Automotive Newsletter

October 2014

Case Study: NVH Cabin Case Study Tutorial

This month we have an NVH case study tutorial from our very own Steve Smith.

"It is no secret by now that amongst the numerous accessories to accompany PicoScope, the NVH kit (Noise Vibration Harshness) introduces a whole new dimension to diagnosis in which (as technicians) we are only scratching the surface.

When I read through our forums, it never ceases to amaze me how scope users have adapted the scope for their own measurement needs using custom probes and maths channels etc. The possibilities are endless and now with a means to measure and more importantly, identify noise/vibration, we have a whole new area of study to embrace and techniques to apply. A recent question raised on our automotive forum asked "What can I diagnose with the NVH kit?".

A MK5 VW Golf 2.0 TDI with a distinct vibration throughout the cabin at a very specific road speed range of 67- 73 mph, presented a real nuisance at cruising speed. This problem resulted in the customer driving at 65 or 75 mph to avoid the vibration.
The vibration was not evident through the steering wheel and the customer confirmed all 4 wheels and tyres had been balanced.
With any form of diagnosis, confirmation of the symptom with the customer is critical and never before has this been more essential than when investigating NVH. I mention this now because our perceptions of noise and vibration differ from one individual to the next. What might appear a nuisance to the customer may in fact be a vehicle characteristic based on the experience of the technician. Until now, proving this fact to a customer was dependent on the rapport and trust of the technician with the customer.
Now, with Pico's NVH kit we can take a physical measurement of the vibration level and present the customer with factual evidence from their vehicle or even from a donor vehicle (when a comparison is required). This enables you to explain whether the vibration level is a characteristic of that vehicle or requires a component to be replaced or repaired identified from the frequency of the vibrations detected. So how does the NVH kit detect and identify the numerous vibrations present in a vehicle?".

You can continue reading the NVH Case Study Tutorial online...

PicoScope Automotive 4225 and 4425: Recap

Last month we launched the next generation of Automotive PicoScopes with a host of exciting features. The new scopes are available as 2-channel 4225 and 4-channel 4425 options, and are supported by a complete range of kits to allow a workshop to earn money from their PicoScope right out of the box.

The new Automotive PicoScopes are 5 times faster then their predecessors and with up to 400 million samples per second your investment is protected for many years to come.

A 250 million sample memory and comprehensive triggering functions, mixed with a powerful zoom function allows you to have the best of both worlds: high speed and long capture times. With an input voltage range of +/- 200 V to handle increasing injector voltages without the need for attenuators.

The floating inputs on the new PicoScope 4000 Series scopes mean that all inputs can be used in differential mode (e.g. CAN-H and CAN-L signals), or across non-grounded components such as 12 V injectors or for voltage drop testing using a single input.

The new PicoScopes include ConnectDetect(TM) which detects when you have made a good connection in those difficult-to-reach places. This new feature detects circuit connections with a low impedance (100 kilohm). When enabled, the PicoScope displays the status of the connection both as an on-screen icon and corresponding Channel LED located on the front of the scope; handy if the screen is not visible while probing.

The example below shows a good connection on Channel A (Green), a poor or no connection on Channel B (Red) and that ConnectDetect is not applicable on Channel C (Grey) due to a x10 attenuator being used (ConnectDetect does not work with the current clamps and pressure transducers either).

The ConnectDetect icons remain on screen briefly once a good connection has been established, and then become transparent to prevent obscuring the waveform under review. Should the connection be lost during a capture, the relevant icons will return in bold to warn of a connection problem.

You can view further information and pricing of the new Automotive PicoScopes on our website.

Waveform Library and Competition news!

Our Waveform Library feature in PicoScope 6 Automotive is growing at a superb rate, with over 900 waveforms now available.

To access the Waveform Library you must have an automotive scope connected and have a valid user name and password for the Pico Automotive forum.

Waveform Library Competition: September Results

All the waveforms uploaded to the database before midnight on September 30th were entered into a draw for 10 chances to win a voucher worth GBP100 / USD165 / EUR121. This voucher can only be used when ordering direct from Pico Technology, and there is no cash alternative.

One of the most useful types of waveform is CAM vs CRANK. Due to this we stated 5 of the 10 vouchers will be awarded to people who have uploaded this type of waveform. The following waveforms were chosen at random. Each name listed below will receive a PM on the automotive forum, with details on how to claim your voucher.

Cam and Crank Winners

  • Camo: Kia ix35
  • Marcon: VW Golf
  • LucaB: Opel Zafira B
  • linville78: Ford F-150
  • terbo: Vauxhall Astra CC

Other Winners

  • accchris: Smart Fortwo
  • tode: Chevrolet Captiva
  • markstammers: Peugeot 307
  • heronsautos: Renault Espace
  • Daniel R Knudsen: Toyota Yaris

Waveform Library Competition: November Competition

All the waveforms uploaded to the database between November 1st and November 30th will be entered into a draw for 10 chances to win a voucher worth GBP100 / USD165 / EUR121. This voucher can only be used when ordering direct from Pico Technology, and there is no cash alternative.

With the focus of these uploads on CAM and CRANK, we are offering 5 of the 10 vouchers to people who have uploaded this type of waveform.

A new accessory for your PicoScope kit

The new TA206 Maxi Fuse extension lead is a simple accessory that can save you valuable time.
Simply remove your existing maxi fuse from its fusebox terminal and replace it with our TA206 extension lead. Insert the original maxi fuse into the open end of the extension lead and place your Pico current clamp around the lead. You can now measure the current drawn in the circuit.

A PicoScope 4425 sampling tip via Tech Support

Steve Smith, Automotive Applications Specialist from Pico's Automotive Technical Support provides a a tech tip on how to achieve 250 MS (megasamples) using our latest automotive scopes.

The Buffer Memory (sample memory) for the new scope has a maximum capacity of 250 MS shared between active channels. However, a proportion of the selected buffer memory (half) is utilised for sending captures to the waveform buffer when taking multiple captures (while utilising Buffer memory to display waveform on screen, half of the Buffer memory is also used for writing the previously captured waveform to the waveform buffer).

The way in which we can demonstrate the maximum number of samples would be to carry out a single trigger event on a single channel at 500 ms/div with 300 MS or above selected. The scope however must also be set to block mode when using 500 ms/div, as the default for streaming mode is set to switch from block to streaming at 200 ms/div.

To set block mode at 500 ms/div select Tools>Preferences>Sampling, select the Collection time to any value above 500 ms/div, select Apply and OK (Streaming mode will now only be activated at the level you specified in the Collection time box.

Capture the desired single channel waveform using a single trigger and you will now have 250,000,002 samples on one screen.

Automotive preset library update

No matter how long you've had your Automotive PicoScope, the chances are you have used at least one of the tests in our Automotive preset library. Over 140 preset tests provide connection information, technical information and example waveform data for you to follow and learn from. These tests have been around for many years. With the recent leap forward in our scope technology, the new waveform library feature, and new accessories being supported by the software all the time, the automotive presets and help files are next to get some attention. Work is taking place to bring new help files covering our popular WPS500X Pressure Transducer, and new tests that are required in the ever advancing world of car technology.

Combined with new and updated content we are giving the help files a makeover in order to bring them into line with other documentation and marketing literature. The new and improved help files will be deployed in future releases of software, and will continue to provide useful information to our customers. Watch this space for news on their imminent release.

Upcoming events and exhibitions

Auto Trade Expo - 2014

The new Auto Trade Expo will be the first of its kind ever held in Ireland. It will showcase all aspects of the Irish auto aftermarket in a major trade only event. It will prove a Mecca for mechanics; technicians; and apprentices from independent garages and main dealerships. It will also be a must attend event for workshop and / or aftersales managers, parts managers, and owners and managers of garages, transport workshops, bodyshops, tyre centres, motor factors, and everyone involved in the auto aftermarket.

Trade stands will be interactive with real demonstrations. Touch and feel the parts, tools and equipment and interact with those doing the demonstrations, to learn about new products, tools, equipment, and methods - to have your questions answered. All vehicle aftermarket sectors including motorbikes, passenger cars, light commercials, heavy commercials, trailers and buses will be catered for in the Auto Trade Expo.

A Pico distributor Diagnostic Solutions Ltd will be attending the show, why not take a look at what we have to offer?

Auto Trade Expo - 2014
8th - 9th November 2014
Citywest Conference Centre
Saggart, Co.Dublin

Mechanex - Sandown, England

Visit MECHANEX 2014 and you'll have the chance to see demonstrations of the latest workshop innovations. In addition take advantage of many exclusive show offers and a free bacon roll and t-shirt courtesy of the MECHANEX team.

The Sandown event takes place between 11th and 12th of November 2014. The aftermarket service diagnostics and repair sector has never been more competitive, Pico will be at the show with our latest innovative products and accessories so if you are attending, why not come and see Pico at stand B5.

Mechanex Sandown
11th - 12th November 2014
Sandown Park
Surrey, England

Employment opportunities

Do you want to work at the leading edge of automotive diagnostic and test equipment design? Or perhaps know someone that would thrive in our industry and the environment Pico Technology provides?

We are always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our expanding team. Based in St Neots, Cambridgeshire we are a growing company with fantastic employee benefits and prospects.

Why not visit (or recommend) our web page, and see what we have to offer?!

Training courses

For a list of Pico endorsed trainers, please visit the training page on our website.


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.

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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

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