News article

PicoScope: Revolutionizing Electronic System Debugging and Validation


In the rapidly evolving world of electronics, the need for efficient and flexible testing and
measurement tools has never been greater. As technology advances and designs become
increasingly complex, traditional benchtop oscilloscopes are facing competition from PC-based
instruments, including PicoScope with the latest PicoScope 7 user interface. Leveraging the power
and versatility of personal computers, PC-based instruments offer several benefits that are
revolutionizing the way engineers debug and validate their electronic systems.

PC-based instruments harness the processing power and graphical capabilities of personal
computers, providing engineers with versatile platforms for complex debug and measurement tasks.
PicoScope hardware, from the entry-level 2204A through to the high-performance 6000E Series
products, connect to the users’ PC via a USB interface. PicoScope 7 software provides powerful
Oscilloscope functionality plus a Spectrum Analyzer, Protocol Analyzer, Function Generator,
Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) and, on MSO models, a Logic Analyzer, and more. PicoScope
models typically offer increased memory depth, higher resolution, and wider bandwidths, compared
to traditional benchtop oscilloscopes at a given price point.

A major advantage of PC-based instruments is their cost and space efficiency. Unlike benchtop
instruments, PC-based solutions eliminate the need for bulky and expensive hardware, saving both
physical space and cost. By utilizing existing PCs, engineers can significantly reduce their equipment
expenses and optimize their workspace – ideal for the laboratory or working at home. Furthermore,
as PCs become increasingly powerful and affordable, the performance-to-cost ratio of PC-based
instruments continues to improve. Furthermore, due to their compact size, products such as the
PicoScope 2000, 3000, and 5000 Series fit in a laptop bag and are readily portable to wherever they
are needed.



PicoScope 7 provides unmatched flexibility and scalability. The software can easily adapt to address
a broad range of testing challenges by selecting the appropriate software application for a specific
task. This flexibility allows for seamless transitions between different measurement types, such as
switching from an oscilloscope to a spectrum analyzer with a couple of clicks, or running both
instruments in parallel. Additionally, PicoScope 7 software benefits from regular free-of-charge
software updates that eliminate the need for hardware replacements and ensure compatibility with
future technologies. Recent examples include addition of new serial protocol decoders such as I3C
and CAN XL, on top of the 30+ decoders already included.

Features such as mask limit testing allows the comparison, in time- or frequency-domains, of live
signals against known good signals. Results can be stored and displayed in up to 10,000 waveform
buffers, showing all waveforms or just those that violate the mask, which is ideal for finding
intermittent faults. Failure counts can be recorded to help with statistical analysis of a design

Actions are things that PicoScope can be programmed do when certain events occur, including mask
failures. Actions include: Stop the capture, Save waveform to disk, Play a sound, Trigger the signal
generator, Run an external application. Taken together, these tools enable engineers to perform
extended testing and deep analysis of a circuit before signing it off as “good to go”.

The integration of PicoScope with software development tools and automation systems is a game-
changer for engineers. Operating in the same Windows, Linux or Mac platforms that designers have
used to create their systems, PicoScope engineers can quickly execute complex measurement
sequences, perform data analysis in real-time, and integrate the results into their overall design flow. This integration streamlines the debugging and validation process, improves efficiency, and
enhances productivity.


PicoScope facilitates collaboration among engineers, even across different geographical locations. As
well as local control of a PicoScope, remote users can access and control instruments, share data,
and collaborate on projects using third party client-server networking. This feature is particularly
valuable for distributed teams and remote work scenarios, enabling seamless cooperation and
knowledge sharing.



PC-based instruments are rapidly transforming the landscape of electronic system debugging and
validation. By leveraging the computational power, flexibility, and scalability of personal computers,
engineers can overcome the limitations of traditional benchtop oscilloscopes. With cost and space
efficiency, integration and automation capabilities, and the ability to collaborate remotely, PC-based
instruments provide a new level of flexibility, productivity, and adaptability. As technology continues
to advance, the adoption of PC-based instruments is expected to grow, driving innovation and
further enhancing the efficiency of electronic system design and testing processes.