Pico Technology Adds CAN-Bus Decoding to PicoScope Oscilloscope Software

21 September 2009
Category: Oscilloscopes

PicoScope 6 is the PC software included with all PicoScope oscilloscopes. It already provides advanced features such as math channels, advanced triggers, filtering and FFT spectrum analysis. Now, with the latest software upgrade, PicoScope can decode CAN bus data.

The PicoScope 4000 and 5000 Series oscilloscopes are recommended for serial decoding as their deep memory allows the software to collect long, uninterrupted sequences of data. For example, the PicoScope 5204 can collect many thousands of frames over several seconds into its 128-million-sample memory.

To decode CAN bus data, you set up PicoScope in the usual way to display the signal or signals of interest, and then click the Serial Decoding button. PicoScope gives you a few options to define the type of CAN bus protocol you are using, including a selection of all the common data rates. It then displays the data in the format of your choice: “in view”, “in window”, or both at once.

“In view” format shows the decoded data beneath the waveform on a common time axis, with error frames marked in red. You can zoom in on these frames to look for noise or distortion on the waveform.

“In window” format shows a list of the decoded frames, including the data and all flags and identifiers. You can set up filtering conditions to display only the frames you are interested in, search for frames with specified properties, or define a start pattern that the program will wait for before listing the data.

With the new CAN bus decoding feature, the latest PicoScope is a powerful diagnostic tool for automotive system designers, designers of aftermarket accessories, and electronics troubleshooters. As Managing Director Alan Tong explained, “PicoScope oscilloscopes with their deep memory are ideal products for CAN decoding, and many of our customers have been asking us for this feature. Several vehicle manufacturers and electrical system designers have been beta testing this software for us and their feedback has been very positive. The ability to decode up to 4 CAN buses simultaneously has proved particularly popular.”

PicoScope with CAN bus decoding is available free of charge to new and existing customers. It can be downloaded from labs.picotech.com.