Pico Diagnostics is a complete engine health check. With just a simple connection to the battery it can perform a cylinder balance test, detect misfires and carry out a compression test. The results are displayed in a bargraph that can easily be understood by both the mechanic and customer.
Pico Diagnostics is a new standalone software package for use with PicoScope 4225A and 4425A automotive oscilloscopes. With Pico Diagnostics you can quickly check the health of most Gas and diesel engines. There’s no complicated procedures — simply connect one channel of your oscilloscope to the battery of the vehicle to be tested, run Pico Diagnostics, select your test and click a button.
Once Pico Diagnostics has completed the test, the results are displayed in a bar graph that makes it easy for anybody to understand. Using this report printing feature you can then produce a professional quality report suitable for presenting to customers.
Cylinder Balance Test
The cylinder balance measures how much each cylinder is contributing to the engine’s total power output. Performing a cylinder test using Pico Diagnostics is as simple as 1,2,3:
- Connect channel 'A' of your oscilloscope to the battery of the vehicle being tested.
- Start the engine.
- Load Pico Diagnostics, select the cylinder balance test and click start.
Once the test is finished, the software will analyse the data and the results will be displayed in a bar graph as shown in Figure 1. In normal use, to save time, the software does not identify which cylinder is which as you only need this information if a problem is detected.
Figure 2 shows a vehicle that has a drop in power. From the graph it is clear to see that one cylinder is continually giving less power. By clicking the right mouse button we can also display the variation, misfire and signal. The misfire option shows that no misfires have been detected, this suggests either a fueling problem such as a blocked injector or a mechanical problem such as poor compression.
Figure 3 shows a vehicle that has one cylinder that is giving less power than the others. Here the fault is caused by a misfire problem which is shown as a red bar on the graph.
The compression test will quickly tell you what condition the engine is in. Like the cylinder balance test, the compression test can be completed in just a few simple steps:
- Connect one channel of your oscilloscope to the battery of the vehicle being tested.
- Disable the engine.
- Load Pico Diagnostics, select the compression test and click start.
- Crank the engine when directed by the software.
Once the test is finished, the software will analyse the data and the results will be displayed in a bar graph. Figure 4 shows a vehicle with good compression on all cylinders.
Figure 5 shows a vehicle with a compression problem on one of the cylinders. Once Pico Diagnostics has detected a low cylinder a manual compression test should be run to verify the results and to find the specific cylinder which is low.
Quick and Easy to Use, With Many Applications
Pico Diagnostics is so quick and easy to use that it can be used for many applications. Just some of the applications for Pico Diagnostics include:
- Fault diagnosis in the workshop and for breakdown recovery services. If a vehicle has an obvious engine fault, this software can help to quickly narrow down the cause. It makes an ideal companion to PicoScope Automotive software which can then be used to test the individual components to complete the diagnosis.
- Engine health check. As Pico Diagnostics is so quick and easy to use, it’s worth running on every vehicle that comes through the workshop even if they have no obvious faults, or have just come in for a service or new tyres. The software prints out a report on the condition of the engine which can be given to the customer either confirming the good running of the engine or showing that further investigation/work is required.
- Preventative maintainance for fleets of vehicles. Whether you run a fleet of commercial vehicles or rent out vehicles, performing a quick health check on the engine on a regular basis can help spot the early signs of developing problems. This can help avoid costly breakdowns in the field.
- Pre purchase inspection. If you regularly purchase vehicles or perform checks on vehicles for customers prior to purchase then Pico Diagnostics is ideal. Within a few minutes you can perform an engine health check and print off a report for the customer.
This version of Pico Diagnostics is a beta release. What does that mean? Well, although it has been thoroughly tested we cannot guarantee that it will be stable under all conditions. This beta release can be downloaded for free for existing Pico automotive oscilloscope owners, all we ask in return is that you provide us with feedback so that we can continue to improve the software. If you experience any problems, have suggestions for improvements, or just general feedback please send us an email.
A PicoScope 4225A or 4425A automotive oscilloscope is required to use Pico Diagnostics software.
Pico Diagnostics will work with XP, Windows 7, 8 & 10. Before installing the software please visit Microsoft Windows Update to make sure you have the latest service pack and critical updates for the version of Windows that you are running.