Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

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Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby octal » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:14 pm

I'm looking at buying a new Picoscope 2208 (I need the 200MHz). What's your experience with Picoscope?
the 3206A/B is also a 200MHz but the price is not the same, and it seems that is has only more buffer (64Mb instead of 40K).

What experience did you had with those scopes?

regards
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby sqkybeaver » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:51 pm

any usb oscilloscope, has it's limitations due to the speed of the usb port. you will have have a bad time trying to do anything in real time.

for the $1000 you would drop on one of these, you could get a rigol or even a tek, they both have much better response than any usb scope.
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby arhi » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:21 am

usb speed is really not relevant with picoscope as everything is done in hardware and not in software, usb only display data and since you do not need more then 30FPS on your display USB is more then capable so that part is non relevant.

relevant part is that every USB scope is more expensive then the desktop scope with same performance, so unless you really need USB scope, get a desktop one (rigol, gw-instek or something similar is very good and not too expensive).

wrt usb scopes picoscope is first class but I'd rather go with a desktop scope

for e.g. GDS-2202A or GDS-2204A. You can get GDS-2202A for 1000$, that's basically same price as 2208 pico and imo its much better (double the sample rate, way better analog input stage.. you can get logic analyzer option for it .. 2MegaPoints Record Length compared to 40k with pico .. ) (link)
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby octal » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:36 pm

Thank you Arhi for your answer.
I'm more and more looking at the PicoScope 3206B (200MHz, 128M memory). Compared to 200MHz scopes, I checked the Rigol offer, and they sincerly have a very nice 200MHz scope (DS2202), but it's a bit expensive http://www.batronix.com/shop/oscillosco ... S2202.html
I heared excellent feedback about this Rigol thing and I'm very tempted to buy one. Compared to low end scope from Agilent (2xxx series), it has a lot of features provided as (very expensive) options by Agilent (or Tektronix).

So the problem for me is that for 1000 euros the choice is extremely difficult. 1K euros is beyond the high end amateurs/hobbists scopes, but it does not let you buy a trully useful tool for professional use.

From another side, the Agilent have a nice feature: when you buy the low end 70MHz version (in the 2xxx or 100Mhz in 3xxx series), you can later buy upgrades to higher bandwidths (as bandwidth is limited using software in those scopes, the hardware is the same). WIth the Rigol 2xxx series, you are locked to the bandwidth you buy, this is why buying a 200Mhz is mandatory for me since now (I really need only 100Mhz but I'll need the 200MHz for a big project comming if few months this year).

The PicoScope at 1080euros is the only 200MHz scope I found at this price providing a huge buffer, all serial bus decoders, and a nice set of triggers, and an arbitrary wave form generator. What bothers me with this scope is of course the fact that I'm really used to use physical knobs and buttons to quickly change the scope settings (mainly zooming and triggers) at work, and with a windows gui and a mouse I cannot see myself doing things quickly.
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby arhi » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:26 pm

well the 3206B is 50% more expensive then GDS-2202A and I'm pretty sure GDS-2202A has better analog input .. and on GDS-2202A you can easily add digital probes and get LA too while for 3206MSO that's a completely different device (no upgrade possible) .. 3206B has 128MS and that's sweet !!! on the other hand gds has 2GSa/s Real-time Sampling Rate and that's 4 times better sampling rate then pico .. donno .. I'd personally go with gds, 1000$ vs 1500$, better analog part, 2GS vs 500MS .. easy LA add-on
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby erdabyz » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:56 pm

200MHz of analog bandwidth with only 500MS/s? Good luck....

For an O-scope you need to sample at least 5 times faster (and better times 10 times faster) than your bandwidth to be accurate with common signals. If below this limit aliasing could be a problem.

Of course you'd be above Nyquist's limit with only 400MS/s for 200Mhz but the processing chain of an oscilloscope is far from ideal and that's where oversampling is neccesary if you want to be accurate.
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby octal » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:28 am

@erdabyz
I'm aware of the Nyquist's sampling requirements and the (real time) sampling rates problematic. I'm using scopes in my everyday work since more than 1 year (we use mainly 1GHz 4Gs/sec scopes). I know that Picoscopes are limited with their 500MS/s (Almost all scopes advertised at any nn G sample / Second can do that only when a single channel is enabled, this bw is divided by 2, 4 ... when you have 2, 4 or more channels enabled).

When I said I need 200MHz for futre projects it's because I'm going to deal with about 28MHz signals, and this is why I need at least 200MHz (350 or 400 would be better of course but I dont have enough money for such tools).

@Arhi
GDS-2202A looks cool, but the lowest price I found was about 1360 euros (and not 1000 :( ).
Do you have any link to a distributor selling it at this price? (even if it's second hand, I dont matter).

Regards
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby Sleepwalker3 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:22 am

OCtal , I tend to agree with Arhi WRT getting a desktop unit. I haven't looked at your particular Pico model, but when I've looked at them in the past they've been restrictive in terms of voltage levels, etc. and the controls just end up being a pain unless you've got real knobs to twiddle. I know I was pretty keen on getting a USB scope for field work, but when I really thought about it I decided against an expensive USB scope. There are heaps of pretty good low priced scopes around these days, some with really nice wide screens, etc. it's worth having a really good look, because you can get a pretty decent scope for a lot less than you used to be able to. Sure it may not be an Agilent or Tektronix for that price, but still a good useful CRO - Just my two cents worth.

You may find places cheaper elsewhere, I know you can get the DS2202 cheaper in Australia for instance, than the price Batronix sell it for, though Batronix do offer free shipping.

You might also want to checkout Dave's video on hacking the low-end Rigol's for higher bandwidth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnhXfVYWYXE
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby arhi » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:27 am

I didn't look at any shops, I searched google shop and the first link is ebay for 999$ + 15$ shipment (donno how long this link will be valid)

http://compare.ebay.com/like/2611406400 ... si=y&cbt=y
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby arhi » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:31 am

btw, I do not know what will you be doing but you can check out ebay for some old crt tek's ... for ~1000US$ you can find some nice used stuff that's having killer performance ... friend got series 5 tek with storage (analog!!) 500MHz iirc for under 500eur .. that thing has better picture then any dso I ever tried
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby TonyD » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:35 am

I had an earlier model (~6-years ago) and it served me well. Their PC software was pretty basic but it worked
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Re: Picoscope oscilloscopes, any experience ?

Postby arhi » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:46 am

btw I attm have 5 scopes at home and I often use picoscope even when it's worse then almost all of other ones (I have dso quad, that crap is worse then anything) but is best tool I have when I need to probe signals that are not isolated where I can't link scope's ground to the ground of the device, in that case a laptop running on batteries and a picoscope is a perfect solution .. but in normal use cases I never use picoscope..
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