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 oscilloscopes and kits

New PicoScope 4425A for active diagnostics

Our exciting new PicoBNC+® probe connectivity, unique to PicoScope 4225A and 4425A oscilloscopes, provides you with:

  • Channel status lights to show you which probes and channels to connect and their status when you load a data file or guided test
  • Smart probe interfacing so that all your probe configuration takes place in the software - no more incorrect probe switch positions!
  • Powered probes that are always on and ready to go - no more flat batteries, current clamp zeroing, or auto-off!
  • Future-proofing of your diagnostic capabilities as we develop new probe technologies.
  • Full backwards-compatibility with BNC for all your existing PicoScope or third-party probes

All our automotive PicoScopes have the features that have already helped technicians around the world with vehicle diagnostics:

  • 400 M samples/second and 20 MHz bandwidth to make sure you can test the latest vehicles such as those with high-speed FlexRay or CAN-FD networks
  • 12-bit (16-bit enhanced) resolution - your waveforms in high definition
  • 250 M sample memory for long-duration captures; ideal when you are trying to diagnose intermittent faults
  • USB 3.0 data transfer speeds and power, providing you with high performance and portability

More information on the PicoScope hardware >>

scan tool or oscilloscope

Why do you need a PicoScope?

Could you use a scan tool instead of a labscope? No, you need both.

A scan tool only points you in the right direction, perhaps indicating a misfire on a specific cylinder, but rarely does it pinpoint a fault. For example, is the misfire caused by an ignition, injector, or a compression-related issue?

Reliance on a scan tool alone can lead you to "parts darts" where you might find yourself replacing more and more parts until the fault goes away.

Instead, a PicoScope helps you:

  • Eliminate guesswork and test individual components before replacing them.
  • Find troublesome intermittent faults.
  • Investigate vehicle problems when there are no, multiple, or misleading fault codes.
  • Diagnose charging and starting faults.
  • Trace problems with actuators that are not monitored by the ECU, such as motors and injectors.
  • Identify mechanical problems such as compression and slipped / incorrectly fitted timing belts.
  • Prove the source of an NVH problem
  • Report your objective findings back to your managers and customers

As a technician, a PicoScope brings you faster, more efficient diagnostics and a clear understanding of the vehicle’s workings.

As workshop owner, a PicoScope gives you a "fix it right" culture, with fewer parts changed on guesswork, and increased customer satisfaction, repeat business and profits.

Protecting your investment

When you purchase any diagnostic tool, you spend not only money but also time learning how best to use it. We protect that investment in three ways.

  1. Our products provide features that help you if you are just starting with oscilloscope diagnostics, yet but also have the power and tools demanded by experienced users.
  2. We do not compromise on quality or specifications - the PicoScope you buy today will remain an essential part of your diagnostic toolbox ten years from now.
  3. Our regular, free, software updates and new feature releases improve the capabilities of your PicoScope with time.

With all this, it is no surprise that more vehicle manufacturers and aftermarket customers choose PicoScope than any other oscilloscope.

Which PicoScope?

We recommend our two and four-channel PicoScope 4225A and 4425A for general workshop use. The floating ground design, ConnectDetect® and 200 V inputs provide you with a very robust and easy-to-use scope.

More about the PicoScope 4225A and 4425A >>

If you are an experienced scope user, perhaps involved in training, vehicle design or in-depth diagnostics, the 8-channel PicoScope 4823 may be suitable. The common-ground architecture limits your maximum input voltage, so requiring a little more care when connecting these scopes.

More about the 8-channel PicoScope 4823 >>

deep memory oscilloscope

PicoScope Automotive software

PicoScope Automotive software and oscilloscopes are optimized to work together to give you total trust in the waveforms you capture.

With PicoBNC+™ compatible devices, PicoScope software sets up your scope automatically. You can use channel, sampling and trigger controls to capture your waveform precisely as you want it.

PicoScope Automotive helps you determine your waveform characteristics with a vast range of easy to use and configurable analysis tools:

  • Time and voltage rulers
  • Rotation rulers
  • Measurements
  • Waveform buffers
  • Zoom
  • Views
  • Filters
  • Math channels
  • Reference waveforms

Masks and alarms automatically notify you if a waveform goes out of tolerance. PicoScope can fire off a software event (such as a save to file), meaning you don't have to hang around and wait for the error to show up.

All of these features are wrapped up in a modern, easy-to-use interface. We leave the space free for what matters: your waveforms, displayed in crisp, clear high resolution.

All of this, plus regular updates and new features, with no ongoing subscription.

More about PicoScope Automotive software >>

Guided tests, Waveform Library and PicoDiagnostics

As a PicoScope Automotive user, you have access to a unique set of diagnostic resources, consisting of our guided tests, Waveform Library and PicoDiagnostics.

The guided tests set up the scope for you, then tell you how to connect to the vehicle, perform the test, and evaluate your waveforms. Plus, they are full of information to help you understand how the system works and the possible failure modes and associated symptoms.

More about our guided tests >>

Sometimes you may come across an unexpected vehicle, waveform or result. Our Waveform Library provides you with over 6,000 waveforms uploaded by PicoScope users all around the world. You can 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.

More about the Waveform Library >>

PicoDiagnostics provides you with a set of quick non-invasive tests, simple procedures, and diagnostic conclusions you can share with your customers.

Current PicoDiagnostics test capabilities  include:

  • Relative and absolute (optional) compressions for each cylinder.
  • Cylinder balance / misfire detection for each cylinder.
  • Battery cold-cranking amps, state of charge and health, and battery voltage drop during starting.
  • Starter motor coil-resistance, and voltage-drop down cables.
  • Alternator output voltage, current and diode ripple.

More about PicoDiagnostics >>

Pico EV kit

Electric Vehicle kit

The Electric Vehicle kit from Pico Technology is designed to cover all vehicle types and powertrains, providing workshops with a future-proof system that handles vehicles incorporating high-voltage batteries and motor systems.

The importance of Electric Vehicles is clearly evident as part of the drive towards better use of clean and renewable energy and the reduction of harmful emissions and particulates. EV is now discussed so widely, and the investment in increasing EV deployment so great, that every workshop is increasingly aware of the need to handle EVs.

Pico is working with our partners and customers to ensure that workshops can be as safe, efficient and effective working with EV as they are with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).

More information on the Electric Vehicle kit  >>

Automotive pressure sensor

WPS500X pressure sensor kit (optional)

Adding the WPS500X to your PicoScope opens up a new world of diagnostics by turning pressure readings into waveforms.

WPS500X allows you to see the inner workings of your system, such as in-cylinder waveforms. You can see valve and timing issues, mechanical failures, blown gaskets and blocked catalytic converters.

Most pressure sensors can only measure over a limited range (so you need different ones for different tasks). The WPS500X has three ranges in one sensor, so it is flexible enough to work all around the vehicle, including with fuel system pressures, transmission pressures, and intake, in-cylinder, crankcase and exhaust pressures created as air flows through an internal combustion engine.

More information on the WPS500X pressure sensor >>

Noise and vibration (NVH) diagnostic kit

Noise and vibration kit (optional)

Improvements in damping and sound insulation in modern vehicles mean that vibrations and noise that would previously be ignored (by turning up the radio) are now diagnostic headaches. You can lose many hours, and swap many parts in tracking down customer complaints.

The NVH kit works with your PicoScope to quickly identify the source of the problem. If the customer complaint is noise, use the microphone; if it’s a vibration, use the accelerometer.

Sophisticated software helps you to quickly identify the offending issue (such as a wheel imbalance) and pinpoint its location (such as the near-side rear of the vehicle).

You can enhance your kit with accessories to also allow on-vehicle driveline balancing.

More information on the NVH kit >>

Help all the way

You may know that you should be using an oscilloscope but are perhaps worried they are too difficult to use?

If you are confident using a multimeter and scan tool, you will have no problem learning to use a PicoScope.

The manual guides you step by step through installing the PicoScope and making your first measurement of battery voltage.

Download a user manual >>

PicoDiagnostics is a suite of tests that involve quick non-invasive connections and simple setup procedures, yet provide clear diagnostic conclusions for you to share with your customers.

Learn more about PicoDiagnostics >>

From there, the guided tests take over. We have over 150 guided tests to show you how to test many vehicle systems and components.

Read more about our guided tests >>

Accessories to cover all your test needs

For a look at the full range of accessories for your scope please visit the following sections:

Current Clamps

Pressure Sensors

Noise & Vibration

Leads & Accessories

Ignition Accessories

Breakout boxes & leads

Clips & Adaptors