Test & Measurement

Portable PC scopes feature 200MHz bandwidth

5th January 2015
Mick Elliott

The newly launched PicoScope 3000D Series oscilloscopes offer up to 200 MHz bandwidth, 2 or 4 analogue channels plus 16 digital channels on the mixed-signal (MSO) models, and deep memories from 64 to 512 MS. Capable of debugging the latest digital and mixed signal designs, the scopes offer a maximum real-time sampling rate of 1 GS/s and feature a USB 3.0 interface and a built-in arbitrary waveform generator (AWG).

The slim case design makes the scopes convenient for both benchtop and portable use.

“The deep memory on the new PicoScope 3000D scopes means that you can use long timebases with the fastest sampling rates,” explained Managing Director Alan Tong. “For example, even at 1 GS/s sampling rate you can capture a 500 ms waveform—that’s half a billion samples—while hardware acceleration keeps the display updating smoothly.”

The 512 MS buffer memory can be segmented, enabling acquisition of up to 10 000 individual waveform segments of 50 000 samples, with less than 1 µs re-arm time between each segment.  Memory segmentation is beneficial when analysing waveform bursts or serial data packets that include long gaps. PicoScope can be set to trigger on each packet and skip the gaps that are of no interest. This function allows users to acquire, for instance, CAN data packets over several minutes and then analyse the packet content at a later point in time.

The oscilloscopes are multi-function, and include a spectrum analyser and arbitrary waveform generator (AWG), and many advanced functions as standard, such as serial bus decoding, mask limit testing, maths channels and filtering. Advanced triggers include pulse width, interval, window, window pulse width, level dropout, window dropout, runt pulse, variable hysteresis, and logic. All triggering is digital, ensuring low jitter, high accuracy and single-LSB voltage resolution. MSO models combine these triggers with edge and pattern triggering on the digital inputs.

PicoScope utilises the host PC to control the instrument and display waveforms, so screen size and resolution are unrestricted. A large PC display shows the acquired waveforms with exceptional clarity, with easy zooming and panning under keyboard or mouse control. Other built-in features include colour persistence display modes, automatic measurements with statistics, programmable alarms, and decoding of I2C, UART/RS232, SPI, CAN bus, LIN, FlexRay and I2S signals.

The new scopes benefit from the latest updates to the PicoScope software. A new fast persistence mode gives updates of around 100 000 waveforms per second, while the math channels have been expanded to include configurable filters.

A free Software Development Kit (SDK) allows control of the scopes from industry standard applications and programming languages. The SDK includes example programs in C#, C++, Excel, LabVIEW and MATLAB, and can be used with any language that supports C calling conventions. The PicoScope software and SDK are compatible with Microsoft Windows XP through to Windows 8, with beta versions for Linux and Mac OS X. Beta drivers are also available for the ARM-based Beaglebone Black and Raspberry Pi.

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