which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?

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29 May 2019 20:12 #30229 by Jim22
I'm sorry, I know this has been discussed over and over, maybe my situation is slightly different...

I am in the market for a scope to use on auto repair as a DIY. I am also an Electrical / Computer Engineer, with a degree and 30 years experience in embedded software and hardware. I have used sophisticated storage scopes on digital circuits and motor controls. I try to troubleshoot and repair my cars as needed, with various degrees of success. At the moment, I have a Ford Ranger V3.0 that just "doesn't sound right" under load, and I'm interested in checking things like cam/crank timing and spark quality, etc.

I have a few hundred dollars I can spend, I would prefer not to waste it on a tool which will just frustrate me. I am looking at the Hantek USB scopes like the 1008C and the various other Hantek 4 channel models. I don't currently own any scope accessories, so the full kits look appealing. I am fully aware that these scopes have rather unsophisticated input circuitry and software, as well as limited storage ability. It also seems there are software installation challenges and that probably Hantek does not provide the most robust or rich featured software. I see on the Hantek web site that they have a downloadable SDK, and I most likely have the skills needed to write some software. I am very familiar with Visual Basic, for instance, and have written quite a bit of communication-intense software.

I've also looked a bit at the Autel scope, which looks like it is probably a Hantek under the hood. I don't see a whole lot of good info on the Autel software, I would be using it with a laptop. I also don't see an SDK for it. I suspect the Autel has somewhat better input circuitry.

So, now that you know a little about me, what would you recommend? If the Hantek and/or the Autel are likely to be junk, I could spend a bit more. Real 4-channel storage scopes get a bit pricey, seems like $600 or so with no accessories. That is starting to get to be a lot of $$$ for something I've lived this long without.

Thanks in advance,
Jim

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29 May 2019 20:32 #30230 by PDM
Welcome Jim.

I’m an engineer and DIYer myself.

Personally, I couldn’t get past the headaches that seem to plague the automotive scopes and just can’t justify a Pico for personal use. I went with a Siglent handheld DSO and bought quality leads and probes from aeswave. It has served me well. There is good info here on budget automotive scopes if you want to go that route.

Paul’s (scanner danner) book is a must have as well.
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29 May 2019 21:42 #30231 by Jim22
Hmmm, I was afraid of that. That sent me off looking at benchtop scopes. I like the prices on the Rigol DS1054Z, and also the GW Instek GDS-1054B. The Rigol appears to have some options that you can purchase later if I ever needed them. 4 channels appeals to me, but I might be able to live with 2. I would still need some accessories.

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01 Jun 2019 01:33 - 01 Jun 2019 01:42 #30276 by Andy.MacFadyen
Replied by Andy.MacFadyen on topic which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?
Finding an expensive automotive scope is easy, finding a budget scope isn't. also a scope that is a good buy in the EU might not be in the US or Australia and vice versa. So leaving out, entry level Pico, uScope and 2nd user Snap-On and the awful Hantek this my take

I mainly use my Owon scopes a DSO71020v with the optional battey and a VDS1022I and like them both. As with any non-automotive scope both lack f a scale for use with an x20 attenuator.

The VDS1022I produces nice clean traces the hardware although entry level is much superior to the Hantek and the software is really nice to use , it is great value for money but it remains an entry level scope, and the faster scopes in the Owon VDS range are much more expensive.

Only issues with the DSO7102v are short battery life and while it is great used as a stand alone item of equipment if you connect to a PC the software is a bit dated and "clunky"..


Getting more expensive but still very cheap compared to a Snap-On or Automotive Pico you should consider Ditex -- Auto Ditex a Bulgarian company have been making automotive scopes for ten years, they are actively developing supporting their products I have couple of items of Ditex equioment and the quality is first class I have also talked to the product developer on Facebook and is really into supporting his product. Ditex are great value for money in Euro but probably not so in the US.

" Welcome to the 21st"


Last edit: 01 Jun 2019 01:42 by Andy.MacFadyen.
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19 Jun 2019 19:34 - 19 Jun 2019 19:38 #30822 by chisel
PDM, What do you think of the presets and application specific software on the automotive scopes, are they valuable or not worth the cost?

Could someone with no scope experience be able to use the Siglent handheld for automotive troubleshooting without the above?

Regards.
Last edit: 19 Jun 2019 19:38 by chisel.

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21 Jun 2019 08:48 #30865 by PDM
The automotive scopes are definitely a time saver. I have a notebook/cheat sheet for my settings that works for as often as I have to use it. The biggest headache for me is reviewing a capture. Again, flash cards or cheat sheets make this less cumbersome. What did the trick for me was to grab a scope, user manual, and a notebook. Pick a system (injectors, ignition, cmp/ckp, etc) on a known good vehicle and go through a diagnosis. I now have great notes on how to interpret a signal from amp clamps and kv probes as well as how to record and review a capture. The handheld scope also makes for an excellent high speed DVOM
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17 Jul 2019 17:27 #31902 by chisel
PDM, a follow up question if I may. I was told recently that a similar type two- channel handheld would not be suitable for this type of work because of its limited number of points on the screen.
is this a cause of concern in handhelds and is this a limitation with the Siglent ?

Regards.

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17 Jul 2019 17:39 #31904 by PDM
A cheaper scope might have issues. You would just have to look at the specs. Sampling rate is not the problem. Memory capacity is the issue. Too much time on the screen at once, and you start to lose resolution.

From my shopping around, I found that anything better than mine really ramps up the price.
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18 Jul 2019 10:13 #31915 by Andy.MacFadyen
Replied by Andy.MacFadyen on topic which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?
Problem with handhelds is you can't see the detail because of screen size, it would be tough to pick out injector pintle movement. On the other hand there lots of jobs they will do.

" Welcome to the 21st"


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18 Jul 2019 19:19 #31931 by chisel
PDM and Andy McFadyen, I appreciate your response.

The chap was referring to the Fluke 98 which he initially suggested but had second thoughts.
The Fluke even used, is out of budget. What members here share from experience is valuable. This must be a one time, long term purchase. Can't have buyer's remorse, return or such like. Huge shipping costs and taxes are not reversible. So have to be informed and choose wisely.

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18 Jul 2019 20:09 #31935 by PDM
I love fluke, but they’re not made for this. There are better handheld scopes than siglent, but you’re into a couple thousand USD and up. Agilent and Keysight are good brands.

Mine will pause so you can zoom and pan on the trace. Like I said, it doesn’t have a lot of capacity for a long time base. It will record to a usb drive for a longer duration, but that function is not as convenient.

I am honestly really glad I didn’t go with a pico or other laptop based scope (of course, I would like to have both). Being a DIYer and engineer, I have ended up using my scope to troubleshoot a lot of things at home and work.

Recently at work, we had an air conditioner that wouldn’t communicate with a thermostat. Ended up being an issue with the fiber optic switch that wasn’t showing up with a multimeter.
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27 Aug 2019 02:28 #33160 by dstevenslv
Replied by dstevenslv on topic which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?
I started with a Fluke and a Rigol 1100 series. They were/are good for general electrical work but for more advanced jobs I picked up a used Vantage Ultra at a good price (for that box, anyway). The auto specific features and availability of special purpose probes make the Vantage a better solution for me with features like guided component and vehicle specific tests handy. Bottomline as long as you understand how to do a specific test and interpret the results a good scope with basic features will work fine. If you understand the concepts in Paul’s book and vids and apply that to a generic scope you’ll be ahead of the game compared to not using a scope at all.

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11 Sep 2019 20:22 #33553 by GroundLoop
Replied by GroundLoop on topic which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?
Was reading on autonerdz.com that there is a difference between automotive scopes and regular electronic scopes and that regular scopes can be susceptible to ground loops in an automotive environment. They were saying a ground loop can be fatal to a regular scope.

www.autonerdz.com/cgi/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1382214828

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12 Sep 2019 02:26 - 12 Sep 2019 02:28 #33559 by Andy.MacFadyen
Replied by Andy.MacFadyen on topic which scope for engineer/automotive enthusiast?

GroundLoop wrote: Was reading on autonerdz.com that there is a difference between automotive scopes and regular electronic scopes and that regular scopes can be susceptible to ground loops in an automotive environment. They were saying a ground loop can be fatal to a regular scope.

www.autonerdz.com/cgi/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1382214828


Very few oscilloscopes have complete isolation between the grounds on individual channels on most the ground on all channels are connected in common inside the scope and on 230v mains powered labscopes also connected direcely to the ground on the 230v household ring mains.

Basically you can choose to use local grounds on a sensor or choose a battery or block ground but don't mix them --- the reason for not mixing grounds is if you have say a broken main engine ground wire then in some circumstances the whole starter or fuel pump current could try to flow to ground through your scope

However using a local ground on say a MAFor MAP sensor will give a cleaner signal so if looking at a single sensor I choose a local sensor ground but if using multiple channels especially where high current devices such as starter or other motors or even relays I usually choose a block ground.

All oscilloscopes are designed to survive misconnections. I am how ever very wary of scopes that don't have USB isloation that is isolataion between the scope and the PC. This one of the reasons when I use a USB scope I use the Owon VDS1022i --- the "i" suffix inducates Isolatated
However you can quite cheaply buy a USB to sit between the PC and the scope Ditex sell a high quality one.

www.autoditex.com/usb-isolator-92.html

" Welcome to the 21st"


Last edit: 12 Sep 2019 02:28 by Andy.MacFadyen.

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