New oscilloscope/analyser combines speed with precision

ADC-212/100 oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer (Hi-res)

05 October 2001
Category: Oscilloscopes

Pico Technology announces its low-cost, high-resolution (12-bit) ADC-212/100 combined oscilloscope and spectrum analyser

  • 12-bit resolution, 80 dB dynamic range
  • Large 128 kByte buffer memory
  • 100 or 50M samples/s versions
  • Low-cost test and measurement solutions

Cambridge, UK — 5 October 2001 — PC-based instrumentation and data logging specialists Pico Technology has released its 12-bit resolution ADC-212/100 which turns a desk-top or lap-top PC into a high-end 100M samples/s oscilloscope, 50 MHz spectrum analyser and meter at the same time. In addition, software is supplied free of charge which allows the ADC-212/100 to be used for high-speed data acquisition and logging.

Alan Tong, Pico Technology's Technical Director, comments: “Compared to most oscilloscopes on the market, the large buffer size, high resolution and fast sampling rate of the ADC-212 means engineers can capture fast-changing signals over a long period of time and still have the resolution to be able to �zoom in' on areas of interest in both the X and Y axes.”

Unlike the majority of 8-bit oscilloscopes on the market today, which are only accurate to 3 per cent, the 12-bit ADC-212/100 has - thanks to a new low-noise, low-distortion and high-bandwidth front end - a basic DC accuracy of 1per cent. The ADC-212/100 has nine input ranges, from +/-50 mV to +/-20 V, and its 1 per cent accuracy means it can be used with the same level of confidence as a digital multimeter (DMM) when establishing absolute values.

The 12-bit resolution in the Y-axis gives the ADC-212/100, when used as a spectrum analyser, a dynamic range of 80 dB and the ability to detect changes as small as 0.024 per cent. Tong continues: “Conventional DSOs only offer 8-bit resolution and cannot detect signal changes less than 0.4 per cent — this is acceptable for most digital electronics applications, but precision analogue and audio electronics typically require the detection of less than 0.1 per cent.”

The analogue bandwidth of the ADC-212/100 is 50 MHz, giving the spectrum analyser 'view' of PicoScope (the instrumentation software supplied free with the ADC-212) a range of DC to 50 MHz. The oscilloscope view timebases range from 100 ns/division to 50 s/division.

“Test and measurement solutions of this calibre — 12-bit resolution and 100M samples/s — have just not been available at a low price before," concludes Tong. “To achieve the same measurement capabilities with traditional bench-top solutions would require the purchase of a dedicated oscilloscope and dedicated spectrum analyser — which would cost several times more than our solution.” Pricing has been set to £699 for the ADC-212/100. A lower cost version of the ADC-212, the ADC-212/50 with 50M samples/s and an analogue bandwidth of 25 MHz, will carry a price of £499.

The ADC-212/100 and ADC-212/50 are sampling now with full availability scheduled for November.

PicoScope and PicoLog software is provided free of charge with the new ADC-212 and upgrades are available free of charge from

Pico Technology Ltd
Mill House
Cambridge Street
St Neots
PE19 1QB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1480 396395
Fax: +44 (0)1480 396296