High-resolution differential USB oscilloscope
PicoScope software dedicates almost all of the display area to the waveform. This ensures that the maximum amount of data is seen at once. The viewing area is much bigger and of a higher resolution than with a traditional benchtop scope.
With a large display area available, you can also create a customizable split-screen display, and view multiple channels or different views of the same signal at the same time. As the example shows, the software can even show multiple oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer traces at once. Additionally, each waveform shown works with individual zoom, pan, and filter settings for ultimate flexibility.
The PicoScope software can be controlled by mouse, touchscreen or keyboard shortcuts.
PicoScope can decode 1-Wire, ARINC 429, CAN & CAN-FD, DCC, DMX512, Ethernet 10Base-T, FlexRay, I²C, I²S, LIN, MODBUS, PS/2, SENT, SPI, UART (RS-232 / RS-422 / RS-485), and USB 1.1 protocol data as standard, with more protocols in development and available in the future with free-of-charge software upgrades.
Graph format shows the decoded data (in hex, binary, decimal or ASCII) in a data bus timing format, beneath the waveform on a common time axis, with error frames marked in red. These frames can be zoomed to investigate noise or signal integrity issues.
Table format shows a list of the decoded frames, including the data and all flags and identifiers. You can set up filtering conditions to display only the frames you are interested in or search for frames with specified properties. The statistics option reveals more detail about the physical layer such as frame times and voltage levels. PicoScope can also import a spreadsheet to decode the data into user-defined text strings.
Mask limit testing allows you to compare live signals against known good signals, and is designed for production and debugging environments. Simply capture a known good signal, draw a mask around it, and then attach the system under test. PicoScope will check for mask violations and perform pass/fail testing, capture intermittent glitches, and can show a failure count and other statistics in the Measurements window.
On many oscilloscopes waveform math just means simple calculations such as A + B. With a PicoScope it means much, much more.
With PicoScope 6 you can select simple functions such as addition and inversion, or open the equation editor to create complex functions involving filters (lowpass, highpass, bandpass and bandstop filters), trigonometry, exponentials, logarithms, statistics, integrals and derivatives.
Waveform math also allows you to plot live signals alongside historic peak, averaged or filtered waveforms.
You can also use math channels to reveal new details in complex signals. An example would be to graph the changing duty cycle or frequency of your signal over time.
Resolution enhancement is a software technique for increasing the effective vertical resolution of the scope at the expense of high-frequency detail. It is useful for resolving small signal details and for reducing unwanted noise. Unlike waveform averaging it can be used on single-shot signals.
Resolution enhancement can be used in conjunction with flexible resolution (which gives you 12-bit and 14-bit hardware resolution options) for even higher effective resolution.
The custom probes feature allows you to correct for gain, attenuation, offsets and nonlinearities in probes, sensors or transducers that you connect to the oscilloscope. This could be used to scale the output of a current probe so that it correctly displays amperes. A more advanced use would be to scale the output of a nonlinear temperature sensor using the table lookup function.
Definitions for standard Pico-supplied oscilloscope probes and current clamps are included. User-created probes may be saved for later use.
With PicoScope you can display stored waveforms alongside live traces. You can apply all the same functions to the reference waveforms as you can to live waveforms, such as automatic and manual measurements, scaling and offset, and exporting to a file. Reference waveforms are especially useful for production testing and diagnostics, where they allow you to compare waveforms from the equipment under test with known good waveforms.
You can also shift the timebase of a reference waveform relative to live waveform data: click the color-coded axis control button at the bottom of the y axis for the reference waveform and adjust the box marked ‘Delay’.
PicoScope can be programmed to execute actions when certain events occur.
The events that can trigger an alarm include mask limit fails, trigger events and buffers full.
The actions that PicoScope can execute include saving a file, playing a sound, or executing a program.
Alarms, coupled with mask limit testing, help to quickly validate signal quality in electronic system designs.
The software development kit (SDK) allows you to write your own software and includes drivers for Microsoft Windows and beta drivers for Apple Mac (OS X) and Linux (including Raspberry Pi).
Example code shows how to interface to third-party software packages such as Microsoft Excel, National Instruments LabVIEW and MathWorks MATLAB.
The drivers support USB data streaming, a mode which captures gap-free continuous data over USB direct to the PC’s RAM or hard disk at rates of up to 160 MS/s (2 channels at 80 MS/s each or 4 channels at 40 MS/s etc). Capture size is limited only by available PC storage. Sampling rates in streaming mode are subject to PC specifications and application loading.
Your PicoScope is provided with many powerful tools to help you acquire and analyze waveforms. While these tools can be used on their own, the real power of PicoScope lies in the way they have been designed to work together.
As an example, the rapid trigger mode allows you to collect 10 000 waveforms in a few milliseconds with minimal dead time between them. Manually searching through these waveforms would be time-consuming, so just pick a waveform you are happy with and let the mask tools scan through for you. When done, the measurements will tell you how many have failed and the buffer navigator allows you to hide the good waveforms and just display the problem ones. This video shows you how.
Perhaps instead you want to plot changing duty cycle as a graph? How about outputting a waveform from the AWG and also automatically saving the waveform to disk when a trigger condition is met? With the power of PicoScope the possibilities are almost endless. To find out even more about the capabilities of PicoScope software, visit our A to Z of PC Oscilloscopes.