Test and Measurement News

August 2007

New Beta Release: Linux Driver for USB TC-08

The USB TC-08 is an eight–channel thermocouple data logger with a USB interface. It is packaged in a robust, compact case and draws its power from the USB cable, so it requires no external power supply. It has standard thermocouple connectors that accept all common thermocouple types – B, E, J, K, N, R, S, T – allowing you to measure temperatures in the range -270 to +1820 degrees Celsius with up to 0.5 degree accuracy. The TC-08 has automatic cold-junction compensation, and conversion time is 100 milliseconds per channel.

We have started work on a Linux driver to allow programmers to control the USB TC-08 using their own software. As Linux is widely used in educational and scientific computing, and is open–source and available free of charge, we expect this driver to open up a range of new applications for low-cost, accurate temperature data–logging.

Because of strong customer demand, we have released a beta version of the driver. It is supplied in source code form to allow compatibility with the widest possible range of Linux systems, and is accompanied by example programs in C and C++. It is released under an Open Source licence which allows you to modify and redistribute it as you wish. Please note that this beta release is not fully tested, so we cannot guarantee its performance or reliability.

A fully tested and documented driver for Windows XP SP2 and Vista is also available. All drivers and documentation are free of charge.

Find out more about the TC-08 Thermocouple Data Logger
Download the USB TC-08 Linux driver
More about Pico drivers and example programs

LabVIEW Programming (Reminder)

Almost all of our products come with a programming interface and a range of example programs in various languages, so that you can write your own software as well as using the applications that we supply. The examples include programs in National Instruments LabVIEW, a widely used graphical development environment for virtual instrumentation, that work with LabVIEW versions 4, 5 and 6.1.

You may already have these examples on your installation disk, or you can get them free of charge from our website. Just go to our Download page and select the software for the Pico product you are using.

More about Pico drivers and example programs

PicoScope 5000 Series News

Latest application note

We have just published a new application note explaining the advanced triggering types available for the PicoScope 5000 Series. The PicoScope 5000 Series high-performance scopes have a range of advanced trigger types that enable you to capture a stable waveform even with complex signals. This makes them ideal for troubleshooting glitches, timing violations, overvoltages and dropouts in analogue and digital circuits up to 250 MHz.

The new application note reviews basic edge-triggering and its limitations, and then explores the possibilities that advanced triggering offers. It ends by explaining in detail how to set up advanced triggers in PicoScope 6.

PicoScope 5000 Questions and Answers

Q. How many times per second do the PicoScope 5000 Series scopes update the display?
A. The update rate depends on the performance of your computer, but is typically about 20 updates per second and is independent of the number of samples being captured. This is as fast as the eye can follow, so there would be no benefit in going any faster. If you are using a laptop computer that is running on batteries, the PicoScope 6 software automatically reduces the update rate to minimise power consumption.
The update rate is not related to the refresh rate of your monitor.

Q. Why don’t you add an on/off switch to the PicoScope 5000 scopes to save energy?
A. When the PicoScope software is not running, the PicoScope 5000 scopes remain in a standby mode in which they use a fraction of a watt of power. The mains (line) adaptor is a very efficient switching unit that uses less than a watt when idle, and meets California's stringent 2008 CEC Tier 2 energy standard. Therefore, if you want to save energy, it is better to unplug the adaptor from the wall than to switch off the scope.

Q. How can I get around the 64 k sample limit on exported data?
A. The 64 k sample limit applies to data files exported from PicoScope 6 in text format. The latest release of PicoScope 6 (6.0.10) can export binary MATLAB 4 files, which are much more compact and do not limit the amount of data that PicoScope 6 can save.

Download the latest PicoScope 6 software
Find out more about PicoScope 5000 series PC Oscilloscopes

Automotive News

New product: fuse extension lead set

With the new PP408 fuse extension lead set, you can take current measurements and capture current waveforms from a vehicle’s fuse box, so you don’t need to search the engine compartment for a suitable wire on which to hook your current clamp.

Just remove the fuse from the fuse box, plug the fuse into the lead, and plug the lead back into the box. You can then place a current clamp from the Pico automotive diagnostics kit around one of the two wires of the fuse extension lead, and use PicoScope to capture a current waveform or simply measure the DC current being drawn by the component under test.

The PP408 fuse extension lead set contains two leads: one for ATC-size fuses and one for the mini-ATC size.

Get a free training CD with every Diagnostics Kit

We have boosted the value of our Automotive Diagnostics Kit by adding a training CD worth 80 GBP (about 162 USD / 118 Euro) at no extra cost to you! The Vehicle Electronics Diagnostic Course CD–ROM is produced and presented by Frank Massey, one of the UK’s leading vehicle diagnostic experts. With over 38 years’ industry experience, he is renowned in the motor industry for his unrivalled expertise and knowledge.

At nearly 2.5 hours, the Pico Vehicle Electronics Diagnostics Course is designed to give you the benefit of Frank’s extensive hands-on experience in the field, and to give you the necessary knowledge to confidently and accurately troubleshoot problems in today's increasingly complex vehicle systems.

The course is split into four modules: Introduction, Testing Pulse/Current, Multiple Sensors, and Broadband/Direct Ignition. Each module consists of specially filmed demonstrations and a no-nonsense, jargon-free approach to vehicle diagnosis that makes learning easy. The course can be watched, at your own pace, on any modern Windows PC.

Please note: the CD is included only with the Automotive Diagnostics Kits, and not with any scope or other product purchased on its own. You can purchase the CD, order code DI047, from our website.

Find out more about Automotive Diagnostics Kits

New application note: Double Trouble…

Our Real–Life Diagnostics series continues with this detailed and well–illustrated case study of a poorly running high–performance engine. Diagnostics expert Nick Hibberd of Hibtech explains how he tracked down the fault using some clear, methodical thinking backed up by a PicoScope automotive diagnostics kit. His story is a valuable reminder that a few minutes spent with a PicoScope oscilloscope are more effective than swapping parts and hoping for the best. As usual, you can read the article free of charge on our website.

Next training course

Preston College, Preston, Lancashire, UK
21-22 August 2007

The ‘Engine Management Diagnostics using PicoScope’ training courses are run on behalf of Pico Technology by experienced instructors assisted by Pico automotive experts. The two–day course teaches you how to diagnose electrical and mechanical automotive problems using a Pico automotive PC Oscilloscope. The time is divided between classroom–based tuition and practical, hands–on learning using engine rigs. We give you a set of detailed notes to remind you of all the subjects covered in the course.

More information on Pico training courses


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Thanks to our continuing success and growth Pico are always seeking talented people to join our company.

Please visit https://jobs.picotech.com/ to see our current vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you!

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)

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

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Shanghai 200070, PR China
Tel: +86 21 2226-5152

Email: sales@picotech.com