Test and Measurement News

August 2006

New Fast USB Streaming Driver

The latest Windows driver for the 3224 and 3424 PicoScope USB PCOs is about to open up a new range of applications, thanks to a huge speed increase. With a new streaming mode capable of transferring over six million samples per second, it allows the scope to bypass its own memory buffer and transfer data direct to the PC’s memory. This will allow programs to capture waveforms at high sampling rates over long periods of time, instead of being limited to shorter captures in “block mode”. The driver has a new data aggregation function for fast zooming without loss of detail.

The new driver, with additional functions to support the enhanced streaming mode, comes with a fully documented API and an example program in C++, and is aimed at experienced programmers. It is included when you install version 5.14.4 or later of the PicoScope software, which you can download free of charge.

Download the latest software

Tech Tip: Sampling Modes in PicoScope

When operating at slow timebases of more than 100 milliseconds per division, the PicoScope PC oscilloscope software has a choice of three sampling modes: standard, chart recorder and block mode.

Standard mode emulates the behaviour of an analogue scope. The program draws the waveform from left to right as the scope captures data, up to a maximum speed of one sample per millisecond, then erases the waveform and returns to the left to begin the next one.

Chart recorder mode emulates a paper-based recorder, with the waveform rolling from right to left and new data continuously added to the right-hand side. The trigger mode should be set to ‘None’ to ensure that the waveform moves smoothly. This mode has the same top sampling speed as standard mode.

In the third mode, block mode, the oscilloscope automatically captures enough data to fill the screen, sends it to the PC, and then lets PicoScope display it. The scope can sample much faster in this mode, allowing you to zoom in after capture to see details that would be lost in the other two modes. There is also no risk of the sampling being interrupted by anything happening on the PC. The only drawback is that you have to wait for the capture to finish before PicoScope begins to display any data. This is also the mode that PicoScope uses for the faster timebases.

PicoScope normally uses chart recorder mode for timebases slower than 100 ms/div, but you can override this behaviour. Go to ‘Settings | Options’ in the menu and click the ‘Advanced’ button to open the ‘Scope Advanced Options’ dialog. The ‘Slow sampling’ box lets you choose which mode to use.

Automotive News

New Real-Life Diagnostics article

In this month’s article in the Real-Life Diagnostics series, Nick Hibberd of Hibtech tells how he tracked down a misbehaving ABS sensor. The vehicle had been repaired, and this had created a new fault that only an automotive oscilloscope could detect.

Read all the Real-Life Diagnostics articles, free of charge and with no need to register.

New waveform: fuel pressure sensor on VM common rail diesel

We’re always adding to our library of diagnostic waveforms, which you are welcome to view and download free of charge. This month, we have added a waveform from a fuel rail pressure sensor to show its behaviour under a range of engine conditions. It is accompanied by detailed notes on how to set up the automotive scope, what the waveform means, and what faults to look out for.

View the waveform library

New test lead for coil-on-plug ignition probes

If you are using our coil-on-plug ignition probes, you will be pleased to hear that we have created a new test lead to help you connect it to your oscilloscope more easily. The new lead is 3 metres (about 10 feet) long, with a BNC plug on each end and an extra ground clip on a flying lead, so you will no longer have to use up two of your valuable BNC-to-4 mm test leads.

Find out more about the coil-on-plug probe and lead

Free update released for A.C.E. Misfire software

Owners of the A.C.E. Misfire software receive regular upgrades, free of charge, through the program’s built-in updater. The latest improvements, released in June, include:

The addition of pre-set manufacturers’ engines including engine size, block diagram and firing order for Honda, Toyota, Cadillac, Volvo, Suzuki, Nissan, GEO and Volkswagen.
Selection of which cylinder the user wants to sync to (if #1 cylinder on a particular engine is difficult to access).

With ACE Misfire Detective you can instantly identify misfiring cylinders without complicated equipment or diagnostic procedures. The ACE Misfire software will effortlessly detect even the slightest misfires no matter how elusive they may be to conventional detection methods.

The ACE Misfire software can also be used as a preventative maintenance tool that can show you when the injectors need to be cleaned and even print a report of ‘before and after’ results that you can give to your customers.


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Software releases

Our latest software releases are available as free downloads. To check which release you are using, start the software and select Help > About.

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Contact details

UK Headquarters:
Pico Technology, James House, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots,
Cambridgeshire, PE19 8YP, United Kingdom
Tel.: 01480 396395 (+44 1480 396395)
Fax: 01480 396296 (+44 1480 396296)

North America Office:
Pico Technology, 320 N Glenwood Blvd, Tyler TX 75702, United States
Tel:+1 800 591 2796 (Toll Free)

Asia-Pacific Office:
Pico Technology, Room 2252, 22/F, Centro, 568 Hengfeng Road, Zhabei District,
Shanghai 200070, PR China
Tel: +86 21 2226-5152

Email: sales@picotech.com