RoadTest: PICOSCOPE 2204A - USB Oscilloscope
Evaluation Type: Test Equipment
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: I was in the market for a low priced oscilloscope. When researching scopes, I looked at portable scopes, some that have screens and some that dont. The one I was leaning towards was a hantek 6022bl.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: The laptop I was using this product with was a little under powered for it. The scope still worked, but I feel that a new laptop with a usb3 connector would have greatly improved its performance.
First of all I would like to thank Picoscope and Element14 for giving me the opportunity to review this oscilloscope. It is a great product and very well build. The fabrication and accessories are a nice quality and don't feel cheap at all. The device is nice an small package and will fit in your shirt pocket to take it with you of course you will need a laptop to run it.
The highlevel specs on this scope are:
The detailed specs and features can be seen in this datasheet
The PicoScope 2204a came packaged in a small box along with accessories. The accessories were 2 probes, a number of color identifiers, software and quick start guide.
Setup was really easy. Basically you just connect the probes to the scope and the scope to the included USB cable then to your pc. Then all you have to do is install the software and you're ready to start using the scope
Now there are three ports on the scope, two are for the scope channels and the other is a signal generator.
The probes P6060's X10/X1 60 MHz. they come with changeable color identifiers.
The package came with the software included, but I decided to go to the website and download the latest version instead of installing the one that came with it. Once of the best features I found with the software is its the same software for any of the Picoscope models. So once you're familiar with it you can jump right in with any of their scopes when you want to upgrade.
Once I had the software running I started clicking buttons to see what I could do. Other than the obvious scope functions, you have a signal generator, a spectrum analyser, even a serial output reader. This software seem to have a number of features, unfortunately I will only be evaluating the basic ones plus not all of them will even apply to this model.
Picoscope software running
connect the signal generator to channel A
For this test I wanted to see how the spectrum analyzer functionality works.
Time (ns) Channel A (mV) 94720 -174 97280 -174 99840 -174 102400 -349 104960 -349 107520 -174 110080 -349 112640 -349 115200 -349 117760 -349 120320 -349 122880 -349 125440 -349 128000 -349 130560 -349 133120 -349 135680 -349 138240 -349 140800 -349 143360 -349 145920 -349 148480 -349
I was in the market for an oscilloscope and I was mainly looking for a bench top scope, but while researching them, I came across some USB scopes on eBay. The problem was I've read a lot of other evaluation sites that basically said most of them were not performing up to spec. When I was select to evaluate the Picoscope 2204a, I was excited to try a USB scope before committing on a USB or bench scope. After using the 2204a, I would have to say it would be well worth the money. It preformed better than expected, and I would recommend a Picoscope any day. It was great to find out that the same software works with all of their models and you wouldn't have to learn a new interface when you upgrade. Plus the fact that you can write custom software to control the scope, make it an even better value.
Very nice road test report.
You did something I had not yet thought of tackling and that is to use the Java interface to directly access the data from the Picoscope.
Now that I have seen it done, I will have to consider using it for more embedded applications.