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

Our PicoScope 4225A and 4425A automotive oscilloscopes come loaded with exciting new features, courtesy of our new, unique, PicoBNC+™ interface. What is even better is that it works with all your existing BNC accessories to preserve your existing investments. With PicoBNC+™ accessories you enjoy the full benefits of the new 4425A.

  • Channel status lights
  • Smart probe interfacing
  • Powered probes

Channel status lights

The channel status lights help you to quickly and confidently set up your PicoScope by showing you which probes and channels to connect and their status.

Smart probe interfacing

Our PicoBNC+™ smart probe interface allows compatible probes to be recognized and set up entirely within the software. PicoBNC+ removes the possibility of incorrect hardware settings and ensures that your waveform capture is as intended.

With a 4225A or 4425A diagnostic oscilloscope, you can capitalize on future PicoBNC+™ probe developments and remain at the cutting edge of diagnostics.

Powered probes

Smart probes are powered via the PicoScope when connected, allowing long-duration captures (such as overnight battery parasitic drain tests), with no battery concerns.

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

Backward compatibility

As well as full compatibility with your existing PicoScope or third-party BNC probes, this new generation of labscopes retain the tried and trusted features of our previous, award-winning, generation of scopes, such as:

  • Floating inputs for non-grounded measurements and voltage drop tests
  • 200 V input range
  • ConnectDetect® to ensure you have a good connection
  • Hardware filters and frequency measurement
  • USB 3.0 connected and powered

Floating inputs

Floating input channels are a unique new technology that allows safe, low-noise measurements even in situations where none of the inputs are grounded.  

Floating inputs allow a single input to perform voltage drop tests (for example, along the battery to starter motor cable) and measurements on non-grounded signals like hybrid electric motor drives. With floating inputs the maximum allowable voltage difference between any two channel grounds is 30 V.

The inputs can measure up to 200 V. A key benefit is that external attenuators are not needed for measuring injector voltages. 

Remember: on a floating-input scope, grounding one input does not ground all the others. You must provide signal and return connections for each input that you are using.

ConnectDetect®

Making sure that you have a good connection to the signal you want to test is not always easy. With ConnectDetect enabled, indicators on screen, and lights on the scope itself, turn from red to green as soon as a good connection is detected.

Once a good connection is established, the on-screen icons fade so as not to obscure the waveform. If, however, the status changes (for example vibration causes a probe to become loose), the icons will highlight the change.

deep memory oscilloscope

Memory buffer

The best way to diagnose an intermittent fault is often to set up the scope to measure from several components and wait for the fault to occur. For an intermittent misfire, you might want to capture several minutes of cam, crank, ignition and injector waveforms. These types of tests require an oscilloscope with a "deep" memory buffer, so that you can capture for long periods of time and then zoom in without any gaps or loss of detail.

With PicoScope you can collect 250 MILLION samples, more than any other automotive oscilloscope. Our advanced "always on" memory technology uses hardware acceleration to make sure that the processing of large amounts of data does not slow the oscilloscope down even when you are using a slower or older PC.

Deep memory allows long recordings at high speed – you capture a complete test drive whilst looking for intermittent faults. When not using the full memory for a single waveform, PicoScope automatically stores up to the last 10,000 waveforms in the buffer, so you can stop the scope and “wind back time” to see every capture.

Engine timing waveform

Engine timing waveform

PicoScope software - keeps improving

We have been upgrading and improving PicoScope software for over 20 years. This allows us to make the maximum use of the latest technology both in the oscilloscope hardware and the PC itself.  

The modern user interface is uncluttered and easy to use. There are no old-fashioned knobs and dials. We leave most of the space free for what matters: your waveforms.

Recent new features include:

  • 720 degree rotation rulers: ideal for looking at engine timing (see waveform showing crankshaft, camshaft and in cylinder pressure).
  • Channel labels: it's important when saving a file to identify what each channel is measuring but it can be time-consuming.  With channel labels you just type in a few letters and a time-saving list of names is presented.
  • Vehicle database: a list of makes and models is included with the ability to store customer details too. The last few vehicles worked on are stored in a list for quick recall.

Software upgrades are free for the life of the product and download in the background while you are working.

FlexRay waveform

FlexRay Waveform

Fast sampling

The latest PicoScopes can capture signals faster than ever. With sampling rates of up to 400 million samples per second, there is nothing that can escape the scrutiny of PicoScope.

CAN and FlexRay are now common on vehicles, and new protocols such as SENT for digital sensors and CAN FD (up to 5x faster than the current CAN standard) are appearing in new vehicles. The fast sampling rate ensures that the PicoScope 4000 Series scopes have the speed to handle future needs as vehicle technology changes.

USB 3.0 for power, speed and simplicity

As with our previous generations of PicoScope oscilloscopes, no external power supply is required and there are no batteries to go flat, just a simple reliable connection to the USB port.

The PicoScope 4225 and 4425 have the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port to interface to your PC. Don't worry if your PC only has USB 2.0 ports – the PicoScopes are fully compatible with these too. If you have USB 3.0 on your PC you will notice slightly faster screen update rates, faster file saving and USB streaming. As more of our customers move to PCs with USB 3.0, free software updates will ensure that you get the full benefits available from the new standard.

Our unique fast USB streaming allows continuous gap-free data to be collected straight to PC memory. This makes features like our cylinder balance, battery test and (optional) NVH tests possible. It also allows the oscilloscope to display live, real-time data without waiting for the screen to refresh.

Advanced features

  • Advanced digital triggers. Unique among automotive oscilloscopes, these trigger modes allow you to trigger when there is too long a time gap (such as when an injector fails to fire). They can also trigger and sound an alarm when a sensor signal goes out of range.

  • Filters. Some signals are noisy, as wires in the loom pick up noise from other sources. The vehicle ECUs filter this noise out. The PicoScope 4225A and 4425A have selectable hardware filters to remove this noise, so you see what the ECU sees.
  • Hardware frequency measurement. Flow sensors and some airflow sensors output a digital frequency signal. Most oscilloscopes can't extract usable diagnostic information from this, but your PicoScope can convert it to a conventional analog waveform (as shown in this MAF sensor example).