Test and Measurement News

February 2010

New PicoScope 9000 Series “A” Models

We have replaced both 9000 Series models with new, upgraded “A” models at the same price! From today, if you order any 9000 Series scope, you will receive an “A” model. The PicoScope 9000 Series PC Sampling Oscilloscopes are precision instruments for analyzing serial communications signals and other pulsed waveforms. With dual 12 GHz inputs, they can accurately test high-speed data to standards such as SONET/SDH up to OC192, Fiber Channel and Ethernet up to 10 Gbps, Infiniband, XAUI, ITU G.703 up to 155 Mb and ANSI T1/102 up to STS3. The instruments can display eye patterns and make automatic measurements that conform to IEEE standards.

The new PicoScope 9201A and PicoScope 9211A feature 20% lower noise levels and 5 dB better channel-to-channel isolation. Many other specifications have been upgraded. In addition, the 9211A has two new pulse generator outputs with programmable waveforms, which can be used for single-ended and differential signal path tests, as well as a 2.7 Gbps clock recovery trigger input.

The PC Oscilloscope concept means that you buy only the specialized hardware that you need, while your own PC provides the standard functions such as display and storage. This saves space on your workbench, makes the instruments portable, and allows us to offer them at much lower prices than comparable bench-top products. The PicoScope 9201A is still only £5,995, and the PicoScope 9211A only £6,995.

Read about the 9000 Series scopes, then order from your local distributor or direct from our website.

Win a PicoScope 4224!

Help us to improve our products by completing a short survey, and we will enter your name in a prize draw to win one of the latest PicoScope oscilloscopes. The PicoScope 4224 is a two-channel, 12-bit USB oscilloscope with 32 MS of memory. The high resolution makes it ideal for spectrum analysis and precision measurement, while its deep memory enables it to sample at its full speed of 80 MS/s on timebases as slow as 20 ms/div. It includes the powerful PicoScope 6 oscilloscope software and PicoLog data logging software.

The survey contains just just six simple questions on how you use your oscilloscope, which features are most important to you, and which improvements you would like to see.

Tech Tip: Time-Stamped Triggers

If you use PicoScope, you probably know that it has a memory buffer that can store thousands of waveforms. The number varies from 10,000 to 1 million depending on the model of scope in use. Did you also know that each waveform is time-and-date-stamped with a resolution of 1 second? This information is displayed in the Properties window, which you can display by pointing to or clicking the Properties tab at the right-hand edge of the PicoScope window. This feature is particularly useful when you are running a long-term experiment, as it will record times and dates even when you are not present.

To use this feature, apply a repetitive test signal to the scope input, adjust the trigger threshold until you see a trace, and set the trigger mode to “Repeat” or “Rapid”. Click the Properties tab and fix it in place with the "push pin" button. Watch the buffer control toolbar, and you will see the waveform number increment each time a new waveform is captured. At the same time, the time stamp in the Properties window will advance. You can then stop the scope and scroll through the stored waveforms using the left and right arrows in the buffer control toolbar. The time stamp in the Properties window will change in step with the displayed waveform.

Make sure that you have the latest version of PicoScope by visiting our download page.

If you have discovered any clever techniques using Pico software that you would like to share with our readers, please contact us.

Application Note: Using the Belkin Network USB Hub with PicoScope

The Belkin Network USB Hub is an easy way to use your PicoScope at a distance from your PC. We have previously written about USB extenders, which work perfectly well, but why bother with all that extra wiring when you can use your existing home or office network? It takes just a few minutes to set up this gadget, and you don't have to be a network expert.

Read “Using the Belkin Network USB Hub with PicoScope”

Questions and Answers

Here is a selection of the questions that have cropped up recently on our support forum and elsewhere:

Q. Will the PicoScope oscilloscopes work with the new netbooks as opposed to full laptops or PCs? Is there a list of approved or unapproved ones?

A. We have used PicoScope oscilloscopes and software on a range of netbooks without any problems. Netbooks typically have less powerful CPUs and graphics chips than full-sized computers, so the waveform update rate is likely to be lower, but all other functions should work normally.

Q. I have an external sweep generator and I want to measure the response of a ladder type crystal filter around 12 MHz. I know how to do this with a conventional spectrum analyser and tracking generator (sweeper), but how do I do it with my PicoScope? Essentially I want to sample for the period of the sweep.

A. Set your sweep generator to do a slow sweep over the required frequencies. Set PicoScope 6 to “Spectrum mode” with the frequency upper limit set to the top end of your sweep. In “Spectrum Options” select “Peak Hold”, your required type of spectrum and number of “Bins” to give the required resolution. Set the generator and scope running together and stop the scope at the end of the sweep. Some experimentation will give the best results.

Q. I can display the output from two ADC-24 units in PicoLog but the spreadsheet will only display 16 channels. I have used the “select parameter” dialogue but it reverts back to the first 16 channels.

A. You need to divide your multiple channels up into groups of channels with no more than 16 in each group. PicoLog can display 16 channels at a time in spreadsheet mode (20 in graph mode). Give each group a name and call it up to display one group at a time. All this is done using the “Group” list box in the “Select parameters” dialog.


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.

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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)

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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