Test and Measurement News

August 2021

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Pico Technology Test & Measurement Newsletter
August 2021

Following the Early Access release of our new PicoScope 7 software, we've put together a progress report, to keep you updated about its important features and milestones. We also have even more new serial bus decoders to share.

We discuss the benefits of Pico products in education and academia, as well as some of the best features of the PicoScope 4444.

Farnell's new podcast, The Innovation Experts, features our own Mike Purday in conversation with Farnell, on the relationship between our scopes and RF products and remote working.

Fancy joining us at Pico? We have new vacancies available!

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PS7 Early Access: a progress report

Screenshot of PicoScope 7 T&M Early Access
As previously announced, we are running a PicoScope 7 T&M Early Access program to give users a look at the next generation PicoScope user interface. Version 7.0.77 was released on 20th July, and marks an important milestone in the development program for several reasons:

1. Spectrum View features reached parity with Spectrum View in PicoScope 6, which marks the completion of this part of the project. Congratulations to the dev team who worked so hard to deliver it!

2. The team made huge progress with digital channels handling on PicoScope MSO models. Digital channels can now be used as inputs for Measurements, Serial Decoders and Math Channels. There is still some way to go with this part of the project, but progress is good.

3. Please note that from version 7.0.77 onwards, Windows users must be running a 64-bit version of the operating system. Although PicoScope 7 is itself currently configured as a 32-bit application, the final version will be released as 64-bit.
In this video, our Trevor Smith gives an introduction to the PicoScope 7 Early Access program and an overview of the screen layout, instrument controls and waveform display.
Looking forward, the team are working on implementation of Logic and Digital triggers - including MSO digital channels, Themes (Light / Dark / High Contrast etc.) and the Arbitrary Waveform Generator user interface.
We have had some really useful feedback already since the Early Access program began and have acted on several of the points raised. We have put other suggestions in the backlog for implementation or further review once we achieve parity with the current version of PicoScope 6. Please keep the feedback coming!

New CAN J1939 decoder free for PicoScope

Screenshot of CAN J1939 decoders on PicoScope 7 Early Access

CAN J1939 on PicoScope 7 Early Access

CAN J1939 decoding is now included with PicoScope 6.14.47 beta and PicoScope 7.0.78 T&M Early Access builds for PicoScope 4000, 5000 and 6000 Series oscilloscopes. This is in addition to the 21 serial decoders already included free of charge with PicoScope, with even more in beta testing.

J1939 is used in commercial vehicles for communication and diagnostics among vehicle components and has been widely adopted by diesel engine manufacturers. A driving force behind this is the adoption of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that provide a method to control exhaust gas emissions within international standards. In addition, telematics data can be used by fleet operators to keep track of vehicle and driver performance, such as fuel consumption, safety events, and repair time.

As with other PicoScope 6 & 7 T&M serial decoding tools, the CAN J1939 serial decoder converts CAN bus voltages to a readable form (typically hexadecimal, but binary, decimal, or ASCII formats are also possible). The J1939 decoder is, however, built for decoding J1939 CAN protocol messages and specifically the ID.

The message ID of a J1939 message contains 29 bits, which translates to 4 bytes in hex. These 4 bytes hold key information about the data contained within the CAN message payload.

The CAN J1939 decoder will be invaluable for engineers who are developing and debugging commercial vehicle components and systems.


Pico products in education: an update

Image of a hand holding a PicoScope 2000 Series
Pico’s products are an ideal choice for use in education. Whether it be our PicoScope range of real-time oscilloscopes, our cost effective range of RF products or our wide range of data logging solutions (now with PicoLog Cloud), there is a Pico product ideal for most teaching or research applications. For some real case studies on how our products are being used in education, please see a webinar from earlier this year: Oscilloscopes in Education – How PicoScope meets the challenges of remote teaching distance learning.
In the current situation with a lot of blended learning and distance learning taking place, Pico products have provided the ideal solution for universities and colleges wishing to equip students with oscilloscopes or data loggers for remote practical work. If you are thinking of ordering products for the autumn term/semester, please do so as soon as possible as lead times for some products may be several weeks depending on volume and stock availability.

PicoScope 4444

High-resolution differential USB oscilloscope

The PicoScope 4444 with PicoConnect® probes -- With four true differential inputs, 12- to 14-bit resolution and wide differential and common-mode voltage ranges, the PicoScope 4444 and its accessories offer accurate and detailed measurement for a multitude of applications.
Don't want to take our word for it? Be sure to check out this fantastic review of our PicoScope 4444, made by YouTuber Kiss Analog. In Power of Pico - can your oscilloscope do this? Picoscope 4444, Eddie demonstrates the features of our scope - specifically, the ability of the 4444 to show different timebases on each of its four channels.
"I own and love a PicoScope 4444, a truly differential-input model. We're using this scope to measure electrical power with exquisite precision. The 4444 is certainly capable of it!" - from our Test & Measurement forum.

 Full five-year warranties apply to all units purchased.
Key features are as follows:
4 channels
20 MHz bandwidth
Flexible 12 and 14-bit resolution
256 MS deep memory

Low-voltage probe for millivolts to 50 V
1000 V CAT III voltage and current probes for mains measurement applications

The Innovation Experts: Farnell and PicoTech

Farnell logo for The Innovation Experts
 Farnell, an Avnet Company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, has launched a new global podcast series, The Innovation Experts. Exploring the latest innovations in the world of electronics, the first series investigates how test and measurement equipment is key to enabling technological innovation. 
The debut episode of the series focuses on how Pico Technology’s PC-based oscilloscopes and RF testing products have enabled hybrid working and new ways of remote learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike Purday, Business Development Manager from Pico Technology, joins Farnell’s Global Head of Technical Marketing and electrical engineer Cliff Ortmeyer, to discuss the capabilities and impact of using low-cost PC-based scopes through to high-performance products for a range of innovative – and unexpected – applications, from tattoo removal to monitoring the temperature of penguin eggs.
The Innovation Experts is freely available from major podcast providers including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and more.
The first episode, featuring Pico Technology, is available now on Farnell’s new Technical Resources Hub.

Jobs of the month

If you want to come and join us at Pico, we have the following vacancies available:


We are looking for an energetic individual with great attention to detail to support the Purchasing Manager in finding the best deals on the market. The Buyer will be working closely with other other members of the Purchasing, Operations, Compliance and Quality, and Engineering and Finance Teams. 

Hardware Test Architect

The Hardware Test Architect will be reporting to the Hardware Development Manager and working within the Test Engineering team alongside the Design Development teams. The key task is to design, coordinate, deliver and own the Pico Production Test Solutions for both internal and external use.

For full details of these roles, including information on how to apply, please visit pico.jobs!
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Pico Technology, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire PE19 8YP, United Kingdom