Log In

Available Now.....

Sneek peek of what this game
changing system looks like

Details Here....



CAN Test Box

can test box


Continuing with our mission to make vehicle diagnostics easier and faster…the new CAN Test Box gives you easy access to the 16 pins of the diagnostic connector that is fitted to all modern vehicles. Depending on the configuration of the vehicle, this may allow you to check power, ground and CAN Bus signal quality. With the test leads supplied you can connect your PicoScope lab scope to the CAN Test Box to monitor signals such as the CAN High and Low. More.....

Celebrating 43 Years

Follow us on Facebook for all the latest news, updates and promotions


Attention all
Automotive Scope Users

Pico Automotive Scope software now sports a new Waveform Library browser.
Must own PicoScope to view.
See details here


We have just posted a few new Automotive Tutorials and Case studies Here is the latest:
Honda Rattle

Credit Cards Accepted

website security


pc oscilloscope, data acquisition and automotive diagnostics from Pico Technology

    Tried and Tested Product Test With Peter Xerri

US Prices
CDN Prices

Privacy and Security Policy

  Professional Motor Mechanic—March 2004  

Oscilloscopes are an indispensable piece of diagnostics kit. PMM's product tester, Peter Xerri tried out the PC based ADC 212/3 model from Pico Technology.

PicoScope Automotive Diagnostics kit

I've run my own business for the last 24 years and have seen a lot of changes in that time. However, in the last four or five years the rate of change has speeded up. The vehicle systems are becoming more complex and as independents we don't receive technical bulletins from the vehicle manufacturers to keep us up to date, nor do we benefit from their training programs. A car's electronic control systems has undergone the most rapid change and we have to understand these systems to deal with the problems that come with them.

Whatever the fault on a car; whether it's mechanical or electrical your diagnosis has to be accurate and as fast as possible, and you also have to be confident in that diagnosis. With mechanical faults it's often possible to both see and feel the problem; for example excess travel on the brake pedal and loss of braking efficiency might be traced to a leaking wheel cylinder. Replace the cylinder, bleed the brakes and the job is done. If only the electronic problems were as simple!

The ADC 212/3 is very affordable, it doesn't require annual software updates or harnesses for different models

It's possible to access fault codes stored by the ECU but some faults will not produce a code, and some codes could have been registered as a result of somebody else trying to locate the problem perhaps by disconnecting components in a trial and error fashion. If you suspect not all the codes read are 'true' you can of course make a note then clear them and run the car (if possible) to re-register any codes. But as with the leaking wheel cylinder it's good to 'see' the faulty component; an oscilloscope allows you to do just that.

The Pico ADC 212/3 comes as a complete kit with a substantial list of leads, clips, pick-ups and current clamps and connects to your PC (not included) turning it into an automotive scope. I used a laptop which is far less cumbersome than a desk top system for around the workshop. It's very easy to set up and connect. Opening the automotive menu and selecting the sensor or circuit you want to test, the PicoScope provides a guide to which leads and connections you will need, and where to attach them.

automotive waveforms library

Incorporating a library of waveforms it will also provide an example of a good waveform for comparison with the one produced by the suspect sensor or circuit. It also gives useful technical information to help solve the problem.

I must admit to being a bit of a novice when it comes to scopes, I used to own a couple of old tuning scopes but these became obsolete, but the PicoScope has opened up a new door for me. I felt very comfortable using it, trying out a variety of faults from a couple of non-starters, an alternator fault and a fast idle problem with good results. The instructions on connecting and setting up the scope are clear and concise, and the library of example waveforms is a great help when first using the scope and are always there for reference even as you become more experienced. It gives live data which you know is accurate and so is a great method of fault finding.

The ADC 212/3 is very affordable, it doesn't require annual software updates or harnesses for different models, and can be used on both diesel and petrol vehicle. Was I impressed? Very much so.

Verdict: Great diagnostic tool, accurate, user-friendly and affordable. 

USA Office

Address: 1480 Gulf Road, Suite 837,
PO Box 1364
Point Roberts, WA 98281

Western Canada - Vancouver BC

Tel:1.800.663.6001 or 1.604.925.6150
Address: 2454 Haywood Ave
West Vancouver, BC V7V 1Y1

Eastern Canada - Markham, Ontario

Tel:1.800.465.0164 or 1.905.513.7027