Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

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rmorrisinglett
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Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by rmorrisinglett »

I have 3404D, running the latest version of software on a brand new fresh windows 11 install, that will not stay running. The software crashes very frequently. If I have anything working on the scope other than a single waveform, no math, no decode, no zoom, no mask, no actions - (nothing but the waveform and only the waveform) I will without a doubt experience a crash in the software within 12 hours. It can range from 20 min to 12 hours but normally within the first hour if only one single more feature applied. Hard to say all the time exactly when, but I've witnessed it freeze/crash to nearly 100 times in the past month doing several tests a day, checking dozens of variables, and trying numerous factory recommended Band-Aids.

Nothing really works.

I've engaged the factory support since it will not stay running within any guarantee to any reasonable persons expectations. 20 mins to one hour even I suppose isn't even guaranteed nor reasonable to expect. They have said they are working on it but don't have any expectations on when the issue might be resolved.

I was hoping to get some user input to see how widespread this issue is currently and if there has been any success from any others.

Software crashes may be an inevitable part of computing but this type of frequency with such little strain being applied to the scope is ridiculous.

At this point I'm actually considering running Windows Task Manager every 30 min to close and reopen the application just to keep it guaranteed to be running for longer than 1 hour continuously. Id even settle for an event that occurs when crashing so that I can set that event to be monitored by Task Manager and restart should that event be recorded.

Is there anyone out there who has found something in Windows Event Viewer that even indicates the software did in fact crash? All Ive seen so far is that PICO Scope freezes and you have to manually kill the task. Inspecting Event Viewer doesn't really ever help much. I can not find an system event specific to PICO scopes operation except when its opened and when I manually kill it.
Last edited by rmorrisinglett on Mon Apr 29, 2024 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

Derree
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by Derree »

I have the same problems.

I use my 2407B on Linux and Windows with 2 different machines (both dual boot) with PS 7 and PS 6.

Under PS 7 the scope randomly stops aquiring any signals, and the red blinking activity LED goes dark.
This can happen in the middle of a measurement, with or without a trigger event etc. Picoscope 7 then crashes after some seconds and asks to send a bug report. As mentioned, this happes under Linux and Windows.

Under PS 6 (windows only) the scope runs forever without any problems on both machines, so it looks like PS 7 has a problem.

This is a major showstopper for PS 7.

rmorrisinglett
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by rmorrisinglett »

I created a task schedule to run this batch file every hour to check and see if it was running first and add a delay to restarting PicoScope incase I was working on it and didn't want it to close yet.

Bout the best I can come up with.

Been running everything shown in the screenshot below for two days without crashing.

Code: Select all

@echo off

SETLOCAL EnableExtensions
set EXE=PicoScope.exe
	FOR /F %%x IN ('tasklist /NH /FI "IMAGENAME eq %EXE%"') DO IF %%x == %EXE% goto ProcessFound
		goto ProcessNotFound

:ProcessFound
	echo.
	echo.
	echo %EXE% was found running.  Restarting Application in 60 Seconds, Type Ctrl+C to Abort...
	Timeout /t 60 /nobreak
	taskkill /f /t /im "PicoScope.exe"
	start "" "C:\Program Files\Pico Technology\PicoScope 7 T&M Stable\PicoScope.exe"
	goto END

:ProcessNotFound
	echo Pico Scope is not running, Script will now exit!
	goto END
	
echo SCRIPT FOUND NO CONDITION SATISFIABLE, Something Is Wrong Here!?!

:END
2024-05-01_07-12-39.jpg
2024-05-01_07-28-25.jpg

rmorrisinglett
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Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2024 4:55 pm

Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by rmorrisinglett »

Seems that for some reason on Win11 there occasionally is a popup window that spins up when Pico7 software completely crashes and not just freezes. I cant "catch" it in the act but I suspect it might have had something to do with how quickly the batch file was killing Pico7 and then reopening it. So I added a 10 second gap between the two commands. I also added a section to search for and kill the CrashReporter popup.

So far this has proven very effective at working around the issue until a fix is released?

Can anyone from PicoTech comment on the issue? This cant be isolated to two people...

Code: Select all

@echo off

SETLOCAL EnableExtensions
set EXE=PicoScope.exe
set EXE2=CrashReporter.exe
	FOR /F %%x IN ('tasklist /NH /FI "IMAGENAME eq %EXE%"') DO IF %%x == %EXE% goto ProcessFound
		goto ProcessNotFound

:ProcessFound
	echo.
	echo.
	echo %EXE% was found running.  Restarting Application in 60 Seconds, Type Ctrl+C to Abort...
	timeout /t 60 /nobreak
	taskkill /f /t /im "PicoScope.exe"
	timeout /t 10 /nobreak
	start "" "C:\Program Files\Pico Technology\PicoScope 7 T&M Stable\PicoScope.exe"
	goto END

:ProcessNotFound
	FOR /F %%x IN ('tasklist /NH /FI "IMAGENAME eq %EXE2%"') DO IF %%x == %EXE2% goto CrashFound
	echo Pico Scope is not running, Script will now exit!
	timeout /t 10 /nobreak
	goto END

:CrashFound
	echo CrashReporter Running, closing now!
	timeout /t 10 /nobreak
	taskkill /f /t /im "CrashReporter.exe"
	echo Starting PicoScope
	timeout /t 10 /nobreak
	start "" "C:\Program Files\Pico Technology\PicoScope 7 T&M Stable\PicoScope.exe"
	goto END

echo SCRIPT FOUND NO CONDITION SATISFIABLE, Something Is Wrong Here!?!
Timeout /t 10 /nobreak

:END

Martyn
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by Martyn »

I will look into this after the weekend when I am in the office.

I have located your support ticket and can see you have had numerous discussions with my colleague in the US so will check through all the trace files before replying.
Martyn
Technical Support Manager

DJETH
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:17 pm

Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by DJETH »

I have been having similar problems such as software lock ups and loss of communication with the scope(s) (sometimes I run two scopes). I have got rid of most (but not all) of the problems by not using the built in intel USB ports that are using the Microsoft USB generic drivers. This combination crashed constantly and sometimes would not even recognize the scope during Picoscope 7 start up. I would also constantly loose communication with the scope while Picoscope 7 was running. I tried SEVERAL things not listed but to get to the point...
I installed a different USB card in the PCIE slots (I have a desktop workstation running Windows 11). I tried 3 different ones but the two USB 3.0 cards worked much better than the 3.2 card. The 3.2 card worked better than the built in Intel USB but not by much. I also used USB chipset drivers from ASMedia (2016 driver) and Renesas (2019 driver)and they worked better without loosing communication with the scope(s) as often than the generic Microsoft drivers. It has been a while since I have had a software lock and I only occasionally get a communication loss with the scope. I am still in the process of testing different hardware configurations... The ASMedia chipset works better than the Renesas chipset. I am currently running the Renesas which does not work as well when going through a hub and I need to put the USB cable directly in the USB card. I will likely switch back the the ASMedia card which still occasionally looses the scope but the best so far.
A couple of observations...
The scope looses communication more often as I change the time base rapidly using the + or - buttons. I am having to train myself to do this slow or use the scop setting menu on the right to change the time base.
If you are going through a USB hub try going straight into the computer USB port.
I have noticed that Pico 7 file sizes are much larger than 6 for the longer time bases >200ms. without getting into too many specifics... 500ms time base with the sample rate turned all the way up (pico 6 at 2GSs and Pico 7 at 10 GS) and understanding that this is NOT the actual sample rate but requested.... the saved file in 6 is ~91MB and 7 ~210MB. The memory use while running Pico 6 is ~500MB and 7 is ~2700 MB. 1ms/div on 6 is ~65MB and 7 is ~480MB. At 5 us/div 6 is ~68MB and 7 floats between 400MB and 650MB. Short answer there is a lot more data going through the USB channel in 7
Note: when using the faster time bases <1ms/div the saved file are about the same size.
Hopes this helps someone...

rmorrisinglett
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by rmorrisinglett »

Thanks for that information - I would say at least part of this story would have to be read out thru something within the USB driver and any and all information relevant to this issue would certainly be appreciated. Its gotta be driving the developers mad trying to find out what's causing this when in fact it may not be simply just one thing. Its likely a combination of factors that can lead to the same result which is what I think you have targeted which is a USB disconnect from the scope.

I have noticed that when the scope is engaged to connect to the PC, you can hear relays clicking inside the scope. Typically on boot up I hear two relays while the connection is being made, and when Im sitting next to the scope when it freezes I hear one relay click and the light that was flashing green (at the rate of each waveform capture it seems) doesn't turn red (like it does when you stop the capture manually for whatever reason), but turns OFF. This would indicate to me that there is indeed a relay that's being used to power the indicator light circuit, and both its contracts and its' coil is being fed via BUS power from the 5V rail off of the USB connection, and, when the scope freezes, the USB disconnects and the coil of the relay is de-energized thus the reason for the relay contact opening that you hear.

Although its strange that I only hear one click. The whole power plant inside the scope is fed from the 5V BUS, so you would think that you would hear both relays if the USB were at full disconnect. But you don't. You hear two relays at connect and only hear one relay at crash.

Without schematics and a Sequence of Operation were just shooting in the dark here grabbing at straws.

Martyn
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by Martyn »

The relays are on the analogue input and attenuate the signals. You will find that you hear a click as you switch between 200mV and 500mV, and again between 2V and 5V, as there are three groupings of voltage range lower, middle and upper.

The relays have nothing to do with the LED which has three states, when red the scope is connected to USB and is powered but is not ready for operation as the firmwware has not been loaded into the device, green indicates the scope is actively collecting a signal, off indicates the scope is waiting for a command from the PC or data is being transferred to the PC.
Martyn
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DJETH
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by DJETH »

Martyn,
Thanks for the info on the startup process. I always wondered why with such sophisticated hardware there was never a firmware update but now I understand that it gets loaded during start up and is likely updated when new software is available.

Rmorrisinglett,
Since you running Windows OS installing the USB chipset drivers instead of the generic Windows USB driver is well worth a try. If you have a desktop adding an older 3.0 USB card that is Windows 11 compatible and using those chipset drivers is another option. I bought min on Amazon for less than $30.00 each. Just a note… about half the time Windows does an update it changes the drives back to the generic drivers and I have to change them back to the chipset drivers.
I have been using one or both scopes for several hours a day over the last two weeks and I had my first disconnect yesterday while using only one scope. The system was running fine till I changed the time base and the scope simply stopped. I just unplugged the blue USB cable from the back of the scope, the Picoscope 7 software started looking for the scope, and I plugged it back in and continued using it. I have come a long way from having problems (scope disconnect and software freezes) several times an hour to every once in a while, but I had to try several things before finding a combination that worked.
I agree with your statement “gotta be driving the developers mad”. If you do an internet search for USB keyboard won’t connect or USB printer is not recognized you start to understand the USB standard is not so standard.

rmorrisinglett
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by rmorrisinglett »

Makes sense. Wonder why for my case, I hear the single relay click the moment the software crashes. I cant say it happens every time because I'm not present every time it crashes, but I do know it happens. The light turns off (makes sense since this is an indication its waiting on the software) and a single relay click is heard.

Does the development team have any reason to suspect the USB driver is the cause of the software freeze?

DJETH
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Re: Frequent Software Crashes - Freezes

Post by DJETH »

I also heard the single relay click occasionally when the software stopped or the scope stopped. This is the relay(s) releasing because the scope loses communication. When you first initialize the scope one or more relays click in rapid succession based on the number of channels you have turned on and what voltage range you have set. The rapid clicking at the beginning is each channel turning on one at a time. The single click and no light is the loss of communication and all channels being dropped at the same time.

The root cause is the USB port/card/ chipset or driver. It may also be a combination of these. Follow my logic for a moment. If the problem is the Picoscope 7 software or driver for my scope then changing the USB cards/drives would result in the same type of crash/lockup/disconnect. However different drivers and different USB cards gave me different symptoms.
The Intel 3.1/3.2 USB ports that are part of the mother board and ONLY use the Microsoft drivers – would cause a disconnect about every 10 minutes of use and about every 5 of these the software would lock up and I would have to end the task to close the software.

I installed an Inateck PCIe to USB 3.2 Gen 2 Card. At the time it was running the Microsoft drivers and it was better than the built in USB because I would have problems only about 3 times per hour. But still not good.

Next was a FebSmart FS-2C-U4-Pro card that uses the ASMedia ASM1042 USB 3.0 host controller. Without the Picoscope 7 software even running the scopes would not show up in the device manager and if I unplugged the USB cable and plugged it in a couple of times it MIGHT recognize the scope in the device manager but the software would not see it. While the card was in my computer, I did use it to transfer files from a flash drive to my hard drive a couple of times and worked fine. It is now in another computer and is being used for the Wifi adapter and a USB hard drive with no issues.
Because the above one was useless on my computer I remove it and reinstalled the Inateck PCIe to USB 3.2. After a couple of times losing communication with the scope, I started doing some research and came across a site (Romania or somewhere) that had USB chipset drivers from the manufacturers. The Inateck has the ASMedia chipset so I installed the driver for that chipset and it worked way better with only 4 problems a day. So the manufacturer chipset drivers worked better than the Microsoft generic drivers. The card is still in my computer and I use it for the Wi-Fi adapter and USB drives.

Last was a Febsmart FS-U4-Pro. This has a Renesas UPD720201 chipset. I did try the Microsoft drivers at first but had many problems. I then installed the chipset drivers and now only have disconnects 6 times a week. Sometimes several days to a week and no issues and sometimes 4 in a day. I did buy a second card and run my second scope on that card.

I did notice that using a hub caused more problems. The Inateck ran the best with a hub connected but still not good enough. Also as I stated before If I press the + - buttons on the time base too fast that will cause a disconnect.
Bottom line… although the end result is the same… Scope does not work… The symptoms are very different. If it was the software I would expect the symptoms not to change very much from card to card or driver to driver. Perhaps the scope hardware/ driver may not be as flexible as we would want.

Someone like you (rmorrisinglett) that has the knowhow to make a routine that checks if the scope is still running (Pretty smart I think) I’m surprised you haven’t tried different drivers or another USB card. If you live in the United States I can get a couple of cards from amazon and send them to you… Let me know.
Martyn… I hope some of this gets used in resolving our issues. The universal Serial Bus as I believe we are finding out is not so universal… Is there a USB card or USB chipset that Pico Technologies recommends? Is there one or two that you have used that seem to work? What does your R and D Team use? I would not mind trying them.

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