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Low-cost USB scope handles 128M samples

Posted: 14 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Pico? PicoScope 5204? oscilloscope? scope? USB?

Pico Technology has unveiled the PicoScope 5204, a dual-channel PC oscilloscope with a 250MHz bandwidth, a memory depth of 128 million samples and a real-time sampling rate of 1GSps.

All other oscilloscopes in PicoScope 5204's price range require the user to compromise on one of three key specifications: sampling rate, bandwidth or memory depth. Pico said its new oscilloscope delivers high performance in all three areas, making it a no-compromise device at a price every engineer can afford.

USB connectivity
PicoScope 5204 connects to the USB port of any Windows laptop or desktop PC and offers an array of high-end oscilloscope features, including advanced triggering and an equivalent-time sampling mode that can boost the sampling rate to 20GSps for repetitive waveforms. Other functions include a built-in 250MHz spectrum analyzer and a 12bit, 125MSps arbitrary waveform generator.

The oscilloscope is supplied with PicoScope 6, the latest release of Pico's oscilloscope software that takes advantage of modern PC capabilities to offer high-end oscilloscope features with an easy-to-use Windows interface. New features include a waveform buffer that automatically records the last 32 waveforms and a "probe manager" that includes support for custom probes such as current clamps and allows users to define their own probes, even those requiring nonlinear corrections. With its USB streaming capability at speeds of up to 6MSps, the oscilloscope is suitable for high-speed DAQ, as it can record huge sequences of gap-free data limited only by the memory of the PC. PicoScope 6 can also display automated measurements that range from a simple multimeter-style voltage readout to advanced statistical and monitoring functions.

Benchtop scope replacement
"PC oscilloscopes (PCOs) have been seen for some years now as alternatives to traditional benchtop scopes for low-bandwidth applications. But with this level of performance, they can now be seen as direct replacements for benchtop scopes," said Alan Tong, managing director of Pico Technology. "Most benchtop oscilloscopes at this price are crippled by having tiny buffer memories of 10,000 samples or less, while we offer a market-leading 128 million samples, which means that our scope can capture complex waveforms at long timebases without the drop in sampling rate seen with other models."

The novel design of the enclosure allows the oscilloscope to be placed either vertically or horizontally to take up minimum desk space. When used for mobile applications, the new oscilloscope is small enough to be carried in the same bag as the laptop. The device is supplied in a handy carry case and includes switchable probes, power supply, software and documentation. Drivers and examples are supplied for popular programming languages as well as third-party applications such as LabView, VEE and Excel. Software updates are available free-of-charge for the lifetime of the product from Pico Technology.

Already available, the PicoScope 5204 is priced at $3,431. Also available is PicoScope 5203, with a 32 million sample buffer, at $2,284.




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