News article

Pico Pro users - CH Auto Services


We want to introduce you to one of our Pico Pro Users – CH Auto Services in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.

CH Auto Services is owned and run by Colm Higgins. They have been providing advanced mechanical services for over 10 years. They pride themselves in their vehicle diagnostics and both their every day and more specialist garage services. Colm has a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and he finished as a Semi-finalist in UK Top Technician, in both 2015 and 2017.

CH Auto Services pride themselves on diagnosing and fixing faults accurately and they do, of course, use PicoScope to do this. We recently came across Colm and his team of experienced engineers while we were browsing our social media channels. We found both images and videos that they had shared which featured our scopes and accessories. Seeing some of the amazing work they had been using our PicoScope for, we thought it was time to get in touch with them and find out just how Pico fit into their day-to-day work.

In our initial conversation with Colm, we learnt how he had first come across Pico and PicoScope while searching the internet for help and guidance with some diagnostic issues he was working on. He came across Frank Massey’s PicoScope videos on YouTube. Colm soon realised he needed a PicoScope and went on to purchase one. He has now been using PicoScopes for over 9 years.

With Pico’s focus on customer experience and satisfaction, we couldn’t help but ask Colm two pressing questions.

How has PicoScope/Pico helped you over the past 9 years?

“I think the best way to answer this is to explain how I came to be a Pico user. When I was developing my diagnostic skills and getting involved in the various training courses I soon found that to fully understand what was happening in an automotive circuit I would have to look at it in a level of detail only an oscilloscope could provide. This was when I became aware of Pico as it was the go-to tool of the top trainers. With loads of online resources and helpful guided tests, I was soon up and running. 

One of the great strengths of Pico is that it is so adaptable in terms of what can be measured. We added a WPS to our kit as we found the need for accurate pressure measurement for fuel systems and for engine internal pressure analysis. As vehicle technology changes Pico seems to also step up with the development of EV testing capabilities for example. 

I found that initially, I was using my Pico when I was deep in a diagnostic conundrum and as I have become a more confident user I have realised that a Picoscope is an invaluable everyday diagnostic tool. From simple battery tests to in-depth in-cylinder analysis our scope is always powered up and ready to go. 

As our diagnostic capabilities developed so did our reputation in the local area. We built on this by adding dealer diagnostic equipment and specialising in german vehicles, in particular Mercedes Benz, VAG and BMW. Using these tools we had access to the dealer guided fault finding however we find that we regularly use our Pico to "short cut" some of the long drawn out test plans with great results. We would honestly struggle to do what we do day to day without our Picoscope.”

What would be your advice to anyone just starting out on their Pico journey?

“My first bit of advice to anyone would be to use the online resources ie the pico forum and the guided tests. Lots of research will help and there is loads of free info out there. Download the Pico software and set it in demo mode as this won't cost anything and it is a good starting point to get a feel for things.

Initially getting to grips with the scope will seem overwhelming but a good tip is to fully understand the circuit you plan to measure before setting up. Without this info, you won't know what timebase and voltage/current range etc to set. This will make things all very frustrating and lead to a bad experience. In the beginning, it will seem like a slow way to get to an answer but as you start to develop your skills it will become second nature and much quicker. 

Start as you mean to go on and label your waveforms clearly and begin to build your library of reference waveforms in a clear and concise manner as these will become invaluable later. 

When the opportunity arises try to capture known good examples of the circuits you will be testing. It can be hard to find the time to do this but again this will be very useful when you encounter a fault with a similar vehicle. 

Be patient at the beginning as it will take time to get to grips with using a scope but with time and training you will begin to see the rewards and soon you will wonder how you got by without it.

Lastly, one of my most important pieces of advice is to keep your scope out. The worst thing you can do is relegate it to the bottom drawer of the toolbox. It's definitely a case of out of sight out of mind here. If your scope is hanging up within reach and the leads are on and ready to go you will find yourself thinking "I'll just have a quick look with the scope" and suddenly it's second nature.”

It didn’t take us long to realise that Colm and CH Auto Services are professional, experienced PicoScope users and we decided to surprise Colm for his dedication, enthusiasm and loyalty to Pico and our products by sending him our latest Automotive PicoScope, the 4425A.

We can’t wait to follow Colm and CH Auto Services as they continue their PicoScope Journey and will update all of you along the way.