|News from across our website...|
BitScope Mini owner Tom Owad has come up with a brilliant but simple idea to mount his BitScope on his iMac to create a convenient stand-alone test and measurement workstation.
He explains it all at applefritter.com.
In a nutshell, he's modelled the Smart Port Adapter and created a 3D-printed bracket for it. Using the bracket he's mounted the BitScope to his iMac.
Check out his blog post for full details.
He's also included the OpenSCAD and STL files you'll need to do the same.
The beauty of his design is its simplicity and flexibility. The bracket and adapter is fixed to iMac but the BitScope isn't.
He can simply unplug his BitScope Mini and take it with him when he needs to "go mobile". BitScope itself is so small that it's effectively just a "plug that activates the iMac Oscilloscope".
As you can see, the BitScope Mini, its port adapter and Tom's bracket are barely visible at the bottom of the iMac display but they're in a very convenient location for a test and measurement workstation. Read More...
Following the launch of the new Raspberry Pi 3+ today, we can confirm that this latest exciting addition to the Raspberry Pi family is fully compatible with BitScope Micro, Mini and BitScope Blade Uno, Duo and Quattro.
It can be used in BitScope Blade packs, racks, modules and clusters in the same way as Raspberry Pi 3 but it offers a range of significant improvements including "Gigabit" Ethernet, fast WiFi and support for Power Over Ethernet (PoE).
At first glance there seems to be little to pick between them. In fact, from a physical point of view they are virtually identical.
While this new Raspberry Pi looks great and is, in our humble opinion, very nicely designed and manufactured it's what you can't see that makes all the difference.
To this end we have been testing this new "slice of Pi" for more than month to discover all the nooks and crannies and we're very impressed with the improvements the Raspberry Pi team have managed to pack in. Read More...
Following the news of the BitScope Clusters Project for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and its exhibit at Super Compute 2017 in Denver this week, the response has been huge and very positive.
You don't need to surf online long to see that many people really like the idea.
It's not just the team at LANL.
However, when people see the scale of the BitScope Cluster there is a very frequently asked question:
"Wow, that's amazing...why?"
To answer this we thought it would be a good idea to create a dedicated website.
We'll post news about BitScope Clusters at bitscope.com from time to time but if you want the latest information about this project and the range of new Raspberry Pi Cluster Modules we'll be launching soon, see cluster.bitscope.com.
Lots of people also ask us where they can buy a Cluster Module, now. For answers to both these questions, Read More...
Denver 13th November 2017, BitScope Designs, developer of BitScope Blade, an infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi available globally via element14, has built a large Raspberry Pi cluster for a pilot conceived at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
The 750 node cluster, comprising five rack mount BitScope Cluster Modules, each with 150 x 64 bit quad-core Raspberry Pi ARM boards and integrated network switches is the first step in a program run by the New Mexico Consortium (NMC), an organisation of three NM Universities and led by LANL.
With up to 3,000 cores working together, the cluster gives developers and researchers exclusive time on an inexpensive but highly parallelized platform for test and validation of scalable systems software technologies.
Gary Grider, leader of the High Performance Computing Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and home of the Trinity supercomputer said: “It’s not like you can keep a petascale machine around for R&D work in scalable systems software. The Raspberry Pi modules let developers figure out how to write this software and get it to work reliably without having a dedicated testbed of the same size, which would cost a quarter billion dollars and use 25 megawatts of electricity.”
Looking around for a solution to the challenges facing HPC Systems Software developers, Grider said, he “suddenly realized the Raspberry Pi was an inexpensive computer using 2 to 3 watts that you could use to build a several-thousand-node system large enough to provide a low-cost, low-power testbed to enable this R&D.” Yet he could not find a suitable densely packaged Raspberry Pi system on the market - “it was just people building clusters with Tinker Toys and Legos,” said Grider, a widely respected innovator in the HPC world. So he turned to SICORP of Albuquerque, N.M., to collaborate on a solution.
Bruce Tulloch, CEO of BitScope Designs said: “Having worked with Raspberry Pi for quite some time, I’ve long thought it the ideal candidate to build low-cost cloud and cluster computing solutions for research and education. When SICORP approached us with Gary’s plans, we jumped at the opportunity to prove the concept.”
BitScope Blade turned out to be the perfect platform to build the solution. With its ability to power and mount multiple Raspberry Pi in a compact and robust way, BitScope was able to design, develop and build the entire cluster to LANL’s specifications in less than three months.
Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading said: “This is the first time we’ve seen Raspberry Pi packaged in such a way that clusters of potentially very large size can be built. This project demonstrates that even in the field of advanced supercomputing research, Raspberry Pi can have a fascinating role to play.”
A BitScope Cluster Module is on exhibit at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17) in Denver this week. Read More...
BitScope Blade is the premier solution for building compute cluster and cloud solutions with Raspberry Pi.
We've come a long way over the past few months, working hard behind the scenes and one new development in particular excites us.
If you're in or near Denver next week, come and visit us at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis to learn all about it!
High Performance Computing is not a field in which we've worked much before but that's set to change, thanks to Raspberry Pi, Blade and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
LANL has chosen Raspberry Pi and BitScope to solve some difficult problems they face as world leading developers of high performance super compute clusters like Trinity and Crossroads. They will explain how at the conference. Read More...
In January this year we launched the BitScope Blade range through element14’s distribution channels. It's the latest result in a fruitful strategic alliance between our two companies which has seen element14 and its subsidiaries providing manufacturing and distribution support for popular BitScope products such as BitScope Micro.
Farnell element14 caught up with BitScope CEO Bruce Tulloch to find out more about the BitScope Blade launch, working with element14 and carving out a niche in an increasingly competitive market.
In the interview Bruce introduced BitScope Blade, some typical applications and the intended audience for what is a unique product in industrial computing.
Bruce explained BitScope's motivation for developing Blade in the first place and how working with element14, its resale partners and Embest Technologies has made it possible to have these new products made available to customers around the world.
When asked about BitScope's future plans and products Bruce gave a brief outline of the roadmap alluding to new Blade based BitScope test, measurement and data acquisition systems as well as hub cards, cluster packs, racks and power plates to construct and scale up solutions beyond four Raspberry Pi and BitScope devices to clusters of twenty, forty, eighty or more.
Bruce also talked about future directions in industrial computing and IoT and recent developments that have caught his attention which are driving the R&D direction of the company and our new products releases.
The new model adds the missing link; wireless connectivity. We like it!
This tiny little Pi is a full computer:
All this is the same as the last edition of the original version (V1.3).
The game changer in this one is full support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi!
It's the same wireless connectivity that impressed us at the Raspberry Pi 3 launch this time last year.
Since the Raspberry Pi team told us about it we've been hard at work looking into BitScope solutions.
BitScope is compatible with Raspberry Pi already and since Raspberry Pi 3 we've had wireless support. What's interesting here is the size and price of Pi Zero Wireless combined with the compact BitScope Micro. Read More...
In this post we'll get you started.
In each package is the Blade (Uno, Duo or Quattro), a Quick Start Guide, Product Compliance Statement, a Safety Guide and set of screws, spacers and tabs.
The Raspberry Pi and power supplies are available separately as there is a range of options from which to choose.
Using Blade is as simple is plugging in one or more Raspberry Pi and optionally HAT, CAP or HUB cards, inserting an SD card and connecting power.
There are a few assembly steps first.
Follow through the guide to learn the options available when assembling it including mounting and powering Blade itself and how to install the Raspberry Pis, HATs, cameras, displays and other USB, Network, I2C, SPI, serial and GPIO periperhals and expansion options that are available.
There's a lot more than meets the eye when using Raspberry Pi with BitScope Blade. Read More...
We had an unexpected demonstration of just how robust Raspberry Pi is as a compute platform this week.
If you live downunder where our R&D headquarters are, you will know it's been very hot for quite a while.
It just seems like it will never end↗.
Recently the mercury topped 40℃ (that's 104℉) in Sydney. If the airconditioning fails it's intolerable, not just for humans.
Unfortunately, that's just what happened over the weekend just past in our lab and inside it got very hot.
We had pair of Dell PowerEdge servers for our office and R&D teams in the lab but the overheating got the better of them and after years of service they both died.
Not so the 32 Raspberry Pi in the same lab mounted in Blade Racks and on the wall all powered by Blade boards.
As we wrote a few days ago, we reckon Blade Duo↗ and pair of Raspberry Pi and WDLabs' PiDrive↗ is perfect combination for replacing our old servers. There's nothing like a little dogfooding↗ to prove a product idea so we'll write up what we've done after we've migrated our server set up a new Blade Duo and PiDrive. Read More...
BitScope Blade Reloaded is our latest computing infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi.
BitScope Blade solves the "power and mounting problem" using Raspberry Pi.
Like most single board computers, a common problem using Raspberry Pi is how to power it reliably and how to mount it robustly. It can be especially challenging when additional peripherals such as HATs and USB devices like BitScope are used and/or when you're using more than one.
BitScope Blade solves these problems making it easy to build small stand-alone servers, routers and workstations up to full sized compute clusters, private clouds, industrial IoT, edge and fog computing platforms, industrial data acquisition and control systems. HATs and other peripherals compatible with Raspberry Pi are fully supported and all of them work much more reliably when powered by BitScope Blade.
In this post we explain three typical example applications to show how BitScope Blade solves these and other problems when using Raspberry Pi for industrial, commercial and educational purposes. Read More...
The MAAS PowerHouse Museum↗ has created an interactive exhibit to demonstrate how a Theremin works.
A Theremin is a novel electronic musicial instrument, invented almost by accident by Leon Theremin in the 1920s.
The team at MAAS are advocates of learning by doing and having fun while you do it so they sought to create an entertaining exhibit where visitors play the theremin to hear and see the results while learning how it all works.
MAAS used BitScope Blade Uno together with a Raspberry Pi, BitScope and LCD monitor to build the exibit. Adding some low cost off-the-shelf parts, they had all they needed to build the installation.
We're very impressed with the system the MAAS team built. It was a great example of how to use BitScope, Blade and Raspberry Pi to create an exhibit.
It demonstrated how easy it is to build a reliable, hands-free embedded physical computing platform with Raspberry Pi and BitScope when power and mounting issues are resolved using BitScope Blade.
With the launch of the new BitScope Blade range with our friends at element14 earlier this week, we'll publish more examples like this for use in industrial and related embedded applications. Read More...
A team lead by Prabesh Sapkota and Binod Kandel from the Robotics Association of Nepal↗ in Nepal built a battery backed solar powered weather station at very low cost using BitScope Blade Uno, Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
The result of a series of workshops in STEM created by Michelle Jensen↗ and run with the help of Nepalese enthusiasts, this amazing project showed how BitScope Blade can be used to power electronics and computers in remote areas without access to reliable power.
Weather forecasting in Nepal is difficult because there is no national weather service and the high mountains produce highly variable conditions within just a few kilometers. You need your own weather station but they're not cheap.
They solved the problem with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and a bunch of sensors to build a system which was low cost, reliable, easy to maintain, operates on solar power and uses readily available motorcycle batteries for when the sun does not shine.
Powering the entire project was the problem. BitScope Blade Uno offered the perfect solution, powering the Raspberry Pi directly and the Arduino and sensors via one of its auxiliary power ports.
It's been running successfully 24x7 since September. As project leader Prabesh said, "The Weather Station would not be possible without the Blade. It made the whole project for us." Read More...
BitScope Blade Reloaded is our latest infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi.
It allows Raspberry Pi to be used to build reliable and scalable computing solutions in industry, commerce and education.
The new models expand the features and capabilities of the original adding support for camera and display connections and full access to Raspberry Pi I/O including I2C, SPI, UARTs and GPIO via the Blade HUB connector underneath each Pi.
Like the original, Blade Reloaded boards are very accommodating, accepting DC power from 9V to 48V, and they can be used with the same wide range of rack, power and mounting solutions.
Whether it's a stand-alone solar powered weather station in a remote area, a multi-channel test, measurement and data acquisition system for factory automation, or a full scale compute cluster with 40 nodes or more, BitScope Blade makes it possible. Read More...
We had a ball exhibiting BitScope Mini, BitScope Micro, BitScope Blade and full range of accessories at the recent Sydney Mini Maker Faire held at the MAAS Powerhouse Museum in Sydney last weekend.
During the course of the faire we were visited by makers, students, children and their parents, teachers and engineers.
We were impressed with how engaged visitors were with many expressing a keen interest in how electronics and computing can be used together to solve problems.
We used Raspberry Pi 3 to demonstrate BitScopes in various configuration as well as part of the Blade exhibits themselves.
We used our low cost compute platform built with Blade Uno and Raspberry Pi 3 to create workstations with which visitors could interract and control BitScope Micro and BitScope Mini scopes connected to various real-time exhibits.
From guitar playing to mixed signal electronic circuits on breadboards and cluster of Raspberry Pi crunching the numbers, we did our best to cover the full range of BitScope products and software.
Thanks also to our friends at element14 for helping with materials and offering three Raspberry Pi Starter Kits to match three BitScope Micro which we're giving away to three lucky visitors next week. Read More...
Bruce was invited to present a seminar about cluster and physical computing with BitScope Blade and Raspberry Pi at the Sydney Linux User Group meet up at Google last Friday. It was a good talk followed by a solid Q&A session.
Bruce introduced BitScope Designs and our history in test, measurement and mixed signal data acquisition solutions.
The first half of this seminar explains what BitScope Blade is, where it came from and how to use it to build low cost physical & cluster computing solutions.
Bruce then presented a wide range of computing solutions that can be built with Raspberry Pi and BitScope Blade.
Our thanks to the Sydney Linux User Group for the invitation to speak and Google Sydney for hosting the event. If you're in Sydney (which does not always look like this but it does at the moment due to Vivid :) and you're interested in Linux, open source software or systems and solutions like the ones we presented here, we recommend you join this user group. Read More...
It was an impressive example of eating your own dog food and Raspberry Pi 3 rose to the challenge for quite a while.
Check out Raspberry Pi's latest blog to learn all the details but suffice to say we think Raspberry Pi 2 and now Pi 3 are an excellent choice for building servers.
Using a cheap 4-port switch and HDD extracted from a Bruce's ultrabook (when he upgraded it to use an SSD), we've run our DHCP, DNS, WiFi AP and local file servers on these two Raspberry Pi 2 with a wall mounted Duo Pi. It's been running since September without a single crash. The key to its reliability is the stability of the power supply provided by the Duo Pi and the fact that we run the main server from the HDD (and not the SD card which boots the server only). Read More...
Raspberry Pi Model 3 unboxed & reviewed with Duo Pi
Check it out his short video to learn the key differences between Pi3 and Pi2. You can also learn how he used a Duo Pi to power and mount both side by side and connected the Pi3 to the TV in his hotel room.
Blade is BitScope's industrial power and mounting solution for Raspberry Pi.
Originally designed with Raspberry Pi 2 in mind, Blade systems can be built using either model. The built-in wireless connectivity in the new Pi3 means that in many cases wired Ethernet connections are not required and the faster 64-bit quad core CPU means more powerful compute clusters and private cloud platforms can be built using Blade Packs. Read More...
It's hard to spot the difference just looking at it but this is new Raspberry Pi 3.
It's the latest iteration of Raspberry Pi in the popular "Model B" form factor and we think it's somewhat of a game changer for IoT and physical computing !
It combines a quad-core 64 bit CPU with built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) without changing anything else making it the perfect upgrade for BitScope Blade.
No longer do you need to use wired network connections or USB dongles to access WiFi networks and devices.
Connect with Bluetooth devices and crunch the numbers with a performance not seen before with Raspberry Pi. All the other connectivity options are still there; 4 x USB2 ports, Ethernet and J8 SPI, GPIO and serial I/O.
Build wirelessly connected IoT test, measurement and data acquisition systems with Raspberry Pi 3 and BitScope Micro or Mini or large compute clusters or private cloud platforms without network switches or wiring with BitScope Blade. In one small package, Raspberry Pi 3 makes all these things possible. Read More...
We love the Raspberry Pi and have long supported it to build a low cost oscilloscope solution with BitScope.
BitScope is also used for a wide range of test and measurement purposes beyond just as an oscilloscope and we're often asked for low cost scalable solutions for data acquisition, sensing and control.
It made sense to see if we could leverage Raspberry Pi for all this as well. Turns out we can, so we created BitScope Blade!
We've long offered network connected T&M solutions like BS445 but BitScope Blade makes these models redundant.
Instead we can now offer comprehensive industrial quality, highly reliable solutions using Raspberry Pi. You can build very flexible and scalable test, measurement and data acquisition systems using low cost BitScope Micro and BitScope Mini and BitScope Blade. It works with other solutions too, like Sense HAT.
It doesn't end there. BitScope Blade is also well suited for stand-alone servers and workstations, cluster computing and cloud hosting infrastructure, remote sensing, general physical computing and education. Read More...
We bootstrapped the new Raspberry Pi LCD like everyone else but with a twist, we wall mounted it and powered it with a 12V battery (using BitScope Blade).
We were keen to see what the display looked like and to check that our software and hardware worked with it. We are pleased to report it looks fantastic and everything just works !
The touchscreen also works very well with BitScope Software, no keyboard is required! You can of course plug in a keyboard and mouse if you want to.
The Raspberry Pi, touchscreen display and up to four BitScope Micro can all be powered from a 9V to 48V source via the soon to be released BitScope Blade DuoPi power board for Raspberry Pi.
It's the perfect stand alone test, measurement and data acquisition system at an amazingly low price. Read More...
Calling teachers, students and makers !
This year, we're working with Ozberry and Pimoroni to showcase some projects for Raspberry Pi, BitScope and Explorer and Piano HAT among others.
We will have our new BitScope Blade Raspberry Pi Cluster Computing solution on display, BitScope Micro Ports, Audio Port and Sonic Pi and even Carrie Anne's Bananna Beat Box for Raspberry Pi.
Also on the stand will be projects built with PiRack and an object avoiding robot with a Raspberry Pi V2 running the brand new Windows 10 for IoT.
We'll have some give aways from element14 Australia and we welcome your questions and feedback on the Ozberry stand.
We're keen to hear from teachers, students and others interested in STEM, coding and electronics. Read More...
If you're in Sydney next week, come and see Carrie Anne Philbin at a seminar and sample a Picademy workshop hosted at Thinkspace at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Wednesday August 5th!
Also presenting will be Nicky Ringland, one of the founders of Grok Learning and Outreach Officer for the National Computer Science School.
We've arranged this seminar with the help of MAAS, element14 and many others to present some key ideas in STEM education and physical computing using Raspberry Pi and partner products such as BitScope Blade and Pimoroni Explorer HAT. Read More...
If you're in Hannover this weekend, come and see us at stand 85 at the Hannover Maker Faire !
Karl-Ludwig from Butte Verlag will present a session about Electronic measurement with Raspberry Pi and BitScope Micro.
He'll be explaining how to get the most from BitScope Micro & Raspberry Pi with examples including an IR controlled model elevator and some fault finding examples with electronic circuits.
We'll also be showing our new low cost Micro Snap prototype boards designed for BitScope Micro. They're ideal for all sorts of prototyping for makers working in educational and industrial fields.
We're also very excited to be exhibiting BitScope Blade, our new industrial power and rack mount system for physical computing using Raspberry Pi and BitScope Micro. You can use it to build network test, measurement and data acquisition solutions that scale to 32 analog and 96 logic channels with just 4 Raspberry Pi and 16 BitScope Micro! We'll have working prototypes on the stand. Read More...
We've released the first beta update in the development branch ahead of BitScope DSO version 3.0.
We have added new features and fixed many bugs. The time has come to make the new version available for beta testing.
We want you to have the latest software for BitScope as soon as possible. This means releasing the new version it while it's still in development.
To make this easy we're using trello (just like we do for technical support) allowing you to track the development, download the latest updates and feedback bug reports and feature requests.
This new software fixes bugs reported in earlier versions and adds new features but it may also have some new bugs.
We recommend it if you have any issues using older versions or you want to have the latest features. Read More...
We're often asked what's required to get started with BitScope, so we've posted this blog to answer the question.
Everything you need to use BitScope is included in the box and you can download the software free of charge.
We aim to get you up and running quickly so you can start using BitScope to make measurements straight away.
That's why we include a printed Quick Start Guide to show you the first out of box steps. Simply plug in your BitScope and you're good to go. All you need is to download, install and run the software.
For most PCs and embedded computer (including Raspberry Pi) it just works but if you run into trouble help is at hand.
We've published an Online Quick Start Guide to answer the common questions and we have comprehensive technical support available online which we've recently enhanced with Trello Boards. For more details, read on...
Since launching BitScope Micro with element14 late last year we now have many more customers than we used to!
To ensure we can continue to meet your needs, we looked for a new system we could use to extend our email and online support to help answer all your questions.
The platform we've chosen is Trello which we're using to build a number of interactive BitScope Support Boards.
Each BitScope Support Board presents lists of support cards.
Each card answers a question and we update cards regularly based on your sales & support questions and any feedback you want to leave us.
We will new post cards on topics about which we receive the most enquiries.
Our first board is for general technical support and help getting started with BitScope. We will be publishing more soon for developers, bugs & features.
We'll post updates soon (published via the board) and we welcome your feedback. Read More...
Any oscilloscope probe with 1:1, 10:1 or other attenuation ratio can be used. It supports active differential, current or any other probe which is BNC terminated and designed for an oscilloscope.
However, Tom Thumb is not just for test and measuremenent with a single probe.
Its compact in-line design with built-in header connectivity for all of BitScope's I/O makes it well suited to building data acquisition and automated test systems.
BitScope Micro itself is only 20cm wide. It's ideal to use as a single channel slice in a larger test and measurement system. We designed Tom Thumb to make it easy to build very low cost large scale systems with BNC connectivity using Raspberry Pi (and its four USB ports) together with BitScope Micro. Read More...
Recently we partnered with element14 as our global distributor so our products could be made available worldwide.
Since then we've added more resellers and created a resale reference page to list all our resellers around the world.
You can see the current reseller list here.
Of course, if you are a reseller of similar products or serve the maker, education or industrial markets and you would like to stock our products we would love to hear from you! Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Read More...
Raspberry Pi is probably the world's most popular credit card sized ARM computer.
We think it will become even more so now that Version 2 has been released!
BitScope has long been cross-platform.
It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux on most x86 computers but a few years ago we discovered Raspberry Pi.
It's an ARM based computer so we set about adding ARM support to our range of BitScope software solutions.
More recently, many people have asked if BitScope is compatible with other ARM based computers. In principle there is no reason why not. The only requirement is that the board supports a hard float edition of Linux and an ARM core capable of supporting the ARM11 instruction set. Read More...
The answer is an unequivocal yes !
Thanks to our friends at element14 we managed to get our hands on the brand new Raspberry Pi within 24 hours of its release so we set about bootstrapping it to see if it works with BitScope Micro.
It's a brilliant upgrade to a fantastic little computer and bootstrapping it could not be easier. Bruce also shows how easy it is to get BitScope Micro connected and up and running using existing BitScope software (built for the older models) on the new Pi. The most impressive thing about it is that everything just works ! Read More...
From what we can see this new model addresses the only remaining issue for Raspberry Pi; its performance when running a full desktop environment or other memory and/or cache intensive purposes.
Last year we analyzed all this in quite some detail and we managed to extract a significant performance boost from the original Raspberry Pi simply by changing how we did things in software; we reduced our reliance the BCM2835's limited L1 and L2 caches and we optimized how we used the X server. We expect the BCM2836 at the heart of this model will provide a provide quite a boost !
For his part, Karl-Ludwig will explain what BitScope Micro is and how to set it up with Raspberry Pi. Delegates will see what's possible using this mixed signal scope for Raspberry Pi with some demonstrations using entry level electronic circuits such as a clock generators and amplifiers. Other experiments will cover additional features of BitScope Micro such as the built-in waveform generator, logic analyzer and spectrum analyzer.
Karl-Ludwig will showcase a new mixed signal education lab for BitScope Micro too. Read More...
This is a limited time offer for the Christmas New Year period. It's shipped from their UK warehouse and they'll ship it anywhere. Farnell have amazing order turn-around but unless you're in the UK pre-Christmas delivery is unlikely.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, friends and partners for an amazing 2014. Farnell and most of our other partners will be open for new orders over the Christmas New Year period. We will be too but after tomorrow (Christmas Eve) we will not be despatching new orders until Tuesday December 30th.
We're looking forward to a big year in 2015 with the release of some exciting new accessories for BitScope Micro, a open source programming platform for Raspberry Pi and a range of new test & measurement projects to build.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
Both connection standards are very similar and each supports a wide range of device and circuit connection choices.
However, they are not identical.
In addition to physical differences they are functionally different. The Diagnostic Port is effectively a subset of Smart Port which is aimed at Test & Measurement whereas the Smart Port is more general purpose.
In all cases it's possible to connect the supplied mixed signal test clips to the analog and logic inputs. The differences appear in how to connect waveform and clock generator outputs, how to connect standard oscilloscope probes and whether BitScope can be used to power and control a circuit or device under test. Read More...
It connects standard oscilloscope probes.
Any passive probe with 1:1, 10:1 or other attenuation ratios can be used. It supports active differential, current or any other type of probe which is BNC terminated and designed for a standard oscilloscope.
MP01 is not just for oscilloscope probes. It also allows the use of BNC coaxial cables for connection with other lab equipment and it connects the logic inputs and waveform and clock generator outputs via a 16-pin connector between the BNC sockets.
When used with MP01 it means BitScope Micro can be configured and used in many different ways; as a compact dual channel digital storage oscilloscope, an 8 channel logic analyzer, a mixed signal data acquisition system, a waveform and/or clock generator, a configurable automated test system or various combinations of these. Read More...
So here it is, no doubt you've seen it, being all over the interweb the past few days, starting here.
We received a few today to check them out for compatibility with BitScope Micro and as expected, it performed brilliantly!
At $ 20 Eben and James have pulled a proverbial rabbit out of the HAT.
This tiny little piece of Pi is from our point of view the perfect platform for embedded hardware designs conforming to the HAT specification.
It's one step up from the Pi Compute Module and a great addition to the Raspberry Pi family but its very limited connectivity (one USB port only) is likely to be a problem in many applications.
Hardly a problem though because there's the Raspberry Pi Model B+ with four USB ports and Ethernet built-in!
So we thought we'd give it the A+ go and see if it works the same as the B and B+. Read More...
Part 3 is now available in this month's MagPi magazine so we thought it timely to provide a roundup of the first three installments. We'll add to this post as more are published!
He provides a very good beginner level introduction to using an oscilloscope with BitScope DSO which is free for BitScope Micro on Raspberry Pi.
In the following installments Karl-Ludwig explains in more detail how to make DC and AC voltage measurements and also how to measure period and frequency.
Karl-Ludwig then explains how to use the waveform generator to find a design fault in a typical pre-amplifier circuit.
electronica runs from today, Tuesday November 11th to Friday 14th in Munich, Germany. You will find BitScope Micro with Raspberry Pi on the Farnell element14 stand in Hall A5 at Stand 558.
We created these slides for electronica (opens in a new tab) explaining the main features of BitScope Micro when used with Raspberry Pi.
We invite you to review them; simply click the electronica logo to move the next page or the Farnell logo to return to the index page.
If you cannot make the show have a look at the BitScope Micro Video Tutorial for a comprehensive 12 episode explanation of all things BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi from an unboxing to circuit analysis! Read More...
He introduced BitScope Micro and demonstrated how it can be used with Raspberry Pi and some other systems to perform multi-channel mixed signal test and measurement.
Starting with an unboxing he showed how to set up and use the software and how to connect with other lab equipment, how use the waveform generator to learn how oscilloscopes work and even what power line hum looks like simply by putting his finger on an oscilloscope probe.
Using a tiny mixed signal circuit he explained how BitScope Micro can enhance an understanding of electronic circuits and mixed signal systems and he explained how to program BitScope in Python and other languages.
We've since repackaged this hour long webinar as a 12 episode video tutorial for BitScope Micro! Read More...
electronica runs November 11th to Friday 14th in Munich Germany.
You will find Farnell element14 in Hall A5 at Stand 558 where they will be demonstrating BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi with product specialists on hand to answer your questions.
BitScope is in good company; check out this video for a sneak preview of the latest technologies and solutions on display.
Showcased will be a range of new development kits and production components along side BitScope Micro to inspire and support engineers from design through to production. Read More...
The webinar will be posted soon for those who mised it but the slides we used are available for viewing now.
During the webinar Bruce Tulloch unboxed and introduced a new BitScope Micro and explained how it works and what it can do.
Most importantly he showed "proof of life"; how to get up and running with BitScope Micro straight out of the box without any external circuits or equipment required.
He demonstrated many other things including how to connect BitScope Micro to BNC terminated oscilloscope probes, how to program BitScope and how to access it remotely via a network using a Raspberry Pi as a network gateway capabable of powering and connecting with up to four BitScope Micros at once! Read More...
Bruce Tulloch and Norman Jackson will introduce BitScope Micro and explain how it works and what it can do. They will demonstrate how it can be used with Raspberry Pi to perform multi-channel mixed signal test, measurement and data acquisition.
Using a simple mixed signal circuit they will explain how BitScope can enhance one's understanding of electronic circuits and mixed signal systems. Read More...
If you're wondering what BitScope Micro is, check out this video where BitScope's Managing Director, Bruce Tulloch, unboxes a brand new BitScope Micro and explains the key features and operation with Raspberry Pi.
When we first launched BitScope Micro we did not anticipate just how popular it would become with Pi enthusiasts, makers and students around the world.
We've had some difficulty keeping up with demand so we're pleased to be able to work with element14 to ensure BitScope Micro will always be readily available.
Premier Farnell operate element14 in 36 countries and are a global leader in high service distribution of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, production, maintenance and repair. Read More...
This interface defines a standard way to access all BitScope's analog and digital signal inputs, outputs, power, ground and control signals. Most models also include waveform and clock outputs.
The BitScope Micro Diagnostic Port is an IDC-10 based 10-pin alternative to Smart Port.
Whereas the Smart Port interface is designed for complete system I/O, the Micro Port is designed for compact multi-function mixed signal test & measurement, automated testing and passive signal monitoring. It provides most the functionality of the Smart Port but omits the power and dedicated control lines. Instead it offers reassignable signal routing and a sensible pin layout to enable access to all of BitScope's analog and digital inputs, waveform and clock generators for a wide range of test, measurement and data acquisition applications. Read More...
August MagPi is out now with Karl-Ludwig's second installment on electronic measurement with BitScope Micro.
Now this is an interesting and very welcome development!
HATs are like Arduino shields in the sense they define a standard for hardware and electrical connectivity for accessories and add-on boards designed for Raspberry Pi B+.
The HAT specification has been cleverly designed to be backward compatible with existing Pi peripherals but that's not the best of it. It also defines two dedicated signals (ID_SD & ID_SC) on the GPIO header reserved for an I2C EEPROM which defines configuration information for the attached hardware.
Just like USB, PCI and SCSI before it, it means peripheral manufacturers can tell Linux on the Pi how they are to be configured and used.
We'll certainly be taking a very close look at this new development and for anyone considering building a HAT, we're sure you will find BitScope Micro an invaluable development and diagnostic tool! Which brings us to BitScope Micro and Karl-Ludwig's second installment in his series about how to get the best from BitScope and Raspberry Pi. In this issue you'll learn how make simple voltage measurements and check if a NE555 timer circuit is working correctly. Read More...
We demonstrated that one Raspberry Pi B+ can happily power and run up to four BitScopes without problems !
We're very impressed with Raspberry Pi B+.
We love the form-factor, mounting holes, Micro-SD card and 4 x USB. It's an excellent evolutionary step for Raspberry Pi and a very useful one for BitScope!
We've tested BitScope Micro and BS10 in all sorts of combinations. All of them work brilliantly. Pictured here is a pair of BS05 and BS10 where one of the BS10 units is also powering an electronics circuit.
The Raspberry Pi B+ is running four instances of BitScope DSO where each instance is talking to its own BitScope. We've pulled a little trick to do this; B+ has four USB ports so we had to disconnect the keyboard/mouse to connect the fourth BitScope.
The point is that we proved that four BitScopes can be used with one Raspberry Pi B+. In fact, accessed via a network, either using X or VNC or BitScope Server, you can create a remote mixed signal test and measurement system within minutes.
For example, four BS10U provides access to 8 analog and 32 logic channels and 4 waveform generator outputs via one Raspberry Pi B+. All you need is a LAN connection and 5V USB power supply! Read More...
We understand for many people its better to be able to buy locally, especially in countries that levy VAT or sales tax on import.
As we gear up BitScope Micro production we are establishing local distribution in the UK & EU.
First cab off the rank, Pimoroni!
They keep local stock and ship all BitScope Micro orders next business day in the UK.
Pimoroni's pricing includes VAT and shipping is free for UK customers.
They will ship elsewhere in the EU too but we will have resellers in Germany, France and elsewhere soon so you might like to wait a month or so if you want to buy locally.
We rather like Pimoroni's colourful approach to all things Raspberry Pi and we got talking to them recently. Pimoroni is famous for the colourful Pibow Case designed for Raspberry Pi and Picade arcade cabinet and we've got a few things planned for BitScope Micro with PiBow coming soon!
We've added information about new features in the current release including keyboard short-cuts to scroll, zoom and snap to edge, inter-channel time measurement and packet inspector.
We've also started publishing icons on the BitScope Logic and other software application home pages to make it easier to find the user guides for each application (hat tip to Meandering Pi!).
The manuals are included in each release package too of course so you'll have a local copy when you install the software but the online browseable versions may contain more up to date information if you choose to use a development or beta edition.
Updates for BitScope Logic itself are coming soon too. These changes are to allow it to be used with BitScope Micro on any platform and any BitScope on the Raspberry Pi. You can already download beta editions for this but they may have some bugs! Read More...
In a nutshell, they have similar features but quite different performance, specifications and physical characteristics.
BitScope Micro is a low cost mixed signal test and measurement system configured as a go anywhere "probe" housed in a translucent heat-shrink tube.
It's tiny, light weight (12g) and water resistant - ideal to take anywhere.
BitScope Mini on the other hand is a small but complete mixed signal system which is a full superset of BitScope Micro. It is housed in a robust extruded alumium case, can provide power, control and I/O signals to connected systems and has some more advanced features and higher performance. Read More...
Lots of people have asked us what's included with BitScope Micro. The simple answer is everything to get started except Raspberry Pi!
BitScope Micro itself is tiny so needless to say the package is pretty small too. We're shipping these little guys out as fast as we can!
All pending express orders have shipped and are now turning around in 24 hours. We hope to have all remaining priority orders shipped before Easter.
We continue to ask that you check your order history for the latest shipping news instead of emailing us about your order. Please bear with us for the next week or so, we've never dealt with such high demand before! Read More...
The response has been huge!
Web traffic has been much higher than anticipated so our apologies if we're a little slow online.
Demand for the Micro is also very strong but we do have stock and we're processing orders ASAP.
We ask that you check your order history for the latest shipping news instead of emailing at the moment.
We will try to answer every email as quickly as possible but we're a little run off our feet just now :)
For more shipping information please see the Q & A section.
We've also received and read a lot pre-sales questions about BitScope Micro so we thought instead of trying tweet, email or comment everywhere, we'd post this short Q&A and blog instead. Read More...
We're very pleased to announce BitScope Micro our full feature Mixed Signal Scope in a Probe!
We were completely blown away by the response!
It seems a lot of people want a scope for Raspberry Pi and we knew BS10 was an ideal starting point. It's small, low power, high performance and USB powered.
However, for many people BS10 has more than they need and we've been asked frequently if we could make an even smaller BitScope for the Pi. Enter BitScope Micro! This is our smallest, most cost effective model yet but it's still a full feature BitScope. It's an Oscilloscope, Logic Analyzer, Waveform & Clock generator and Spectrum Analyzer all configured as a tiny light weight water resistant mixed signal probe! Read More...
We discussed in general terms about how BitScope can bridge the gap between the online virtual and physical worlds. This time we drilled down into the detail of what this means in practice.
We demonstrated BitScope being used for test, measurement and data acquisition and how this can be used in education, especially when learning how to program physical computing environments like Raspberry Pi and Arduino or when working with electronic circuits. Read More...
We've published the updated API and programming guide for the BitScope Library, Version 2. You can read it online or download a hyperlinked PDF copy for printing here. Library version 2.1 is coming soon with a number of new API calls in support of the waveform generator in BS10, the attenuations ranges of the differential probe and bug fixes for some mixed and logic capture modes on some BitScope models.
One of the things that sets BitScope apart from other PC based test, measurement and data acquisitions systems is interactive software which displays live mixed signal waveforms in real-time running on a wide variety of computers and embedded systems.
Late last year we started porting our software to Raspberry Pi.
We love the Pi and while it's not the fastest little computer on the planet, turns out it's more powerful than you might think, if used correctly. What do we mean by "used correctly"?
In a nutshell we mean to run code optimized for efficient execution on a system with a modest (by today's standards) CPU, FPU and L1/L2 caches, and a partially accelerated X server. This is not to say Raspberry Pi does not have very powerful graphics (it does!) or that it can't do some pretty good number crunching (it can!) but our aim is to leverage what is available in a cross-platform sense without resorting to writing customized GPU code. Read More...
BS10U has become our most popular model with schools, clubs and universities. We have always offered discounts for volume and group orders but until recently these discounts were available via institutional purchase or for resale only.
By popular request, we've now integrated our retail discount list pricing into the online store so you can place a bulk order or combine one order with some friends to access all available discounts.
If you are fitting out a lab or setting up an electronics or robotics club they can make quite a difference. For most models, discounts start for orders of two or more units. The only requirement is that we can despatch it as one consignment to one address in the name of one person, company or institution direct from our factory.
Accompanying the BitScope DSO V2.6 production release we've started migrating to a new documentation publication system.
Our aim is to make documentation available in a continuous and accessible way so you can read it online, download it or print it for reading later. The first example is the official BitScope DSO User Guide. We plan to release all our user guides, API and technical specification documents this way soon.
At the top right of each document page you will find a Download menu or button from where you can grab a PDF version for offline reading or printing. Some documents also allow printing or saving to other formats such as Word and our documentation download page still has the list of PDF copies for convenient download as well.
For those who are interested, we're making use of Google Docs for this and following our website upgrade late late last year we're now able to embed it all directly so you can bookmark them.
BitScope DSO Version 2.6 Production Release
The beta program is complete and BitScope DSO Production Version 2.6 is now available for download!
We recommend BitScope users upgrade from 2.5 and earlier. It is a production release so it never expires and it's available now for Windows 8, 7 and XP, Mac OS X (10.6 & later), Intel Linux based on Debian or Fedora and ARM (Hard Float) Linux including Raspbian.
This version is compatible with all 22 supported BitScope models and offers significantly improved performance when used with any BitScope model, especially with lower powered computers like Raspberry Pi but similar gains are available for all platforms.
For example, DSO is now quite usable with older Pentium-II and early Celeron PCs and Macs.
On more modern systems DSO is now much faster with higher display frame rates and smoother digital phosphor operation even when using older BitScopes or connecting via slower networks. Read More...
Website hosting outage restored.
So it always seems to be this time of year! Our apologies for the recent 6 hour website outage due to a connectivity problem at our hosting provider. Now restored and databases updated. We're back on deck next week!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Our thanks to all our customers for your support during 2013! Our offices and warehouse will be closed from today until January 6th. The next shipment date for orders received during the break is January 7th. We have some new and exciting developments for BitScope in store in 2014 so stay tuned and see you then!
Recently we announced BitScope Server, a light weight server for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and ARM (Raspberry Pi) that makes any BitScope available via IP based networks, just like our network models.
In a nutshell it means any BitScope, whether it has built-in networking like BS445N or is a USB connected model like BS10 can now be accessed via a network when connected to a host running the server (including Raspberry Pi).
The server supports 22 BitScope Models, is compatible with existing BitScope software and libraries and comes with built-in device simulators for offline use. It can serve network BitScopes (like Sydney) or work as a proxy for other instances of itself allowing BitScopes connected to private networks to be published on the Internet (via a gateway) without exposing the private network.
Today we've published packages for Linux and Raspberry Pi. The server is in development so these beta packages may have bugs but our testing has been successful so far. Read More...
We have long supported direct network access for remote data acquisition and diagnostic work with our network BitScope models such as BS325N or BS445N. It's how the SYDNEY online demo works across the Internet.
These models can be used remotely without the need for a server because they are LAN connected devices that use the UDP/IP stack to transport BitScope Packets directly between BitScope and the host. They can do this because they have a built-in LAN Interface Adapter (called LIA).
However, we have received many requests to do the same thing with USB BitScopes so in a recent blog post we demonstrated how to connect USB BitScope models like BitScope Mini to a network using tools such as VNC and X.
But we wanted more flexibility so we've replicated the functionality of our Network BitScope models via a new server that can run on any host, even the PC on which the BitScope software is run. The result is BitScope Server.
BitScope DSO updated for Server Compatibility
DSO has been updated for compatibility with the forthcoming BitScope Server and the Raspberry Pi based BitScope Server demo system. Various bug fixes have been applied and additional connection help added to the SETUP dialog to help first time users get up and running and support for newer firmware revisions has been added. This update applies to all platforms; Windows, Linux, Max OS X and Raspbian. Build ID DL06B.
It was an event for technology companies working in the education sector to meet with research, education and multinational corporations to explore new online and interactive educational solutions.
We presented ideas from BitScope Ed.
You can listen to our four minute pitch on the subject of project based interactive learning in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, also known as STEM.
Our focus is on using computer programming as a facilitating platform for problem solving projects built around low cost electronics such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Read More...
Thinkspace offers "learn by making" workshops in applied arts and sciences with various programs designed for school children, families, teachers, professionals and people with a disability. Thinkspace learning experiences are engaging, interactive and 100% hands-on.
They are very good examples of project based learning in action. Read More...
We were blown away by the popularity of the faire. Over 3000 people visited more than 50 exhibits, from robots to rockets to 3D printing and of course lots of Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other maker electronic projects.
We were there to exhibit BitScope Ed and seek feedback from visitors, teachers and other exhibitors about the idea of combining programming, electronics and BitScope.
We wanted to know if others agree that an education in electronics and programming can be very engaging and a lot of fun with low cost systems like Raspberry Pi or Arduino, some electronic components, prototyping boards and BitScope.
It seems they do! Read More...
BitScope Ed at the Sydney Mini Maker Faire!
If you are in Sydney this Sunday, come on down to the Powerhouse Museum and see us at the Sydney Maker Faire! We will be exhibiting BitScope Ed our educational project focused on making learning programming and electronics accessible and fun using BitScope. Read More...
The BitScope Programming Library allows anyone to program USB or Network BitScopes with ease.
Version 2.0 of this library is now in beta release for several platforms including Linux and Raspberry Pi.
Alpha releases are also available for Windows and Mac OS X. The latter is available as a framework.
Version 2.0 supersedes production releases up to and including V1.5. It is recommended for new projects.
The API has changed in some small ways but migrating to the new library should not be difficult in most cases.
To make the process as easy as possible the library package comes with detailed programming examples written in C/C++, Python and Pascal. Read More...
BitScope DSO, Logic, Chart, Meter and Library updated
Changes in the Linux kernel that have appeared in recent editions of Ubuntu and Fedora caused problems for these applications when used with some model USB BitScopes. These included BS300, BS310, BS50 and some BS1xx models. This update addresses these issues. If you use Ubuntu or Fedora and run into trouble with one of these models please upgrade to the latest production release. Windows, Mac and Raspberry Pi are unaffected.
As with any digital scope, quantization noise is produced when converting analog signals to their digital form.
However, unlike some low cost scopes this is generally not a problem with BitScope because the noise can be minimized using its software controlled analog attenuators and prescalers. These ensure the full A/D convertor span is always used.
The remaining quantization noise is very low when compared to the digitized signal and cannot be seen on the display. This animation shows a 100mV sine wave at some varying attenuation and prescale values on BS325.
It's the same signal in each case but the resolution of the waveform shown changes dramatically as the ranges are changed. The smoothest waveform is the one captured with optimum attenuation and prescale. However, when measuring very low level signals or when performing spectrum analysis (as can be done with BitScope), minimizing quantization noise further can be beneficial. Read More...
Last month we introduced the Breadboard One Mixed Signal electronic projects lab. It is a simple mixed signal circuit which we're using to explain key elements of mixed signal systems.
Breadboard One comprises four primary circuits, the first of which is a 4 bit up/down counter. This is a purely digital component and we'll explain how it works and what its output looks like in this post.
The counter we use is the CMOS Logic CD4029. It is a member of the CD4000 family which has been in production for almost 40 years! There are newer logic families with the same functionality such as 74HC4029 but we'll stick with the original.
As you would expect, a counter counts. The block diagram shows the layout of the inputs and outputs of this component where Q4..Q1 are the four bits that comprise the binary encoded output that drive the BreadBoard's D/A convertor. Read More...
Apple released Mavericks recently so we've been working to ensure our software remains compatible.
Mavericks was quite a smooth upgrade for us and there were very few surprises with the associated Xcode tools.
There have been some other changes we've accomodated in this release.
The recent Sydney BitScope upgrade has required a few changes to ensure the applications share this publicly accessible demonstration BitScope fairly and some changes in the Linux kernel recently required some fixes to ensure these applications work with recent Linux distributions including Ubuntu 13.10 and Fedora 19. Read More...
There is nothing you need to install or configure to use a BitScope with almost any Linux system.
Normally it just works but if your BitScope is plugged in and powered on but you cannot connect, especially if your Linux distribution is not one of the mainstream ones, here's how to debug your connection and get started.
In most cases, if you have only one BitScope connected and there are no other USB serial devices connected to your PC no configuration is necessary and operation will be automatic.
However, if you have more than one BitScope or you have other connected USB serial devices you may need to select the USB port manually (using BitScope DSO or any other BitScope software application) to choose which of several devices is your BitScope.
The SETUP dialog shown here is how you do this. The drop-down list shows usb serial devices that may be selected or you can simply type in the name of the device if you know what it is. Note that the list of options may be shorted shown here. Read More...
We have always supported remote access and device sharing with network BitScope models such as BS325 and BS445 and we've had an older model (BS300N) quietly running 24x7 for some years in the R&D lab to demonstrate this.
By simply downloading BitScope software and running it on an Internet connected PC, anyone can connect with this publicly accessible BitScope to try out the software without needing to own their own BitScope.
Recently, this demo has become rather more popular than we expected, so we've made a few changes. First, we upgraded the BitScope itself to a current model BS325. This is faster than the older one and can demonstrate some of the more advanced features now available such as analog prescalers, input offset controls, larger capture buffers and more flexible sampling, among many others new features. It also means software apps including Logic, Meter and Chart can also be shared remotely (in addition to BitScope DSO). Read More...
BitScope DSO uses a gesture based user interface we call Act On Touch.
Act On Touch makes using a mouse, track-pad or touch-screen with BitScope easy. Whether you use a PC, Mac or notebook, a touch-screen PC tablet running Windows 8 or even access a remote BitScope from an iPad or phone via VNC, BitScope DSO responds the same way.
Act On Touch simply means you can click, drag or select to adjust almost any DSO parameter to change its value in real-time as the display updates or select built-in functions or values related to the parameter via a pop-up menu.
For example, click and drag up and down or left and right on a parameter to adjust its value. Click on the left or right edge of a parameter to select its previous or next value. Right-click (or control-click on a Mac or press-and-hold on a tablet) to pop up a context menu and double-click to open an editor to type in a value or select a default value. Read More...
We have long supported direct network access for remote data acquisition and diagnostic work with our network BitScope models such as BS325N or BS445N. It's how the SYDNEY online demo works across the Internet.
We knew it was possible but we also knew it would require a server so we decided to explore the options by reconfiguring BitScope Pi. We'd use Raspberry Pi as the server (instead of the stand-alone desktop system for our Electronics Projects Lab) and we'd use off-the-shelf hardware and software solutions to connect via the network (using WiFi in this example).
Two options immediately sprang to mind; X over SSH or VNC.
Our goal was to access a USB BitScope remotely from any PC, tablet or phone that supports either of these protocols which between them should allow support for almost any client device. Read More...
We received this BitScope Model 325 recently.
It's a new device which was returned by a customer following pretty clear evidence of rather unfortunate mishap during transit.
Of course we shipped him a new one as soon as he notified us and we've not had something like this happen before but, after some investigation based on the shape of the marking on the package, our courier suggested it was most likely crushed in a fork-lift accident during unloading.
Does not happen often we're told but, ouch!
Now we build BitScope tough, but perhaps not quite that tough. The case a 3mm walled solid aluminium extrusion designed to handle the rough and tumble of a typical student lab or engineering workshop. A person of average weight can stand on one and it won't bend or break, but we wondered, did this one still work?
To cheers in the office, it did still work so we've decided to put this one in the trophy cabinet!
Bruce spoke about the history, design and development of BitScope itself and our roadmap for BitScope in Education.
He described Mixed Signal Circuits and how a BitScope makes them easier to understand and he showed a pre-production prototype for a new product planned for the Raspberry Pi.
After the talk we were very pleased to see the level of interest expressed in the core idea behind BitScope Ed; we believe a practical education in programming and electronics can be made more accessible and a lot of fun using Raspberry Pi, Arduino, some low cost components and prototyping boards together with a BitScope. Read More...
OzBerryPi members hack on the RaspberryPi, Arduino, MCUs and Linux so they're an ideal audience for what we do here at BitScope.
They come from a diverse range of professional backgrounds and ages but they all share a passion for hardware hacking, sharing ideas and learning about how to actually make their own stuff. Read More...
When displaying more than one waveform the vertical separation can be important.
Sometimes one simply wants the channels separated for clarity, as shown here. At other times one wants them to overlap or shown relative to the same vertical scale and offset for measurement purposes.
BitScope has a compact offset parameter for each analog channel that allows the offset applied to each waveform to be adjusted for these and other purposes.
Unlike some scopes, BitScope's input offset is more than just a handy display feature; it actually applies an analog offset voltage at the channel input. This is an important difference. Read More...
Last month we posted How to Install Raspbian and BitScope on Raspberry Pi. Recently, several people have told us there's an easier way so we thought we'd document it here.
First, if you've not already set up your Raspberry Pi, you will need to install Raspbian. For this, please refer to our earlier post about how to do this using NOOBS and then return here.
The first few steps are the same as before but when you download the package file the procedure is a little different.
A BitScope owner suggested that because BitScope is compatible with Raspberry Pi why not build an electronic projects lab around it?
We've based it on BitScope Mini so everything can be powered by the Raspberry Pi itself.
If you need more juice, just plug in a powered USB hub. BitScope can supply between 200mA and 500mA to the circuit via its Smart Port Interface if it's connected via sufficiently powerful USB hub. We like this hardware hack if you want a neat setup!
The only other things you'll need are a keyboard, mouse and monitor. We used a cheap Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo ($ 20) and a 1080p HDMI monitor which was otherwise gathering dust in the corner of the office. Read More...
We designed Breadboard One as the first BitScope Ed project because it is a very simple mixed signal circuit which explains key elements of mixed signal systems.
A Mixed Signal Circuit is one which has both analog and digital components. In analog circuits the currents and voltages vary continously whereas in a digital circuits they switch between discrete values (high and low) to represent logical or numerical values.
Almost all modern electronic systems comprise mixed signal circuitry but the development methods and diagnostic tools you need to design and debug the analog and digital components are quite different. Read More...
Differential measurements can be very important but it is usually not possible to make such measurements using standard scope inputs, including BitScope.
There are standard solutions for normal oscilloscope channels (e.g. PRB-06) but they tend to be expensive, bulky and designed for higher voltage work.
We decided a better solution was needed, one that leverages BitScope's Smart Port Interface to support differential and other measurements packaged as a low cost accessory tailor made for BitScope.
What we've come up with is a small active design that needs only twisted pairs to connect. Read more...
Ever since the original design, BitScope has had a Smart Port socket for connecting analog and digital signals to its inputs and outputs. This interface also provides power, ground and control for a connected circuit and most models provide waveform and clock generator signals too.
The Smart Port Interface was originally designed using a DB-25 connector but we switched to IDC-26 and current models use this new standard. Every BitScope provides access to at least two analog inputs, 8 logic inputs, power and ground lines. The interface has general purpose control signals which can be used to control connected circuits or switch logic and most models include a waveform generator. Read more...
BitScope DSO 2.7.DG17B update (Mac OS X)
This is the new development branch for DSO (Version 2.7). The existing development branch (Version 2.5) is in feature freeze and will become the next production release (Version 2.6) as soon as the outstanding bugs have been squashed. BitScope DSO 2.7 will introduce a range of new features including improved mixed signal data logging, presets and user configuration, slow timebase scrolling displays, a multi-band spectrum analyzer for baseband and RF work and automatic signal measurements (similar to BitScope Meter). This is the Mac OS X release.
We often get asked about designing and debugging electronics, microcontrollers, analog and digital circuits and other mixed signal systems. BitScope was designed with all these things in mind and we have long published circuit designs for BitScope itself. In recent years, building your own low cost electronic circuits has become very popular, especially with projects like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and this has highlighted how many people want more practical and educational information to help them learn to design, build and most importantly, debug their own electronics projects. Read More...
Back in the day, all oscilloscopes were analog and the update rate was usually quite high (>50Hz) because the waveform appeared on the display only briefly requiring a high rate to appear "permanently", much like analog TV.
This had implications; it was generally not possible to see waveforms that were not periodic and one-shot capture was usually impossible.
Most modern oscilloscopes whether they are stand-alone or USB based like BitScope are digital and the refresh rate is irrelevant when it comes to persistent waveform display.
It also means they are able to capture single waveform events such as glitches and display them persistently for analysis. While these oscilloscopes are often designed with one-shot capture in mind there are many situations where repetitive capture is needed and in these cases update rate specification can be important. Read more...
Sonic Pi is a sound programming environment developed specifically to teach programming concepts where sound synthesis provides the medium for learning how to program.
We like this idea a lot but we also saw another educational possibility; Sonic Pi makes for an excellent complex waveform generator which is easy to use. It's the perfect tool to help explain what an oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer can do and how they can be used to analyze complex waveforms.
Waveform analysis is a very big topic so we're launching an educational blog to cover it and others in more detail soon. Read more...
BitScope DSO 2.7.DG17B update (Windows & Linux)
We've commenced the new development branch for DSO (Version 2.7). The existing development branch (Version 2.5) is now in feature freeze and will become the next production release (Version 2.6) as soon as the outstanding bugs have been squashed. In addition to the Raspberry Pi update already reported, BitScope DSO 2.7 will introduce a range of new features including improved mixed signal data logging, presets and user configuration, slow timebase scrolling displays, a multi-band spectrum analyzer for baseband and RF work and automatic signal measurements (similar to BitScope Meter). Available for Windows, Linux and Raspberry Pi. Mac OSX version coming soon.
BitScope Software Blog Launched
By popular request we've added this new blog to our website.
Our aim is to collect together release announcements, technical support, user guides, documentation and tutorials about the range of software options for BitScope and how to get the most out of them. We've bootstrapped this blog with a collection of earlier posts from across our website which you can read below.
Future software releases will continue to receive notification on their own pages but they will also now appear on this blog.
We'll publish news of third party software projects which use or are built with BitScope. We're also in the process of rebuilding our projects page for relaunch for those projects specifically built around the BitScope VM or the programming library and we'll publish information about how to program and use BitScope for specialized purposes such as process monitoring and control, automated testing and data acquisition.
Stay tuned and feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts.
Almost all oscilloscopes have single ended inputs
This means all channels measure voltages relative to a shared reference point which is almost always ground. To understand the implications we need to understand what voltage measurement is.
Voltage is defined as the electrical potential difference between two points. Making a voltage measurement therefore means measuring the difference in electrical potential between two points.
To see why an oscilloscope with single ended inputs (and a shared reference) imposes a serious constraint on the types of measurement that can be made, consider a tank circuit. The measurements we seek to make are of voltage across the inductor (L) and the voltage across the resistor (R). The topology of this particular circuit makes this possible with a normal oscilloscope because both components share a common reference and this reference happens to be ground. What if the circuit was such that this was not possible? Read more...
How to Install Raspbian and BitScope on Raspberry Pi
Many people have asked how to install BitScope software on a new Raspberry Pi and Raspbian now has an official image (released by the Raspberry Pi Foundation) so we thought we'd install everything from scratch on a brand new Raspberry Pi to check compatibility and explain how to install BitScope software at the same time.
First we need to install Raspbian. It can be downloaded as an image (which you must then copy to an SD card) or it can be installed as an option for the New Out Of Box Software installer (NOOBS).
We think NOOBS is brilliant, especially for first time Raspberry Pi users so we've used this method to install Raspbian. This latest release also includes some new packages that are of interest to us; Sonic Pi and Pi Face so we'll investigate these soon too. Read more...
It replaces the BitScope News (which remains available) and we've moved some recent posts from the news to this blog. The blog will provide more frequent and informal updates about BitScope and anything we find interesting that relates to BitScope and it will be syndicated via RSS for your favorite reader.
We undertook the website upgrade and we're launching this blog in preparation for a range of new software and product releases.
Among them are Raspberry Pi support (already announced) APIs for embedded ARM and x86 systems in automated test and acquisition, new open source software applications and some unique low cost accessories for BitScope which we hope will change the way people approach test, measurement and data acquisition. Stay tuned and feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts.
High speed data acquisition with Raspberry Pi
Another common question is can I use the Raspberry Pi for data acquisition on its own?
The short answer is yes, but for digital signals only and only at relatively slow speeds. If you're serious about data acquisition, especially analog or mixed signal work, you'll need a peripheral device to plug into Raspberry Pi to provide the necessary I/O.
The original I/O peripheral and probably still the most widely used is Gert van Loo's Gertboard. It provides access to Pis GPIO and ATmega pins, a number of digital buffers, LEDs, button switches and high current output drives making it a very useful general purpose I/O board. However, for data acquisition (and generation) such as one might need to build an oscilloscope or waveform generator, its SPI connected D/A and A/D convertors are the important components.
For low speed data acquisition, up to 72kSps in the case of the Gertboard, it is possible to build a simple scope or waveform generator with Raspberry Pi. However like Gertboard, all the A/D boards we know of, as others have also reported, max out at sample rates well below 1MSps.
This is what make BitScopes like BS10 different from other Pi I/O. It captures multiple analog and digital waveforms at very high sample rates (up to 40MSps in some cases) or it can stream continously at lower sample rates but in all cases, sampling is performed without loading the Raspberry Pi CPU or requiring real-time operating system support for low jitter sampling. These features make BitScope well suited for high speed data acquisition with Raspberry Pi.
The most frequently asked question since we created this blog is what software can I use?
The long answer is that while the DSO, Meter and Library work well, especially if you don't try to drive the graphics too hard, the others are not quite there yet.
This mostly comes down to the Raspberry Pi's non-accelerated graphics at the moment. For the library (which has no graphics) it runs almost as fast as it does on x86. For apps with simple graphics (like Meter) it's slower but quite usable. For apps with sophisticated graphics (like DSO) you may need to avoid using some of its digital phosphor and spectrum analysis modes if you want a quicker display refresh rate but using BitScope to capture one-shot analog and logic waveforms and for slower speed repeating updates it works very well.
Like everyone else we're following Raspberry Pi Foundation's work getting Weston running native Wayland apps on the Pi. We're certain that when the Pi's native graphics acceleration is unleashed amazing things will be possible with real-time waveform display and data analysis.
Of course off-the-shelf graphical apps for BitScope on Raspberry Pi are only part of the story. We ported this software to Raspberry Pi to prove BitScope can work well with a low power embedded ARM system. However, as an embedded server the Pi also excels so in a future post we'll outline how to program your own software for BitScope on Raspberry Pi for server based local and network connected test, measurement and data acquisition.
BitScope is now compatible with Raspberry Pi.
Connect any current model BitScope via USB or Ethernet with a Raspberry Pi to build a stand-alone mixed signal oscilloscope with built-in logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer and waveform generator.
Our pick for Raspberry Pi is BS10. Like the Pi itself this tiny BitScope is very low power which means you don't need a USB hub. Simply connect directly to the Raspberry Pi, add a monitor and mouse, and you're good to go!
There's lots more for BitScope on Raspberry Pi coming soon, especially if you're into programming your own automated test, measurement or data acquisition on the Raspberry Pi.
Stay tuned and feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions.
BitScope DSO | Tutorial Examples
This tutorial provides examples of several analog, mixed signal and logic waveforms captured and displayed with a BitScope and the BitScope DSO application. There are several other examples including waveform spectra and video too.
As well as reading about these examples online you can try them yourself on your Macintosh, Windows or Linux PC by installing BitScope DSO and opening the offline replay data files (available via the tutorial).
You don't need a BitScope to do this.
For a little more fun, try a real BitScope live via the Internet; simply click the Online Demo button at the top of the tutorial page to learn how to connect with the Sydney BitScope directly. This BitScope is sometimes quite popular so if you have trouble reaching it, please try again later. By way of comparison the first tutorial page has the Sydney waveforms so you can see what they look like even when you're not online.
BitScope DSO and our other software offer a huge range of features and learning them all can take a while. For all the details about DSO see the User Guide and for each of the other applications, such as Logic or Meter, you will find guides included in their release packages.
However, to make it even easier, we will publish some more tutorials soon to explain many of the newer software and hardware features such as input sensing, protocol decoding, the effective use of range, scale and offsets for mixed signal work, trigger setups, grounding and voltage references and much more.
Stay tuned and feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions.
BitScope Website | Major Upgrade
Welcome to the new BitScope Website.
If you have visited us before you may have noticed a few things have changed.
We have worked long and hard over the past few months to make the new website accessible and easy to navigate regardless of whether you're visiting from a desktop, notebook, tablet or phone. You can learn more about the website itself here.
We've not thrown anything out. All the information we've previously published is still here including our design, product and software pages but we hope you find it easier to read on all your devices and easy to find though consistent page navigation.
At the top of every page is the navigation menu where you can jump straight to the major sections of our site. This may appear as a navigation button similar to many other mobile websites on a phone or tablet. On the left of many pages is a navigation bar and above it a drop-down and location bar so you always know where you are.
Like everything we do, our website is a work in progress which we always seek to improve so if you have any comments, suggestions or feedback feel free to contact us anytime.
BitScope Meter V2.0 | Waveform Analyzer
Simply plug-in your signal and BitScope will lock onto the waveform and report the signal parameters simultaneously and in realtime!
View AC and DC signals and automatically measure the Peak, RMS, Min/Max voltages as well as DC bias and signal mean. Despite its simplicity, Meter deploys some sophisticated techniques to analyze the signal. It uses auto-correlation instead of simple zero crossing counts to lock on to the waveform frequency and it has selectable parameter filters to refine its measurements.
It reports related measurements such as duty cycle and waveform period as well as capture parameters such as sample rate and frame duration. If you need to make detailed manual measurements BitScope Meter can be used concurrently with BitScope DSO for accurate cursor measurements or BitScope Logic for related logic analysis. Meter is compatible with Windows 7, 8 & XP, Mac OS X and Linux.
BitScope 326 | 10 Channel Mixed Signal DAQ
Network BitScope 326 is a rack mountable 2 + 8 channel mixed signal data acquisition system.
BS326 inherits comprehensive test & measurement functions from the popular network BS325 desktop model.
This model is optimized for data acquisition and process monitoring with a focus on high speed mixed signal systems with network connectivity for host access.
Each unit has 2 analog and 8 logic channels. Up to two units may be mounted per 1U rack making it ideal for building large multi-channel data acquisition systems.
BS326 can acquire framed captured data at up to 512k samples per frame and a data rate of up to 80MB/s or it can stream data at lower rates continuosly.
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