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Oscilloscope recomedations

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Looking to by oscilloscope as DIYer any recommendations? Picotech base model is quite tempting but I don't know if it will be ok for the job! I'm talking the one with the 10 Mhz bandwith!

If you only want two channels then the Pico 2204 or 2205 is hard to beat for the money, good specs, good software and very little drama. Avoid the cheap Hanteks etc, my first scope years ago was a 6022 and was so frustrating to use with constant crashes and the trigger mis-firing etc. I have a Rigol DS1054Z 4ch bench scope now, even though much larger than a PC scope I find it easy to use with real buttons/knobs and not having to connect up a laptop etc.

From your experience do you need more than 2 channels?

I got away with a two channel for many years, I think that would do 99% of what a typical tuner would need. Most commonly for me it is just checking cam and crank pattern or sensor polarity etc.

More channels can be useful for diagnosing problems - for instance if you have a troublesome misfire you may want to capture an injector pulse, ignition pulse and cam all at the same time, but for me that type of use is rare.

+1 for picotech

In my opinion, half the challenge of using an oscilloscope is understanding how you should configure the trigger and screen vertical/horizontal settings to measure the signal you're working with. If you're already experienced using a regular lab-style oscilloscope it might take some time to get used to the Picoscope software controls. If not, might have an easier time starting with a Picoscope because you don't need to un-learn how a traditional oscilloscope works. I like that the Picotech scope gets powered by the laptop USB, and the software makes it pretty easy to save a few screens worth of data. The only tradeoff is the laptop screen can feel get cluttered if you have oscilloscope software and tuning software and another document or two open all at the same time.

If you're just checking duty cycle on a single channel at a time, or finding the crank & camshaft waveforms then two channels is probably enough. Having four is nice because you can see the crank signal and cam signal plus one coil and one injector all at once. If you're just working with two you might spend more time moving the probes around. Don't worry about scope bandwidth or speed, most of them are plenty fast for automotive signals unless you're looking very closely at CAN waveforms.

The DS1054Z is my go to scope as well. I find it easier to drive than a PC based application, and it's a very cost effective unit too.

I too bought a DS1054Z as my first scope thinking i would use it both on cars and my electronics hobby. Turnes out i have never touched a car with it. One reason is the need for a mains line to run it.

I now have a Pico (and a Uscope and an old Snapon MT2400) and now knowing how easy and intuitive feature rich the picosoftware is i dont know what i was thinking planning on using the Rigol at work (on cars). Although i do agree that it is a bit of a hassle to whip out the laptop and start up the software i couldnt dream of swaping it with the Rigol. I only use it when i do "bigger" jobs though as i dont have it up and running at all times. For the small stuff where i only need one channel i just use the Uscope if i need something fast and the Snapon if i dont..

I did a car at work today with a P0341 code and hard start. Whipped out the Pico and did a cam / crank capture. Set up some markers and took a measurement. My measurement was 40 degrees (between some easy to use random points in the capture). Went online to the Pico library and found a known good capture and did the same measurements on that file. That ended up at 30 degrees between my points. So my car was 10 degrees out of spec. Redid the timingbelt and took another capture.. 30 degrees! Very easy to do this with the pico.

There are also scopes like the CarScope Viso that isnt too bad if you want a portable "wireless" scope without a laptop and dont want to pay for a Snapon scanner

Attached Files

That's good to hear, I had considered a Migsig portable scope but was hesitant because it's a relatively new brand.