Scope out Pico's oscilloscopes with PicoScope 6 | Download Product Review - CNET

Scope out Pico's oscilloscopes with PicoScope 6

Manage test instruments with this scientific freeware.

Pico Technologies manufactures oscilloscopes and other scientific instruments that not only interface with PCs but also interact with them, multiplying their capabilities. PicoScope 6 is their free software suite. It's designed to control the company's devices, combining data acquisition with processing power and storage capacity to create a complete desktop testing and measurement lab in one free application.

PicoScope's installer tries to connect to a supported device, which we lacked. However, the program offers numerous demo modes that simulate various devices and modes, which are accessible through the Connect Device wizard on a list that includes a checkbox option to hide demo or show the demos. The oscilloscope interface's toolbars include both familiar controls like back-and-forth arrows and zoom tools as well as many instrument-specific controls. Right-clicking the main window called up a menu letting us quickly configure Channels, X-Axis, Grid Layout, and other settings. A small lightning bolt icon activates the Auto Setup tool, which automatically configures the best parameters for particular uses. Under the Tools menu, we could configure Custom Probes, Math Channels, Reference Waveforms, and access the program's Preferences. We could also configure Alarms, a very handy feature.

Since we lacked one of Pico's instruments, we couldn't collect and run real-time data through PicoScope 6, nor did we have any other company's oscilloscopes to test PicoScope's compatibility. We were impressed with the freeware's capabilities to manage instruments and data, though, and certainly it serves as a cost-free way for researchers, engineers, technicians, and other potential customers to check out Pico's tech, not to mention for Pico to get its tech checked out.

CNET Top 5
Companies Apple could buy with their billions
Apple's sitting on a massive pile of cash. Here are five interesting ways they could spend it.
Play Video

Member Comments