PicoScope 7 Software
Available on Windows, Mac and Linux
Matt Cook from Solsta provides us with a application demo using a PicoScope 2204A as an interface to a couple of different sensors including an accelerometer and a linear actuator.
PicoScopes can be embedded into many systems using the PicoScope 7 software, displayed here or you can use the PicoSDK API to fully integrate the PicoScope into a system.
We're delighted to announce that Pico are proud winners at the Instrumentation Excellence Awards! Our PicoScope 7 software took home Software Solution of the Year from the ceremony, meanwhile our TA487 IEPE Signal Conditioner was also highly commended in the Signal Conditioning Product of the Year category.
We all extend many thanks to the Instrumentation Excellence Awards, for both this award and for a lovely evening. Also, a big thank you to you for your votes!
We are delighted to announce that PicoScope 7.1.13 is now live! We are constantly updating PicoScope 7 to provide the best user experience, and to implement exciting new features. Here's a list of new features added in PicoScope 7.1.13:
Pico Technology is committed to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. PicoScope 7 software benefits from regular updates and additional support for new serial communication standards, ensuring it remains up-to-date with the latest communication protocol advancements.
You can download the newest stable release of PicoScope 7 for free on our website.
In the rapidly evolving world of electronics, the need for efficient and flexible testing and
measurement tools has never been greater. As technology advances and designs become
increasingly complex, traditional benchtop oscilloscopes are facing competition from PC-based
instruments, including PicoScope with the latest PicoScope 7 user interface. Leveraging the power
and versatility of personal computers, PC-based instruments offer several benefits that are
revolutionizing the way engineers debug and validate their electronic systems.
PC-based instruments harness the processing power and graphical capabilities of personal
computers, providing engineers with versatile platforms for complex debug and measurement tasks.
PicoScope hardware, from the entry-level 2204A through to the high-performance 6000E Series
products, connect to the users’ PC via a USB interface. PicoScope 7 software provides powerful
Oscilloscope functionality plus a Spectrum Analyzer, Protocol Analyzer, Function Generator,
Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) and, on MSO models, a Logic Analyzer, and more. PicoScope
models typically offer increased memory depth, higher resolution, and wider bandwidths, compared
to traditional benchtop oscilloscopes at a given price point.
A major advantage of PC-based instruments is their cost and space efficiency. Unlike benchtop
instruments, PC-based solutions eliminate the need for bulky and expensive hardware, saving both
physical space and cost. By utilizing existing PCs, engineers can significantly reduce their equipment
expenses and optimize their workspace – ideal for the laboratory or working at home. Furthermore,
as PCs become increasingly powerful and affordable, the performance-to-cost ratio of PC-based
instruments continues to improve. Furthermore, due to their compact size, products such as the
PicoScope 2000, 3000, and 5000 Series fit in a laptop bag and are readily portable to wherever they
PicoScope 7 provides unmatched flexibility and scalability. The software can easily adapt to address
a broad range of testing challenges by selecting the appropriate software application for a specific
task. This flexibility allows for seamless transitions between different measurement types, such as
switching from an oscilloscope to a spectrum analyzer with a couple of clicks, or running both
instruments in parallel. Additionally, PicoScope 7 software benefits from regular free-of-charge
software updates that eliminate the need for hardware replacements and ensure compatibility with
future technologies. Recent examples include addition of new serial protocol decoders such as I3C
and CAN XL, on top of the 30+ decoders already included.
Features such as mask limit testing allows the comparison, in time- or frequency-domains, of live
signals against known good signals. Results can be stored and displayed in up to 10,000 waveform
buffers, showing all waveforms or just those that violate the mask, which is ideal for finding
intermittent faults. Failure counts can be recorded to help with statistical analysis of a design
Actions are things that PicoScope can be programmed do when certain events occur, including mask
failures. Actions include: Stop the capture, Save waveform to disk, Play a sound, Trigger the signal
generator, Run an external application. Taken together, these tools enable engineers to perform
extended testing and deep analysis of a circuit before signing it off as “good to go”.
The integration of PicoScope with software development tools and automation systems is a game-
changer for engineers. Operating in the same Windows, Linux or Mac platforms that designers have
used to create their systems, PicoScope engineers can quickly execute complex measurement
sequences, perform data analysis in real-time, and integrate the results into their overall design flow. This integration streamlines the debugging and validation process, improves efficiency, and
PicoScope facilitates collaboration among engineers, even across different geographical locations. As
well as local control of a PicoScope, remote users can access and control instruments, share data,
and collaborate on projects using third party client-server networking. This feature is particularly
valuable for distributed teams and remote work scenarios, enabling seamless cooperation and
PC-based instruments are rapidly transforming the landscape of electronic system debugging and
validation. By leveraging the computational power, flexibility, and scalability of personal computers,
engineers can overcome the limitations of traditional benchtop oscilloscopes. With cost and space
efficiency, integration and automation capabilities, and the ability to collaborate remotely, PC-based
instruments provide a new level of flexibility, productivity, and adaptability. As technology continues
to advance, the adoption of PC-based instruments is expected to grow, driving innovation and
further enhancing the efficiency of electronic system design and testing processes.
We have put together a new series of video guides demonstrating how to use PicoScope 7. These quick, minute-long videos offer tips and tricks on a variety of subjects, from the basics of waveform viewing to a look at our huge number of supported serial protocols. You can check out the full playlist of these video guides at the link below.
Do you want to see our PicoScope 7 software demos in person? Subscribers from the USA can come see us exhibiting at IMS 2023 in San Diego, from the 11th to the 16th of June.
Pico Technology is proud to announce the launch of its next-generation software: PicoScope 7. Building on the success of market-leading PicoScope 6 software, PicoScope 7 has been rewritten to take advantage of the latest PC and display technologies. PicoScope 7 boasts a range of enhanced features and functionality, making it the ideal choice for engineers and technicians looking for precise, reliable, and easy-to-use tools for their test and measurement needs.
PicoScope 7 is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. All current PicoScope models, from the entry-level 2000 Series through to the high-performance 6000E Series, are supported, as are legacy PicoScope models dating back a decade or more. The software is now stable, and free of charge for all PicoScope users.
This case study has been put together by the team at BiS Infotech, and focuses on the use of our PicoVNA Vector Network Analyser to measure the surface mount component location on a PCB. You can check out the case study here.
The PicoScope 7.0.121 Early Access release has gone live; alongside implementing general updates to improve stability, PicoScope 7 Early Access now also has mat file export added to the options for saving data. This is the Mat version 5 file, which will allow for easier integration with current MATLAB versions, as well as improved capabilities for handling large data sets over PicoScope 6.
In addition, channel-to-channel Phase measurements can now be used to measure the phase difference between two selected channels.
You can download PicoScope 7 Early Access from our website.
We are pleased to announce that Pico Technology are proud members of CAN in Automation (CiA). CAN in Automation is a non-profit organization, founded in 1992, as an international group for both manufacturers and users of Controller Area Network (CAN). The CAN technology is internationally standardized through the ISO 11898 series. The main objective of CiA is to provide a neutral and impartial platform for developing future CAN-related standards and specifications. Working in cooperation with other members of CiA, Pico Technology recently added a CAN XL decoder / analyzer to the PicoScope product range. CAN XL is the 3rd generation controller-area network protocol, building on and supporting backward compatibility with classic CAN and CAN FD networks.
The decoder was featured on the CiA booth at the recent Embedded World exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany. In this video, Trevor introduces us to Teun Hulman from NXP Semiconductors, who is presenting their NXP CAN XL demonstrator with a PicoScope 3000 Series.
At Embedded World 2023, Pico Technology interviewed several customers who demonstrated how they use their PicoScope, and why they prefer to use a USB based oscilloscope over a traditional bench top scope.
In this video, James Mackey found several companies that were using PicoScope, including Bavariamatic GmbH, who offer a wide range of consulting and engineering services. Here they speak to James about why they like PicoScopes and the benefits of working with PC based oscilloscopes. You can check out this video, alongside several others, in the Embedded World 2023 YouTube playlist.
We also want to offer our congratulations to our Embedded World 2023 giveaway winners! We hope that our winners enjoy their PicoScope 2000 Series oscilloscope:
Day one winner: Christian Neuhaus
Day two winner: Thomas Robok
Day three winner: Marcus Janke
Did you know that our PicoScope 2000 Series Oscilloscope was recently featured on the front page of Hackaday? In a recent post, regular readers are treated to a three-part tutorial on decoding 433 MHz radio signals using an Arduino Uno, a Soundcard, a Raspberry Pi, and our own PicoScope 2208B.
The tutorial, written by Joonas Pihlajamaa of Code and Life, focuses on decoding the signals of a Nexa radio-controlled smart plug. This acts as a fascinating case study on 433 MHz radio signals; check it out for yourself here!
Did you know that our PicoScope 7 software includes a varied and ever-expanding database of free serial decoders? To date, our software supports 32 serial decoding protocols as standard, each of which offer different capabilities to decode, display, and analyze waveforms.
Our recent addition, Wind Sensor decoder, captures and analyses Wind Sensor communications which utilize the NMEA 0183 protocol. With wind sensor serial decoding, signals can be single-ended or differential (two-wire, or 4 wire). The decoder can interpret both of these implementations.
In this month's top tip, James takes you through setting up masks and actions for your signal in PicoScope 7. Not only that, but we also show you different methods of using Actions, and how they can speed up and improve your workflow!
In this video, we take you on a tour of our booth at Electronica 2022. This provides an excellent opportunity to see our products, software, and features in action; be sure to check out our PicoScope 5000 and 6000 Series oscilloscopes, our TC-08 thermocouple data loggers, and our PicoScope 7 Early Access software.
This Christmas at Pico Technology, James is causing mischief by gifting silly Christmas presents to several of the Pico departments that only the Grinch himself would be proud of. From an abacus for the CFO, to a lie detector for the HR department… as well as model scopes for the hardware department and a textbook all about C# for dummies gifted to the software team.
The twice-annual ARMMS conferences are the primary activity of the "Automated RF & Microwave Measurement Society". Founded in 1982, ARMMS is a not-for-profit charitable society that was originally established to educate and coach UK industry towards computer automation, and quality lift in their RF and microwave test and calibration processes.
These conferences allow for the sharing of a very wide spectrum of RF and microwave knowledge across a large, international membership. It is vital for Pico to stay connected with the shared knowledge and indeed the network of industry leaders the conferences attract. Clearly our USB (computer) connected RF and microwave instruments are as optimal a fit to the original aims of ARMMS, that anyone can hope for! Our Monday morning early bird, Stuart Murlis, always manages to grab Pico a primary table-top in the small commercial exhibition at each conference. That’s relatively easy in November, when the Conference, indeed this Conference is held over the road at Wyboston. The April Oxfordshire venue is a bit more of a challenge; but in a race from the car park, Pico instruments are much smaller and lighter than much of the competition, so we are still in with a good chance!
Commercial exhibition however is an opportunity, rather than the primary aim of our attending ARMMS. We never leave a conference empty-handed; we leave with a nugget of new knowledge, a product idea perhaps, a measurement problem to solve, a solution that we were in need of, or a useful contact for the future. Not to mention a sales opportunity or two, or even perhaps a new recruit for Pico!
Pico Technology were hosted at the Engineering Design Show 2022. Here's a little recap of our stall and a short walk-around we did! We got the chance to meet many of our customers and potential new customers; all-in-all it was a productive and fun day out!
Pico Technology was awarded the Best Oscilloscope Manufacturer of the Year by Electronic Manufacturers Media in India. Hari and Ganapati Hegde, the president of Technocomm which is our biggest distributor in India, attended the award ceremony and received the award representing Pico.
EM Media has announced the winners of its 8th edition EM Best Awards 2022 at the gala ceremony held in The Stellar Gymkhana, Greater Noida, UP. Nearly 250 of the leading figures gathered at the ceremony for the celebration. EM Best Awards is India’s biggest electronics industry awards celebrate excellence and achievements of true pioneers.
Mr. Arvind Kumar, Chief Editor of Electronics Maker, stated in her welcoming speech “It’s a pleasure to see so many companies from such a variety of industries and geographies are working hard towards our common goal.”
The honorable guests at the award ceremony include:
EM Best Awards 2022 includes key electronics categories as Semiconductor, Test and Measurement, Electronics Components, Automation, SMT, PCB, EMSS
On Thursday the 6th of October, at Pico Technology’s Head Office in St Neots, UK, we had the great honour of receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for a second time. HM Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Mrs Julie Spence OBE and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant His Honour Neil McKittrick, during a ceremony in front of the employees of Pico Technology, presented the Grant of Appointment to Pico’s Chairman Mark Jones. The award, given for our achievements in International Trade, recognises our long history of designing PC Oscilloscopes, PC Data Loggers and Automotive Diagnostics tools and exporting them around the world.
The ceremony also included civic guests The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire Mrs Jennifer Crompton, Local Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly, Mayor of St Neots Ben Pitt and Cllr Stephen Ferguson.
To find out more, check out the full press release on our press site.
This month's PicoByte offers a brief explanation of AC Coupling. Meanwhile, this article provides further information and examples on the subject...
Our video series, PicoByte, is a monthly top-tip video series on all things Pico Test & Measurement. Covering a variety of topics from PicoScope 7 Early Access Tips and Tricks to byte-sized tutorials on hardware debugging.
Episode 4 of our PicoBYTE series takes you through everything you need to know when buying and using a passive probe with your PicoScope. We’ll run through what you get, how it works, and how to get the most accurate measurements out of your probe.
We at Pico are excited to be exhibiting at Electronica 2022! Returning for the first time in four years, Electronica is the world's leading trade fair and conference for electronics. This year's conference is shaping up to be an extra special, post-pandemic event.
Electronica 2022 is taking place on November 15–18, 2022, at
Trade Fair Center Messe München. You can come see us at A3.115. Alternatively, to book an appointment with us, feel free to get in touch at email@example.com.
To find out more, visit the Electronica website.
This month, we were delighted to host colleagues from our international offices! We welcomed Sui Li, Yasuhiro Sone (both from our Asia-Pacific team), and Bob Baker (from our US office) to St. Neots, where we were able to give them a tour of our main headquarters and enjoy a lovely meal out in Cambridge.
We thank Sui, Yasuhiro and Bob for taking the time to come and say hello!
The TA487 IEPE Signal Conditioner is an interface that allows industry-standard IEPE (integrated electronic piezoelectric) sensors to be used with any oscilloscope or data acquisition device with BNC inputs. The device is powered from any USB port, using the cable supplied, and provides a 4mA constant current source to power a connected IEPE sensor.
We are delighted to inform you that our German distributor Meilhaus has once again come up with a very special event. This time, on September 15th, you are invited to a round trip on the ship MS Utting on the Bavarian Ammersee.
There will be 5 exciting lectures from power electronics to measurements in the high-frequency range. We will explain to you how to get the maximum out of your oscilloscope. Register as soon as possible, places are limited. You can find more information on the Meilhaus website.
We're very excited to announce that, over the next three months, we are giving away three PicoScope 2204A oscilloscopes! The giveaway will last for the duration of 3 months (August 16th to November 15th) with a prize draw for a single winner each month. To be in with a chance of winning you must meet the following entry requirements:
- Leave a comment on this video;
- Like this video;
- Subscribe to the Pico Technology YouTube channel.
How will it work?
- The giveaways will close for entries at the end of each month.
- A winner will be randomly drawn using wheelofnames.com on September 16th, October 14th, and November 15th, and will win one of the three PicoScope 2204As.
- Each month’s winner will be announced on the Pico Technology YouTube community feed, Facebook, and Instagram along with the reply of the winning comment.
- The winners will then need to contact the marketing team at Pico Technology in order to claim their prize.
- Each prize will be sent via UPS to the winner.
For full terms and conditions, please visit our website, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
The latest PicoVNA 3 software release introduces a dual parameter plot axes, with up to four live traces and four memory trace plotting in each of the four VNA display channels.
Dual-axes plotting allows users to combine, by transmission example, gain and phase plots, or two sensitivities and offsets within a single display channel. Or, for reflection, perhaps Log Magnitude and SWR in another.
While four live traces allow all four s-parameters to be combined on a single plot, a further example might be gain and group delay for two s-parameters. From there, given that we also now have four memory traces; all four live traces can be displayed and compared with a prior measurement within that single plot. These features bring an entirely new level of measurement display flexibility to the user. On-plot drag or type controls also allow the user to quickly establish a results visualisation that best suits the application at hand.
Our new video series, PicoByte, is a monthly top-tip video series on all things Pico testing and measurement. Covering a variety of topics from PicoScope 7 Early Access Tips and Tricks to byte-sized tutorials on hardware debugging.
In the third installment of PicoBYTE. We go through the history, applications, and a couple of examples of the I2C protocol, and using a PicoScope to debug your I2C projects and tools. The episode also features some issues you may run into when debugging or building an I2C interface and how you can spot these errors in your PicoScope device.
We're excited to share with you the latest addition to our This is Pico series, focusing on our Sports and Social Committee. In this video, Michael Roberts is in conversation with our own Laura Corrance and Guy Bunting, reminiscing on some of our previous social events, and looking forward to the future of the social calendar at Pico.
Our new video series, PicoByte, is a monthly top-tip video series on all things Pico testing and measurement. Covering a variety of topics from PicoScope 7 Early Access Tips and Tricks to byte-sized tutorials on hardware debugging.
This month’s PicoBYTE top-tip takes you through the vast selection of Trigger Types and Trigger Modes in PicoScope 7 Early Access. In this episode we’ll be giving you a quick overview of each function, also providing you with an example application with each trigger to help you optimise your trigger techniques to produce a predictable, reliable waveform.
Steve from SDG Electronics provides us with two demonstrations using a PicoScope 5000D series to validate the operating characteristics and power efficiency of an AC LED lighting controller. He then illustrates the integration and debug of an RS-485 control link between a humidity sensor and a bathroom extractor fan.
Pico Technology, winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, 2022 have released a Power Management Bus (PMBus) decoder to their ever-expanding database of free serial decoders. The PMBus decoder tool is available in PicoScope 7 (Early Access) to decode, display and analyze smart batteries and power supplies.
PMBus is a serial communications protocol aimed at the configuration, control, and monitoring of power supply devices. It’s built on top of the proven foundation of the SMBus, which is a low-cost, two-wire bus derived from I2C.
The PMBus maintainers, System Management Interface Forum (SMIF), have a large list of early adopters from component and equipment manufacturers such as Intel, Microchip, ST, and Texas Instruments, all of which have incorporated PMBus into their products and integrated circuits. Anyone who uses PicoScope as their debug tool will be able to use the decoder in a large range of power management applications.
Trevor Smith, Pico Technology’s Business Development Manager, has said the following:
“Control and monitoring of power supplies is a critical factor in today's electronic designs. PMBus has emerged as the de facto standard serial protocol for management and monitoring of the status and overall health of the smart battery and embedded system AC-DC converters & DC-DC power systems. The PicoScope PMBus decoder/ analyzer enables engineers to rapidly build, debug and test their designs over the wide range of operating conditions that will be encountered when deployed in the real world. The addition of the PMBus decoder as a standard element of PicoScope 7 is another illustration of our commitment to meeting the challenges and evolving needs of embedded systems designers.”
The new PMBus serial decoder tool is now available free with PicoScope 7, and is available to download on our website. We also have a large range of Test & Measurement PicoScopes for decoding PMBus, available online.
Take a look at our NEW environmental page which is now live on the website.
As you are all aware, we at Pico are very keen to be environmentally-aware and reduce our carbon usage wherever we can. We have already established the PicoPlanet steering committee, and want to inform our customers and distributors of the changes we are making as a business to reduce our carbon footprint.
We recently filmed a video with our Chairman, Mark Jones, and Pico Planet representative Jon Parker, to discuss the many ways that Pico are becoming greener in the way we conduct business. These range from using plastic-free tape and installing solar panels on James House, to repurposing old cardboard boxes for packaging materials to use instead of plastic. As a company, we are also looking at finding alternative ways to travel for business, as well as alternatives to our plastic cases. In addition, we provide staff talks to educate our team on what we can do as individuals, and as part of the business, to help protect the planet for the future.
We at Pico are delighted to be returning to live exhibitions in 2022, and to give you the following dates to add to your calendars:
ARMMS 2022 // 25th-26th April, DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry, UK
PCIM Europe // 10th-12th May, Nuremberg, Germany
AMPER 2022 // 17th-20th May, Brno Exhibition Centre, Brno, CZ
Automotive Testing Expo 2022 // 21st-23rd June, Messe Stuttgart, Germany
embeddedworld 2022 // 21st-23rd June, Nuremberg, Germany
For more information on how to attend and meet us in person, check out the exhibition websites. Hope to see you there!
The growing number of convenience and comfort features in vehicles, coupled with the desire to eliminate point-to-point wiring harnesses associated with non-critical features such as wipers, mirrors, climate control and rain sensors, led to the demand for lower-cost alternatives to CAN for sensor and actuator applications. LIN (Local Interconnect Network) was developed to provide a common sensor/actuator bus standard. Initially introduced in 2000 as an inexpensive serial communication bus, the latest version (2.2A) is now standardized as ISO 17987. LIN uses a simple and low-cost single wire physical layer implementation based on ISO 9141 (as used by the K-line onboard diagnostic standard). This single-wire implementation does make LIN more susceptible to EMC than two-wire buses, which in turn limits the data rate to 20 kb/s and the recommended number of nodes to 16.
We have put together a full introduction to LIN Bus serial decoding on our website; click here to check out the full article.
Waveform Buffers have been a popular feature in PicoScope 6 for many years. The ability to divide available capture memory into segments, or “buffers”, means that successive triggered acquisitions can be saved into numbered buffers for subsequent inspection or analysis. Dead-time between each triggered acquisition is ignored so that only the waveforms, pulses or packets of interest are captured.
Deep capture memory of 32MS or more that is included in many PicoScope models allows users to take maximum advantage of the Waveform Buffers feature. Sampling speed can be set to capture waveforms of interest with optimal timing resolution and without wasting memory on periods in between that are of no interest.
In Rapid Trigger mode, available on most PicoScope models, the oscilloscope acquires a sequence of waveforms with the minimum possible delay between them. The display is updated once the last waveform in the sequence has been captured.
Now, the Waveform buffers feature has been implemented in the latest PicoScope 7 Early Access release, and it’s even better than before:
Listening to our customers is at the heart of our development process, and these are just two of the many customer-requested improvements we've delivered in PicoScope 7. Why not download PicoScope 7 Early Access today to try out these and many other new features, and let us know what you think and what you'd like to see us doing next?
Download PS7 T&M Early Access on our website.
We are pleased to announce an update to PicoLog Cloud, this release adds new display modes and fixes the following bugs:
New delta cursors
We've added a new feature to enable users to accurately measure between 2 points on the graph. Simply dropped in by 2 mouse clicks, the first value, second value and the delta (difference) are displayed on the graph.
Updated PicoScope 2000 Series driver
Due to a hardware change for the PicoScope 2000B series, we've updated the driver. The change is seamless for users, but this version of software or newer is required to use the new scopes manufactured from April 2022.
You can download our PicoLog Cloud software free of charge on our website.
In celebration of the PicoVNA E-Cal and TRL calibration launch, we have composed a playlist of training videos, talking through the features and processes of these calibration methods. We're proud to announce that the playlist is now available to watch in its entirety!
In the videos, Mark Ashcroft talks through automated calibration of the PicoVNA using the new PicoVNA E-Cal modules, and explains the process of TRL and TRM calibration (Through Reflect Line and Through Reflect Match, respectively). He then goes on to compare measurement results from the new and traditional calibration methods. Want to learn more? Check out the playlist here!
CiA stands for "CAN in Automation" and is the manufacturers’ special interest group for CAN (Controller Area Network) based technologies.
CiA members develop and publish specifications that cover all Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) layers and applications in different domains. CiA representatives support actively the international standardization of CAN-related topics.
Additionally, CiA members promote jointly CAN technology in different markets. This includes road vehicles, off-road and off-highway vehicles, industrial automation, medical devices, rail vehicles, maritime electronics, building automation, power generation and distribution, and many others.
CiA is of interest to both Pico’s Test & Measurement and our Automotive Diagnostics businesses as new CAN standards are developed and deployed. Membership will enable us to participate in activities including seminars, conferences and interoperability groups that will enable us to stay at the forefront of this key networking technology.
Day in the life of a Pico APAC Regional Technical Specialist
Our APAC Regional Technical Specialist is responsible for answering questions from Pico customers in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as developing marketing content and planning events.
How is it to be a Regional Technical Specialist at Pico Technology?
Today we are going to take a closer look on a typical working day from the perspective of our APAC Regional Technical Specialist, Derek Hu.
Today when I sit down at my desk, it’s about 8:30 in the morning.
As usual, the first thing for starting today’s work is to check my email box to see if there’s any important notices, urgent questions, company or product news in email and Jostle. The first piece of good news today is the CEO’s special year-end bonus for Chinese New Year. Pico is always insisting on its philosophy: treat customers as friends and employees as family. I am really so glad to be a member of Pico.
Then I check my Wechat chatting box and find two questions left by two customers at late last evening. One question is from a customer of Huawei about PS5000D, and the other, from a PhD student at Fuhan University, concerns PicoVNA 2’s smith chart test results. This involves me offering a quick explanation about the meaning of “L(Inductance)” or “C(Capacitance)” in smith chart display window of PicoVNA2. He doubted its correctness as he calculated a result which was not matched with the result of PicoVNA 2 software. Honestly, I didn’t verify this value in the past. A lot of people find the smith chart quite difficult to understand and, sometimes, so do I!
Both questions are important, but the latter seems a bit more urgent and easier to answer. I check the PicoVNA 106 user’s guide, to no avail. I also read some documents about Smith Chart, in case I missed something about it, but no good findings. I know we can get the Inductive Reactance and Capacitive Reactance directly from the Smith Chart; Inductance appears on the upper half circle, and Capacitor appears on the lower half. Based on that, I think it should be the equivalent inductance or capacitor of the impedance. Then I can verify if it’s correct by simple calculation. Certainly, it’s proved right.
Time goes to 9:30am. I call the Huawei customer to discuss their issue with PS5000D; this was reported by their field engineer in manufacture line. It’s an occasional issue which doesn’t occur very often. Essentially, the scope can’t return the data in its usual time. It’s tough as there are few clues and the manufacture line can’t wait too long, but together we manage to find a solution.
During the meeting with the customer of Huawei, there’s a Skype call which was from a Japanese customer. This customer should have reached the age of retirement but he is still full of energy to enjoy the programming with our PicoScope in labview. I didn’t answer him then and texted him that I will call him back at 10:30 AM around. Now it’s time to talk with him. He is using our PicoScope 2408B for the customized programming in labview and can’t get the correct post-processing result of a pulse as he doesn’t quite understand well about the meanings of some settings like timebase, pre and post trigger points, trigger level etc. His patience impressed me a lot as he has to restart the labview software several times due to the low response of his program when the number of data points is too big. To better explain those settings in labview, I demonstrate the labview example codes of PS 2408B in my site through screen sharing in Skype to him so that he can try different settings in his side. Soon he gets the results as expected.
Just finished the talking with the Japanese customer, I attend the skype call meeting with my manager to talk about some key supporting cases and marketing plan in next half fiscal year. He brings me the second good news of today that the sales revenue of January is quite good.
After the meeting, I check the email and find that there’s an email from a distributor in Singapore asking about the programming with PicoScope 6426E in labview. Her customer used PS 6404D in the past and now needs to switch the codes to PicoScope 6426E. She tells me that the labview example codes downloaded from github.com/picotech for PS 6000E don’t work well. It shows some Sub-Vis are missed. That’s the known issue and I supported her to get it fixed smoothly.
It’s time for lunch. There are many restaurants nearby. I go out to have a bowl of “noodle with shredded pork and pickled cabbage” and a half cage of “Cock Crowed Steamed Soup Bun (a kind of steamed dumpling filled with minced meat and gravy)”. Cooking some quick food, ordering some takeaways, grabbing some fast food nearby, could be my choices when I am working from home.
When I pass by the Express Delivery Cabinet downstairs after lunch, I remember to take the PicoScope 9404-16 and PG 900 demo units sent from a distributor in China. Unfortunately, the PicoScope 9302 was sent back instead of PicoScope 9400-16. However, the questions from the customer in China are all PicoScope 9404 related. In order to answer the questions as soon as possible, I chose to operate our PicoScope 9400 demo unit in our distributor’s office remotely through TeamViewer with support from our distributor for the testing setup. It works very well. The remote-control software does help me a lot to complete the supporting work better and efficiently.
No new questions from call, email, Wechat and Skype at this moment. I am happy to have some time to continue writing the marketing/application article “Acquire and analyze RFID signal with PicoScope” in English. Writing some articles in English is a new try for me with the encouragement from my manager. No doubted that I can improve my English from doing that while contributing the marketing materials. I’m glad to know our company will release the new products “E-cal & TRM/TRL Cal” and I have got the newsletters from the marketing team in the headquarter. As usual, I check and correct the translation in Chinese version, then I release it in Wechat, and share it with my colleague for promotion in variety of channels.
One of our distributors in China calls me now to talk about his customer’s PS 6404D issue. In recent years, more and more PicoScopes are used in the power industry in China. This customer is using our PicoScope 6404D in their testing system for supervising high speed train and railway network. Although PicoScopes are hard and powerful enough, we still recommend the customers to do necessary measures to protect the whole scope as well as the interfaces when they are used in high voltage and strong EMC area.
It's 5:00 PM in China and 9:00 AM in the UK now. It’s time to write email to the UK product managers for the updates of the test results regarding to the new version PicoControl2.dll and to report the bug of PicoSample 4 software.
As planning, I communicate with the customer manager of Aspencore to talk about the banner cooperation in Taiwan and SEA. She said she can offer us 10% discount for 3 months and 50000 impressions/month banner in Taiwan and Asia website respectively.
The customer manager of India EFY calls me to do some survey. Actually, she wants to know what’s our plan in 2022 as our whole year cooperation in 2021 has completed. I ask her to contact with our colleague in India for his idea of the marketing programs plan in India.
Finally, I will do the summaries and minutes of today’s work.
That’s me for the day. In the evening, I will attend ToastMaster Sherrie Su’s online sharing about how to prepare a public speech. ToastMaster English Club has been a part of my life where I can practice my English and extend social activities. Reading some technical articles and books and doing some exercises in the evening are also my favorites besides checking emails and social communication tools regularly to answer those urgent questions or communicating with our UK supporting team about some questions.
Roger Berry, Teaching Fellow at the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, has put together a series of videos going through the basics of PicoScope for students using them for the first time. This introductory video explains the vital role that PicoScopes have played in the restructuring of his teaching, since the start of the pandemic. It also includes some amazing testimonials from his students, and we're delighted to hear that our products have had such a positive impact on their studies in such challenging times!
His video series provides the perfect overview of all information you need to begin using PicoScopes. Be sure to check out the full playlist here!
Pico Technology has complemented its hugely successful PicoVNA vector network analyzer by adding two important calibration options. Existing and new customers of the PicoVNA 108 8.5 GHz analyzer can now benefit from automated E-Cal calibration and TRL/TRM calibration.
The PicoVNA 108 achieves calibration automation through either male SMA or female SMA E-Cal modules. These are USB-powered and controlled to electronically select the various short, open, load and through reference standards as they are needed within the calibration process. You simply power the module, make a single connection of the E-Cal standard between the PicoVNA test ports, and then initiate the automated procedure from within the PicoVNA 108 user interface.
Meanwhile, TRL (Through Reflect Line) and TRM (Through Reflect Match) calibration typically gain favour when needing to measure substrate-mounted DUTs, for example surface-mounted networks or components on a PCB or ceramic. The necessary transmission lines, low-frequency match and reflections (shorts or opens) can all be readily fabricated at precise on-substrate measurement reference planes. Additionally, if necessary, the calibration will account for the environmental conditions and any variability of the test substrate.
Existing users can add both E-Cal and TRL/TRM functionality to their PicoVNA 108 using the free-of-charge software update from the download page. PicoVNA instruments and accessories come with a comprehensive three-year warranty.
Find out more information here!
In our most recent release of PicoScope 7 T&M Early Access 7.0.90 last week, our development team reached a significant milestone: the completion of the Signal Generator / AWG editor function.
Most T&M PicoScope models are equipped with a Signal Generator that can deliver Sine, Square, Triangle, Ramp, Sin(x)/x, Gaussian, Half sine, White noise and PRBS waveforms. This is complemented with a sweep function that enables device testing to be performed over a predefined frequency range; this is perfect for testing filters, operational amplifiers, etc., over their specified operating range.
More complex devices need to be tested using real-world waveforms, which is where an AWG (Arbitrary Waveform Generator) comes in handy. Many PicoScopes include an AWG, which can now be fully controlled from within the PicoScope 7 user interface.
Real-world waveforms captured with a PicoScope can be loaded into the AWG memory and replayed as needed for device testing and performance verification. Imagine, for example, a staged car crash with sensors set to record the impact characteristics. It's an expensive test, and so it's something that you would only want to do once. But with the waveforms saved, they can subsequently be replayed as often as needed with the PicoScope AWG in order to aid development of an airbag deployment system and other safety-related systems.
Furthermore, the original waveform can be modified with the AWG editor to stress the device under test, in order to see how it behaves at the extremes of its specification, and with 'known good' and 'known bad' signals for Go/No go testing.
Other elements of the PicoScope 7 project are close to completion, so we'll report on those as each one crosses the line. 2022 is an exciting time as the development team work towards completion of the 'full function' release of the software.
Season's Greetings! Our Marketing team here at Pico have put together a little something to wish all of our customers a Merry Christmas!
Check out the full video below!
We're very excited to inform you that we'll be exhibiting at this year's Embedded World 2022! We're delighted that we will have a chance to connect with you in person and show you demonstrations of Pico products.
This event will be taking place at: Messezentrum 1, 90471 Nürnberg, Germany, and we will be in Hall 4, at Stall 4-533. For more details on how to attend, or how to experience this event online, visit the Embedded World website. #ew22
To find out more about how to attend, check out the Embedded World website.
An interview with Roger Berry, Teaching Fellow at the University of Leeds, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
In this video interview with our own Mike Purday, Roger Berry explains how PicoScopes were deployed with students during the initial Covid lockdown. In spite of the move from classroom and laboratory teaching to remote learning, using PicoScope allowed students to work at their own pace and complete assignments. The results have been very beneficial for their learning as attested by several of the students themselves.
Many owners and users of a vector network analyzer insist upon an automated calibration solution. Some of the benefits are obvious: automation can provide extra speed, efficiency and a simplified process. But did you know that automated VNA calibration can also improve overall calibration quality and even reduce uncertainties or errors?
The PicoVNA 108 achieves calibration automation using either male SMA or female SMA E-Cal modules. These are USB-powered and controlled to electronically select the various Short, Open, Load and Through reference standards, as they are needed, within the calibration process. You simply power the module, make a single connection of the E-Cal standard between the PicoVNA test ports, and then initiate the automated procedure from within the PicoVNA 108 user interface.
Within the supplied carry and storage case, we include a fully characterized, polarized port adapter with each of our E-Cal modules; this allows both the male and female SMA devices to also calibrate insertable male-female and female-male test ports.
In addition, the PicoVNA 108 will now support TRL and TRM calibration (through, reflect, line and match, respectively). These calibration mechanisms typically gain favour when needing to measure substrate mounted DUTs, for example, surface-mounted networks or components. The line, match and reflections (shorts or opens) can all be readily fabricated on substrate and at precise on-substrate measurement reference planes, for example surface mount device pins. The PicoVNA 108 will support one or two TRL bands, Open or Short reflection standards and can account for line impedance offset if required. The TRL technique can also achieve very high-precision calibration as a machined air transmission line can be fabricated more precisely than a good match can be measured, certainly at higher frequencies.
Interested? The PicoVNA E-Cal is almost ready for release, so be sure to register your details on our website to be first in line to get your hands on one!
You will be aware from industry sources and mainstream media that the semiconductor industry is experiencing severe difficulties meeting worldwide demand. Those conditions have created two closely related issues for the products that we produce here at Pico Technology:
1. Shortages of semiconductors. Several key components that we ordered months, or even years ago have been short-shipped, postponed or even cancelled.
2. Costs of semiconductors have soared. We are having to pay 5x, 10x or even more for some components that are used in many of our products.
Because of those issues we have had to increase the prices of most of our Test & Measurement products. Average increases are around 10% but it varies from product to product. Whilst it is disappointing to increase our prices, we hope that you will understand the exceptional market conditions that have forced us to make those changes.
The component shortages also mean that we have had to limit production of real-time PicoScopes to a group of “Key Products” as follows: PicoScope 2204A, 2205A, 4262, 4824A, 3406D, 3406D MSO, 5244D MSO, 5443D, 5443D MSO, 5444D, 5444D MSO, 6403E, 6404E, 6405E, 6406E, 6424E, 6425E, 6426E, 6804E, 6824E and accessories. Other models in those ranges will be temporarily unavailable once the current stocks run out.
Our procurement team is working hard to overcome the supply chain issues but it will be many months before things return to anything like normal. We will work closely with you during that time to supply as many PicoScope and other Pico T&M products as we can. In the meantime, work is continuing at full speed on development of new products, including the PicoScope 7 T&M user interface that will be released as a full-function package next year. You can try the Early Access version out for yourself now or over the Christmas break!
Two new serial protocol decoders have been included as standard in the latest releases of PicoScope 6 and PicoScope 7 Early Access: System Management Bus (SMBus) is a two-wire interface based on the popular I2C bus, but with tighter voltage and current sink specifications and defined instructions for power control and management. PCs and embedded systems can use SMBus to pass messages to and from devices instead of using individual control lines.
Removing the individual control lines reduces pin count. With System Management Bus, a device can provide manufacturer information, tell the system what its model/part number is, save its state for a suspend event, report different types of errors, accept control parameters, and return its status. The PicoScope decoder implements an auto detect PEC (packet error checking) byte algorithm to check for the presence of a PEC byte. If there's a match between the calculated value and the last transmitted byte it automatically presents the rest of the packet fields around that finding, which saves time during debugging if the user doesn’t already know if the data contains PEC bytes.
Smart Battery Specification (SBS) data defines the format of data on an SMBus between a Smart Battery, SMBus Host, Smart Battery Charger and other devices to communicate the current state of charge in a battery and other characteristics such as on/off state, safety signals, instantaneous current, average Current, voltage, and temperature. Maintaining such information in the battery, rather than using the system hardware to estimate the battery’s charge state, allows for a mixture of batteries (different chemistries and/or charge states) to be used and provides a more accurate and effective battery charging solution.
Commenting on the introduction of the new decoders Trevor Smith, Business Development Manager - Test & Measurement, at Pico Technology Ltd., said: “It feels like we’re in a gold rush of new decoders at the moment! In the past six weeks we’ve introduced six new protocol decoders – and the development team isn't done yet. Serial communications are key enablers for embedded system designs as well as automotive, especially EVs, industrial, aerospace and power applications. Although protocols are often based on a common standard, such as I2C, each one is optimized for a particular job. Having the right decoder for the job is crucial for engineers who are under pressure to validate designs as fast as possible.”
Both our PicoScope 6 and PicoScope 7 Early Access software can be downloaded, free of charge, from our website.
Our PicoScope 4000 Series PC-based oscilloscope has been awarded an accolade by Electronics Maker, at the 7th edition of their Virtual EM Industry Awards 2021. We're proud to announce that the 4000 Series oscilloscope has won the Oscilloscope Product of the Year!
Our PicoScope 4000 Series oscilloscopes are available in a variety of models, with multiple options for differential channels, up to 16-bit resolution, and up to 20 MHz bandwidth.
The Pico Technology serial decoders team have been working overtime, adding yet another protocol to both PicoScope 6 (Stable) and PicoScope 7 (Early Access) implementations. MIPI I3C Basic Specification waveforms can now be decoded, displayed and analyzed on any PicoScope with sufficient bandwidth and memory depth.
I3C is a medium-speed control and data bus interface for connecting peripherals to an application processor in embedded systems and a range of mobile, IoT and automotive applications.
Implemented as a 2-wire serial interface, I3C provides the superset of features available with the established I²C standard, but with the addition of high data rate modes that previously required an SPI bus 4-wire architecture. Launched in 2016, MIPI I3C is an evolutionary standard that combines the advantages of I²C and SPI, while adding new features such as in-band interrupts, dynamic addressing and advanced power management. It is defined to maintain backward compatibility with I²C but at significantly lower cost, lower power and better scalability than either I²C or SPI.
As EDA tool vendors and silicon providers have delivered support for I3C, it has become widely adopted by system designers. When their projects reach the integration stage, engineers need the right tools to get their work done, and fast. Engineers who already have a PicoScope with bandwidth to capture the higher data rate signals can simply download and install the latest version of PicoScope software and get to work.
The PicoScope I3C decoder makes sense of mixed I²C / I3C traffic. PicoScope can simultaneously decode multiple bus traffic using any available analog and/or digital input channels. Over 30 protocol decoders are now included as standard with the software, and there are more coming down the line.
Both our PicoScope 6 and PicoScope 7 Early Access software can be downloaded, free of charge, from our website.
Pico Technology has been developing PC-based test and measurement instruments since 1991. Our real-time oscilloscopes, data loggers and RF products have generated a great deal of interest among upper-level science and technology programs especially the last few years.
In this video, we learn how Pico Technology can help successfully and cost-efficiently prepare students for electronics and engineering careers, whether this instruction and lab work is conducted in the classroom or remotely.
"The 6426E is an impressive machine with a comprehensive set of features. We did not find it wanting in any of the tests we threw at it. In fact, we struggled to get it anywhere near its limits."
Our PicoScope 6426E USB Oscilloscope has recently made an appearance in Silicon Chip, the Australian electronics magazine. Reviewer Tim Blythman took a closer look at one of our 6000E Series oscilloscopes, putting its impressive sampling rate, capture memory, bit resolution, and unique FlexRes feature, to the test. Blythman details our range of scopes, software, user interface, features and menus, and much, much more.
The full review is available to read on the Silicon Chip website now.
PicoScope 6 and PicoScope 7 Early Access versions now include a decoder for System Management Bus (also known as SMBus) protocol.
SMBus is a two-wire interface, derived from the I²C serial bus, that is used extensively to monitor supply voltages and other critical parameters on PC motherboards and in embedded systems. Component and enclosure temperatures can be monitored and fan speeds controlled with ICs that are equipped with an SMBus interface. SMBus technology is also widely implemented in portable devices such as laptop computers, mobile devices, and cameras for efficient battery management.
When designing SMBus monitoring and control systems it is essential to validate that the complete system operates as expected. The PicoScope SMBus decoder provides a tabular view of SMBus communication packets between multiple devices and has search, filtering and timing analysis tools to accelerate debug and test of a system.
Crucially, error conditions that are observed in the tabular display can be correlated with events that are happening elsewhere in the system by probing signals with the PicoScope analog channels, thereby accelerating the development of an SMBus product or system.
The PicoScope 7 software development team have really got into their stride in the past few weeks. Behind the scenes there are several sub teams who are working on different elements of the user interface. Their work is brought together into fresh releases of the software that we publish once every two weeks.
The next version, 7.0.83, scheduled for Tuesday 12th October, unveils the following new capabilities:
Dark mode: presents the instrument controls, waveforms, measurements etc., on a black background. This is preferred by some users and will make it easier for them to use PicoScope in low ambient light conditions. There’s still some work to do on the settings to control waveform line thickness and a few other things, but this much requested feature is coming along on nicely.
Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) controls have been added to the Signal Generator function. (Only applies to PicoScopes that have a Signal generator / AWG, of course!) This is a big job and the underlying code is still fresh, so the team have declared it as a “Beta” function at this stage. They’d like you to try it out and provide feedback, but don’t be too surprised if you find a bug or two at this stage!
Digital & Logic trigger types are now showing in the Trigger menu. Essentially this is a transfer of the PicoScope 6 trigger functionality into PicoScope 7. Logic triggering is especially important for users who are debugging digital circuits with PicoScope MSO models. The new triggers currently carry a “Beta” label, but please do give them a try and let us know what you think. It’s through your feedback that PicoScope 7 is evolving to become a state-of-the art UI that will serve PicoScope users for many years to come.
Download the latest PicoScope 7 software from our Downloads page.
We are delighted that our CEO, Alan Tong, will be running in this year's London Marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. We at Pico are immensely proud of the amazing work he's doing! If you want to learn more about Alan's efforts and this fantastic cause, you can check his fundraising page.
After over a year of working from home, we're delighted to return to in-person events once again.
We will be showcasing the full Pico product range at EDS. Highlights will include PicoScope 7, our new software platform for PicoScope real-time oscilloscopes. PicoScope 7 features full compatibility with Windows, MacOS and Linux and will be available to all PicoScope customers, existing and new, as a full release in early 2022. We will also be showing our range of temperature, current and voltage data loggers operating with our new cloud logging solution, PicoLog Cloud. You will also be able to view our RF products including our VNAs (up to 8.5 GHz) and sampling oscilloscopes (up to 25 GHz).
Come and see us at our first live exhibition of the year at the Engineering Design Show, in Coventry. We'll be there on both days, and you can find us at Stand J8. Visit the Official EDS site to confirm your attendance and find out more.
Quadrature encoding is used by rotary position sensors to transmit information about the angle and direction of a roating shaft, for example on a motor or a control dial, as a pair of binary signals. Now you can decode these signals just by downloading a free copy of PicoScope 6.14.48 or later.
PicoScope displays the decoded information in the same window as the raw signals so you can analyze timings and spot any problems. It's easy to set up: just go to Tools > Serial Decoding and choose Quadrature as the signal format.
Python has become a popular programming language in education, science, research and industrial applications. It is easy to learn and can be used by beginners and experts alike to solve complex technical problems. Python code can be used to control and collect data from any PicoScope to address numerous applications in the classroom, laboratory or out in the field.
We have created a set of detailed lecture notes for trainers on using the PicoScope 2204A and 2205A with Python on a Raspberry Pi. The code examples in the notes are available on GitHub.
Pico’s products are an ideal choice for use in education. Whether it be our PicoScope range of real-time oscilloscopes, our cost effective range of RF products or our wide range of data logging solutions (now with PicoLog Cloud), there is a Pico product ideal for most teaching or research applications. For some real case studies on how our products are being used in education, please see a webinar from earlier this year: Oscilloscopes in Education – How PicoScope meets the challenges of remote teaching distance learning.
In the current situation with a lot of blended learning and distance learning taking place, Pico products have provided the ideal solution for universities and colleges wishing to equip students with oscilloscopes or data loggers for remote practical work. If you are thinking of ordering products for the autumn term/semester, please do so as soon as possible as lead times for some products may be several weeks depending on volume and stock availability.
CAN J1939 decoding is now included with PicoScope 6.14.47 beta and PicoScope 7.0.78 T&M Early Access builds for PicoScope 4000, 5000 and 6000 Series oscilloscopes. This is in addition to the 21 serial decoders already included free of charge with PicoScope, with even more in beta testing.
J1939 is used in commercial vehicles for communication and diagnostics among vehicle components and has been widely adopted by diesel engine manufacturers. A driving force behind this is the adoption of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that provide a method to control exhaust gas emissions within international standards. In addition, telematics data can be used by fleet operators to keep track of vehicle and driver performance, such as fuel consumption, safety events, and repair time.
As with other PicoScope 6 & 7 T&M serial decoding tools, the CAN J1939 serial decoder converts CAN bus voltages to a readable form (typically hexadecimal, but binary, decimal, or ASCII formats are also possible). The J1939 decoder is, however, built for decoding J1939 CAN protocol messages and specifically the ID.
The message ID of a J1939 message contains 29 bits, which translates to 4 bytes in hex. These 4 bytes hold key information about the data contained within the CAN message payload.
The CAN J1939 decoder will be invaluable for engineers who are developing and debugging commercial vehicle components and systems.
As previously announced, we are running a PicoScope 7 T&M Early Access program to give users a look at the next generation PicoScope user interface. Version 7.0.77 was released on 20th July, and marks an important milestone in the development program for several reasons:
1. Spectrum View features reached parity with Spectrum View in PicoScope 6, which marks the completion of this part of the project. Congratulations to the dev team who worked so hard to deliver it!
2. The team made huge progress with digital channels handling on PicoScope MSO models. Digital channels can now be used as inputs for Measurements, Serial Decoders and Math Channels. There is still some way to go with this part of the project, but progress is good.
3. Please note that from version 7.0.77 onwards, Windows users must be running a 64-bit version of the operating system. Although PicoScope 7 is itself currently configured as a 32-bit application, the final version will be released as 64-bit.
In this video, our own Trevor Smith gives an introduction to the PicoScope 7 Early Access program and an overview of the screen layout, instrument controls and waveform display.
Looking forward, the team are working on implementation of Logic and Digital triggers - including MSO digital channels, Themes (Light / Dark / High Contrast etc.) and the Arbitrary Waveform Generator user interface.
We have had some really useful feedback already since the Early Access program began and have acted on several of the points raised. We have put other suggestions in the backlog for implementation or further review once we achieve parity with the current version of PicoScope 6. Please keep the feedback coming!
Although, in the past few years, the trend in embedded systems design has been away from wide parallel bus communications (remember the enormous ribbon cables that were used to connect peripherals to the motherboard in desktop PCs!) to serial bus standards, there is still widespread use of clocked parallel buses in today’s devices.
Quad SPI, for example, uses four data lines. It is an extension of the classic SPI serial interface, where one or two data lines are used to read and write between devices on a PCB, or from a microcontroller to flash memory chips. Compared to classic SPI, Quad SPI increases data throughput by nearly four times, which is especially useful with memory-intensive applications. Other examples include FPGA bit-file loading interfaces such as Xilinx SelectMAP and various microcontroller BIOS bootup links.
PicoScope's parallel decoder, currently available in PicoScope 6.14.48 Beta, allows you to select up to eight data lines as well as the standard clock and chip select lines. Data present on the bus at each clock interval can be displayed on the PicoScope graph in binary, hex, decimal or ASCII formats, and can also be displayed in a table for easy correlation between the waveform and data domain.
Pico Technology celebrates 30th anniversary with 30 years of continuous growth!
Today, Pico Technology celebrates 30 years of business. Pico’s oscilloscopes, data loggers and RF equipment are used by engineers, scientists and technicians around the globe to bring their products to market. Pico automotive diagnostics products help save time and money for vehicle manufacturers and service organisations on every continent.
1991, the year Pico Technology was founded, was an interesting year. Intel introduced the low-cost 486SX microprocessor, priced at $258. It was implemented on PCs running MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0. The World Wide Web Consortium was founded by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, and the GSM mobile network was launched in Europe.
On 1st July, Alan Tong and Mike Green co-founded Pico Technology. Initially operating from its office in Hardwick, near Cambridge, UK, Pico’s first product was the ADC-10, so called because it was an analog-to-digital converter and sampled at 10 kS/s. It connected to the PC via the parallel port. The first order for ADC-10s was received in August that year, with two units sold for £49 ($68) each.
The ADC-10 was the world’s first PC oscilloscope, and in the years that followed Pico notched up several more industry firsts, including the first oscilloscope with digital triggering and the first high-resolution oscilloscope. Pico’s products and employees have won many awards, such as the Queen’s Award, Elektra European Electronics Awards and Motor Award, to name just a few!
Today, Pico celebrates continuous growth with sales growing year on year for 30 years, with over one hundred and fifty employees at its head office in St Neots, UK and in Manchester, UK, the USA, China, Japan and Germany.
CEO and owner Alan Tong said: “I am very proud of Pico and how we have worked hard with dedication to achieve 30 years of continuous growth. To begin with, our aim was to make test equipment affordable for many hobbyists and small companies that couldn't afford traditional benchtop equipment. That helped them to unleash their imagination and design creativity that contributed to many advances in electronic design that we see all around us today, such as personal computers, power tools, particle accelerators and advancements in vehicle design.
“As things have progressed, we still look after hobbyists but our products have evolved to compete with the higher-performance test equipment that is used in mainstream electronics design, as well as in some very advanced technologies and by leading companies and research institutions. We now supply over 30 vehicle manufacturers worldwide. We still take advantage of the latest computing and communications standards and provide excellent value with all-inclusive product packages that don’t require users to purchase additional options or licences.
“The company culture at Pico is key to our success”, continued Tong. “We treat customers as our friends, with free software upgrades and technical support for the lifetime of each product. Pico users are very loyal and have become strong advocates for our products amongst their colleagues. We treat our colleagues as our family and that is key to our very low employee turnover. Many of our team members have been at Pico for over a decade.
“On 3rd July we will have a lot to celebrate but we will also be thinking about the other people—suppliers, partners, distributors and former employees—who have enabled us to deliver 30 years of continuous growth.”
PicoScope 7, the next-generation user interface for PicoScope oscilloscopes, is on its way! Windows, Linux and macOS versions of the software are being developed simultaneously, with feature parity across all three.
Major elements already implemented include the basic x and y axis controls, support for analog and digital channels, triggers, time-domain and spectrum-mode displays, rulers, automated measurements, math channels, serial decoding, reference waveforms, buffer memory controls, and signal generator controls.
The current version has been tested for Demo mode and the PicoScope 2000A/B, 3000D and 4000A Series. Other PicoScope devices may also work, but are not yet fully tested. PicoScope 7 will eventually support all current and recently discontinued PicoScope models and most legacy PicoScope USB oscilloscopes.
We invite you to join the PicoScope 7 Early Access program so you can see where we are with the project and provide feedback about the new interface. You can also let us know about any bugs you find (this is software in development – there could be bugs)! We read every item of feedback.
We're often asked about the twin ground pins on our PicoConnect 900 Series of low-impedance passive browser probes: do you always need to use both? Can you make measurements using only one of them? Is it OK to connect each one to a pigtail lead on either side?
In this video, Pico's RF Business Development Manager, Mark Ashcroft, demonstrates the different results these methods will yield, using the probes alongside the PicoScope 9400 Series sampler-extended real-time oscilloscopes.
The latest release of PicoScope 6 Beta features a new serial decoder: MIL-STD-1553.
Originally designed as a military avionics data bus, it has since been adopted in a host of other applications, both military and civil. The protocol features dual redundant balanced-line physical layers, a differential network interface, time division multiplexing, half-duplex command/response protocol, and can handle up to 30 Remote Terminals (devices).
When we launched the PicoScope 6000E Series, we ceased production of the previous generation 6000C/D Series. We are aware that some customers have integrated these older models in their own products and systems and rely on their availability to support their own customers or in-house requirements.
If you need one or more of these models, please get in touch as soon as possible. We have made a last-time build of PicoScope 6000C/D Series models, and are offering them at prices previously advertised on our website on a first-come-first-served basis, while stocks last. They come with the same five-year Pico warranty and software support as all of our current products.
In addition to this, our Technical Support team is on hand for all customers who are switching from PicoScope 6000C/D models to the 6000E Series, including helping you update your code to work with the newer models.
Pico Technology are proud to announce that we placed 58th on the list of the UK's 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For – the fourth year running that we have featured on this prestigious list! We also placed 32nd in the East of England’s 75 Best Companies to Work For and 2nd in Manufacturing's 5 Best Companies to Work For.
This sought-after award measures and acknowledges excellence in workplace engagement – where only organisations with the highest level of overall employee engagement qualified. The results of this survey are based on what employees say about the organisation plus how they manage, motivate and reward their workforce.
Alan Tong, Managing Director, said “This has been a tough year for everyone. Covid-19 has affected the working world as a whole, especially the way we work and interact with our colleagues and customers. At Pico we reacted to the crisis quickly, sending our employees home ahead of the national lockdown. Their safety was our utmost priority. I am so proud of how our team adapted and came together to keep supporting our customers and to keep our business running as smoothly as possible.”
Jane Percy, Chief Operating Officer, continues “It is great to have confirmation that our employees are happy and feel supported through this challenging time. We have focused on communication, by ensuring our employees had everything they needed to enable them to work from home as appropriate and still feel part of the wider team. We pride ourselves on listening to the ever-growing needs of our employees while promoting a good work-life balance.”
We've just released PicoVNA 3.1.7, the latest version of the UI application supporting the PicoVNA 108 vector network analyzer. This version adds a phase meter utility (enabling you to use ports 1 and 2 of the instrument as receivers to measure amplitude and relative phase) and the ability to save your measurement routine in R+jX format, as well as a number of other improvements and bug fixes.
If you already use PicoVNA 3, please note that you may need to update the firmware. Instructions for this are included on the software download page.
The latest beta version of PicoLog 6 works with all Pico USB data loggers and PicoScope real-time oscilloscopes, and now features the option of secure and reliable cloud data storage, allowing you to view your live and saved data on any device with an internet browser, anywhere in the world. But even if you lose your network connection, you'll still have continuous data collection.
On top of this, PicoLog 6.2.0 Beta has all the features you're used to from the latest stable release, PicoLog 6.1.18.
A smarter scope for faster debug
The PicoScope 6000E Series is expanding again with the arrival of four new 4-channel mixed-signal oscilloscopes. Choose from bandwidths of 750 MHz or 1 GHz, 8-bit fixed or 8/10/12-bit flexible resolution and a huge 2 GS or 4 GS capture memory.
All models are ready for 16-bit mixed-signal operation: just add one or two optional 8-bit MSO pods to your order. All analog input channels feature the new Intelligent Probe Interface for our new A3000 Series of active probes!
Prices start from:
$9615 • €8165 • £6745
Pico Technology’s PicoScope 6000E Series PC-based oscilloscope with optional FlexRes capability has won the prestigious Test Product of the Year trophy at the annual Elektra Awards hosted by Electronics Weekly.
The award was presented on March 25 at a virtual ceremony in the presence of an audience of leading industry professionals. The event has been a highlight of the industry calendar for 18 years, where leading figures from the electronics field gather to recognize the achievements of market leaders who are creating game-changing technologies that are helping to shape the future of the industry.
The PicoScope 9400 Series is a range of sampler-extended real-time oscilloscopes (SXRTOs), ideally suited to repetitive or clock-derived signals.
Like the existing 4-channel models, the PicoScope 9402-05 and 9402-16 feature 12-bit resolution. They also benefit from a real-time sampling rate of 500 MS/s per channel, extendable to 2.5 TS/s with random equivalent-time sampling.
From US$10,795 / €9095 / £7895
12-bit resolution • 2, 4 or 8 analog channels • 256 MS capture memory • 20 MHz bandwidth • Built-in signal generator
With a choice of 2, 4 or 8 analog channels, the PicoScope 4000A Series makes it easy to view audio, ultrasonic, vibration and power waveforms, analyze timing of complex systems, and perform a wide range of precision measurement tasks.
All models have a built-in low distortion, 80 MS/s, 14-bit function and arbitrary waveform generator, which can be used to emulate missing sensor signals during product development.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Pico Technology adopted new working practices. Many of our employees are working remotely from their homes ensuring the Pico Technology business is very much up and running!
Please check with our Sales team before placing any large orders to ensure stock is available. Please note that, because of reduced freight capacity, shipments to all destinations may take longer than usual.
The Technical Support team is operating as normal, and product development is continuing uninterrupted.
Our staff have video conferencing and other tools to support you remotely with:
Although our industry and the worldwide economy is challenged by the COVID-19 outbreak, we believe we have taken the right steps to safeguard our employees and implement a robust plan to serve our customers around the world. Working closely with you, our customers, we will emerge stronger from the outbreak.
The United Kingdom and European Union reached a trade agreement which was passed into UK law and came into effect when the transition period ended at 23.00 on December 31st 2020. The agreement reached includes tariff-free, quota-free trade in goods between the UK and EU which means there are no tariffs payable on goods shipped from the UK to the EU. This trade agreement provides some welcome clarity to Pico on trading with our EU customers but areas of uncertainty and potential delay still remain. We have taken steps to ensure continuity of supply which include:
What do you as a customer need to plan for or do:
Worldwide - Customs delays - Although we are trying to mitigate delays as much as possible, the new customs clearance procedures, loss of EU preferential status and effects of the pandemic will mean shipment times faced will be longer than usually experienced so please be aware of this;
EU - Under our normal INCOTERMS 2020, you will be the importer of record for our deliveries so you should ensure you have an EU EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number to progress your goods through customs. These deliveries may incur additional duties and Import VAT, and if you are VAT registered in your country you should be able to reclaim this VAT back.
Pico is delighted to announce a series of webinars focusing on specific applications using our products, starting next month. These will be presented by staff from Pico's own sales and engineering teams, together with guests from a number of complementary partner companies, and will cover a wide range of tools and applications.
A schedule for further webinars will be made available shortly.
Our PicoScope 9404-16 was chosen by Berkeley Nucleonics to help demonstrate the capabilities on Fast Pulse/Low Jitter Timing Solutions. Junior Choe, RF/Microwave Sr. Product Manager, hosts this in-depth presentation on high-performance pulse solutions with focused applications.
Pico Technology's products are ideal for use in education and training.
Whether you're looking for low-cost entry-level oscilloscopes for your students, affordable vector network analyzers, network metrology training kits or PC-based data loggers with intuitive software, we can meet your needs.
Pico has recently renewed its membership of the MathWorks Connections Program. We've been active members for several years, helping numerous PicoScope, PicoLog and PicoVNA users develop applications using MATLAB and PicoSDK.
The MATLAB section of our online forum has plenty of programming examples, and an active community of users. Why not take a look?
Be part of the biggest upgrade to Pico data loggers since the release of PicoLog 6 nearly three years ago. PicoLog 6.2 Cloud massively broadens how and where our data loggers and oscilloscopes can be used – your live captures, in the cloud, for free.*
Setting up a cloud capture is just as easy as a local capture, with no confusing configurations required: the only difference is logging in to your PicoLog Cloud account. Viewing your live PicoLog captures is just as easy from anywhere in the world on Windows, macOS, Linux PC or Raspberry Pi, using the same PicoLog 6.2 Cloud app in remote view mode.
*PicoLog 6.2 Cloud is a free cloud service with some features restricted or disabled. Premium features will be available on annual subscription at a later date.
|Read more >>||Watch demo >>||Sign up now >>|
The AD2201 and AD2801 probes are high-bandwidth active differential probes, with BNC connectors. They allow safe voltage measurement on single-ended input oscilloscopes
These probes replace the TA045 and TA046 probes, and have improved powering options: they now include in-line battery modules and are compatible with standard USB chargers.
AD2801 800 MHz probe
This 800 MHz probe is ideal for measuring high-speed differential signals.
The AD2801 has a measurement range of ±15 V and a common-mode voltage range of ±30 V.
AD2201 200 MHz probe
This is a 200 MHz probe, suitable for measuring high-speed differential signals.
The AD2201 has a differential measurement range of ±20 V and a common-mode range of up to ±60 V.
|More about the AD2801 >>||More about the AD2201 >>|
The PicoScope 6000E Series of deep-memory 4- and 8-channel oscilloscopes are proving popular for custom applications alongside PicoSDK, and our GitHub organization page now hosts programming examples for C#, Python and National Instruments LabVIEW.
For any assistance or advice, our team of technical support engineers is ready for your phone call, email, webchat or forum post.
The new PicoVNA 108, in a low-cost, small-footprint and portable format, is the second model in the PicoVNA range. It can see out further to 8.5 GHz, and it can see down deeper to −124 dB.
The new model provides new "save on trigger" synchronization for multiple measurements. We have also added offset frequency capability to the Quad RX architecture, and synchronization and control of the PicoSource AS108 8 GHz agile synthesizer from within the PicoVNA 3 software. This instrument pairing allows RF mixer and RF/IF system characterizations using the PicoVNA 108. Other popular third-party signal generators are also supported.
Compressible data to share with other apps
When you're collecting data over any significant length of time, files exported from PicoLog 6 can easily run into the gigabytes.
HDF5 format is specifically designed to handle big data sets and leave you with manageable file sizes. It's ideal for use with MATLAB and other third-party applications, and is an export option from PicoLog 6.1.16 onwards.
This new white paper offers a deep dive into the world of spectrum analysis, from the fundamental differences between the frequency domain and the time domain to help selecting a frequency window to use for signal characterization and analysis.
With 500 MHz bandwidth, the TA369 MSO pod is the accessory you need to exploit the mixed-signal capability of the PicoScope 6000E Series oscilloscopes.
Each pod features eight flying leads terminating in MSO probes, and each of these makes its own ground connection. If you need to arrange four or eight in a row, you can simplify the process using the ground clips supplied, suitable for 2.54 mm-pitch headers, or you can use the individual ground leads that are also included in the kit.
The PicoVNA 106 Vector Network Analyzer now connects to the Cadence AWR Microwave Office and Optenni Lab CAD design environments, in a move that will benefit microwave and antenna design as well as educational use.
Support for Microwave Office comes in the form of a freely downloadable AWR Design Environment wizard, while Optenni Lab (version 4.3 SP5 and later) directly interfaces to the PicoVNA 2 DLL.
Designed within Microwave Office and supplied with the MWO project file, our Network Metrology Training kit enables students to experience the entire Design – Simulate – Implement – Validate cycle, and compare and use real-world measurements in their CAD environments.
PicoLog 6.1.16 is out now.
This stable release includes all the features from last month's beta release. We've improved the user interface, with simpler capture controls, and you can now export to HDF5 format (handy for MATLAB users or anyone else wanting to manage especially large amounts of data).
See the release notes for more information.