Test and Measurement News

December 2010

New Product: Sampling Oscilloscope with 8 GHz Optical Input

The PicoScope 9000 Series Sampling Oscilloscopes have been joined by two new models with optical inputs. The 9000 Series oscilloscopes are specially designed for pre-compliance testing of serial communications signals and high-speed interconnect. These instruments can deliver a time resolution as short as 20 ps (equivalent to an effective sampling rate of 5 TS/s), faster than any real-time oscilloscope. The USB-connected PC Oscilloscope architecture makes these instruments more cost-effective than traditional bench-top analyzers while delivering advanced features such as automatic measurements, histograms, FFT, statistical analysis and eye diagram measurements. All of these features are included in the price, with no expensive add-on modules to buy later.

The PicoScope 9221A and 9231A both have two 12 GHz electrical inputs and an independent 8 GHz optical-to-electrical converter. The PicoScope 9231A has an additional TDR/TDT capability for measurement of impedance discontinuities in devices and interconnect, and an additional LAN port to allow control of the unit over a network or the internet. There isn’t space in this newsletter to give full details of these high-performance devices, so please visit our website and download the illustrated 6-page PicoScope 9000 Series data sheet or the User’s Guide.

Full specifications and ordering details

Coming Soon: The New USB DrDAQ

If you are looking for a low-cost, multi-purpose USB Data Logger that's perfect for a small project or a school experiment, then you might want to put a little money aside before the festive season. Early in the New Year we will be releasing a new USB version of the well-known DrDAQ Data Logger. Originally designed for educational use, this tiny, versatile data logger has found applications ranging from hobby projects to science experiments. The new DrDAQ is equipped with even more inputs and outputs than its parallel-port predecessor. We can’t tell you any more yet, but full details will appear on our website early next year.

Win a PicoScope 2205 Ultra-Compact Oscilloscope!

We’d like your help in deciding how best to communicate with our customers, and in return we’re offering a free PicoScope 2205 ultra-compact oscilloscope to be won by one lucky entrant drawn at random. All you have to do is complete a short online survey at the address below, telling us where you prefer to look for information about the electronics industry. We shall announce the winner of the draw in our next newsletter.

Product Focus: ADC-24 Precision Data Logger

When you need the ultimate in precise and accurate data acquisition, the high-resolution ADC-24 Data Logger is the perfect solution.

  • 24-bit resolution
  • Accurate to within 0.1%
  • Up to 8 true differential inputs
  • Up to 16 single-ended inputs
  • Fast conversion time (down to 60 ms)
  • Digital I/Os for control and monitoring
  • Galvanic isolation from the PC to eliminate noise pickup
  • PicoLog data acquisition software included
  • Software supports up to 20 units per PC
  • Up to 1 million readings at selectable sampling rates
  • Powered by USB port

The high resolution of the ADC-24 USB Data Logger enables it to detect extremely small signal changes. Features such as true differential inputs, galvanic isolation and software selectable sampling rates all contribute to a superior noise-free resolution and ensure that your measurements are reliable and are accurate to within 0.1%.

The ADC-24 features true differential inputs for excellent noise rejection. Each differential input can also be individually configured as 2 single-ended inputs.

With 7 bipolar voltage ranges, the ADC-24 is also flexible enough to be used with a wide range of sensors and signal types, while the optional terminal board provides screw terminals to allow you to quickly connect and disconnect different sensors.

Additionally, the ADC-24 has 4 configurable digital input/output channels that can be used to control alarms or other devices. You can configure these I/O channels in any combination. For example, 3 digital inputs could be used with 1 digital output.

The flexibility of this precision data logger allows you to use it as an advanced multi-channel data acquisition system with a low cost per channel.

Specifications and ordering information for the ADC-24 Data Logger

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions that have cropped up recently on our support forum:

Q. Can’t find ps2000.h! I have installed PicoScope 6 and I am trying to build a driver for my application that uses the PicoScope 2205. I need the ps2000.dll and ps2000.h files. I’ve found the DLL in the installation folder, but the ps2000.h file doesn’t seem to be anywhere! Can anybody please help me with some info about this?

A. Header files are now packaged separately from the PicoScope 6 application in a Software Development Kit (SDK) for each scope series. Go to www.picotech.com/software.html, select PicoScope 2205, then select Software Development Kit. This contains the ps2000.h file, and examples to help in developing your own application.

Q. Q. Maximum achievable USB transfer rate. We need to capture continuous data with a PicoScope 5204 via USB 2.0. What is the maximum achievable transfer rate using the ps5000.dll API? (Application written in C.)

A. This article will help in explaining the transfer rates:www.picotech.com/support/kb/kbfiles/PicoScopeUSBStreaming.pdf. The 5000 Series can stream data very fast depending on your PC and overheads. Under PicoScope 6 streaming is limited to 1 MS/s, but in your case, using the API, streaming of 30 MS/s is possible. The 5000 Series is particularly efficient because its samples are only 8 bits, unlike high-resolution devices that require 2 bytes per sample.


Please visit Pico Exhibitions for the latest list of exhibitions and trade shows that Pico and its representatives will be attending.

We're hiring!

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.

About this newsletter

To make sure that your Pico newsletter reaches your inbox every month, add newsletters@picotech.com to your email address book or safe list. If you found this newsletter useful, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. Back issues are available from our newsletter archive.

By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to receive one email a month plus no more than two special announcements a year. Our use of your email address is governed by our privacy policy.

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