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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.....

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

New Kvaser white paper discusses ways to maximise CAN’s efficiency in next generation vehicles

By using a Virtual CAN Bus, we separate the control task from other tasks. The distributed embedded control system can be developed using standard CAN Controllers and transceivers in a traditional way with well proven tools.

Other tasks such as encryption, transmitter authentication, re-flashing, etc. can be developed by experts in these fields and carried out by using other protocols. With modern technology, the different tasks can run in parallel and simultaneously communicate on the same physical layer.

It is a great advantage to separate the control problems from other problems. The control problem can be solved once and for all by the control experts and other problems by experts in their respective technology fields.


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Jeep Compass VW PD cylinder misfire

Vehicle details: JEEP Compass − VW 2.0 TDi PD
Engine code: BLY
Year: 2007
Diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs): None
Symptom: Misfire on one cylinder at all engine speeds, which was quite pronounced at idle.
Source: Daniel O'Connell of Auto & Marine Electrical, Ireland



I had a customer's 2007 JEEP Compass , European Spec, fitted with the VW 2.0l TDi PD engine (code BLY). Unfortunately standard VAG software (e.g. VCDS) cannot communicate with this ECU (due to it being a JEEP). Communication via standard EOBD displayed "No Codes" although the check engine light was illuminated, and a misfire fault was present.

At this stage I needed to determine 3 things:

  1. Are all injectors receiving a signal from the engine ECU?
  2. Are all injectors draw an equal current?
  3. What cylinder is misfiring?

Firstly I connected Channel A to the alternator output terminal and using the Cylinder Balance test in PicoDiagnostics. I was quickly able to determine that only one cylinder was at fault, as three cylinders read between 98%-100% and one cylinder read at approx. 67% at 850 RPM. PicoDiagnostics was able to determine the correct engine RPM without any difficulty.

I now knew that the problem lay in one cylinder but had no idea which one. In the PD engines the injectors are fed via a multi-plug at the rear of the cylinder head. It is a very simple matter to connect a current probe to check the current waveform of all 4 cylinders via the common supply wire. It is also very easy with a second current probe to get the waveform of cylinder #1. Thus in seconds I was able to see that all 4 injectors were being actuated evenly and drawing very similar currents. This quickly eliminated any possibility of an electrical source being responsible for the misfire. I now needed to see which cylinder was misfiring. Normally I would check the Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP)  waveform , but:

  1. The wire is not very accessible in this engine and,
  2. Many of the more modern VAG PD engines use a Hall effect type CKP Sensor, and magnetic coil type sensors give a much clearer indication of a misfire.

As I was already connected on Ch A to the alternator I decided to use the variation in alternator output voltage to find the misfiring cylinder. By setting the scaling of Ch A to x10, I was able to focus very clearly on the slight variations in the line voltage. By setting the low-pass filter to 400 HZ I was able to further enhance the signal and produce a very clear series of voltage readings which varied consistently with engine rotation.

automotive waveform

Knowing that the firing order was 1342 I could immediately see without the use of tools apart from my PicoScope that the misfire was in cylinder #2, and that it was a mechanical injection fault rather than an electrical one.


To access those waveforms that are available online, please follow this link. Note that the full Waveform Library is only available via PicoScope Automotive software when connected to an Automotive PicoScope and requires a connection to the Pico Automotive Forum.


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