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USB instruments now capture data at up to six million samples per second

15 August 2006

Pico Technology has opened up a new class of applications for its PicoScope 3000 Series USB instruments by hugely increasing their data transfer speed. The new, fast streaming mode can transfer over six million samples per second, bypassing the oscilloscope hardware’s memory buffer and transferring data direct to the PC. This allows programs to capture waveforms at high sampling rates over long periods of time, resulting in very large data sets limited only by the size of the PC’s physical memory. Previously, the only way to sample at high speed was to use “block mode”, which resulted in lost data due to the dead time between blocks. The new streaming mode uses high-efficiency USB 2.0 data transfers to capture data continuously without dead time.

Now it’s possible to capture high-resolution data in situations such as vehicle road tests and lengthy laboratory experiments. For example, when used with a PC with 1 GB of available physical RAM, a PicoScope oscilloscope can capture over 8 minutes of data sampled at 1 million samples per second. Using functions built in to the driver, the developer can easily display this data as a single waveform representing the entire 8 minutes, or zoom in one million times to show half a millisecond of data in great detail.

Pico has released the new driver with a fully documented API and an example C++ program aimed at experienced programmers, so that developers can start to use it immediately. Like most Pico software, it is free of charge, and is available to download from the web without registration.

Download the PicoScope 3000 Series software now from the Pico Technology website ( Click on “Software”, download the PicoScope software, and the new driver will be installed on your PC. Call +44 (0) 1480 396 395 for further details.

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