Pico Automotive Oscilloscope Diagnostics
Technical Training Website
by Garage Lube
Quick Introduction to PicoScope
An Automotive PicoScope is an oscilloscope specially designed to be used on vehicles. It is not, and does not replace a scan tool. You use it together with your scan tool. Your scan tool might return a fault code such as: faulty injector. You can replace the injector but wait, that's expensive! What if it is just a wiring fault or perhaps an ECU driver fault? The scope allows you to test components directly.
Difference between a PicoScope and a Scan Tool
A Scan Tool relies on a vehicle's systems to display a fault. PicoScope tests independently. You might say that your scan tool has live data, and therefore you can see waveforms. Consider that as live data waveforms are being generated by an ECU as a self-test and they are sent across one or more CAN busses. There are many opportunities for the data to be lost. For reliable diagnosis, independent test equipment should be used in addition to your Scan Tool and circuits should be tested directly.