Pico Technology Celebrate their 20th Anniversary
The Automotive Scope and the story so far.....
Pico Technology made a hit in 1991 with its very first product, the ADC-10 PC Oscilloscope (pictured). Pico had realised that instead of an expensive stand-alone digital storage oscilloscope with display and CPU, all the customer needed was some analogue-to-digital conversion hardware to add to a PC.
The result was a tiny but highly distinctive yellow plug that fitted into the then-standard 25-pin printer port. For the first time, experimenters could afford a digital oscilloscope complete with the latest DOS 5.0 software. Then, as now, the software was included in the price and updates were free.
1995 saw the introduction of the high-resolution 12-bit ADC-100 with a 100 kS/s sampling rate. In 1997 the ADC-101 (pictured), which also had a 100 kS/s sampling rate, became the first Automotive Scope and started a new era for Automotive Diagnostic Oscilloscopes.
By this time, Pico had outgrown its offices just outside Cambridge and moved to The Mill House in St Neots, allowing product development to accelerate.
The ADC-212 (pictured) replaced the ADC-101 in 2002, breaking through the speed limit imposed by the slow printer port by using an internal buffer memory to enable high-speed sampling. The PicoScope software continued to increase in power, now incorporating a spectrum analyser. This year also saw the launch of the first Automotive Diagnostics Kit.
2004 saw the launch of the PicoScope Commercial Vehicle Kit, which was adopted by major OEMS such as Iveco. Iveco is one of the largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles and diesel engines in the world. All of their vehicles are designed for commercial or public service use, so it’s imperative that maintenance is carried out quickly and effectively.
Pico collaborated with Panasonic to provide Iveco with a solution to their diagnostic needs. By using a customised Pico Automotive Diagnostics Kit and a Panasonic Toughbook PC, Pico were able to provide Iveco with a powerful automotive tool that enables engineers to find and rectify problems, or test specific components and calibrations wherever they are.
A year later, in 2005, Pico Technology launched the PicoScope 3000 Series automotive scope. This could be purchased in 2-channel and 4-channel variants (pictured). It was the first USB automotive scope, with no need for external power and therefore more mobile and usable on almost every PC and laptop. This gave technicians around the world a much more versatile scope, with not just more channels but also more power and performance, making even the latest vehicle technology far easier to diagnose and understand.
As well as the Automotive Kits, Pico began to launch accessories which, when combined with the PicoScope, made the complete package even more powerful and user-friendly for the technician.
In 2006 Pico Technology launched the 12-channel Mixmaster (pictured), which allowed users working with vehicles with up to 12 cylinders to analyse the secondary waveforms patterns, making ignition diagnostics on large engines a whole lot easier. In the same year, we launched the PicoDiagnostics software, which made the PicoScope kit accessible to users without specialist oscilloscope knowledge.
In 2007, Pico Technology launched the Motorcycle kit with added software features aimed specifically at the motorcycle industry. This allowed motorcycle technicians to benefit from the powerful combination of the PicoScope and the software.
In the same year Aston Martin joined the growing list of vehicle manufacturers that have chosen to equip their dealers with Pico Technology oscilloscope diagnostics kits. With the growing amount of electronics in modern vehicles, an oscilloscope is now an essential tool for any manufacturer committed to providing world-class service, reliability and performance. The Pico diagnostics kit has since been able to support Aston Martin’s entire range of current vehicles, and can easily be expanded to support new models.
In 2008, having outgrown its home again, Pico moved just a few miles to James House, a modern industrial building close to the A1 in St Neots. This gave the company room to expand its stores and despatch area to meet increasing demand. There is also more space for the growing development team, which is still busily recruiting talented electronics and software engineers. Pico attributes its success to a blend of innovation and experience, with over half of the employees from the Mill House era still working for the company.
In the same year Pico Technology launched the WPS500X Pressure Transducer (pictured), which allowed engine cycles to be viewed in a completely new way. Technicians could look at not only compression pressures, but also running compression waveforms as well as other signals including intake, exhaust and fuel pressure. From here the technician could easily diagnose mechanical issues by looking at how the cylinder was performing, as well as diagnose valves and leaks through components such as gaskets and seals.
In 2009, Pico Technology upgraded the automotive scopes to the 4000 Series, giving the user even more power and speed, and making the scopes more than equal to the latest technology including FlexRay and LIN Bus signals. In the same year the Advanced Automotive Kit was launched, which gave the technician the power and ability to diagnose additional components and systems with accessories such as the COP Probe, Universal Breakout Leads and many others.
Also in 2009, Maserati, famous for the high quality of its cars, joined the ever-growing list of vehicle manufacturers that equip their dealers with PicoScope Oscilloscope Diagnostics Kits. With the complex electronic technology used in their vehicles, an oscilloscope was an essential tool for a manufacturer committed to providing world-class service, reliability and performance. The Pico diagnostics kit has since supported Maserati’s entire range of current vehicles, and can easily be expanded to support new models.
Now, in 2011, Pico Technology has been the market leader in automotive oscilloscopes for over 10 years. The PicoScope kit is so versatile that it is supplied to manufacturers all over the world, and widely used as the dealer-level tool by companies ranging from performance marques to heavy-duty commercial manufacturers. In recent years it has become the most popular automotive scope for both the aftermarket and franchised dealer networks.
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