|BitScope News, Views & Updates.|
Compute Module 4, the ideal embedded solution.
The Compute Module 4 (CM4) is a the latest addition to Raspberry Pi family.
Essentially it's a Raspberry Pi 4B without the physical LAN and USB I/O.It's smaller than Raspberry Pi 4B and it uses a new form-factor but the set of chips look familiar.
CM4 is not intended as a stand-alone product.Instead, it is a System on Module containing processor, memory, eMMC Flash and supporting power circuitry.It is designed to be embedded into custom systems and as such it's a perfect fit for bespoke designs BitScope creates for its customers.
When it comes to an off-the-shelf and complete embedded computing solution, that's low cost, easy to use, available everywhere and very well supported Raspberry Pi 4B retains the title of the industry's best solution.
However, for designs that are deeply embedded for which direct access to PCIe is vital where all the benefits of Raspberry Pi are available, CM4 is the ideal choice.Read More…
BitScope Cluster Blade and Raspberry Pi 4B 8G, Perfect!
It has been long suspected and today it's reality; the new Raspberry Pi 4 8G has been released !
We're excited about this because this new model represents a huge step up for commercial, industrial and cluster computing applications when used with our latest product Cluster Blade, which we're also announcing today.
Cluster Blade more than doubles the power of its predecessor, adding a full function control plane and active cooling system to turn this latest Raspberry Pi, with its 64-bit kernel running in 8G of RAM and booting over the network into the most powerful SBC cluster solution available.
Physically compatible with the same Rack and Cluster products as Quattro and leveraging BitScope's experience building Pi Clusters, Cluster Blade is specially designed to create robust industrial grade clusters of virtually any size with Raspberry Pi.
Cluster Blade offers more than twice the power capacity, full remote management for each node, pre-emptive cooling, system monitoring and integrated diagnostics support. We will also release a range of new Edge Rack and Cluster Module designs to take full advantage of Cluster Blade over the coming months. Read More...
The Game Changer: Raspberry Pi 4 Workstation
With the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4 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 and Duo. It can be used with Quattro too, but only using three slots due to power contraints (more on this soon!).
The Internet is abuzz with news about Raspberry Pi 4 and with good reason.
For an excellent video review check out Alex Eames's Video Wrap.
As for us, we were very pleased to be invited to road test the Pi4 earlier in the year. We quickly realised this model is a game changer because it has more than enough processing capability, graphics performance and I/O speed to qualify as an engineering workstation!
So we set about building a powerful workstation solution based on the Raspberry Pi 4 mixed in with some BitScope expertise and features.
We decided it needed to be small, self contained, easily powered from almost any DC power supply and offering effective cooling for running heavy workloads. Further, we wanted it to support onboard SSD for mass storage, a real-time clock, battery backup UPS, HAT expansion (of course) and being a BitScope, onboard voltage and current monitoring, and an oscilloscope and data acquisition port. Read More...
Build a mixed signal workstation with one simple 3D print !
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...
About BitScope Blade Raspberry Pi Clusters.
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...
Scalable clusters make HPC R&D easy as Raspberry Pi.
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...
You haven't seen BitScope Blade and Raspberry Pi like this!
BitScope Blade is the premier solution for building compute cluster and cloud solutions with Raspberry Pi.
Following the BitScope Blade Launch with element14 this year Bruce outlined plans to develop larger Raspberry Pi clusters for use in industrial IoT.
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...
How to assemble and get started using BitScope Blade.
BitScope Blade Reloaded, launched recently with element14, is an enhanced version of the original Blade.
It is available in three editions; Uno, Duo and Quattro to power and mount one, two or four Raspberry Pi.
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...
Raspberry Pi Applications built with BitScope Blade.
BitScope Blade Reloaded is our latest computing infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi.
We've recently posted examples of how Blade was used to build a weather station and an interactive museum exhibit.
In this one we explain how each Blade edition differs and the best applications for each of Uno, Duo and Quattro.
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...
BitScope and element14 launch new Blade for Raspberry Pi !
We're pleased to announce the release of three new BitScope Blades in partnership with element14.
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...
Physical Computing with BitScope, Blade and Raspberry Pi.
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.
He explained our work with Raspberry Pi which saw the launch of BitScope Micro, our smallest mixed signal oscilloscope tailored for use with Raspberry Pi and available globally via element14.
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.
Starting with Blade Uno, Bruce explained how BitScope Blade scales to two or four nodes with Blade Duo and Blade Quattro and all the way up to a 40 node 160 core compute clusters in compact racks.
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...
Raspberry Pi Model 3 unboxed & reviewed with Duo Pi.
Bruce unboxed a brand new Pi3 prior to the official launch. He mounted the Pi3 on a Duo Pi beside a Pi2 to compare these two models.
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...
Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and BitScope!
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...
BitScope, Ozberry & Pimoroni at Sydney Mini Maker Faire!
Calling teachers, students and makers !
If you're in Sydney this weekend, please join us at the Sydney Mini Maker Faire.
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...
BitScope Blade for Raspberry Pi at Hannover Maker Faire!
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...
Getting Started with BitScope
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. For more details, read on...
BitScope Micro In-Line Data Acquisition (New Product)
The new BitScope Micro Port 02 (MP02A) is an in-line mixed signal I/O adapter for BitScope Micro.
We call it Tom Thumb and like its larger cousin (MP01A) you can use it to connect standard oscilloscope probes and BNC terminated cables to BitScope Micro.
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...
Where to Buy BitScope Micro & Accessories
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.
Between them Farnell & Newark directly serve 28 countries with next day delivery.
Via element14 in Asia Pacific and our other specialist resale partners such as CPC, MCM, Adafruit and many others you can buy BitScope with a wide range of other parts and components in one order.
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 email@example.com. Read More...
BitScope ARM Platform Compatibility
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.
The result is the BitScope Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope and BitScope Micro which is tailor made for Raspberry Pi.
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...
BitScope Micro + BNC Adapter Bundle
Our friends over at Farnell element 14 UK are offering BitScope Micro with a free mixed signal BNC adapter !
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.
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.
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...
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!
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.
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...
BitScope Micro, now available at Pimoroni!
We sell BitScope worldwide online and ship direct to most countries (via FedEx and Airmail).
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 Micro or BitScope Model 10?
Since launching BitScope Micro many people have asked us how it compares to BitScope Model 10.
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?
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 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 (New Product) for Raspberry Pi!
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...
Volume purchase discounts now available online!
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
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.
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!
BitScope Server, shared remote access for any BitScope!
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.
Reducing Quantization Noise with BitScope
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...
Sydney BitScope, Online Demo Updated.
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...
Network access for USB BitScopes via Raspberry Pi.
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 plug into a LAN and use the UDP/IP stack to transport BitScope Protocol Packets directly between BitScope and the client.
However, we were asked at a recent OzBerryPi Meetup whether the USB BitScope models, like BitScope Mini or BitScope 120, could be used remotely and shared via a network connection too.
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...
BitScope is virtually indestructible, just as we intended!
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!
BitScope Active Differential Probes.
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...
BitScope Smart Port. The clever connection.
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...
Why the oscilloscope update rate is important.
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...
Differential measurements matter, here's why...
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...
BitScope Website Upgrade and Blog Launch
Following the huge response to BitScope Raspberry Pi and its blog and the very positive feedback we've received about the recent website upgrade, we decided to create this Blog.
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.
BitScope Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope
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!
We've ported BitScope DSO and BitScope Library software to Pi and others will be made available soon (and some as betas now if you're keen).
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.
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