As part of the offering for the PicoScope oscilloscopes, the scope comes with the relevant software to drive the instrument. This software has been developed specifically for the PicoScope range of products.
The software is available for Windows, Mac iOS and also for Linux, although Mac iOS is currently in a properly functioning but Beta release.
The software dedicates a maximum amount of display area to the waveform or waveforms. This ensures that the best view is gained for the waveform and that the maximum amount of data is displayed. This helps those little anomalies that might not be visible on other displays to be seen and the problems highlighted.
The PicoScope software has been developed to provide all the flexibility needed for a host of applications.
Downloading the software
It is particularly easy to download and install the PicoScope software. It is necessary to go to the downloads area of the PicoTechnology website.
Having different versions for Windows Mac iOS, etc and select the required operating system.
For Mac iOS, it is also necessary to install Mono - a link is provided in the download area. Install the Mono (Stable Channel) option.
With Mono installed, it is simply a matter of downloading the PicoScope Mac software - simple!
Windows and Linux versions are equally simple to download and install.
The manuals and brochures are also available to download from this section of the Pico website.
PicoScope software functions
It is very easy to find your way around the software. It has been refined over a number of iterations and it is particularly easy to use. There are quite a few options that can be easily selected.
- Basic controls: The commonly used controls like voltage range selection, timebase, memory depth and channel selection are placed on toolbars so that they can be easily reached.
- Auto setup: There is a useful auto set-up button within the software that analyses the incoming waveform and selects suitable ranges for the timebase, voltage ranges and trigger so that a stable image is displayed. Manual adjustments can then be made.
- Channel options: In order to ensure that the display can display exactly what is needed, there are several channel specific settings available within the PicoScope software which include the settings for custom probes, resolution enhancement, zero offset adjustment and filtering. There are even more advanced options under the tools menu.
- Signal generator: Many PicoScopes have a signal generator - often an arbitrary waveform generator, AWG. This can be easily controlled by this function.
- Zoom and pan controls: It is possible to quickly and easily zoom and pan using this control within the software. In view of the deep memory available on many scopes zoom factors of many million can be obtained. There are specific quick tools for this, or more advanced control is also available.
- Axes controls: The axes can be dragged up and down - this can be used when two waveforms are overlapping - they can be dragged clear of each other so the detail can be seen more clearly.
- Trigger marker: It is often useful to see the level and time position of the trigger event. This can be dragged using the mouse as required.
- Spectrum views: One of the bonuses of using a software based instrument where signal processing is utilised is that it is possible to undertake a variety of measurements. One particularly useful capability of the PicoScopes is that even thought hey are fundamentally oscilloscopes, they can perform spectrum measurements - it is even possible to configure the PicoScope as a dedicated spectrum analyzer.
- Built-in-measurements: The software has a number of built in measurements that can be used very easily. These include items including AC RMS, True RMS, DC average, cycle time, frequency, duty cycle, fall time, rise time and many more. For spectrum measurements it is easy to obtain, frequency of peak, peak amplitude, total power, total harmonic distortion, SINAD, signal to noise ratio and IMD. All of these are particularly useful.