Test and Measurement News

March 2004

Improved Automotive Diagnostics Kit

We have just released a new version of PicoScope Automotive software. This further increases the capabilities of the oscilloscope diagnostics kit.

The main changes are:

  • New presets and help topics on CAN Bus diagnostics
  • A French language option
  • Support for the ADC212/50 and ADC212/100 oscilloscopes
  • Presets and help topics for the FirstLook sensor
  • The ability to turn off the web based help topics

This new version of the software is currently a beta release so may contain minor bugs. It is available to existing users of the automotive software as a free download, or alternatively an upgrade can be purchased on CD for a nominal fee.

Testing Fuel Injectors with the FirstLook Sensor

Using an oscilloscope it is possible to check the electrical operation of fuel injectors, but until now it has been difficult to spot problems such as blockages that can cause either too much or too little fuel to flow.

Using the FirstLook engine diagnostic sensor, it is possible to quickly measure the relative fuel flow from each injector without removing the injectors from the vehicle.

This injector test for petrol vehicles is one of the new presets in the latest version of the automotive software. To perform this test, simply remove the vacuum pipe from the fuel pressure regulator and attach the FirstLook sensor to the regulator. Each time an injector fires there is a pressure drop in the header rail which is picked up by the sensor.

If the fuel flow through one injector is different to the others it can instantly be seen as a bigger or smaller waveform than the others.
For more details on this application see: Injector Analysis from the Regulator

Technical Tip — Spectrum Analyser Options

The spectrum analyser built into the PicoScope software has a number of powerful options that can be accessed by selecting 'options' from the 'settings' menu.

These include:

No of spectrum bands - this defines how many "bins" the frequency range will be divided into. It can be set between 256 and 16384 (product dependant). Lower numbers give a faster update time, higher numbers give more resolution.

Window Type - this gives seven options on how the edges of the block of sampled data are filtered to reduce distortion. For most users the default window (blackman) is adequate, the PicoScope help file gives more details on which window should be used for which application.

Display Mode - this offers three options. "Normal" displays the spectrum for the current cycle. "Average" gives a moving average of successive cycles which is useful for removing random noise. "Peak" displays the maximum of all cycles (useful for bandwidth testing of filters and amplifiers.

X & Y Scales - these give options for the vertical scale to be in dB or Volts and the horizontal frequency scale either to be in linear or logarithmic form.

New Science Experiment

The Pico Technology Library of Experiments contains a number of educational experiments that make use of ouroscilloscope and data acquisition products.

New this month is an experiment to build a Magnetometer which can be used for recording the minute changes in the Earth's magnetic field.

See this and over seventy other interesting and educational science experiments online.


Please visit Pico Exhibitions for the latest list of exhibitions and trade shows that Pico and its representatives will be attending.

We're hiring!

Thanks to our continuing success and growth Pico are always seeking talented people to join our company.

Please visit https://jobs.picotech.com/ to see our current vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you!

Software releases

Our latest software releases are available as free downloads. To check which release you are using, start the software and select Help > About.

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Contact details

UK Headquarters:
Pico Technology, James House, Colmworth Business Park, St. Neots,
Cambridgeshire, PE19 8YP, United Kingdom
Tel.: 01480 396395 (+44 1480 396395)
Fax: 01480 396296 (+44 1480 396296)

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Pico Technology, 320 N Glenwood Blvd, Tyler TX 75702, United States
Tel:+1 800 591 2796 (Toll Free)

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Pico Technology, Room 2252, 22/F, Centro, 568 Hengfeng Road, Zhabei District,
Shanghai 200070, PR China
Tel: +86 21 2226-5152

Email: sales@picotech.com