Joulescope unboxing & first impressions

Joulescope is now shipping. Thank you to all of our early Kickstarter backers and preorder customers. Without your support, Joulescope would not have been possible. Now that you have Joulescope in your hands, we want your feedback. Let us know the good, the bad, and what needs improvement. Reply to this topic with your thoughts!

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I love the soft shell case and how easy it was to install the software. Heck, I plugged the thing in prior to installing the software and didn’t even have to unplug it and re-plug it in to get it to talk. It just worked. I can’t remember the last time I had a new device that just worked like that.

Also, I did a few measurements and I’m impressed with how quickly it autoranges and also how accurately it measures (I’m getting -0.35nA offset error in the 18µA range).

That being said, I think the software needs a bunch of usability work:

  1. The waveform mode is frustratingly inconsistent. If I click and drag while the waveform is being updated, it zooms the waveform. If I click and drag when the waveform updates are stopped, it scrolls in time.
  2. I don’t see any way to trigger the signal on the waveform itself, which makes catching waveforms really tough.
  3. It’d be great to be able to set the scale on the time axis, I was trying to figure out whether a signal was 60Hz but I had to eyeball it based on the 0.01s resolution of the axis.
  4. Needs cursors for spot measurements.
  5. If I disable updates in the waveform display mode and then switch to multimeter mode then the updates are paused so it looks like it hung up and there’s no way to turn it back on without first going to the waveform/oscilloscope view again.
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Hi @NickLL - Great to hear that your Joulescope is working well and welcome to the forum! Thank you for posting about your experience and for providing feedback. I will respond to each below:

The software just can’t win here. It originally allowed pan while in live view mode, but then people forgot that they were not at present time and complained about their Joulescope having a massive delay. The conclusion is that live steam mode must always display the most recent data and never pan away. I think they only way to be fully consistent is to completely disable drag in live view mode. Is this better that allowing drag to zoom? Other recommendations?

Triggering is not yet implemented, but it is a planned future feature.

Use Dual Markers! Right click on the x-axis → AnnotationsDual Markers. Way better than eyeballing, either on the default grid or a specified grid.

What do you propose that is easier? I used to have what was essentially a single marker that followed your cursor around all the time, but people complained that it was too cluttered and distracting. Dropping a single marker is reasonably quick and easy (Right click on the x-axis → AnnotationsSingle Marker). If you single left click on the single marker, it follows your cursor.

I have received a few reports of people mentioning that the display was frozen in multimeter mode after using the waveform that I have been unable to duplicate. I bet this is what they meant! I will update the multimeter selection to also force live streaming from the active device, or the first available device when viewing a file in the oscilloscope view.

I would recommend putting User's Guide directly in the Help menu and linking to the latest version on your website. This would save a few click.

Secondly, I would include something to secure the two unused screws for anyone who orders the USB Front Panel. The screws will not remain in a spare front panel slot of the carrying case when moved around. Something as simple as a small re-sealable bag would suffice.

Will do!

Understood. I can certainly include a small ziplock back with future USB front panel orders as you suggest. If this at the top of your concerns regarding Joulescope, I am very happy :smile:.

Take a look at IOComp graphing component. I’ve used this component in the past for real time plotting and it has all the features you want (axis scaling, cursors, etc). I really would like cursors that I can easily move around so I can quickly take measurements.

Hi @kelly and welcome to the forum!

Try right clicking on the x-axis, then click annotations. Check out the “Markers”. Does this do what you want?
I searched for IOComp, and this looks like a .NET only solution. I can certainly look at it as a reference.

Looks like the dual markers can get the info I wanted, for some reason when I was clicking on them originally they wouldn’t move, looks like I can move them and get delta information.
Yeah the IOComp are a .NET only solution. The Saleae software that is used on their logic analyzers works very similar to what you have, if your looking for inspiration please check it out. What you have is a great start for just launching your product, keep up the good work!

I am a big fan of Saleae, and I have both the Logic Pro 16 and original Logic. Their software continues to be in influence in Joulescope design. Thanks!

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Well, I am impressed. This is a first impression but it really was “plug and play”!
I’m just hacking around for a personal project with it at the moment (the perks of working for yourself include that the work tools are already at home!). It’s a supercapacitor powered microcontroller LED driver (project on Hackaday.io if anyone is interested). Just been playing with some of the core-independent peripherals to do some edge detection and generate pulses from it. Just to confirm that my automatic LED current driver adjustment is working and seeing what my run-power is, over the full voltage range from 4.8V down to 1.8V is AMAZING!


I plan to get involved on the faceplate modding front, but in the meantime, here’s how I made-do with a quick dab of solder. Well done for keeping the connector pins visible, instead of trying to enclose the connector.

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Hey Matt!
Finally got a couple of quick sessions with Joulescope & wanted to check in with my first thoughts. Sorry if there’s repetition from others before me. Comments were just quickly jotted down; don’t read anything into my tone or perceived terseness. I’m delighted with my purchase and looking forward to software updates!

First-thoughts Session#1:
Opening the firm-shell case to reveal Joulescope is a very nice experience. Joulescope is clean and functional in its looks. Bloody well done. I immediately changed the front panel to USB. The included screwdriver is SUCH a nice touch.

Downloaded installer (Mac). The .dmg installer should include a symlink to /Applications, so that the user can drag it straight into Applications easily, instead of having to open a new Finder window, navigate to Applications, then go back to the Joulescope installer dmg window and drag it over. This is standard & expected behaviour on Mac.

It’s impressive that the software discovers Joulescope immediately with no manual selection needed. I’m guessing if there’s more than 1 Joulsescope discovered I can choose between them, but defaulting to the one and only is one of those User First mindsets I like.

Please remember window positions/sizes!

IMHO, on first-run, Joulescope s/w should start in oscilloscope mode. If not that, then remember the last operating/display mode & return to it on next launch. Perhaps also a setting in Preferences as to which mode it opens in upon launch.

Crashed ~30mins after an acquisition started.

The Play/Stop & Record buttons are too small. You have nearly as much room above, and below, the buttons as the height of the buttons themselves.

Buttons don’t adequately show current state. The shaded/clear button state technique doesn’t really cut it any more, especially when you’re distracted or in a rush and accidentally start when you meant to stop or vice-versa and end up losing a (live) capture. Can’t easily tell if recording is in progress, or paused (after all these years, a blinking red record button is still a pretty nifty idea ;o) ).

The stats text at right-end of graph is too small (app presumably not set up for 2.0x/hi-DPI screens?). Even on my 1080p 24” monitor they’re only just readable.

Is there a way to save a capture/buffered-data (from what appears to be the rolling 30-second buffer) without having previously started the recording (kind of like how a DVR is ‘always recording)?

Can’t select an area for separate analysis? (See below)

I tried changing the Preferences -> Waveform from the default Lines, to Fill to Off, which all updated immediately after clicking OK, but going back to Lines didn’t bring them back. Changing back to Fill did update correctly, but still not back to Lines.

First-thoughts Session#2:
Upgraded to 0.4.6 & had a quick RTFM.

OK, so I can place a pair of cursors & drag them around to do measurements of periods of time. Nice. But I’d probably have never found that - I think that needs to be a button on the top toolbar, instead of the non-obvious right-clicking on the timeline. I’d also love to be able to just click-drag across the waveform to select the time-period of interest.

Once again, after pausing real-time capture (not recording), after several minutes the app lost all its display data off the graphs and was unresponsive. Also the green USB indicator @ bottom-right was gone. No idea what happened. Unplugging/relaunching/etc got it back.

That the Current Range drop-down actually controls power to the DUT with the ‘Off’ selection was at first very confusing (in part because in some circumstances the app seems to jump so that seeing? I was wondering “Why isn’t my widget working!?!? rummages around checking USB cables”, but it’s probably quite useful - remote power control! Automated inrush testing! Nice. Perhaps this deserves a button of its own, too, working in concert with the current range drop-down. Need to think about how that UI element would work smoothly….

Unplugging Joulescope USB (with DUT still connected) locked up the app - force-quit required. Repeating this deliberately and the app recovered just fine - intermittenschmittence!

Be nice to have a ‘Clear all data’ button.

I saved a capture to a file. Closed & relaunched app. Opened the saved capture - there was no File Association setup for .jls, so I created that myself. Then opening the .jls file did launch Joulescope app, but the capture didn’t open - Joulescope app defaulted to DMM mode, and switching to ‘Scope mode just showed live data. Repeating the opening of the .jls while the app was already running brought the app to the foreground but didn’t open the recording. Manually opened the saved capture - but there was nothing to indicate that it was a saved-capture (e.g. no filename in the window titlebar) - it looks the same as a live capture that’s paused. Confusing/dangerous.
What would be delicious is the ability to have a recording window open as well as the currently streaming/recording window - basically a multi-document interface.

On a Mac, using touchpad, 2-finger scroll up/down seems to be the same thing as 2-finger scroll left/right: both zoom in/out. That’s fine for now, but it seems like this distinction could be put to good use with future features!

Fantastic work, Matt, thoroughly impressed. Looking forward to new features, inc GPIO functionality.

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Hi @techydude. Welcome to the forum and thank you for the feedback! I think that your feedback falls into a few categories:

  1. Improve Joulescope’s macOS support - I prefer Linux & Windows, and I bought my first MacBook just for developing Joulescope. My lack of experience here shows in the Joulescope software. I need to spend some quality time with my Joulescope and MacBook.
  2. USB connectivity / reliability - We will have a firmware update soon that will help, and I will investigate further.
  3. UI usability - agreed & thanks for the details! Right click context menus (like for the Annotations) are convenient, but not easily discoverable.
  4. Current range off - The UI should be much clearer here - color change the current waveform? Joulescope also integrates with the official USBET tool (Windows only) for the what is probably the easiest to use USB inrush tester. We also plan to add a programmable soft fuse to Joulescope :wink: If you have more thoughts on how you would like a separate button/feature to work, please follow up!
  5. JLS file association, launch, and use.

I’ll take a few more passes through your feedback this week along with other feedback, and I will start creating more detailed issues over on GitHub. Thanks again for taking the time to provide your feedback!