News article

More new serial decoders for PicoScope: SMBus and SBS data



Product news

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.