Automotive oscilloscopes

A PicoScope (sometimes known as a labscope) turns your laptop or desktop PC into a powerful diagnostic tool. Think of it as the X-ray machine of diagnostics, letting you see the changing signals inside wires. You can purchase a PicoScope on its own, but most people purchase one of our award-winning Automotive Diagnostics Kits. These money-saving kits contain everything you need – just add a PC.

PicoScope Automotive software

automotive oscilloscope software

Our software helps you:

  • Set up your scope quickly
  • Capture waveforms you can trust
  • See your waveforms in high definition and with minimal delay
  • Evaluate your waveforms with powerful tools
  • Grow as a diagnostician; save and share your waveforms
  • Maximize your return on investment 

With any automotive PicoScope, you have exclusive access to unique features and a comprehensive set of resources, including our guided tests, the Waveform Library and PicoDiagnostics.

PicoScope Automotive software is free with no subscriptions or in-app purchases.

You can explore the latest version now by downloading and running it with a demo device - you don’t even need a scope!

Download PicoScope Automotive software >>

PicoScope guided tests

We understand it can be hard to know what to do when you are new to oscilloscope diagnostics. That is why we have created over 150 guided tests, free with every installation of PicoScope Automotive oscilloscope.

Each test:

  • Sets up the scope for you
  • Shows you how to connect to the vehicle
  • Describes how to perform the test
  • Details typical waveform characteristics and what they mean
  • Gives you example waveforms
  • Explains how the system and component work
  • Outlines related failure modes and the associated symptoms they might cause
  • Lists related DTCs

The tests cover all the important systems and components you are likely to see, including many sensors, actuators, and network systems, such as CAN bus, FlexRay and LIN.

And we’ll continue to add more tests through the free software updates and as vehicle technology changes demand.

Search in waveform library

Home page in Waveform Library

Waveform Library

Total number of waveforms to date: 5520

Sometimes you may come across an unexpected vehicle or waveform. How would you know how to set up your scope correctly or whether your captured waveforms are typical? Maybe you need a safe place to store your waveforms, or perhaps you have a captured waveform that you know will help others like you?

Our Waveform Library is here to help. It contains thousands of waveforms uploaded by PicoScope users from around the world. You can search and download these waveforms to use as a reference against which to compare your captures or to automatically set up your scope for your specific vehicle and component. Likewise, you can save and upload your waveforms to keep them safe and help benefit the entire Pico community.

To access the Waveform Library, you must have:

  • Automotive Forum access credentials
  • A PC having:
    • An internet connection
    • A PicoScope Automotive oscilloscope connected
    • PicoScope Automotive software running

Once logged into the Waveform Library Browser (accessible only via the PicoScope Automotive software File menu) you can search by, amongst other things, manufacturer, model, or engine code. Flexible search allows you to locate a waveform that you may not have found using make or model criteria.

PicoDiagnostics

PicoDiagnostics identifies faults that are not easy to find with a scan tool or require additional tooling or equipment. PicoDiagnostics turns your PicoScope Automotive oscilloscope into a powerful diagnostic multi-tool.

With PicoDiagnostics, you can test:

  • Cylinder compression
  • Battery, alternator and starter motor condition
  • Cylinder misfires / balance

PicoDiagnostics saves you time and money - and promotes trust in your customer relationships - with:

  • Quick non-invasive connections
  • Simple setup and test procedures
  • Clear diagnostic outcomes
  • Easy to share, customisable, reports

Cylinder compression

The cylinder compression test helps you to uncover engine mechanical issues in seconds:

  • Clip a test lead to the battery terminals
  • Crank the engine
  • Check the easy to understand bar graph for the relative cylinder compressions (all green bars indicates everything is okay, a red bar indicates a possible issue)
  • Discuss and discuss the findings with your customer

You can calculate absolute compressions by adding an optional pressure transducer to one cylinder, to indicate cylinder pressures in bar or PSI.

Battery, starter and alternator tests

Using PicoDiagnostics, you can check the battery, starter, alternator, and wiring, by just:

  • Connecting a test lead to the battery
  • Connecting test lead between the battery and starter motor (optional)
  • Cranking and starting the engine

The test evaluates the following battery, alternator and starter motor properties:

  • Battery states of charge and health (SOC & SOH)
  • Battery voltage drop during cranking
  • Battery Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
  • Alternator current output (for under or overcharging)
  • Alternator voltage and ripple (for blown diodes)
  • Starter motor coil resistance (for coil faults)
  • Battery-to-starter motor cable volt drop (and resistance)

Values have red, amber or green highlighting to indicate the test outcome and can be printed for customers. Your customer can see that the electrical system is in good condition or why a component needs replacing.

Cylinder balance

You can check for possible misfires or uneven power contributions across the cylinders with the cylinder balance test:

  • Clip a test lead to the battery terminals
  • Start the engine
  • Check the easy to understand bar graph for the relative power output from each cylinder (all green bars indicates everything is okay, a red bar indicates a possible issue)
  • Print and discuss the findings with your customer

Please note: this test does not support vehicles having engines with cylinder deactivation or low-compression engines with eight or more cylinders

NVH

The PicoDiagnostics NVH software can analyze vibrations and help to diagnose NVH problems. All you need is a PicoScope Automotive oscilloscope, the PicoDiagnostics NVH kit and a software license key (available from Pico Technology support).

The PicoDiagnostics NVH system is in use in thousands of workshops worldwide, due to the speed and simplicity of operation in capturing and analyzing both vibration and noise problems across the whole vehicle.

The system can obtain RPM, speed and other PID data via a J2534 interface (not supplied), and includes the ability to view Parameter ID (PID) values in the time domain.

The PicoDiagnostics NVH system includes special time-domain functions optimized for measuring creaks, squeaks and harshness, such as knocks.

There is also an inbuilt Function Generator that can generate sounds using your laptop. These sounds can stimulate resonance, making an object vibrate with a greater amplitude at its natural frequency. This is a very useful feature when customers complain about interior rattles, as they often have difficulty describing the sound or pinpointing the origin.

To learn more about our NVH system, please visit our product pages.