, which can help to find transient events hidden in large amounts of data.

Read Find Glitches Faster with PicoScope (412 KiB PDF)

Video: Mask Limit Testing with PicoScope

The mask limit testing feature recently added to PicoScope allows you to compare waveforms with a stored reference pattern. If the waveform fails the test then PicoScope can activate an alarm, save a file or execute a command. You can also store thousands of waveforms in the buffer and then search for those that failed the test.

A new video published on our youtube channel, Mask Limit Testing, shows how this feature can save you time when searching for intermittent glitches.

Watch the Mask Limit Testing video

Tech Tip: Lowpass Filtering Revisited

The lowpass filtering feature in PicoScope was introduced way back in release 6.2.0. It is most often used to clean up live waveforms, but did you know that you can use it on saved, unfiltered waveforms?

You will need an oscilloscope that supports lowpass filtering: that's most USB PicoScopes from the 3000 Series upwards. Load a previously saved waveform or retrieve one from the waveform buffer, then go to the Channel Options dialog (click the channel name in the toolbar) and switch on Lowpass Filtering. PicoScope will then apply the selected filter to the waveform on the screen.

Read more about PicoScope and download the latest version

Product Focus: TC-08 8-Channel Thermocouple Logger

The TC-08 8-Channel Thermocouple Logger is a cost-effective way of monitoring temperatures at several locations in laboratory equipment and industrial plant.

One example that caught our attention recently was an experiment by the E-Futures Group at the University of Sheffield. The author investigated how heat transfer from a hot-water radiator varied with different wall surfaces. The setup required temperature measurements at 15 points, so two TC-08s were used.

The TC-08 is supplied with the PicoLog software, which can accept up to 20 TC-08s and therefore monitor up to 160 thermocouples. The software shows live readings as well as spreadsheets and charts of recorded data.

Read Radiator heat transfer augmentation by changes to wall surface roughness and emissivity, Mini-Project Report, September 2010 (2.2 MiB PDF)

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions that have cropped up recently on our support forum:

Q. I own a PicoScope 3425 differential scope. I know that the spec for the 3425 is 400 volts, but I would like to connect to three-phase 480V to monitor sine wave harmonics. Is this possible?

A. Yes, if you use the TA041 differential probe. Because the 3425 has differential inputs, you must also use the TA038 current clamp adapter, supplied with the scope, to connect the TA041’s ground to the scope’s ground. If you use another probe, you should check whether it has a high output impedance that would cause measurement errors.

Q. We are planning on getting 8 x TC-08 thermocouple Data Loggers and could do with some advice on a setup. The test that we will be performing could last over multiple days so we need the system to be as stable as possible. We will be buying a new PC specifically for these, so do the requirements of the PC change with using 8 TC-08s? We would prefer to have Windows 7 as the operating system; would it be best to go with 32 or 64 bit? The TC-08s will be set up between 2m and 6m from the PC. Are we best connecting them directly to the PC (ensuring the new PC comes with 8+ USB ports) or is it okay to connect them via a USB hub? Will using a 6 m USB cable cause any problems, as I have experienced issues when using long extender cables before, or should this work okay?

A. The USB TC-08 works on both on 32 and 64-bit Windows from XP to 7. In terms of the cable length the USB limit is 5 meters. We would advise using a good, powered USB hub.

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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Contact details

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

Email: sales@picotech.com