Power, portability and performance

PicoScope 3000D MSO Series USB-powered PC oscilloscopes are small, light, and portable and can easily slip into a laptop bag while offering a range of high performance specifications.

These oscilloscopes offer 2 or 4 analog channels, plus 16 digital channels and a built in function / arbitrary waveform generator.  Key performance specifications:

  • 200 MHz analog bandwidth
  • 1 GS/s real-time sampling
  • 512 MS buffer memory
  • 100,000 waveforms per second
  • 16 channel logic analyzer
  • Arbitrary Waveform Generator
  • USB 3.0 connected and powered
  • Serial decoding and mask testing as standard
  • Windows, Linux and Mac software

Supported by the advanced PicoScope 6 software, these devices offer an ideal, cost-effective package for many applications, including embedded systems design, research, test, education, service, and repair.

High bandwidth and sampling rate

Despite a compact size and low cost, there is no compromise on performance with bandwidths up to 200 MHz.  This bandwidth is matched by a real-time sampling rate of up to 1 GS/s, allowing detailed display of high frequencies. For repetitive signals, the maximum effective sampling rate can be boosted to 10 GS/s by using Equivalent Time Sampling (ETS) mode.

Other oscilloscopes have high maximum sampling rates, but without deep memory they cannot sustain these rates on long timebases. The PicoScope 3000D MSO Series offers memory depths up to 512 million samples, more than any other oscilloscope in this price range, which enables the PicoScope 3406D MSO to sample at 1 GS/s all the way down to 50 ms/ div (500 ms total capture time).

Managing all this data calls for some powerful tools. There’s a set of zoom buttons, plus an overview window that lets you zoom and reposition the display by simply dragging with the mouse or touchscreen. Zoom factors of several million are possible.  Other tools such as the waveform buffer, mask limit test, serial decode and hardware acceleration work with the deep memory making the PicoScope 3000D MSO one of the most powerful oscilloscopes on the market.

Mixed–signal capability / Logic Analyzer

The PicoScope 3000D Series Mixed-Signal Oscilloscopes include 16 digital inputs alongside the standard 2 or 4 analog channels, so that you can view digital and analog signals simultaneously.

The digital inputs of your PicoScope 3000D MSO can be displayed individually or in named groups with binary, decimal or hexadecimal values shown in a bus-style display. A separate logic threshold from -5 V to +5 V can be defined for each 8–bit input port. The digital trigger can be activated by any bit pattern combined with an optional transition on any input. Advanced logic triggers can be set on either the analogue or digital input channels, or both to enable complex mixed–signal triggering.

The digital inputs bring extra power to the serial decoding options.  You can decode serial data on all analogue and digital channels simultaneously, giving you up to 20 channels of data.  You can for example decode multiple SPI, I²C, CAN bus, LIN bus and FlexRay signals all at the same time!

appnote: Debugging an I²C Bus with a PicoScope Mixed–Signal Oscilloscope

Mixed Signal Oscilloscope / Logic Analyzer (roll over red circles for description)

Serial bus decoding & protocol analysis

The PicoScope 3000D MSO series include serial decoding capabilities as standard. The decoded data can be displayed in the format of your choice: In graph, In table, or both at once.

In view format shows the decoded data (in hex, binary, decimal or ASCII) in a databus timing format, beneath the waveform on a common time axis, with error frames marked in red. These frames can be zoomed to investigate noise or signal integrity issues.

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 to signal when the program should list the data.  The statistics option reveals more detail about the physical layer such as frame times and voltage levels.  PicoScope can also import a spreadsheet to decode the hexadecimal data into user-defined text strings.

PicoScope can decode I²C, RS-232/UART, SPI, I²S, USB, FlexRay, LIN and CAN bus data.  Expect this list to grow over time with future free software upgrades.  Any of the analog and digital inputs of the PicoScope 3000D MSO can be used to capture serial data channels, enabling decode of several different protocols at one time, which is valuable for thorough analysis of modern embedded systems and the proliferation of serial buses.

More information on serial bus analysis >>

Arbitrary waveform and function generator

All PicoScope 3000D MSO units have a built-in function generator (sine, square, triangle, DC level, white noise, PRBS etc.). As well as basic controls to set level, offset and frequency, more advanced controls allow you to sweep over a range of frequencies. Combined with the spectrum peak hold option this makes a powerful tool for testing amplifier and filter responses.

Trigger tools allow one or more cycles of a waveform to be output when various conditions are met such as the scope triggering or a mask limit test failing.

An arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) is also included. AWG waveforms can be created or edited using the built-in AWG editor, imported from oscilloscope traces, or loaded from a spreadsheet.

More information on the AWG >

Spectrum analyzer

With the click of a button you can display a spectrum plot of selected channels up to the full bandwidth of the oscilloscope. A full range of settings gives you control over the number of spectrum bands, window types, and display modes (instantaneous, average, or peak-hold).

You can display multiple spectrum views with different channel selections and zoom factors, and place these alongside time-domain views of the same data. A comprehensive set of automatic frequency-domain measurements can be added to the display, including THD, THD+N, SNR, SINAD and IMD. You can even use the AWG and spectrum mode together to perform swept scalar network analysis.

More information on the PicoScope Spectrum analyser >>

Signal integrity

Most oscilloscopes are built down to a price. PicoScopes are built up to a specification.

Careful front-end design and shielding reduces noise, crosstalk and harmonic distortion. Years of oscilloscope design experience can be seen in improved bandwidth flatness and low distortion.
We are proud of the dynamic performance of our products, and publish their specifications in detail.

The result is simple: when you probe a circuit, you can trust in the waveform you see on the screen.

USB connectivity

The USB connection not only allows high-speed data acquisition and transfer, but also makes printing, copying, saving, and emailing your data from the field quick and easy. USB powering removes the need to carry around a bulky external power supply, making the kit even more portable for the engineer on the move.

PicoScope 3000 Series mixed signal oscilloscopes feature a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection, making the already-optimized process of data transfer and waveform update rates even faster. Further benefits of a USB 3.0 connection include faster saving of waveforms and faster gap-free continuous streaming of up to 125 MS/s when using the SDK, while the scope is still backward- compatible with older USB systems.




Advanced digital triggers

The majority of digital oscilloscopes sold today still use an analog trigger architecture based on comparators. This can cause time and amplitude errors that cannot always be calibrated out. The use of comparators often limits the trigger sensitivity at high bandwidths.

In 1991 Pico pioneered the use of fully digital triggering using the actual digitized data. This technique reduces trigger errors and allows our oscilloscopes to trigger on the smallest signals, even at the full bandwidth. Trigger levels and hysteresis can be set with high precision and resolution.

The reduced re-arm delay provided by digital triggering, together with segmented memory, allows the capture of events that happen in rapid sequence. At the fastest timebase, rapid triggering can capture a new waveform every 2 microseconds until the buffer is full.

As well as the standard range of triggers found on most oscilloscopes, the PicoScope 3000D MSO Series offers an industry-leading set of advanced triggers including pulse width, windowed and dropout.  In addition logic triggering allows you to trigger the scope when any or all of the 16 digital inputs match a user-defined pattern. You can specify a condition for each channel individually, or set up a pattern for all channels at once using a hexadecimal or binary value. You can also combine logic triggering with an edge trigger on any one of the digital or analog inputs, to trigger on data values in a clocked parallel bus for example.

More information on advanced triggers >>

Hardware Acceleration Engine (HAL3)

Hardware acceleration

Hardware acceleration ensures fast screen
update rates even when collecting
10,000,000 samples per waveform

Some oscilloscopes struggle when you enable deep memory; the screen update rate slows and controls become unresponsive.  PicoScope 3000D MSO Series avoids this limitation with use of a dedicated hardware acceleration engine inside the oscilloscope.  Its massively parallel design effectively creates the waveform image to be displayed on the PC screen and allows the continuous capture and display to the screen of over 440,000,000 samples every second.  PicoScope oscilloscopes manage deep memory better than competing oscilloscopes, be they be PC based or benchtop.

The PicoScope 3000D MSO Series is fitted with third generation hardware acceleration (HAL3). This speeds up areas of oscilloscope operation such as allowing waveform update rates in excess of 100,000 waveforms / second and the segmented memory / rapid trigger modes. The hardware acceleration engine ensures that any concerns about the USB connection or PC processor performance being a bottleneck are eliminated.

100,000 waveforms per second

Persistence mode rapidly superimposes multiple waveforms on the same view, with more frequent or newer waveforms drawn in brighter colors than older ones.  This emulates the phosphor display of a conventional analog scope and is useful for displaying and interpreting complex analog signals such as video waveforms and analog modulation signals.

More information on color persistence modes >>

Hardware acceleration (HAL3) allows waveform update rates of up to 100,000 per second in Fast persistence mode – allowing you to collect thousands of waveforms per second in order to quickly spot glitches and observe jitter.

More information on Fast mode >>

Waveform buffer and navigator

Ever spotted a glitch on a waveform, but by the time you’ve stopped the scope it has gone? With PicoScope you no longer need to worry about missing glitches or other transient events. PicoScope can store the last ten thousand waveforms in its circular waveform buffer.

When the trace length is set to be shorter than the scope’s memory, PicoScope will automatically configure the memory as a circular buffer storing as many as ten thousand waveforms.

The buffer navigator provides an efficient way of navigating and searching through waveforms effectively letting you turn back time.  Tools such as mask limit testing can also be used to scan through each waveform in the buffer looking for mask violations.


More information on waveform buffer >>

Mask limit testing

Mask limit testing allows you to compare live signals against known good signals, and is designed for production and debugging environments. Simply capture a known good signal, draw a mask around it, and then attach the system under test. PicoScope will perform pass/fail testing, capture intermittent glitches, and can show a failure count and other statistics in the Measurements window.

Mask limit testing is available for both the oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer allowing you automate finding problems in both the time and frequency domain.

The numerical and graphical mask editors can be used separately or in combination, allowing you to enter accurate mask specifications, modify existing masks, and import and export masks as files.

More information on mask limit testing >>


Alarms are actions that PicoScope can be programmed to execute when certain events occur. The events that can trigger an alarm are:

  • Capture – when the oscilloscope has captured a complete waveform or block of waveforms.
  • Buffers Full – when the waveform buffer becomes full.
  • Mask(s) Fail – when a waveform fails a mask limit test.

The actions that PicoScope can execute are:

  • Beep
  • Play Sound
  • Stop Capture
  • Restart Capture
  • Run Executable
  • Save Current Buffer
  • Save All Buffers

Alarms, coupled with mask limit testing, help to quickly validate signal quality in electronic system designs.  Testing can be done over extended periods of time and/or while parameters such as supply voltage or temperature are changed to validate that the design operates reliably over the full range of specified operating conditions.

High-end features as standard

Buying a PicoScope is not like making a purchase from other oscilloscope companies, where optional extras considerably increase the price. With our scopes, high-end features such as serial decoding and analysis, mask limit testing, advanced math channels, segmented memory, and a signal generator are all included in the price.

To protect your investment, both the PC software and firmware inside the scope can be updated. Pico Technology have a long history of providing new features for free through software downloads. We deliver on our promises of future enhancements year after year, unlike many other companies in the field. Users of our products reward us by becoming lifelong customers and frequently recommending us to their colleagues.


Oscilloscope — Vertical (analog)
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Input channels 2 channels, BNC single-ended 4 channels, BNC single-ended
Bandwidth (-3 dB) 60 MHz 100 MHz 200 MHz 60 MHz 100 MHz 200 MHz
Hardware bandwidth limiter Switchable, 20 MHz
Rise time (calculated) 5.8 ns 3.5 ns 1.75 ns 5.8 ns 3.5 ns 1.75 ns
Vertical resolution 8 bits
Input ranges ±20 mV to ±20 V full scale in 10 ranges
Input sensitivity 4 mV/div to 4 V/div in 10 vertical divisions
Input coupling AC / DC
Input characteristics 1 MΩ ±1%, in parallel with 14 pF ±1 pF
DC accuracy ±3% of full scale ±200 μV
Analog offset range
(vertical position adjust)
±250 mV (20 mV, 50 mV, 100 mV, 200 mV ranges)
±2.5 V (500 mV, 1 V, 2 V ranges)
±20 V (5 V, 10 V, 20 V ranges)
Offset adjust accuracy ±1% of offset setting, additional to DC accuracy
Overvoltage protection ±100 V (DC + AC peak)
Oscilloscope — Vertical (digital)
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Input channels 16 channels (2 ports of 8 channels each)
Input connectors 2.54 mm pitch, 10 x 2 way connector
Maximum input frequency 100 MHz
Minimum detectable pulse width 5 ns
Input impedance (with TA136 cable) 200 kΩ ±2% ∥ 8 pF ±2 pF
Digital threshold range ±5 V
Input dynamic range ±20 V
Overvoltage protection ±50 V
Threshold grouping Two independent threshold controls: Port 0 (D0 to D7), Port 1 (D8 to D15)
Threshold selection TTL, CMOS, ECL, PECL, user-defined
Threshold accuracy ±100 mV
Minimum input voltage swing 500 mV pk-pk
Channel-to-channel skew < 2 ns typical
Minimum input slew rate 10 V/µs
Oscilloscope — Horizontal
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Maximum sampling rate (real-time) 1 GS/s (1 analog channel in use)
500 MS/s (Up to 2 analog channels or digital ports* in use)
250 MS/s (Up to 4 analog channels or digital ports* in use)
125 MS/s (5 or more analog channels or digital ports* in use)
*A digital port contains 8 digital channels
Maximum sampling rate(repetitive signals*) 2.5 GS/s 5 GS/s 10 GS/s 2.5 GS/s 5 GS/s 10 GS/s
Maximum sampling rate
(continuous streaming mode)
10 MS/s in PicoScope software
125 MS/s when using the supplied SDK (PC-dependent)
Maximum waveforms per second 100,000 wfm/s (PC dependent)
Timebase ranges 2 ns/div to 5000 s/div 1 ns/div to 5000 s/div 500 ps/div to 5000 s/div 2 ns/div to 5000 s/div 1 ns/div to 5000 s/div 500 ps/div to 5000 s/div
Buffer memory 128 MS 256 MS 512 MS 128 MS 256 MS 512 MS
Buffer memory (streaming) 100 MS in PicoScope software. Up to available PC memory when using supplied SDK.
Maximum buffer segments 10 000
Timebase accuracy ±50 ppm ±2 ppm ±2 ppm ±50 ppm ±2 ppm ±2 ppm
Sample jitter < 3 ps RMS typical

* analog channels only

Triggering (all)
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Trigger modes None, auto, repeat, single, rapid (segmented memory)
Advanced triggers* Edge: rising, falling or dual edge with adjustable hysteresis
Window: signal enters or exits a user–defined voltage range
Pulse width: a negative or positive pulse is wider or narrower than a set width, or inside/outside a range of widths
Window pulse width: signal is inside or outside a voltage range for a set time
Dropout: signal does not cross a voltage threshold for at least a set time
Window dropout: signal does not enter or exit a voltage range for at least a set time
Interval: time between two edges is greater or less than a set time, or inside/outside a time range
Logic: arbitrary logic state of Channels and EXT matches a user–defined pattern
Runt pulse: signal crosses one voltage threshold and returns without crossing the other
Trigger sensitivity* Digital triggering provides 1 LSB accuracy up to full bandwidth of scope
Trigger types (ETS mode)* Rising edge, falling edge
Trigger sensitivity (ETS mode)* 10 mV p-p typical (at full bandwidth)
Maximum pre–trigger capture Up to 100% of capture size
Maximum post–trigger delay Up to 4 billion samples (selectable in 1 sample steps)
Trigger re–arm time < 1 µs on fastest timebase
Maximum trigger rate Up to 10,000 waveforms in a 10 ms burst

* analog channels only

Triggering (digital)
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Source D0 to D15
Trigger types Combined pattern and edge
Advanced triggers Edge, pulse width, dropout, interval, logic
Function generator
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Standard output signals Sine, square, triangle, DC voltage, ramp, sinc, Gaussian, half-sine, white noise, PRBS
Standard signal frequency DC to 1 MHz
Sweep modes Up, down, dual with selectable start / stop frequencies and increments
Output frequency accuracy As oscilloscope
Output frequency resolution < 10 mHz
Output voltage range ±2 V
Output voltage adjustment Signal amplitude and offset adjustable in approximate 1 mV steps within overall ±2 V range
Amplitude flatness < 0.5 dB to 1 MHz typical
DC accuracy ±1% of full scale
SFDR > 60 dB 10 kHz full scale sine wave
Output characteristics Rear panel BNC, 600 Ω output impedance
Overvoltage protection ±20 V
Arbitrary Waveform Generator
Model PicoScope 3204D MSO PicoScope 3205D MSO PicoScope 3206D MSO PicoScope 3404D MSO PicoScope 3405D MSO PicoScope 3406D MSO
Update rate 20 MS/s
Buffer size 32 kS
Resolution 12 bits (output step size approximately 1 mV)
Bandwidth > 1 MHz
Rise time (10% to 90%) < 120 ns
Probe Compensation Output
Impedance 600 Ω
Frequency 1 kHz
Level 2 V pk-pk
Physical specifications
PC connectivity USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible)
Dimensions 190 mm x 170 mm x 40 mm (including connectors)
Weight < 0.5 kg
Temperature range Operating: 0 °C to 40 °C (15 °C to 30 °C for stated accuracy).
Storage: –20 °C to 60 °C
Humidity range Operating: 5% RH to 80% RH non-condensing.
Storage: 5% RH to 95% RH non-condensing
Dynamic performance
Crosstalk Better than 400:1 up to full bandwidth (equal voltage ranges)
Harmonic distortion < –50 dB at 100 kHz full scale input
SFDR 52 dB typical
Noise 180 μV RMS (on most sensitive range)
Bandwidth flatness +0.3 dB, –3 dB from DC to full bandwidth
Spectrum Analyzer
Frequency range DC to maximum bandwidth of scope
Display modes Magnitude, peak hold, average
Scale / Units Y axis : logarithmic (dbV, dBu, dBm, arbitrary) or linear (volts)
X axis : linear or log 10
Windowing functions Rectangular, Gaussian, triangular, Blackman, Blackman–Harris, Hamming, Hann, flat–top
Number of FFT points Selectable from 128 to 1 million in powers of 2
Math channels
Functions −x, x+y, x−y, x*y, x/y, x^y, sqrt, exp, ln, log, abs, norm, sign, sin, cos, tan, arcsin, arccos, arctan, sinh, cosh, tanh, derivative, integral, min, max, average, peak, delay
Software filters Low pass, high pass, band stop, bandpass
Graphing measurements Frequency, duty cycle
Operands All input channels, reference waveforms, time, constants, pi
Automatic measurements (analog channels only)
Oscilloscope mode AC RMS, true RMS, cycle time, DC average, duty cycle, falling rate, fall time, frequency, high pulse width, low pulse width, maximum, minimum, peak to peak, rise time, rising rate.
Spectrum mode Frequency at peak, amplitude at peak, average amplitude at peak, total power, THD %, THD dB, THD+N, SFDR, SINAD, SNR, IMD
Statistics Minimum, maximum, average, standard deviation
Serial decoding
Protocols CAN, FlexRay, I²C, I²S, LIN, SPI, UART/RS-232
Mask limit testing
Statistics Pass/fail, failure count, total count
Interpolation Linear or sin(x)/x
Persistence modes Digital color, analog intensity, fast, custom, none
Power requirements 2-channel models: powered from single USB 3.0 port or two USB 2.0 ports (dual cable supplied)
4-channel models: powered from single USB 3.0 port or two USB 2.0 ports (dual cable supplied) or use the AC adaptor supplied.
Safety approvals Designed to EN 61010-1:2010
EMC approvals Tested to EN 61326-1:2006 and FCC Part 15 Subpart B
Environmental approvals RoHS and WEEE compliant
Software included PicoScope 6 for Windows. Windows SDK.
Example programs (C, Visual Basic, Excel VBA, LabVIEW).
Optional free software PicoScope 6 Beta for Linux and OS X. Drivers for Linux and OS X.
PC requirements Microsoft Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 (not Windows RT)
Output file formats bmp, csv, gif, jpg, mat, pdf, png, psdata, pssettings, txt
Output functions copy to clipboard, print
Languages Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French,
German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese,
Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Note: quoted specifications apply when using PicoScope 6 software