9103 USB Picoammeter Winter 2020 News

Last year, RBD introduced an updated 9103 USB Picoammeter, with 3 new models:

  • High-speed: 500 reads / second compared to 40 for the Standard Model
  • High-voltage: an isolated signal input with the ability to float the 9103 Picoammeter to ±5000 VDC.
  • High-speed / High Voltage: One model combining both features.

This year we’ll be working on adding new features to our Actuel application software and providing more comprehensive support and programming documentation.

Actuel 1.6 is Released

Actuel Version 1.6
Actuel Version 1.6


The latest version of Actuel (1.6) is now available, as is an updated User Guide. The guide has new information on setting up and programming the 9103 for high-speed communications. Both can be found here.

This release replaces the Beta release and has full support for high-speed sampling and data recording and graphing.

9103 TechSpot Article Series

This year, we’ll be running a series of articles here on the TechSpot blog with more information on the new 9103 models and features, as well as detailed configuration, application, and programming advice.

Some of the topics we’ll be covering include:

  • Programming the 9103 for high-speed data collection
  • Using the high-voltage reference
  • Proper use of the input ground
  • Troubleshooting 9103 communications

Keep your eye on here on TechSpot for these and other articles covering all of RBD’s products, and please consider subscribing.

New Feature: Use the 9103 Picoammeter to Automatically Read microCMA Target Current

The latest software releases of Actuel for the 9103 Picoammeter and CMapp for the microCMA now support the ability to automatically read target current when acquiring data.

To use this feature, you must (of course) have a 9103 Picoammeter running RBD’s Actuel software.

Run CMapp for the microCMA, select Hardware Properties from the System menu, and check the option “Use 9103 Picoammeter to read target current.” You only have to do this once.

Turn on the 9103 Picoammeter, run Actuel, and measure your target current as usual. Leave Actuel open. It doesn’t matter whether the 9103 is sampling, but keep in mind that your current settings (sample rate, etc.), will be used.

Now, whenever you take an acquisition (except for an alignment), the target current will be measured at the beginning of the acquisition and displayed with the other electron gun settings when the acquisition is complete.

If you don’t have a 9103, you can still manually enter a value for the target current in the acquisition dialog.

Download the latest release of Actuel for the 9103 Picoammeter here.

Download the latest release of CMapp for the microCMA here.

9103 Actuel Beta: Data Cursor and Auto-save

UPDATE: A new Actuel Beta featuring a data cursor and auto-save is now available.

Actuel, RBD’s Windows application for controlling the 9103 USB Picoammeter, has currently been updated with some great new features. While the official release is a few weeks away, the beta release contains some new features in addition to the previously previewed micro-window display.

Auto-Save while recording:

In response to customer requests, we’ve added a feature to automatically save data while recording. The auto-save feature comes in handy when leaving the 9103 unattended for long periods. While rare, brownouts, etc., can cause a temporary communication failure between the 9103 and PC, and USB failures can sometimes lock-up or crash a system. Auto-save ensures that data is stored to a text file every 5 minutes, and again when recording is stopped (for completeness).

Auto-save always works automatically when multiple 9103 picoammeters are synced together. Simply select the option for all instances of Actuel, then select the file name (and keep the Data window open for each instance you want to record/save from). The data from each 9103 will be appended to the file sequentially, separated by the device identifier.

9103 Actuel Auto-save Feature

Data Cursor:

Sometimes it’s handy to see the exact data at a particular point in time during or after data acquisition. While high sampling rates make it difficult to mouse-over every data point in large data sets, the data cursor can help track current vs. time more easily without the need to export data as text. By simply hovering over the graph, a vertical line appears, while current and time is displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the graph window.

actuel-data-cursor

As always, Actuel is free for all owners of a 9103 Picoammeter. Meanwhile, you can download the most recent version of Actuel here:

Download Actuel for the 9103 USB Picoammeter

More Information on the 9103 USB Picoammeter