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RoadTests & Reviews

10 Posts authored by: michaelkellett Top Member
I2C Testing (continued from Picoscope 6424E Road Test - I2C Serial Decoding )  Keen followers of my Picoscope 6424E Road test blogs will have noticed that I rather messed up on the I2C decoding by having the 6424E connected to my PC via a USB 2 only port. Sorry about that ! But every cloud has a silver lining and the problems with the slow connection made me look a lot deeper into buffers and how they work than I might have done otherwise. And I had meant to get round to looking at the ...
Most modern scopes offer some kind of serial data stream decoding. Many supply it as a paid for optional extra although special offers where some decoders are bundled with the instrument are common. Pico have an unusual approach - all the serial decoders are bundled into the standard Picoscope 6 software and, hardware permitting, they work across the range of Pico's scopes. The range is quite good: Pico's decoders work on captured data which has been moved to the PC for processing. This mea ...
The 6424E can accept one or two TA369 Digital Pods to extend its capabilities by up to an additional 16 digital channels. This is a nice simple conversion from 4 channel analogue to 4 + 16 MSO functionality for which you need only to buy the Digital PODs (no additional software or licenses required.) The TA369 Pods are very nicely made and I think rather better designed than the similar pods that can be added to the Keysight 3000 series or the Rhode and Schwarz RTA4000 series scopes. The TA3 ...
In my last Picoscope 6424E RoadTest blog I was testing a power supply which uses a hand wound custom transformer. shabaz asked about the transformer, and specifically how it might behave at lower frequencies (25kHz a rather than the 150kHz I tested at.)   It's not easy to test the transformer in situ in the PSU, so I would need to make another one to test it and that meant that I might as well design a new one just for testing. The 6424E has some tricks up its sleeve which helped a lot w ...
In this blog I'm going to describe using the 6424E to look at various aspects of the working and performance of a switching power supply. The power supply has been designed for the Earth Resistance meter project which hangs out in Open Source Hardware using the ARMP tag. (Just search for ARMP). In order to understand what the scope is up to in this blog, it's necessary to understand the power supply it's testing - so we'll start with that: It's quite an unusual power supply. It has to provid ...
One of the optional extra supplied with the 6424E was the probe positioning system. This is a serious attempt to address the issue of multi channel board probing. I had a quick look on the web and found several companies offering  probe props (ranging from simple plastic things to more clothes-peg like efforts), articulated probe holding arms and even full on powered XY platforms. I found just one system quite like the Pico PPS but it uses truly horrible open frame probes.   Pico's PP ...
The 6424E is a 4 channel screenless mid-range scope with built in signal generator and up to 16 16 channel digital inputs. It’s part of Pico’s 6000 family which is described in some detail here: www.picotech.com/oscilloscope/6000/picoscope-6000-overview The 6424E is not quite the top of the range, they also offer an 8 channel version as well as slower and lower resolution variants. It has a huge built in memory of 4Gs (depending on resolution and function) and a respectable sampli ...
(NB All this is based on personal recollections and dates must not be relied upon too much.  It’s all opinion and my experiences  - if you need facts then check them !)   By now you may have realised that a little mix-up has resulted in the testers for this Road test being sent the wrong scope. Replacements are on the way so normal service will be resumed soon but having primed oneself for starting a road test it’s hard to back down. https://www.element14.com/communi ...
Acting on information from Peter Oakes (thanks) I downloaded the Keysight IO Libraries Suite 17.3 - 976Mbytes, reasonable speed of download here.   Then I installed it - you get offered to install the IO stuff, Command something and BenchVue  - I just selected the IO stuff.   It said that NI VISA was installed and recommended a "side by side" installation of the Keysight stuff as the secondary VISA.   I had a go at removing the NI VISA but it wasn't having it !   So ...
Having read Mark's early experience I thought installing the BenchVue code would be a doddle - the heavy lifting having been done already by someone else.   Not quite !!   I decided to put it on a computer outside mainstream use because I've experienced issues with this kind of software before. I tried on an Intel i3 running Windows 7 wit 8G of RAM.   The initial install went OK with the usual request to agree to a chunk of legal stuff that means nothing to ordinary humans. It ...

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