Pen-shaped oscilloscope needs some rethinking

Article By : Martin Rowe

The Ikascope from Ikalogic can be a useful tool, but it needs a few more features and a lower price.

While researching Try These Low-Cost Oscilloscopes, Suggest Others, I came across the €299 (about US$366) Ikascope from French company Ikalogic. Curious to see how well it works, I contacted the company and received a review unit.

The Ikascope (Figure 1) connects over Wi-Fi to a Windows or Linux computer or to iOS and Android phones and tablets. It competes directly with another pen-shaped oscilloscope from Aeroscope (see EDN’s Aeroscope review).

Ikascope from Ikalogic Wi-Fi oscilloscope
Figure 1 The ikascope comes with a ground clip. The probe also acts as an operational switch to connect to a host and acquire signals.

While one Ikascope user called it an “irreplaceable tool,” I’m not convinced. For starters, the price tag exceeds what I consider the $200 limit for such tools. Furthermore, I have some usability issues with the Ikascope.

Unlike the Aeroscope, the Ikascope has no control button. Instead, the probe tip doubles as the control switch for connecting to a host and for initiating a signal acquisition. The end of the case contains two LEDs. The blue LED (right in Figure 2) indicates when it’s looking to connect to the host controller (PC, phone, or tablet). It also indicates when a Wi-Fi connection is established and when it’s acquiring data. The amber LED indicates battery status. A micro-USB connector is for charging only. You get a micro-USB cable, but must supply your own charger.

Figure 2 The end of the Ikascope has two status LEDs and a charge port.

To get the Ikascope connected to a host (PC, phone, or tablet) over Wi-Fi, you must apply pressure to the probe tip on a hard surface. You’ll feel a click, hear a buzz, and see the blue LED flash. The Ikascope will then broadcast a Wi-Fi network to the host, though I found that it wasn’t consistently being detected by my iPad, forcing me to make several attempts to get a Wi-Fi connection.

Once the Wi-Fi connection was established, I opened the Ikascope app (free from the Apple App Store). Unlike the Aeroscope, the Ikascope app runs on my iPad2. For my Aeroscope review, I used an iPhone 6, but much prefer the iPad’s larger screen.

With communication established, I touched the probe tip to a signal source. To acquire the signal, you have to again apply pressure to the probe tip and hold it. If you release the tip, the Ikascope stops acquiring the signal, displaying the last acquired waveform.

Personally, I prefer the Aeroscope’s button to initiate a signal acquisition. Applying that constant pressure can make your hand slip or get tired. Because of the need to apply pressure to the tip, the Ikascope can’t use any other connection—such as a clip—to acquire a signal. Clearly, the designers were thinking about acquiring signals from a board only, but sometimes you need to look at a signal on a connector pin or wire. That’s awkward at best with this product.

The first signal I tried was a 10 Hz sine wave. The Ikascope autoset had trouble finding it. As the video shows, I had to use the pinch gesture to increase the display’s time/div setting to see the signal.

Page 2 starts with a video of my experience with the Ikascope. It continues with examples of bandwidth and signal fidelity.

[Continue reading on EDN US: Ikascope tryout video]

Martin Rowe covers test and measurement for EDN and EE Times. Contact him at

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