USB-scope specialists put 200 MHz DSO in a hand-held: from under 200 euro

November 11, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
“Bench-top performance in a pocket-sized scope” is the claim of Pico Technology for its PicoScope 2000 Series oscilloscopes that occupy about the area of a passport and are only 19 mm thick.

Connected to, and powered from, a USB port, they offer bandwidths up to 200 MHz and feature an arbitrary waveform generator, yet are almost 80% smaller than the previous generation of PicoScopes. This makes them suitable for engineers on the move to keep in their laptop bag, while offering all the features and performance of a traditional bench-top oscilloscope.

The specifications include a maximum sampling rate of 1 Gsamples/sec, adjustable analogue offset over the full input range, and high-speed USB streaming up to 1 Msamples/sec for waveform captures of up to 100 million samples in length. The built-in signal source can act as a standard signal generator (sine, square, triangle and others) with programmable sweep or as a 12-bit 20 Msamples/sec full-function arbitrary waveform generator.


Despite their small size, the dual channel scopes include a list of features as standard including an FFT spectrum analyser, up to 48K samples of segmented memory for rapid captures, math channels, automatic measurements, colour persistence display mode, advanced digital triggering, mask limit testing and serial decoding (CAN bus, LIN bus, FlexRay, SPI, I 2C, I 2S, UART). A free SDK with example code is available for developing your own applications in languages such as C, Microsoft Visual Basic, National Instruments LabVIEW and MathWorks MATLAB.


The new PicoScope 2000 Series oscilloscopes are available now from Pico distributors worldwide and from Prices range from £159 / $262 / €192 to £599 / $988 / €725 depending on bandwidth and signal generator type. Prices include all hardware and software features and a 5-year warranty.

Pico's Managing Director Alan Tong explains, “We give all of our engineers one afternoon a week to work on a project of their own choosing, and one group decided to see how small they could make an oscilloscope without compromising on performance. They kept the project secret until they had a working prototype complete with a 3D-printed