Reading out the signal frequency in real time

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Reading out the signal frequency in real time

Post by MemoryLeak » Fri May 06, 2016 1:00 pm


I have a Picoscope 5203. I'd like to be able to display slow impulses (ca. 100 kHz) and be able to measure their frequency.

My question is: what is the best way to do that?

1. Is there an option in the software provided with the Picoscope that does that? Where can I find it?
2. Should I buy another model which has this option enabled? Which one?
3. Could I somehow connect to the device with my own program just to capture the data while the main (your) software is running? If so, how can I do that? I've tried that, but it seems to me that there can be only one program that is connected to Picoscope at once. It's logical, but is it possible to bypass it?
4. Is it possible to write the data to a file in real time? Maybe on another model? I'd like to read out the data from the file and compute the frequency on my own.
5. I could write my own software to both display the signals and measure the frequency, but it would take time, so I'm looking for something else. This is the last resort.

Could you please tell me which of the above solutions is possible? And maybe should I do something else?

Thank you in advance.

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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:14 am

Re: Reading out the signal frequency in real time

Post by Gerry » Mon May 09, 2016 2:49 pm

Hi MemoryLeak,

To answer your questions:

1) There IS an option in the software to measure frequency. If you go to the 'Measurements' menu, and select 'Add measurement' you will then be able to go to the 'Select the type of measurement' drop down list and select 'Frequency' from the drop down list. You will need to ensure that you have a timebase selected that displays more than one complete period of the waveform.

2) The feature is in our Picoscope 6 software, and is not specific to any hardware model.

3) You can't connect anything else to the hardware device once PicoScope 6 software has started communicating with it, as the software has the 'Handle' for the device, and therefore has exclusive access to it.

4) It is possible to write the data to a file using 'Alarms' under the 'Tools' menu. However, it would not be real time (i.e. samples being written to the file as they are received from the PicoScope Hardware) it would be snapshots (i.e. once a buffer, or buffers have been filled). You would need to add 'Alarm actions' of 'Save current buffer' followed by 'Restart capture' for a 'Capture' event.
If you wanted to use the alarm feature with a repeating trigger, the timebase would need to be running at a rate that provides enough time for the file to be opened, written to, and then closed, before the next capture is complete. And you would need to have a means of stopping the auto-saves if you can't hit the stop button quickly enough (disconnecting the signal source will do it).


Technical Specialist

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