Test and Measurement News

September 2010

New! PT-104 Data Logger Now With USB and Ethernet Interfaces

The new version of the PT-104 Data Logger can record 4 channels of temperature, voltage or resistance in any combination. It is compatible with standard, low-cost PT100 and PT1000 platinum resistance thermometers (PRTs) including 2-wire, 3-wire and 4-wire types. By using calibrated reference resistors instead of semiconductor voltage references in its measuring circuits, the PT-104 is less susceptible to temperature drift, and delivers high stability and accuracy at a surprisingly low cost.

The PT-104’s temperature measuring range is -200 to +800 degrees Celsius, with an accuracy of 0.01 °C and a resolution of 0.001 °C. Resistance ranges are 0 to 375 Ω and 0 to 10 kΩ with an accuracy of 20 ppm, and voltage ranges are 0 to 115 mV and 0 to 2.5 V with an accuracy of 0.2%. Conversion resolution in all modes is 24 bits.

The PT-104 is supplied with Pico Technology's PicoLog data logging software, which runs on any Windows PC (Windows XP or later). PicoLog can collect data from multiple PT-104 loggers at programmable intervals from 720 milliseconds per channel up to minutes, hours or even days. Results can be simultaneously displayed in a monitor window with optional limit alarms, as a live graph and as a table. Data can be exported in a standard text format compatible with other spreadsheet and analysis programs.

The new USB/Ethernet interface allows the logger to be used in a variety of situations: USB-only, USB-powered with Ethernet data, and Ethernet data with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). Using the Ethernet interface, the PT-104 can be located anywhere on a LAN or on the internet.

The USB/Ethernet version of the PT-104 Data Logger is on sale now, priced at only 399 GBP. It is covered by our free 5-year parts-and-labor warranty against manufacturing faults.

Full specifications and ordering information

Tech Tip: Fitting Multiple Traces on One PicoScope View

If you are used to analog oscilloscopes, you might have got into the habit of fitting multiple waveforms on the screen by increasing the voltage range for each input. This also works with PicoScope 6, but it is not the best method. With digital scopes, it is always best to make the signal use as much of the input range as possible to avoid wasting the scope’s resolution. For example, if your signal occupies only half of the input range of your 8-bit scope, you will obtain an effective resolution of only 7 bits.

PicoScope 6 makes it easy to scale multiple waveforms to fit on the screen without losing resolution:

In most cases, you can just right-click on the display and select Auto-arrange axes. This scales all waveforms, including Reference Waveforms and Maths Channels, to fit correctly on the screen.
If you want manual control over the size of each waveform, then you can use the scaling buttons instead. These are the colored buttons at the bottom left and right corners of the display that match the colors of the waveforms. Each button opens a dialog that allows you to set the scale and offset of one waveform.

Visit PicoScope 6 on the web

Product Focus: PicoScope 4226 and 4227

The PicoScope 4226 and 4227 are our first 12-bit USB oscilloscopes to include a built-in Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG).

Now you can create a complete test and measurement setup using a single, easily portable device, at a much lower cost than using traditional bench-top instruments. Bandwidths of 50 and 100 MHz make these scopes suitable for a wide range of uses including field-servicing, production testing, and research and development. For lower-bandwidth applications, the Resolution Enhancement features can deliver up to 16-bit precision. There’s also a dedicated external trigger input so that you can keep the two main inputs free for measurement.

PicoScope 4226 50 MHz Precision Oscilloscope: £699
PicoScope 4227 100 MHz Precision Oscilloscope: £899

Find detailed specifications, and the address of your local distributor, on our website.

Questions and Answers

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

Q. I currently have a BioSig Instruments grab pulse bar which reads the electrical signals from your heartbeats. This company can customize the output to be read using an oscilloscope (1 volt output or whatever is recommended). What I’m trying to accomplish is to get this electrical pulse up on a 32" TV monitor so the kids can see a visual representation of their current heart rate. It doesn’t have to be medically accurate, just something cool for them to look at which resembles an ECG. If I can get the signal into a computer I can then use the video out to the monitor. Also since this is a non-profit organization our budget is relatively small. I was looking at the PicoScope 2200 range for example. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

A. Our entry-level PicoScope 2203 should be more than sufficient to measure the signal. Our software is free and since it is all Windows-based, it should be no problem having it on a big screen.

Q. We purchased a PicoLog 1216 and, whilst it is faster than the ADC-24, it still has a sampling rate of only 20 ms with one channel, or 40 ms with 2 channels (I need 2 channels). Also I am using the PicoLog 2.5 V output to power one of the 2 channels, through a potentiometer to measure the angle through which a shaft turns. Is there anything I can do to achieve a rate approaching the 4 ms that I believe the logger is capable of? I have been bench-testing using a laptop and also did a few runs using my desktop PC, but this did not improve the sampling rate. Please advise what I can do.

A. Please download and use PicoLog R5.21.2 or later, and then you should be able to log at 1 ms sample rates on a single channel.

The same customer replied: The problem seems to have been that I had the Sampling Method set to Real Time Continuous. Changing this to Streaming gave far higher sampling rate.

Pico comments: Real Time Continuous mode was designed for slow RS-232 and parallel-port devices. We recommend using Streaming mode to get the best performance from our USB devices. The mode is selected under the File > New Settings menu in PicoLog.


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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