Do you need to view signals in the frequency domain? A digital oscilloscope is probably the best option.
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.
If you have the automotive oscilloscope, the anticipated resolution is always at your disposal,
whether you are attempting to fix on 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, primary and secondary ignitions, among others.
A dedicated automotive oscilloscope can also be referred to as motor-tester, engine analyzer or automotive lab scope.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is An Automotive Oscilloscope?
- 2 Top Automotive Oscilloscope Review
- 2.1 HANTEK 1008C 8CH – Best Automotive PC Oscilloscope
- 2.2 Autel Maxisys MS906BT OBD2 Scanner
- 2.3 Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Bluetooth Automotive Scan Tool
- 2.4 Autel MS906TS Diagnostic System
- 2.5 LAUNCH X431 V+ Full System Diagnostic Scan Tool
- 2.6 Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Diagnostic Scan tool
- 2.7 PicoScope PP920 Automotive Starter Kit
- 2.8 Autonerdz PicoQuad 4425 Custom PicoScope Kit
- 2.9 Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital Oscilloscope
- 2.10 PicoScope Oscilloscopes
- 3 How do you read an automotive oscilloscope?
- 4 What should I look for in an oscilloscope?
- 5 How do you use an automotive oscilloscope?
- 6 How do you use Hantek 1008c?
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
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 a breaking down equipment will be impossible without an automotive oscilloscope.
Eventually, at some point in your undertaking, you will require only the best oscilloscope in your tool kit,
if you are an electrician or somebody who just prefers tinkering on gadgets.
The question then is; how can you know if an 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 review.
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 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.
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 system.
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Top Automotive Oscilloscope Review
When you are shopping for automotive oscilloscope, the best Oscilloscope reviews will go a long way in helping you make a smart buying decision.
HANTEK 1008C 8CH – Best Automotive PC Oscilloscope
A digital oscilloscope is a complex electronic device which stores and analyses the signal digitally and is capable of visually depicting regular changes in electrical activity.
Among the different digital oscilloscopes, Hantek Automotive Diagnostic 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 channel oscilloscopes which is effectively used for vehicle testing.
Apparently, the Hantek Automotive Diagnostic Digital 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 vacuum, and ignition,
starting exhaust ignition, as well as petrol fumes adjusting valve vacuum and ignition.
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.
Autel Maxisys MS906BT OBD2 Scanner
Autel Maxisys MS906BT upgraded Automotive OBD2 Scanner is a powerful automotive tool with many superior features that provides comprehensive vehicle diagnostics.
Having engine trouble? No need to run to the mechanic for an engine repair. his professional OBD2 scanner will help you.
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.
Since it will be used mainly in workshops and garage, it has padding around it for protection against heavy impacts.
Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Bluetooth Automotive Scan Tool
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.
It has a well-sized screen and as a matter of fact, you will feel like you are using an ordinary tablet.
It is a perfect choice for the small and large workshop since it can read enhanced trouble codes.
It is a product of Autel, a renowned brand that manufactures automotive diagnostic tools.
It is committed to producing high-quality tools and accessories that will solve your car needs.
Its unique features such as data transmission through 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 with this diagnostic tool.
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Autel MS906TS Diagnostic System
Autel MS906TS Diagnostic System looks like an ordinary tablet. It is a portable device that you can walk around with since it has a compact size and is lightweight.
If you are looking for a tool to read the trouble codes from your car at home, do not hesitate to buy this one.
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 users.
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 tests for ABS, actuators, lamps etc.
LAUNCH X431 V+ Full System Diagnostic Scan Tool
LAUNCH X431 V+ Full System Diagnostic Scan Tool is one of the best professional automotive diagnostic scanners.
It is designed to perform advanced functions such as;
The modern car has complex parts that work in harmony in order to deliver the ultimate driving experience. Without a diagnostic tool like this, it can be time-consuming to detect problems of your car.
Being a full System Scan Tool, 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 feature of Wi-Fi.
With a Wi-Fi connection, you can download updates hence eliminating the use of an SD card.
It is crucial that you get a reliable and high-quality diagnostic tool like this one.
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.
This is not the case today. LAUNCH X431 V+ Full System Diagnostic Scan Tool is easy to use and understand.
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Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Diagnostic Scan tool
Professionals and home users 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 Diagnostic Scan tool that will work efficiently when a car with issues comes along.
This tool 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. Of all the hundreds of different scanners out there,
the Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Diagnostic Scan tool 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.
PicoScope PP920 Automotive Starter Kit
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 car 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 a problem in your car.
Using this kit, you will have a faster, efficient diagnostic compared to guessing the problem of your car.
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 has more memory and is faster;
features that are sought by experienced users. 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, ignition, 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 measures state of charge etc.
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Autonerdz PicoQuad 4425 Custom PicoScope Kit
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 systems and mechanisms working inside the car. It will test and inform if the car 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 car. Although it cost thousands of dollars,
it is a worthy investment if your budget allows. Additional, 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.
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital Oscilloscope
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 do you read an automotive oscilloscope?
Reading your O-scope effectively is the key to have a more proper diagnosis as well as a better shot at effective measures to treat the underlying problem that could be causing your vehicle to lag.
To start with the basics of an oscilloscope, first, we need to understand what they are used for. The purpose of an oscilloscope is to record electrical signals as graphs as they differ with time.
Most available scopes display a graph that is two dimensional, where time is displayed on the x-axis and voltage is on the y-axis.
Various controls are displayed on a scope’s screen. These controls can allow you to zoom in on a signal to get detailed information.
Other controls include trigger – which can be used to stabilize the display or to focus better on a single event.
What should I look for in an oscilloscope?
Choosing an O-scope can be a very daunting task as there are hundreds of variations available in the market. Here are a few things you could keep in mind while looking for one.
Digital or Analog
If you are tempted to purchase an analog one, your choices could be limited as very few are manufactured every year, and these oldies might also have performance limitations.
On the other hand, digital storage oscilloscopes (DSOs) offer some benefits, which include: they are small and easy to carry around, they may have the highest bandwidths, colorful displays, and their user interface is easier to use.
Whether the scope is easy to use should be given a much greater priority than it is generally granted. Oscilloscopes that are quick to use and works in the less problematic way is the one you should look out for.
An automotive oscilloscope which has a triggering capability grants a much greater control of the signal.
How do you use an automotive oscilloscope?
There is a wide range of various signals out there, which means you have to use a scope differently each time. But there still are certain steps that you can follow.
Selecting a Probe
Firstly, you will need to make a selection of a probe, and in most cases, the passive probe that comes automatically with an oscilloscope works just fine.
Setting the Scope up
The first step to take before establishing the connection is to set the attenuation on the probe, the most common one is 10x, but if you’re trying to measure a very low voltage signal, you’ll need to go with 1x.
Connecting the Probe
Then you’ll have to connect the probe to its first channel. And once turned on, it might take a while for the probe to get started.
Turning the Scope on
Once the oscilloscope is turned on, you should be able to view the display, which should be a noisy divided surface with a flat line going across the screen.
The screen also will show values for time and volts that were previously set. But for now, your focus should be turning the scope into its standard setup.
To do so, turn the channel 1 on and set it to DC coupling. The trigger source should be set to channel 1 as well.
Trigger type should be a rising edge, and the mode should be auto. Also, make sure that the attenuation on both your scope and probe is the same.
How do you use Hantek 1008c?
Hantek is one of the most prestigious brands out there, which makes very efficient automotive tools to help you with your diagnostic and getting accurate test results.
Their products are available almost anywhere, online and offline, and can be purchased even with a modest budget.
Here, we will show you how to get started with a Hantek scope. It’s the very basic information you need to know if you’re new to this.
Step 1: Connecting the Scope to Your Device
To get started with this scope, you need to have your tools ready. Then you need to plug the scope in and get it connected to your device. After that, you need to connect the Hantek lead as well.
Step 2: Calibration
The next step is calibration. Once the software is installed in your device, you’ll have to do the calibration, it is a simple thing to do, and you’ll find the option in the utility setting in the display. You can disconnect all the other channels you are not using as well.
Step 3: Connecting the Attenuator to Channel 1
The next thing to do is connect the attenuator to channel 1 in your scope. Then you can start changing the oscilloscope setting as per your requirement depending on which waveform you are trying to analyze.
Step 4: Installing
The next thing on the list is to take the scope to your vehicle and set it up. Then you’ll need to attach a T-pin to one of the wires, the one that is different in all the connectors.
Then from the lead, connect the red cable to the T-pin and the other black one to a bolt nearby.
Now, if the car is ignited, you will see the waveform on the display screen. You can modify the trigger settings to get a proper view.
How To Choose The Quality Automotive Oscilloscope?
The first thing while choosing a digital oscilloscope 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?
Choosing automotive oscilloscope 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 automotive oscilloscopes on the market in order not to make a costly mistake at the end.
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 the device is easy to use, a number of 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 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 and input ranges when shopping for an 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, primary and secondary ignitions among others.
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 he 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 Oscilloscopes
Digital Storage Oscilloscopes (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.
This is the utmost frequency of the signal that can pass through the front-end amplifiers.
As a result, the analogue bandwidth of your scope 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 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.
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.
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 more snug and 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
This is electronic measuring gadget used for observing electrical voltage through time alone.
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 diagnosis abnormalities in the automobile quicker and easier, with the increase of wiring diagrams, actuators, and sensors, built in the latest automobiles.
The motor tester is a dedicated oscilloscope used for auto diagnostics.
The major difference between a universal oscilloscope and a motor tester is of the fact that the motor tester can visualize short-timed processes such as the ignition spark process.
The motor tester reveals all the cylinders at the same time and gives room for detailed observation of the time period.
The requirements include a computer (a desktop, tablet, netbook or laptop PC) running Microsoft Windows.
The operating Systems requirements are Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 8.1 or 10; 32-bit / 64-bit. CarScope program needs less than 200 MB hard disk space.
Oscilloscope resolution is the capability of an oscilloscope to resolve small voltages.
All you need is to go to the installation folder and back up the Saved Waveforms folder in another place.
Yes, by making use of extra optional current clamps.
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 purchase, we discussed the factors that you must keep in mind to get the best one.
We hope you make the best buy!