We’re going to walk along with you to pick the best automotive oscilloscope that suits your needs and desires and compare in detail the essential differences between the good automotive oscilloscope in the business to make it easier for you.
There was an old version of the oscilloscope which is the analog oscilloscope; they are too old and creaky right now and the world is revolutionizing towards the digital oscilloscope.
With more advanced techniques and technologies, if you need to view signals in the frequency domain for cars; a digital oscilloscope is probably the top automotive oscilloscope you will get compared to the analog oscilloscope.
Gone were the days when people were using the old creaky analog oscilloscope.
things have changed now and the newer versions have been upgraded to the best digital oscilloscope.
There are two types of digital oscilloscopes (AKA scopes) – the handheld oscilloscope and the PC scope.
Technicians working in the automotive industry prefer to use the handheld oscilloscope, as it makes things easier; they just plug a cable into a specific port in the vehicle and they go from there.
On the other hand, field workers may prefer to use the PC digital oscilloscope as it’s precise and efficient.
But, picking a certain type of oscilloscope depends mainly on your preferences, so it doesn’t mean if you’re a vehicle technician that you must the handheld oscilloscope only, and vice versa.
Table of Contents
What can you expect from getting the best automotive oscilloscope?
If you have the automotive oscilloscope, the anticipated resolution is always at your disposal,
whether you are attempting to fix a weak frequency or plot a course through an electrical distortion
An automotive oscilloscope is an indispensable device used for troubleshooting communication data stream, actuators, solenoids, sensors, communication data stream, and primary and secondary ignitions, among others.
A dedicated automotive oscilloscope can also be referred to as a motor-tester, engine analyzer, or automotive laboratory oscilloscope.
What Is an Automotive Oscilloscope?
An automotive oscilloscope, earlier known and referred to as an oscillograph and unofficially referred to as a CRO, O-scope or scope (for cathode-ray oscilloscope), or DSO (for the more contemporary digital storage oscilloscope), is a kind of electronic test instrument designed to graphically display different types of signal voltages as a two-dimensional plot of one or more signals as a function of time frequently.
Tracing atypical electrical waves on breaking down equipment will be impossible without an automotive oscilloscope.
Eventually, at some point in your undertaking, you will require only the high-quality automotive oscilloscope in your tool kit, if you are an electrician or somebody who just prefers tinkering with gadgets.
The question then is; how can you know if an automotive oscilloscope is actually the best in its category?
You will get the answer to this crucial question in the latter part of this automotive oscilloscope article.
Meanwhile, with voltage and time as the Y- and X-axis in that order on a calibrated scale, oscilloscopes show the change of an electrical signal over time.
It is possible for you to adjust the automotive oscilloscope for repetitive signals to be experiential as an incessant shape on the screen.
Oscilloscopes are used in the telecommunications, automotive, engineering, medicine, and sciences industry. And not just of the automotive industry.
The all-purpose oscilloscopes are used to maintain laboratory work and electronic equipment.
On the other hand, you can use the special-purpose types to exhibit the waveform of the heartbeat or for analyzing an automotive ignition OS.
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Best Automotive Oscilloscope Review in 2023
When you are shopping for an automotive oscilloscope, the best Oscilloscope reviews will go a long way in helping you make a smart buying decision.
A digital oscilloscope is a complex electronic device that stores and analyses the signal digitally and is capable of visually depicting regular changes in electrical activity.
Among the different digital oscilloscopes, HANTEK 1008C Automotive Digital Oscilloscope is one of the best.
It is designed with vast new features and capabilities. It is one of the most cost-effective 8 channels of automotive oscilloscopes which is effectively used for vehicle testing.
Apparently, the HANTEK 1008C Digital Automotive Oscilloscope has the potential to qualify for most of the features you are looking for.
HANTEK 1008C is perfect for vehicle testing. You can also use it for the first diagnosis like the idle exhaust ignition, intake multiple vacuums.
starting exhaust ignition, as well as petrol fumes adjusting valve vacuum.
It comes with a lot of capabilities and features, making it a powerhouse as far as automobiles are concerned.
It is lightweight and inexpensive. This smart purchase device for any analytic test instrument is particularly appropriate for all automobile enthusiasts, small garage owners, and home garage owners, in order for different types of important analyses and tests to be carried out in-house.
You need this device because of its compatibility with several platforms.
In other words, it works well with different software such as VISTA, Windows 7, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows NT. However, we consider HANTEK 1008C as an entry-level best automotive oscilloscope.
Autel Maxisys MS906BT upgraded Automotive OBD2 Scanner is a powerful automotive tool with many superior features that provides comprehensive vehicle diagnostics.
If you are looking for an advanced digital automotive oscilloscope, this should be on your top-quality automotive oscilloscope list. It has a lot of attractive characteristics. It also performs quite well compared to other digital automotive oscilloscopes.
Having engine trouble? No need to run to the mechanic for an engine repair; the professional OBD2 scanner in the Autel Maxiys MS906BT oscilloscope will help you out.
Its powerful Exynos 6-core processor offers fast speed with great multitasking capabilities. This makes it fast to run tests and boot up.
It is smaller in size compared to its earlier versions for a more convenient carrying option.
Autel is a large car diagnostic brand that has been in operation for over 15 years now. Which give huge credibility as a manufacture for a digital automotive oscilloscope.
Since it will be used mainly in workshops and garage, it has padding around it for protection against heavy impacts.
Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Bi-directional diagnostic tool is a unique scanner that both receives and sends data.
It will enable efficient diagnosis and troubleshooting of your car problems and serve as a perfect digital automotive oscilloscope for you whether you have it for personal or professional use.
We consider it as the top-rated automotive oscilloscope in terms of screen size, it has a well-sized screen and as a matter of fact, you will feel like you are using an ordinary tablet.
Furthermore, the Autel MaxiSys MS906BT digital automotive oscilloscope is the perfect choice for the small and large workshop since it can read enhanced trouble codes.
And it’s committed and designed to producing high-quality tools and accessories that will fulfill your automotive needs.
It is a product of Autel, a renowned brand that manufactures digital automotive oscilloscope.
This digital automotive oscilloscope has other unique characteristics such as data transmission through a USB connection, or
wireless BT communication makes it perfect for performing various functions such as EPB service,
DPF regeneration, oil reset, ABS/SRS, SAS Calibration, etc.
As a car owner, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars in order to own it.
Additionally, you will get tons of benefits from this oscilloscope.
In summary, its wide screen and diagnostic characteristics and the overall advantages this oscilloscope offers, reserve its place at the top of the best automotive oscilloscope in the market.
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It’s a portable digital automotive oscilloscope that you can walk around with since it has a compact size and lightweight. Autel MS906TS Diagnostic System is a digital automotive oscilloscope that looks like an ordinary tablet just like the previous oscilloscope we mentioned above.
If you are looking for a tool to read the trouble codes from your car at home, do not hesitate to buy this oscilloscope as it’s one of the favorite automotive oscilloscopes, and we’ll tell you why.
Its functions include reading codes to ECU programming.
It will automatically give all the VIN details of the car hence be able to read and clear faulty ones.
It can be used by both professional mechanics and home utilizers.
It is a high performing diagnostic tool with 6-core Samsung Exynos T5260 processor.
It was built with the user in mind hence it will solve all your car needs such as bi-direction testing for ABS, actuators, lamps etc. See the detailed pros & cons below to figure out more information about this digital automotive oscilloscope.
LAUNCH X431 V+ Full System Diagnostic oscilloscope is one of the best professional automotive oscilloscopes.
The modern car has complex parts that work in harmony in order to deliver the ultimate driving experience. Without an oscilloscope like this, it can be time-consuming to detect problems of your car.
Having a user interface like this oscilloscope, it will save you money and time by eliminating guesswork and diagnosing your car problems.
With its powerful processor, it will read and interpret codes and give information on where the problem is.
It comes with an important characteristic of Wi-Fi.
With a Wi-Fi connection, you can download updates hence eliminating the use of an SD card.
If you’re looking to get a professional automotive oscilloscope that possess lots of important functions; then, it’s crucial that you get a reliable and high-quality oscilloscope such as LAUNCH X431 V+.
You will be sure that it will perform the tasks that you want plus last for a long time before developing any problems.
In the past, there were only high-tech tools that could only be used by a professional.
But this is not the case today. LAUNCH X431V+ Full System Diagnostic Scan tool is a perfect example of easy-to-use and understand automotive oscilloscopes.
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Professionals and home utilizers want a tool that will last years and allow them to do any operations that they want.
That is why Injectronic brand constructed Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive oscilloscope that will work efficiently when a car with issues comes along.
This device has a lot to offer from oil life reset to transmission programming.
Diagnostic coverages include over 55 car brands and 28 makes.
It makes use of Bluetooth wireless communication where results can be displayed on your tablet or mobile phone.
Since you will be using the tool in your garage or workshop, it comes with protective rubber holders.
You will also get a compact and durable case to safely store it when not in use.
Unlike all other digital automotive oscilloscopes out there,
the Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Digital automotive oscilloscope is affordable. You will not have to spend thousands of dollars with this one.There is no need to spend days learning the button logy of this tool. The company had the users in mind hence made it simple to use with a tremendously easy-to-use user interface.
Turn your computer into a diagnostic tool by use of a PicoScope PP920 Automotive Starter Kit.
It is the easiest and cheapest way to tell if your automobile has a problem or not. This kit will save you money and time of going to a mechanic.
A mechanic may charge you $100 just to diagnose the problem.
Using this kit, you will have a faster, efficient diagnostic compared to guessing the problem of your automobile.
For the workshop, it will reduce the number of parts changed on guesswork plus an increasing number of customers.
It comes with software and a quick start guide. It comes with one of the advanced oscilloscope software available with tons of features.
The features include reference waveforms, maths channels, etc.
For those starting with oscilloscopes, the brand has made hardware and software that is easy to use.
Additionally, the hardware and software have more memory and is faster;
features that are sought by experienced utilizers. It is perfect for home users and professionals because of the guided tests.
It has over 150 guided tests that are continually updated through free software updates.
The guided tests include the following; charging and testing, pressure sensors, communication networks, actuators, etc.
They are all integrated with the software and when you select one, you are guided on how to perform it.
A simple connection of the kit to your vehicle will perform compression tests.
Ignite the engine to show the relative compression of each cylinder.
The battery test will measure state of charge etc.
Autonerdz PicoQuad 4425 Custom PicoScope Kit is an ideal diagnostic tool for both professional mechanics and home users.
It will offer enhanced access to various Sys. and mechanisms working inside the automobile. It will test and inform if it is having a problem or not.
This will help you to identify the problem and correct it without having to spend a lot of time guessing it.
With this kit, you will always have a healthy vehicle. A good kit needs to be something anyone can use.
That is why Autonerdz PicoQuad 4425 Custom PicoScope Kit comes with a training and support package so you can be able to use it with no problem.
If your engine has a problem, the tool will communicate with your engine’s computer and inform what needs to be fixed.
The kit can be used with many models of cars. Although it cost thousands of dollars,
it is a worthy investment if your budget allows. Additionally, it is ideal for mechanics that fix vehicles often.
Mechanics need a tool that can perform simple and complex diagnostic functions like this one.
Make sure to buy a kit that will cater to your needs; a kit with the features you plan on using.
Here’s yet another winner from Hantek 1008C series. 8-channel HANTEK Automotive PC Oscilloscope is an adaptable unit designed for analyzing and carrying out different kinds of tests on a vehicle.
This product has been particularly designed for automobiles and it is one of the durable and robust options available for all kinds of home garage aficionados and automobile mechanics across the world.
It is a vehicle-specific tool and comes with many features helpful for carrying out numerous kinds of tests.
A PicoScope automotive oscilloscope changes your desktop or laptop PC to a dominant diagnostic tool. It allows you to observe the changing signals within wires.
Picoscope Automotive Diagnostics Kits function with your personal computer to measure and test nearly all the electronic and electrical components and circuits in any recent vehicle such as:
The Automotive Diagnostics Kits are cost-saving kits that have all you need if you use it with a PC, even though you can buy a PicoScope alone.
The product is the foremost choice for aftermarket garages and vehicle manufacturers alike across the globe.
How To Choose the Quality Automotive Oscilloscope?
The first thing while choosing the best automotive oscilloscope for you, is not by looking at the adverts or scope specifications rather you need to think where will you use and how will you use it?
- Determine the purpose of the oscilloscope, where will you use either at the bench, customer site or under the hood of the car
- How many signals would you require?
- Do you need to view the signals both with frequency domain and time domain or either one of them?
Choosing automotive oscilloscopes can be a difficult task for a lot of engineers because there are more than a few different models and brands to choose from with widely varying specifications and costs and specifications.
There are quite a lot of features to consider when you are actually shopping for matchless advanced digital automotive oscilloscopes on the market in order not to make a costly mistake at the end.
There are very high demands from technicians on digital automotive oscilloscopes, unlike the old analog ones which are now old fashioned and aren’t quite used by professionals.
Investing some time ruminating about where and what you want to use the automotive oscilloscope for is the first step to selecting an oscilloscope and not just to search for scope specifications or adverts.
Discussed here are some of the factors you need to look for:
Ease of Use
In order to make sure that your handheld device is easy to use, numerous scopes provide some memorized setup configurations or a single-touch automatic setup.
Others have incorporated help system to save you from referring to manual all the time.
On the other hand, a number of scopes dispense with devoted user-friendly rotary knobs and substitute them with cheaper buttons for frequently-used adjustments like trigger level, trace position, time-base speed, and vertical sensitivity.
Downloading the user manual of the device from the website of the vendor will provide you with the clue about how sensitive it will be to maneuver the oscilloscope as you concentrate on your circuit under test.
An easy-to-use automotive oscilloscope can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
The Probes and Input Ranges
Consider a manufacturer that provides a whole set of accessories you can use to extend the application device input range and when shopping for a handheld automotive oscilloscope.
You need to extend the input range of the oscilloscope with an appropriate input probe if you want to carry out current signals or high voltage measurements like injectors.
10:1 and 20:1 attenuator, current clamps, capacitive and inductive pick-up clamps, AC coupling adapters and lots more are available.
It is of great importance that the input probes should at least equivalent to, if not surpass, the bandwidth of the scope.
The Number of Channels
As a matter of fact, automotive oscilloscopes feature a channel, two channels, four channels, and up to ten channels.
When thinking of the one to choose, think about the number of signals to be displayed.
However, single-channel oscilloscope is enough, if you want to carry out a quick diagnosis to establish the existence of a signal and whether it is in the standard range.
On the other hand, for reading signals from sensors, crankshaft/camshaft correlation, watching thermistor voltage outputs, looking at coil waveforms and injector, as well as looking at throttle position sensor outputs among others, two channels are sufficient.
Automotive oscilloscopes having four separately isolated channels are normally used when dealing with a typical crank no start condition or instantaneous view of the ignition circuit is required.
Analogue against Digital Storage Oscilloscope
Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSOs) represent almost all the new oscilloscopes bought nowadays.
In other words, digital storage oscilloscope is the best choice as a lot of users buying oscilloscopes now are changing analogue to digital.
But you have a limited choice if you are tempted to buy the analogue scope.
The bandwidth parameter specifies the maximum frequency electrical signal that the oscilloscope can display.
To guarantee an accurate depiction of the waveform, the oscilloscope bandwidth must be greater than the maximum frequency of the signal to be measured.
However, excessively high bandwidth will result in noise or undesired signals appearing on the oscilloscope screen. It is preferable if the scope bandwidth is appropriate for the measuring task.
The frequency at which the input signal is reduced by 3dB is referred to as the bandwidth. This implies that signals recorded near the oscilloscope’s bandwidth cannot be correctly captured.
As a result, the oscilloscope bandwidth must be approximately twice as big as the maximum recorded frequency.
This is the utmost frequency of the signal that can pass through the front-end amplifiers.
As a result, the analogue bandwidth of your oscilloscope must be superior to the highest frequency that you desire to measure.
Only the bandwidth is adequate to make sure a DSO can capture a high-frequency signal accurately.
Make sure you understand the bandwidth definition and bandwidth specification you want when you are shopping for an automotive oscilloscope.
The bandwidth should always be five times superior on top of the signal’s utmost frequency that necessitates measuring. This should make certain the waveform’s accurate representation.
The sample rate of an oscilloscope is the number of times per second that it samples the circuit under test.
An oscilloscope’s sample rate is comparable to a movie camera’s frame rate. It influences how much waveform detail the scope is capable of capturing.
Most oscilloscopes have two sampling rate speeds or modes: real-time sampling rate and equivalent-time sampling rate (repetitive), both of which are expressed in mega or giga samples per second (MS/s or GS/s).
When selecting an oscilloscope, make sure you understand what sort of sampling is covered by the specification.
Equivalent-time sampling is not suggested for automotive usage since it is only appropriate for periodic signals and hence unsuitable.
You will not be able to determine the real amplitude and length of any particular pulse if the sampling rate is inadequate.
For virtually all diagnostic applications, a sample rate of about 20 million samples per second would be a reasonable choice.
For automobile diagnostic purposes, a decent oscilloscope will take around 20 million samples per second, however the precise number of samples may vary from unit to unit.
ISO Certified Vendor
Consider buying your automotive oscilloscope from an ISO accredited vendor to guarantee the quality and reliability of the automotive oscilloscope.
ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is fast turning out to be the standard used all over the world by calibration and testing laboratories, according to a foremost test equipment rental organization.
ISO 17025 incorporates an ingredient of suitable skill to the entire concept, despite the fact that there are a lot of resemblances with the former ISO 9001:2008 standard.
For this reason, it is always a smart and good idea to patronize a certified and notable vendor for its quality.
The memory depth refers to the size of the buffer memory in which the collected data in the oscilloscope is kept.
A deep memory oscilloscope allows users to maintain a greater sample rate for a longer length of time. This is especially noticeable when zooming in on a signal.
Because the sample points are too widely apart,
an oscilloscope with a restricted memory depth will be unable to capture the waveform properly.
Be careful about the interference of your PC. Get ready concerning interference that may occur as a result of power and circuit supply in a situation where a low-level signal analysis is required.
PC components build up electromagnetic noise and they meddle with low-level signals in many cases.
You must keep a process of measurement free of any such interference in order to have a high precision in the course of working with low-level signals.
Choose Functional Triggering
Opt for an automotive oscilloscope with functional triggering because it aids in managing the signal display that can be viewed by the bare eye, to make it snugger and more precise for viewing.
While shopping for a certain oscilloscope, it is imperative to select the one that offers incredible visibility and wider boundary to ensure a better triggering response.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of oscilloscopes in auto diagnostics?
The purpose of the oscilloscope in auto diagnostics is to assist in locating the problem faster and easier.
An automotive oscilloscope is a tool which diagnoses abnormalities in the automobile quicker and easier, with the increase of wiring diagrams, actuators, and sensors, built in the latest automobiles.
Is a color display oscilloscope better than a black-and-white oscilloscope?
A color display is not required for accurate and useful data from an oscilloscope, but it might assist you view the findings as you work.
Most current oscilloscopes meant for automotive usage have a color display, but you may simply utilize a black and white version.
What is the difference between a lab scope and a motor tester?
The latter is a dedicated oscilloscope used for auto diagnostics.
The motor tester is differentiated from the universal oscilloscope by the fact that it can visualize short-timed processes such as the ignitions spark process.
And it also reveals all the cylinders at the same time and gives room for detailed observation of the time period.
What are the computer prerequisites for a CarScope program?
The requirements include a computer (a desktop, tablet, netbook or laptop PC) running Microsoft Windows.
The OS requirements are Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 8.1 or 10; 32-bit / 64-bit. CarScope program needs less than 200 MB of hard disk space.
What is oscilloscope high resolution?
Oscilloscope resolution is the capability of an oscilloscope to resolve small voltages.
Can I use the oscilloscope to test the battery in my automobile?
Oscilloscopes can perform a battery, starting motor, and alternator test in a single automated test.
While Oscilloscopes have a plethora of important features that enable the user to zoom, measure, scroll, and scale through events in the blink of an eye,
we often overlook the fact that this processing capacity may be put to good use in the form of an automated test battery life as well.
It can test three primary components that can all be liable for battery failure utilizing a single test lead linked across your battery and a high-amp current clamp connected around the main battery power line.
Once the engine is started, the software will monitor the initial battery voltage, the voltage decreases while cranking, the starting motor current usage, and the battery recovery/charge rate.
In this article, we reviewed some of the top Automotive Oscilloscopes which you can strongly consider if you are looking to buy a decent automotive oscilloscope that falls within an average budget.
To guide you during the purchase, we discussed the factors that you must keep in mind to get the best one.
We hope you make the best buy!