BitScope Raspberry Blog

Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Electronics...


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...


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, 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...


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...


BitScope Server now available for Linux and Raspberry Pi !

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.

All BitScopes now networked !

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...


BitScope at the Sydney Mini Maker Faire.

Last Sunday we exhibited at the first Sydney Mini Maker Fair held at the Powerhouse Museum.

An inquiring mind discussing programming in Python.

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!


Automated Waveform Analysis with Raspberry Pi

Recently we ported BitScope DSO to prove it was possible to build a Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope based on BitScope.

BitScope Raspberry Pi Automated Waveform Analyzer.

We've now started porting all the other BitScope software applications including Logic, Chart, Meter and BitScope Library to Raspberry Pi.

The next application that we've ported is BitScope Meter and works very well. Meter is an automatic oscilloscope that you simply turn on, connect your signal and observe the results.

It works like a waveform generator in reverse. It locks onto the frequency (if there is one) and adjusts its timebase and voltage scale to optimize the waveform display and minimize quantization noise.

It captures and updates the display and reports the waveform period, frequency, duty-cycle, minimum, maximum, peak, average and RMS voltages in real-time. It's an ideal tool to quickly view and measure AC/DC signals and voltages and its simplicitly lends itself to novice users, students and anyone who simply wants to make some quick measurements. 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.

Shared access network connected USB mixed signal oscilloscope.

WiFi connected USB BitScope 120.

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 and friends at OzBerryPi Maker Space

Norman and Bruce from BitScope Designs.

We were delighted to be invited to speak about BitScope Ed at the OzBerryPi Sunday Meetup at EngineRoom in Sydney today.

We've since written up an overview Bruce Tulloch's talk in a separate post but what we've got here is our impression of Sydney's OzBerryPi and the other terrific presentations.

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...


How to Install BitScope DSO on Raspberry Pi

Installing BitScope DSO on Raspberry Pi

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.

When Raspbian is up and running, fire up the default Midori web browser and grab the BitScope DSO package via the download menu on the BitScope Pi Home Page.

The first few steps are the same as before but when you download the package file the procedure is a little different.



Electronic Projects Lab for Raspberry Pi

Electronic Projects Lab for Raspberry Pi.

A BitScope owner suggested that because BitScope is compatible with Raspberry Pi why not build an electronic projects lab around it?

This made sense so we thought we'd give it a try using our BitScope Ed project Breadboard One.

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...


Visualizing sound with Sonic Pi and BitScope

Sonic Pi Pretty Bell.

After we installed the latest edition of Raspbian to try BitScope on the Raspberry Pi we started having a look around and were delighted to find Sonic Pi was pre-installed.

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...


How to Install Raspbian and BitScope on Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi NOOBS V1.3 Installer

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...


High speed data acquisition with Raspberry Pi

Another common question is can I use the Raspberry Pi for data acquisition on its own?

Raspberry Pi Gertboard.

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 Piís 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.


BitScope DSO 2.7 update (for Raspberry Pi only)

BitScope DSO evaluates signal statistics including Vrms, Vpp, Vmin, Vmax and Vmean as well time related features such as, signal period, rise time, slew rate, duty cycle and so on. Some calculations can be quite computationally intensive. This interim update optimizes their evaluation to improve performance on Raspberry Pi.


BitScope Software for Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope

The most frequently asked question since we created this blog is what software can I use?

BitScope Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope Software.

The short answer is you can run all the software we offer for x86 based Linux including DSO, Logic, Chart, Meter and Library on Raspberry Pi.

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 Raspberry Pi Blog Launched

Pairing BitScope with Raspberry Pi seems to be a very popular idea; since we announced this a few days ago we've been inundated with requests for more information about how it works and what you can do with it. We have set up this blog today to keep you up to date with all things BitScope on Raspberry Pi. There's no RSS feed yet but we'll add it along with new Facebook and Google+ pages ASAP. Feel free to contact us if you have questions until then.


BitScope Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope

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.