Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why On Earth Would Anyone Need An 8-Channel Scope?

Analyzing multiple data streams such as audio, ultrasound, vibration, power, and complex timing systems simultaneously is usually a very expensive proposition.  Making simultaneous high-precision measurements on multiple inputs has been the job of expensive, high-end desktop oscilloscopes or PC cards.  Applications like solar power generation, electric vehicle propulsion where high-power, variable frequency electronics is combined with digital control lines are often a challenge to developers.

But European PC-scope specialist Pico Technology has developed a USB3.0-connected oscilloscope with exactly these applications in mind.  The PS4824 features eight analog input channels with 12 bits of vertical resolution, with a useful bandwidth of 20MHz.  Oscilloscopes with multiple inputs and high resolution are also ideal for debugging systems that contain a complex mix of power electronics, clock, digital logic, serial data and analog sensor signals, such as embedded systems in automotive ECUs, industrial equipment, or household appliances.

With a 12-bit A/D converter for each channel, 16 times more resolution is possible over normal scopes.  Housed in a compact 7.5” x 6.7” x 1.6” rugged enclosure, the PicoScope 4824 offers 12-bit resolution, a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, and an integrated 14-bit arbitrary waveform generator.  The new eight-channel PicoScope has the same small footprint as previous two- and four-channel models, and can replace cumbersome full-sized workbench scopes. Like all PicoScopes, the 4824 is small, light, and highly portable.  Despite its high specification, it is entirely powered via USB and does not require a bulky separate adapter.

With eight high-precision, low-noise inputs, a bandwidth of 20MHz, and sensitivity from 2mV/div, this scope is well suited to a broad range of applications such as power supply start sequencing, decode and time-aligned display of related I/O lines, seven‑channel audio signals, three‑phase voltage and current measurements, and multi-phase motor drives. The maximum sampling rate of 80MSa/s, a deep buffer memory of 256MSa and data streaming capabilities enable the scope to measure detailed, useful signal capture over prolonged periods.

The PicoScope 4824 features a comprehensive list of capabilities, such as a 20 MHz FFT spectrum analyzer, segmented memory (for bursts of up to 10,000 captures in less than 30 milliseconds), math channels, automatic measurements, color persistence display mode, split-screen waveform viewing, advanced digital triggering, mask limit testing, and serial decoding (SPI, I2C, I2S, RS-232/UART, CAN, LIN and FlexRay). A free SDK is also included for developing applications in various popular programming languages including C, Visual Basic, LabVIEW and MATLAB with example code.

In addition, the PicoScope 4824 has a built-in low-distortion, 80 MS/s, 14 bit arbitrary waveform generator (AWG), which can be used to emulate missing sensor signals during product development, or to stress test a design over the full intended operating range. Waveforms can be imported from data files or created and modified using the included graphical AWG editor.  A function generator is also included, with sine, square, and triangle waves up to 1 MHz, DC level, white noise, and many more standard waveforms. Combining offset and frequency controls with advanced and spectrum peak hold options makes this a powerful tool for testing amplifier and filter responses.

The included PicoScope software for Windows harnesses the PC’s processing power, storage, graphics and networking capabilities. The user interface is easy for novices to learn, but professional users will find many advanced features including spectrum analysis, persistence display, automatic measurements, advanced triggers and channel math capabilities. Users can download software updates, feature extensions and improvements free of charge.

The PicoScope 4824 is a low cost, portable solution for multiinput applications. Made by Pico Technology, Europe’s award-winning oscilloscope adapter manufacturer, the PicoScope 4824 is supplied complete with two passive x1/x10 probes and a carry case. They are available now with a 5-year warranty starting at $2,013 from Saelig Company, Inc.

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