Do automotive techs really need a Pico? Cheap scopes on tablets?

  • rome83
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02 Mar 2020 03:28 #37998 by rome83
Hi all, I know I may end up starting up a shitstorm for the pico lovers, hantek haters and everyone else in between, but I would really love to know everyones opinion without any malice.

I'd really like to know from everyone what basic tests they can perform on a pico that you couldn't on a Uscope for example? I know Pico has superior software and support but is the extra expense really worth it? I know there is super knowledgable people on here and I would love to learn from them.

At the moment I have an Autel Maxiscope, SnapOn Modis, Carscope Viso and a little cheap Loto OSC482 and there isn't anything I have come across that I couldn't do without a Pico for example. But I understand there certainly could be, so please let me know.

I'm planning on doing a Youtube Video soon on how to create a powerful(I think it would be) portable diagnostic tool kit out of a Launch X431 8inch Pad as the base at a decent price. It will cost close to a 2 channel pico starter kit. It will be the normal Launch Diagnostic software(which is already awesome and powerful on its own as a standalone scanner) with add ons of a bluetooth multimeter, oscilloscope(the loto osc482), thermal imager and endoscope/borescope. For less than $1800AUD/$1180USD/$1066EUR/$925GBP. Does anyone think this would be interesting or not, or the main part being the scope will just get burnt by all the people who will think its a junk add on because its a cheapy?

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  • Chad
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02 Mar 2020 09:13 #38002 by Chad

rome83 wrote: I know Pico has superior software and support but is the extra expense really worth it?


In my opinion, yes. I have never used a Hantek, so I can't say anything about it's performance, or abilities. But, I have used Snap-on for years. I have, also, use the uScope.

The picoscope, without quoting specs, has AWESOME resolution. The zooming capabilities are phenomenal. The cursor/measuring system is great. With the ability to create Math Channels, decode CAN Bus, DeepMeasure search, creating and importing reference waveforms, and many other functions,... I have been using a Picoscope for 1-2 years, and I feel that I have only scratched the surface of it's capabilities.

Another plus about Pico is that there is no shortage of Community Support, if you ever get stuck, or need help.

Do you NEED all that (and more) to fix cars? Probably, not. But it sure is nice to have. ;)

"Knowledge is a weapon. Arm yourself, well, before going to do battle."
"Understanding a question is half an answer."

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02 Mar 2020 12:38 - 02 Mar 2020 12:40 #38010 by Andy.MacFadyen
Apart from being able to capture huge ammounts of detailed capture over a significantly long screeen time and them zoom into with out loss of detail the 4000 series Pico has the ability to graph MAF frequency in real time on screen as far as I know no other automotive scope can do that. They also have an awsome collection of guided tests and example wave forms. Ditex do a good low cost automotive with good tech support. Autel is a Hantek but with decent software.. Launch is unknown but I for one want scope and scantool completely independant of each other. Hantek rotf
At the bargain basement end Owon VDS are good but non-automotive scopes. The uScope I love my DSO201 is a great little tool because of its' small size it has great advantages for some jobs but in the words of Dirty Harry in Magnum Force " A man's gotta know his limitations"

90%+ off diagnostic work can be done with a single channel scope, a two channel scope coves 97% easily and more BUT increasing four fast channels are a minimum to efficiently cover some jobs such variable valve timing and increasing there will be a demand for eight channels.

" We're trying to plug a hole in the universe, what are you doing ?. "
(Walter Bishop Fringe TV show)



Last edit: 02 Mar 2020 12:40 by Andy.MacFadyen.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dtech494

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13 Mar 2020 00:28 #38307 by rome83
Thanks for the current responses guys. I'm a little suprised this hasn't got more replies though. I thought this would be a great conversation starter.

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  • Tyler
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13 Mar 2020 14:16 #38311 by Tyler
I'm definitely interested in the YT video.

Do you NEED a Pico? Nope. They sure are nice to have, for all the reasons Chad mentioned. I just recently started going out of my way to add the Pico into my regular testing methods. Having the tool is no use if you're not familiar with it when a broken car comes around. ;)

I have zero hate for any tool/method that is efficient and accurate. I love scoping stuff. :silly: But the longer I'm in the field, the more I have to acknowledge how often simpler tools would get me the same answer, faster.

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19 Mar 2020 00:28 #38431 by Pancho69
It is a great conversation starter. I believe scopes are a must-have tool automotive techs. I personally don't think techs need a pico scope but it would be nice to have. I had for many years and otc vision scope(pda scope) i love it for ignition waveforms,current ramping injectors, coils, fuel pumps, window motors, you name it. Even CAN bus. It didn't have zoom in or out but it worked for what i needed it. For pressure transducing i think it would be the only thing i would not have used it for. It was a 4 channel but i mostly used 2 channels.im in the look out for another otc vision scope. It lasted me 14 years and i bought it used for 450 dollard back in 2006

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19 Mar 2020 00:34 #38432 by Pancho69
The shop i work in we are waiting for a hantek.im going to try it out as soon as it gets delivered.will update on how well it does compared to what i had.

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19 Mar 2020 09:06 #38438 by Andy.MacFadyen
The way I work is choose use the simplest tool and use that for direction then if required choose something more advanced

" We're trying to plug a hole in the universe, what are you doing ?. "
(Walter Bishop Fringe TV show)



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22 Mar 2020 09:49 #38547 by Dtech494
No a Pico is not a must.
The Pico has a great ability to zoom in on the screen or captured signal.
It has the option to configure custom probes, to allow you to add measurable scalable values to home made
or other manufacturer's devices so that you don't have to convert a volt scale in your mind.
Other scopes can capture and display signals adequately. It all depends on what works or is convenient for you.
I found an Owon 4 channel usb scope to be very good and easy to get a signal on the screen but it has no automotive scale or settings.
(I do have an older vantage pro for portability or certain functions.)
I also added a non automotive pico to my collection (a year ago)for configurabilty of probes for specific tests.
Learn the tools strenght's and know its limitations.

A fellow who calls himself "Logical Canuck" on utube did a very short review of the Lotto scope.
Summarizing his review it displayed an ignition pattern well, he also did a capture of and zoomed in on a can bus signal.
The neat thing was that he used his android phone as the display device.
Based on what I saw from his review it looks promising and capable.
So yes it would be interesting if you made some video for those who need a budget or entry level scope that is capable.
But my preference would be to leave the scan tool tablet free for running and commanding tests and view the scope on a different screen.

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29 Mar 2020 03:29 #38752 by rome83
Love all the input guys. As I said in my initial post, I have created that little YouTube series to upgrade my Launch X431 and I have used the very cheap Loto OSC482 like logical canuck. This link is the scope video if you want to see but there are also the other 4 videos too. Upgrading the storage, adding an endoscope, adding a Bluetooth multimeter and adding a thermal imager. Let me know what you think.

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