Test and Measurement News

June 2010

New High-Precision Oscilloscopes!

The new PicoScope 4226 and 4227 represent the sixth generation of high-precision oscilloscopes from Pico Technology. These scopes have higher bandwidth and sampling rate than the previous models, plus an external trigger input and a built-in signal generator. No separate power supply is required: just plug the USB cable into a laptop or desktop computer, run the software supplied, and get to work.

Specificatons at a glance:

• Channels: 2 + external trigger
• Resolution: 12 bits (16 with resolution-enhance)
• Bandwidth: 100 MHz (4227), 50 MHz (4226)
• Maximum sampling rate: 250 MS/s (4227, single-channel), 125 MS/s (4226)
• Buffer size: 32 M samples
• Trigger types: edge, window, pulse width, interval, dropout, runt, delayed
• Signal generator: 0 to 100 kHz sine, square, triangle, ramp up/down, DC
• Arbitrary waveform generator: 20 MHz update rate, 100 kHz bandwidth, 8 k samples

The deep buffer memory enables the maximum sampling rate to be used even on slow timebases. The buffer can hold up to 10,000 waveforms, which are displayed in a pop-up navigator window for easy access.

A fully enabled version of the PicoScope oscilloscope software is included in the price. PicoScope offers a wide range of advanced functions such as automated measurements with statistics, spectrum analysis, mask limit testing, alarms, serial data decoding, programmable low-pass filtering, math channels, reference waveforms, Digital Color and Analog Persistence display modes and XY mode.


The new PicoScope 4226 and 4227 are on sale now.

PP671 PicoScope 4226 50 MHz Oscilloscope Kit £699 / 1149 USD / 819 EUR
PP672 PicoScope 4227 100 MHz Oscilloscope Kit £899 / 1479 USD / 1049 EUR

The kits include probes, USB cable and a carrying case. All of the features listed above are included in the price, plus unlimited free software updates downloaded from our website, and free technical support. You also get a free 5-year parts-and-labour warranty against manufacturing faults.

Find out more about the PicoScope 4226 and 4227, or place your order

Tech Tips

Animated waveforms

Here’s a feature of PicoScope that you might have overlooked. If you have a PicoScope data file containing several waveforms, you can convert it to an animated graphics file in GIF format. Animated GIFs can be viewed in most web browsers, and in some other applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint.

The animated GIF feature is tucked away in the PicoScope context menu. To create an animated GIF:

Using Windows Explorer, find your PicoScope data file (*.psdata) and right-click on it.
In the context menu that appears, you will see a special item: Convert. This command leads to a further menu containing the options All Waveforms and Current Waveform.
Select All Waveforms, and then finally select Animated .Gif.
PicoScope may take some time to convert the file, so to indicate that it is busy, it displays a PicoScope icon at the bottom of the screen. Take note: if you select a file containing hundreds of waveforms then the conversion could take a long time.
When the process is finished, you will find a GIF file in the same directory as the original file. Open this file with your browser to watch the animation.

Other things you can do with the PicoScope context menu include:

Convert waveforms to data files: CSV, TXT or MATLAB
Convert waveforms to static images: PNG, BMP or GIF
Convert old PicoScope 5 waveforms or old-format PicoScope 6 waveforms to the latest format: PSDATA, PSSETTINGS
Print the current waveform from a PSDATA file

See the Convert command demonstrated in our “PicoScope New Features” video (click the "menu" tab and select "file formats" to go straight to the relevant section).

Measuring ambient temperature with the TC-08

Did you know that you can use the TC-08 to measure not just 8 thermocouples, but also the ambient temperature around the unit? This ability is built into PicoLog, the data-logging software supplied with the TC-08.

Here’s the procedure if you are starting from scratch, with no device set up in PicoLog:

Plug the TC-08 into your USB port
Run PicoLog Recorder
Select File > New Settings
Click OK in the Recording dialog
Click OK in the Sampling Rate dialog
Select “TC-08 (USB)” in the Converter details dialog and click OK
In the TC08 Channels dialog, you will see the 8 thermocouple channels listed plus one called “Cold junction”. This is the ambient temperature sensor inside the unit. Double-click this and click OK in the Edit Channel dialog that appears.
Return to PicoLog Recorder. You will now see “Cold Junction” in the list of channels, with a live reading of ambient temperature. Add any thermocouple channels if required.

Read more about the TC-08 Thermocouple Data Logger

Visit Pico on element14

element14 is a new online community specifically built for electronic design engineers. It provides conventional product data, design tools and technology information, as well as new web-based features to facilitate communication, interaction, collaboration and information sharing between colleagues. Users can consult experts, discover trends, and post blogs, articles and comments in this world-wide forum.

Pico Technology’s page will help you to stay informed of our latest product releases, instructional videos, exhibitions, and updates to software and manuals.

Visit “Pico Technology” on element14

Questions and Answers

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

Q. Re: start-up settings in PicoScope 6; especially in spectrum mode: I notice there is only one load/start spectrum setting available on start-up. Is this correct? I would love more options to be able to start up and load different scalings.

A. There is only one “Default” start-up setting but you can have many different settings saved as “Settings” files (.pssettings). These can be double-clicked to start-up PicoScope 6 in that mode. Just set up as you wish and go to “Save Current Waveform as”, then select “Settings Files (.pssettings)”.

Q. I have a PicoScope 2205 Oscilloscope and I am trying to capture data for later use, but even if I set the timebase of PicoScope to the slowest speed I get about 16 samples/second. Is there a way to capture more slowly than this?

A. For a low sampling rate the PicoLog software is the best choice. The program does not have all the features of PicoScope 6, but you can take samples at very low rates. When you set up a new device, the Sampling Rate dialog allows you to enter sampling intervals from milliseconds to hours. PicoLog is included free with all our scopes.


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)

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