Test and Measurement News

October 2015

Focus on: ARINC 429 serial decoding

ARINC 429 defines the physical and electrical interfaces of a two-wire data bus and the data protocol to support an aircraft's avionics local area network. It employs several techniques, including twisted-pair wiring and balanced differential signaling, to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) with on-board radios and other equipment.

Using serial decoding in PicoScope 6.10 or later you can now decode ARINC 429 signals. Simply capture a waveform, click Tools > Serial Decoding, select the ARINC protocol and accept the default settings. In most cases these are enough to decode the signal. Output is shown in a graphical view with decoded data on the same axis as the analog signals, and a in tabular view with powerful search and filtering options.

More information about PicoScope's ARINC 429 serial decoding

Did you know? PicoScope math channels can be easy!

You may have heard of PicoScope's math channels but are not sure that you need the powerful equations, filtering and scaling features. You might not know that in many cases you can bypass the advanced features and use just the built-in math channels. No setup is required: all you have to do is switch them on and use them. Enabling a built-in math channel is as simple as this:

  • Go to Tools > Math Channels
  • Check one of the functions in the Built-in list: Invert, A+B, A–B, A*B or A/B
  • Click OK

That's all there is to it! The chosen math channel will appear in the scope view and behave just like any other scope trace: you can scale and offset it, make automated measurements, save it to a file or use it as a reference waveform.

More about PicoScope 6

Featured video: Flexible Resolution with the PicoScope 5000

The PicoScope 5000 Series Flexible Resolution Oscilloscopes give you a range of resolutions from 8 bits to 16 bits in hardware. With just one PicoScope on your workbench you can choose between 1 GS/s sampling at low resolution, ideal for troubleshooting digital logic, and 62 MS/s sampling at high resolution with over 70 dB SFDR for viewing low-noise, low-amplitude analog signals. There are several other resolution options in between. The oscilloscope's novel sampling architecture gives you better dynamic performance than the software-enhanced resolution available on many scopes.

Our YouTube video explains the benefits of flexible resolution, and demonstrates how the PicoScope 5000 Series can be used to view HF noise on a LF signal at varying resolutions.

Watch Flexible Resolution with the PicoScope 5000 on YouTube

Tech Tip: PicoScope startup settings

PicoScope 6 has a comprehensive set of options for saving, applying and restoring startup settings to minimize the time you spend setting up the software. They are all under the File > Start-up Settings menu. Here are some of the things you can do with them:

  • Save multiple setups for later re-use – Configure PicoScope as you wish, then do Save Settings As and give the settings a memorable filename. Reconfigure PicoScope, do Save Settings As again and save with a different filename. Now you can use File > Open to load any of the settings files that you have just saved.
  • Start every time with the previous settings – Check the Restore Last Session on Start-up box in the Start-up Settings menu.
  • Temporarily use factory settings without deleting your default settings – Use Load Factory Settings in the Start-up Settings menu.

Many more options are possible: experiment with the File > Start-up Settings menu or read the PicoScope 6 User's Guide.

Tech Tip 2: X zoom in PicoScope

You've undoubtedly found the zoom controls in the PicoScope 6 toolbar, but did you know that you can optionally zoom on the x (time) axis only? This is useful if you've changed the vertical scale and don't want to disturb your settings. There are in fact several ways to zoom on the x axis:

  1. Zoom tool, then Ctrl-Click on scope view
  2. Zoom tool, then click on x axis
  3. Horizontal Zoom control in top toolbar
  4. Windowed Zoom, then drag box edge in zoom overview (see picture opposite)

If you make a mistake, you can always use the Undo Zoom button to return to the previous view.


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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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