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Pico claims to have the world's fastest USB oscilloscope

18 December 2006

Pico Technology has unveiled the PicoScope 5204, a dual-channel PC oscilloscope with a bandwidth of 250MHz, a memory depth of 128 million samples and a real-time sampling rate of 1GS/s. All other oscilloscopes in this price range force you to compromise on one of the three key specifications: sampling rate, bandwidth or memory depth. The PicoScope 5204 excels in all three of these areas, making it a no-compromise oscilloscope at a price every engineer can afford.

The 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 20 GS/s for repetitive waveforms. Other advanced functions include a built-in 250 MHz spectrum analyser and a 12 bit, 125 MS/s arbitrary waveform generator.

The PicoScope 5204 is supplied with PicoScope 6, the latest release of Pico’s oscilloscope software, which takes advantage of the power of a modern PC 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 6 MS/s, the oscilloscope is ideal for high-speed data acquisition, 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.

Alan Tong, Managing Director of Pico Technology, explained, ‘The release of the PicoScope 5000 range is a major milestone for us. 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. 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 the minimum of valuable desk space, and when used for mobile applications the PicoScope 5204 is small enough to be carried in the same bag as your laptop. The oscilloscope 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 the Pico Technology web site.

The PicoScope 5204 is available now, priced at £1795. Also available is the PicoScope 5203, with a 32 million sample buffer, at £1195.

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