Automotive Newsletter

June 2008

Newsletter June 2008

This month we have a new case study for you, written by a PicoScope user who has kindly offered to share his diagnostic knowledge:

“Timing issues – misleading MIL?” by Dave Hill

A 1998 Alfa Romeo Spider 2.0 Litre Twin Spark was showing a MIL light. Scoping the cam and crank position sensors quickly showed the problem. A second problem with a 16-valve Nissan Primera was also quickly solved using a Pico oscilloscope. By London Road Garage of Coalville. (There are more diagnostic case studies at– click on “Pico”.)

Browse our list of diagnostics articles

Technical Information and Tips

Here is a quick tip for those of you who have updated to PicoScope 6.

Following on from last month’s tip on basic trigger functions, we can now expand on the main differences between the different types of trigger.

As we discussed previously, to the right of the Stop and Start buttons there is a drop-down box that contains four options. By default it is set to None, and we then have options of Auto, Repeat and Single. A Single trigger is the most basic option, taking just one capture of a waveform, and as discussed last month is ideal for simple single events such as testing throttle position sensors. The Repeat option then takes this one step further and continues to capture every waveform that satisfies the trigger condition. Finally we have Auto, which works in a similar way to Repeat but with a subtle difference: if a trigger condition is not met after a period of time, a capture will be taken regardless. So, as a general rule, it is safer to use an Auto trigger as you should be able to detect an intermittent signal.

Here’s a summary of the latest technical resources that you can find, free of charge, on our website.

  • Library of waveforms captured using the Automotive Diagnostics Kit
  • 10 engine management tutorials
  • 11 Real-Life Diagnostics stories from professional motor mechanic Nick Hibberd
  • 8 application notes on technical subjects of interest to automotive diagnosticians
  • PicoScope Automotive Oscilloscope Guide. Almost one hour long, this video guide contains everything from what an oscilloscope is and why you need one, to how to run simple tests and take measurements.

Pricing and Ordering

Our discount offer is still running, so if you are thinking of upgrading to our latest USB 4-channel scope, now is the time!

For a limited period, we are offering a 20% discount off the price of our 4-channel upgrade kit if you trade in your ADC-212 parallel port model. Please contact our sales department to place your order.

Engine Management Diagnostics Courses

If you own, or are thinking of buying, a Pico Automotive Diagnostics Kit, you mustn’t miss ourEngine Management Diagnostics course. This provides expert training on the fundamentals of engine management diagnostics, together with plenty of hands-on experience with our kit. The course is run several times a year around the UK.

These courses are popular, so book your course now!

Training Courses Next Month

Engine Management Diagnostics using PicoScope

Kingston College, Kingston upon Thames, London
8-9 July 2008

This two-day course introduces the basic working principles of engine management systems, component testing and system diagnostics using oscilloscopes. The course is split between theory sessions and practical demonstrations in a workshop using the Pico Automotive Diagnostic Kit on engine rigs.

Forthcoming Exhibitions and Training Dates

Visit the exhibitions page at for full details of upcoming exhibitions and training dates.

Employment Opportunities

Due to our continuing growth, we have vacancies for the following positions:

  • Development Engineer - Analogue Hardware
  • Development Engineer - Hardware
  • Development Engineer - Windows Desktop Application Software

We look forward to hearing from you if you want to be part of a growing company at the leading edge of test equipment design.


Please visit Pico Exhibitions for the latest list of exhibitions and trade shows that Pico and its representatives will be attending.

We're hiring!

Thanks to our continuing success and growth Pico are always seeking talented people to join our company.

Please visit to see our current vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you!

Software releases

Our latest software releases are available as free downloads. To check which release you are using, start the software and select Help > About.

About this newsletter

To make sure that your Pico newsletter reaches your inbox every month, add to your email address book or safe list. If you found this newsletter useful, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. Back issues are available from our newsletter archive.

Contact details

Pico Technology, James House, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 8YP, England
Tel.: 01480 396395 (+44 1480 396395)
Fax: 01480 396296 (+44 1480 396296)

Pico Technology North America Inc.
320 N Glenwood Blvd.
TX 75702
United States
Tel:+1 800 591 2796 (Toll Free)
Fax:+1 620 272 0981

Web technical support:
Twitter: picotech
Facebook: Pico-Technology