Tech Videos

This is Dave: a probe positioning system story

16th September 2020
Lanna Cooper

Oscilloscopes with more than two channels present humans with a common problem: none of us have enough hands to hold more than two oscilloscope probes in place. This is especially an issue when using an 8-channel oscilloscope such as the new PicoScope 6800E devices, so it was particularly important for Pico Technology to address it.

There aren’t many solutions to this problem, and they’re nearly all either inefficient or uneconomical: for example, you may have obliging colleagues who can help you hold the probes - not the best use of their time though. You could try soldering the probes to the device under test - this can work for some tests but ruins the probe.

Pico has come up with an ingenious solution to hold a PCB under test firmly in place and accurately position as many test probes as required, so that the user has their hands free to operate the oscilloscope or other test equipment.

The distinctive design of the flexible 'gooseneck' probe holding and positioning system uses the Pico 2.5mm fine pitch probe supplied with the PicoScope 6000 Series oscilloscopes. The key to their perfect balance and flexibility is a sublimely weighted probe holder that exploits the force of gravity to push the sprung probe tip just enough to make a good contact with the board or component under test.

With a PCB held firmly in place by four magnetic pillars, the system can be used for inspection or for soldering. Additionally, a rigid but lightweight steel baseplate keeps the pillars and probe holders in place and has a mirror finish on one side, enabling the user to see any status LEDs that may be on the underside of the PCB.

The probe positioning system is available as a kit with four 500MHz BNC-connected passive probes for users with any BNC oscilloscope up to 500MHz, or as a kit without the probes for existing PicoScope 6000 Series customers. Additional probe arms can also be purchased separately, so users can upgrade their kits.

View the video below for more information.

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