Picoscope PC Oscilloscopes

Pico Technology has been designing and manufacturing an entire line of PC oscilloscopes called PicoScopes since 1991. They certainly make one of the highest quality usb oscilloscopes on the market today. But it’s not just the hardware that sets them apart – it’s the software. A PC oscilloscope without a solid user interface is practically worthless. We’ll take a look at the software package at the heart of these excellent o-scopes. First, let’s take a look at each Picoscope series and determine which is right for your application.

PicoScope 2000 Series

These are Pico Technologies entry level pc oscilloscopes ranging in price from $200 to $1000. These are best for low-frequency signals and come standard with all typical benchtop oscilloscope features. With advances in hardware many new features are now available, but more about that later.

2000 Series oscilloscopes are available in single and dual channel models. Because these are connected via USB, there are no other required power supplies to operate these oscilloscopes. This provides PC oscilloscopes an advantage when space is a premium and portability is necessary.

Even though these are entry level oscilloscopes there are a few models that provide mixed signal inputs. This means you get the 2 standard analog inputs but also sixteen digital input channels. Now you can see analog and digital signals at the same time.

PicoScope 3000 Series

The 3000 series of pc oscilloscopes step up the performance and are extremely cost effective at replacing your benchtop oscilloscope. Available in 2 channel and 4 channel, these units offer 8 bits of resolution and boast 3% accuracy. There are several different models of 3000 series o-scopes each offering more memory, higher sampling rates, and higher bandwidth. As these specs increase so does the price tag, so trade them with your budget.

Like the 2000 series, mixed-series oscilloscopes (MSOs) are also available in the 3000 series. They have the same 2 channel analog input and 16 digital inputs. One added feature of the 3425 is a differential input that allows you to measure signals that are not referenced to ground.

PicoScope 4000 Series

The 4000 series pc scopes are designed to meeting a professional engineer’s everyday requirements. Excellent for everyday use, field-service, IR&D, or scientific use these scopes cost around ~$1200.

PicoScope 5000 Series

This series offers higher speeds and higher resolutions. But what is neat about this is the speed and accuracy are variable. If you can sacrifice some speed, you can pick up several bits of accuracy. If you don’t need the accuracy you can pick up many more megasamples of speed. The resolution ranges from eight to sixteen bits and the speed ranges from 62.5 MS/s to 1 GS/s. Big ranges but the flexibility can be nice in a pinch.

Now that you know a little about the PicoScope oscilloscopes let’s talk about the warranty. Each an every o-scope comes with a 5-year warranty. That can be essential to making sure you have a reliable piece of test equipment for years to come.

PC Oscilloscope Comparison Table

PC Oscilloscope
Channels
Bandwidth
Sampling
Resolution
Buffer Memory
Price
PicoScope 2100 Series125 MHz100 MS/s8 bits24 kS$206
PicoScope 2204210 MHz100 MS/s8 bits8 kS$262
PicoScope 2205225 MHz200 MS/s8 bits16 kS$411
PicoScope 2205 MSO2
16 Digital
25 MHz200 MS/s8 bits16 kS$574
PicoScope 2206250 MHz500 MS/s8 bits24 kS$621
PicoScope 22072100 MHz1 GS/s8 bits32 kS$738
PicoScope 22082200 MHz1 GS/s8 bits40 kS$918
PicoScope 3204A260 MHz500 MS/s8 bits4 MS$610
PicoScope 3205A MSO2
16 Digital
100 MHz500 MS/s8 bits16 MS$1,302
PicoScope 3207A2250 MHz1 GS/s8 bits256 MS$1,554
PicoScope 3207B2250 MHz1 GS/s8 bits512 MS$1,554
PicoScope 3404A460 MHz1 GS/s8 bits4 MS$995
PicoScope 3404B460 MHz1 GS/s8 bits8 MS$1,148
PicoScope 3405A4100 MHz1 GS/s8 bits16 MS$1,378
PicoScope 3405B4100 MHz1 GS/s8 bits32 MS$1,608
PicoScope 3406B4200 MHz1 GS/s8 bits64 MS$1,695
PicoScope 3406B4200 MHz1 GS/s8 bits128 MS$1,907
PicoScope 4424420 MHz80 MS/s12 bits32 MS$1,318
PicoScope 426225 MHz10 MS/s16 bits16 MS$1,236
PicoScope 5242A260 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits16 MS$1,072
PicoScope 5242B260 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits32 MS$1,225
PicoScope 5442A460 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits16 MS$1,455
PicoScope 5442B460 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits32 MS$1,554
PicoScope 5243B2100 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits64 MS$1,532
PicoScope 5443A4100 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits64 MS$1,776
PicoScope 5444A4200 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits256 MS$2,190
PicoScope 5444B4200 MHz1 GS/s8-16 bits512 MS$2,402
PicoScope 6402B4250 MHz1.25 GS/s12 bits256 MS$4,115
PicoScope 6404B4500 MHz1.25 GS/s12 bits1 GS$7,414

If you’ve owned a picoscope and would like to provide us with a review we’d love to post it for others to review.