Author Topic: Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing  (Read 10619 times)

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Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing
« on: December 26, 2009, 08:49:37 pm »
Hi guys, first post here, and very new to the techy end of electronics, but hopefully you clever folks can offer some guidance?

I'm a motor mechanic and looking for a handheld oscilloscope to test the presence and quality of signals produced by vehicle sensors and Actuator signals from the cars computer.
Now I've looked around and I keep arriving back at the pico-scope range of DSO's but I really want to maintain complete portability without having to drag around and set up a laptop etc.

Can you guys please advise on wether any of these will suit my needs:


Obviously the price difference is pretty big, and one is designed for motors, but are either really practical for auomotive testing purposes? In terms of Bandwidth/ sample rate / memory etc what do I need?

Sorry if these seems like daft questions, just this is not really 'my arena' yet. ???

thanks in advance :)

Offline APS

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Re: Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 06:30:45 pm »
I think you should go for the second one (Sealey TA220). This one have two channels, its customised for automotive application. As its says it has "Reference waveforms and automatic configuration"  so you dont have to configure scope for specific measuring. I think this also imply you have all the waveforms for comparing with ones you mesured. 
Viewed from multimeter view this TA220 is more suited for car workshop (RPM, Duty, Dwell, Pulse Width).
Another big advance of TA220 is Inductive and capacitive pick-ups that come with it. Its used for viewing spark waveforms etc.

Offline charliex

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Re: Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 06:57:24 pm »
I have that velleman, i find it a bit dark and hard to read while working on the cars. cheap n cheerful though, i usually carry it around with me if i'm working on location.

The second one is more like the picoscope in that it has reference material and automotive related.. but its only 1Mhz 8 bit though, thats pretty low.

A four channel scope might be more useful for car work, we have a TDS 220 and a picoscope 4 channel in the shop for collecting traces, but primarily work on 4 cylinder cars.

I'd probably go no lower tham 10Mhz and no need for >40Mhz (for nearly everything car related), long capture buffers are useful though.

I think the picoscopes are overpriced though.

I'm rarely with a car without a laptop, so its never a problem. The netbooks work great, big clear screen and lots of reference material, plus all the diag tools. A picoscope+netbook probably weighs about the same as that second unit ! :) they have a lot of support and forums too which is going to help, they're a popular automotive scope.

You could probably find a used portable DSO for similar prices, like the TDS 220 etc.

Offline APS

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Re: Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 01:36:17 am »
I didn`t see that TA220 cost over 720$. The price is in GBP.

Try searching net on Owon PDS5022S oscilloscope. It`s 25MHz and has sampling rate of 100MS/s. You can run it from mains and from battery. It cost around 300$ and 70$ more for the battery.


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Re: Handheld Oscilloscope for auto testing
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 10:00:16 pm »
Cheers for the input guys, I'm going to let Christmas/ New Year blow over before I buy, by which time the contents of my wallet will determine what I'll end up with!

Probably a light bulb and some wire then ::)

Thanks again chaps, Merry Christmas and Happy new year.

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