BitScope News | 2014


BitScope Micro + BNC Adapter Bundle

Our friends over at Farnell element 14 UK are offering BitScope Micro with a free mixed signal BNC adapter !

BitScope Micro and MP01A Christmas Bundle Offer.

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 !


BitScope Connection Ports Explained

BitScopes as small as BS10 or as large as BS445 use an IDC-26 standard BitScope Smart Port for I/O.

BitScope Model 10 with full suite of connections.

For BitScope Micro we've also created an IDC-10 based Diagnostic Port for I/O.

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...


BitScope Micro and Oscilloscope Probes

The new BitScope Micro Port 01 (MP01) is a universal mixed signal I/O adapter for BitScope Micro.

BitScope Micro Mixed Signal Oscilloscope Probe Adapter

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...


Raspberry Pi Model A+ or B+ or B+ Slimline?

So here it is, no doubt you've seen it, being all over the interweb the past few days, starting here.

Raspberry Pi Model A+

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...


Electronic Measurements with BitScope & Raspberry Pi.

Karl-Ludwig Butte from Butte Verlag has written a highly accessible series about how to get the best from BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi to make electronic measurements.

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!

In the first installment Karl-Ludwig explains what BitScope Micro is and how to set it up with Raspberry Pi.

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.

To learn about BitScope Micro, see our tutorial videos and check future MagPi issues for more. Read More...


Hands on with BitScope Micro at electronica 2014

BitScope Micro is now on show with Raspberry Pi at the Farnell element14 stand at electronica 2014!

BitScope Micro at electronic 2014 with Farnell element14

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.

You can keep track of the latest news from the show via @element14news or #elec14 and for the latest on BitScope itself follow us (top of the page) or bookmark our news.

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...


BitScope Micro Video Tutorial with Farnell element14

Recently Bruce presented a tutorial webinar hosted by Farnell element14 about BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi.

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...


BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi at electronica 2014!

Come and see BitScope Micro in action with Raspberry Pi at the Farnell element14 stand at electronica 2014!

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...


BitScope Micro element14 Webinar Review.

Recently we hosted the BitScope Micro Webinar with element14 Community for all things BitScope Micro.

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 explained the how BitScope DSO, the standard software for using BitScope with Raspberry Pi works with BitScope Micro and he showed this software on other systems including Macintosh and Linux.

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...


BitScope Micro Webinar with element14!

Today at 3pm BST we're hosting this webinar with element14 Community to talk all things BitScope Micro.

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...


element14 launches BitScope Micro for Raspberry Pi!

We're pleased to announce that element14 have parnered with us to manufacture and distribute BitScope Micro !

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...


BitScope Micro Diagnostic Port Explained.

BitScopes as small as BS10 or as large as BS445 use an IDC-26 based Smart Port Interface for I/O.

BitScope Micro Diagnostic Port.

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.

With the launch of BitScope Micro we wanted all the core functionality of Smart Port but in a much more compact 10-pin configuration.

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...


MagPi talks Raspberry Pi B+, HATs & BitScope.

August MagPi is out now with Karl-Ludwig's second installment on electronic measurement with BitScope Micro.

MagPi August Issue

There's also a great wrap on Raspberry Pi B+ by Aaron Shaw but the latest surprise from the Pi team, covered briefly in this issue, is the Raspberry Pi HAT, or "hardware on top" spec.

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...


Raspberry Pi B+ BitScope x 4 = 8 analog + 32 logic !

We demonstrated that one Raspberry Pi B+ can happily power and run up to four BitScopes without problems !

Raspberry Pi B + BitScope = 8 analog + 32 logic !

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...


BitScope Micro, now available at Pimoroni!

We sell BitScope worldwide online and ship direct to most countries (via FedEx and Airmail).

BitScope Micro & Raspberry Pi - the perfect combination !

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!


BitScope Logic User Guide Updated.

BitScope Logic User Guide.

We've updated and reworked the user guide for BitScope Logic so you can browse it online and download a PDF for printing.

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...


BitScope Micro or BitScope Model 10?

Since launching BitScope Micro many people have asked us how it compares to BitScope Model 10.

BitScope Model 10 Mixed Signal Oscilloscope.

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...


BitScope Micro, what's in the box?

BitScope Micro, what's in the box?

This post is a follow-up to our previous Q&A about BitScope Micro for Raspberry Pi.

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 with integrated USB cable.
  • One set of 10 test leads with grabber clips.
  • Pair of colour coded analog shorting plugs.
  • Connection key card with pin connections.
  • Printed package and getting started guide.
  • Short-form BitScope DSO software guide.

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...


BitScope Micro Questions & Answers

Yesterday we launched BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi blogged about it, thanks Liz!

BitScope Micro & Raspberry Pi - the perfect combination !

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...


BitScope Micro (New Product) for Raspberry Pi!

BitScope Micro & Raspberry Pi - the perfect combination !

We're very pleased to announce BitScope Micro our full feature Mixed Signal Scope in a Probe!

Late last year we ported BitScope software to launch Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope using BitScope Mini.

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...


BitScope Workshop at OzBerryPi.

Bruce from BitScope presenting BitScope Workshop at OzBerryPi.

We were delighted to be invited back to engineroom on Sunday to present a BitScope Workshop for OzBerryPi.

A few months ago we presented a seminar about BitScope Ed to explain our thinking about project based learning, especially in the context of online education.

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...


BitScope Library V2 API Guide

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.


Optimizing real-time waveform display for Raspberry Pi

BitScope Display Diagnostic Tool

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...


Volume purchase discounts now available online!

BitScope Volume Purchase.

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.



BitScope Documentation Updated Online

BitScope Online Documentation.

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...