If you need to know the best automotive lab scope to purchase for troubleshooting your vehicle’s problems and repairs, you should trust our thorough review and guide to help you choose rightly. As an automobile technician, the automotive lab scope or oscilloscope is one of your most required tools for testing.
Thus, you must select a suitable gadget that can give you an accurate result and provide the worth of your money.
The automotive lab scope, also a motor tester or an engine analyzer is a diagnostic tool used for testing the various electronic parts of a car like the ignitions, sensors, solenoids, and actuators. Like a voltmeter, an automotive lab scope is used to check for signal voltages, displaying its readings on a graph.
But, the lab scope has advanced features that make it a more suitable motor diagnostic tool.
There are several automotive oscilloscopes available at different price ranges. The significant difference between them is in how accurate their measurements are and the various ways their values can be manipulated.
What is the Best Automotive Lab Scope?
According to our research and users’ reviews about oscilloscopes, Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope is one of the most recommended lab scopes for automobiles. All other listed lab scopes in this review are also excellent alternatives and are recommended for troubleshooting purposes.
Why is Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope the Best Automotive Laboratory Scope?
We consider Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope as the best automotive lab scope because of its versatility, accuracy, and precision when used for troubleshooting problems. The oscilloscope can be used to perform several diagnostic tests on different automobile electronic components.
A few of its features that makes it different from others include:
● Its history feature with compartmentalized memory segments
● Its mathematical co-processor which enhances its functionalities
● Its high sampling rate up to 14Mpts.
Best Automotive Laboratory Scope
Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope – Best Automotive Lab Scope:
If you are a professional in need of an automotive lab scope to buy, the first option you should consider is the Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope. It is one of the most accurate oscilloscopes.
Unlike other oscilloscopes, it can identify fluctuations in voltage signals and give a precise result. Its results are displayed in full colors on a sophisticated screen.
This allows for easy reading and interpretation of the displayed values. Siglent SDS1202X-E is a versatile tool that can troubleshoot any electronic component of a vehicle.
It has a high waveform capture rate which is about 400000 frames in a second. Its history records waveforms and their timeframes in separate memory compartments.
This history feature allows users to analyze each result with ease. Siglent SDS1202X-E also comes with a co-processor which enhances its accuracy and fast display of the readings.
The processor works by reducing the duration required to take a measurement and makes the tool easy to use.
● It can give accurate measurements up to 14Mpts.
● A low background disturbance.
● A math co-processor
● Large and sophisticated display
● A colorful display
● High sampling rate
● Results are highly accurate and easy to analyze.
● It has a history feature to keep track of previous activities.
● It is quite expensive.
● The display might be a bit hard to understand initially.
Hantek 1008C USB PC-based Diagnostic Oscilloscope:
Hantek 1008C is a multi-channel automotive oscilloscope helpful in performing various diagnostic tests on automotive. It has eight channels that can be used to read analog signals.
This lab scope is highly recommended for technicians in need of tools with many channels.
Although the lab scope has eight channels, all the channels are not useable, so you should use two or at most three channels at once. The signal processing issues distributed among the channels reduces the functionality of the channels when they are all turned on.
Hantek 1008C is a PC-based oscilloscope. Unfortunately, it has issues with software compatibility as its software can only work on Windows 8 or 10 PCs. This is a major issue with this lab scope.
Despite its drawbacks, certain unique features make it better than the others. It has an inbuilt FTT function, exhaust gas tester, mathematical function, ignition analyzer, and automatic cursor tracking feature.
Hantek 1008C is an excellent diagnostic tool for vehicle diagnosis.
● A multiple-channeled oscilloscope
● PC-based lab scope
● Can generate waveform
● Rugged and durable
● Easy to use
● It is affordable.
● It has multiple channels.
● The oscilloscope can be used to track cursors automatically.
● It can not perform every automotive function.
● Not all channels can be used effectively.
Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope – Best Automotive Lab Scope for Diagnosis:
Rigol digital oscilloscope is another excellent option for you to consider while choosing a lab scope. It is built with several great features and functionalities that provide a considerable worth for your money.
Despite its great features, it is pretty affordable, and you do not need to break a bank to get one. Thus, it is highly recommended for people who need a cost-effective and efficient laboratory scope for troubleshooting problems.
Rigol digital oscilloscope comes with four channels. These four channels allows it to increase the number of devices that it can accommodate at once.
Its deep memory (12 Mpts) can also be upgraded up to 24Mpts. The lab scope has features that allow users to zoom in and concentrate on a section of the recorded waveform.
The high resolution (800 by 480 pixels) enhances its display of results. It allows users to view all the readings from the channels on the screen at the same time.
This allows for a better and more straightforward analysis of the results and a quick diagnosis of the problem.
● Portable and lightweight
● It comes with four channels.
● A bandwidth of 50MGHz
● A deep memory (up to 12Mpts)
● A significant rate of waveform capture.
● Easy to carry about
● Easy to use and read
● Great for debugging
● It requires a paid upgrade for certain features.
Siglent SHS806 Handheld Oscilloscope:
This oscilloscope from the Siglent is one of the most popular and well-designed oscilloscopes. It is portable, handheld and has dual channels.
This lab scope is very useful for checking electrical signals. It has a multimeter mode which is used to measure voltage (AC and DC).
Besides voltage, it can also measure capacitance, power, resistance, duty cycle, diode, and frequency.
It is suitable for obtaining well-explained waveforms. This is a result of its high real-time sample rate (1GS/s) and 2Mpts record length.
Its mathematical features, FFT, and auto-cursor readings enhance a thorough analysis of the waveforms. The oscilloscope has internal storage and a USB host port, which enhances its data recording.
The USB device port also serves as a medium of connection between the oscilloscope and a PC. Siglent handheld oscilloscope has an automatic triggering feature. This feature allows it to detect the patterns of the signals and improve the triggering.
● Dual channels
● A multimeter mode
● It comes with a USB host and device ports.
● A colored display
● It has a bandwidth of 60MGHz.
● A memory depth of 2Mpts
● It comes with a recording feature.
● Versatility in its applications.
● A recording feature.
● Accurate and precise measurements
● The battery life can only last a few hours.
Owon HDS1021M Series HDS Handheld Digital Storage Oscilloscope and Digital Multimeter:
Another recommended laboratory scope for diagnostic tests is the Owon HDS1021M. It is a single-channel, handheld troubleshooting tool that can be used to check electrical signals with a digital multimeter.
It can be used to determine the values of the AC and DC voltage (up to 400 volts), current (20A maximum), resistance (up to 40MΩ), and capacitance (100μF).
With a peak real-time sampling rate of 100MS/s and a 6000 pts recording length, the oscilloscope is suitable for obtaining well-explained waveforms. Its 18 auto-measurements like period, peak-to-peak, etc., further enhances its waveform analysis.
The oscilloscope’s internal memory can store about four waveforms. It also comes with dual-ranging modes, giving the users the option to choose between the manual or automatic mode.
The manual ranging mode allows you to select your operating range while the automatic node determines the suitable range for you.
● Handheld device
● An anti-glare screen
● A USB port for PC connection.
● A data holding feature.
● It has dual ranging modes – auto or manual.
● It has a TFT-Liquid Crystal Display for checking the readings and waveforms.
● It can be operated on with a hand.
● It is easy to use and read.
● It comes with many accessories.
● Good battery life
● PC connectivity issues
● Screen response could be slow.
Allosun 3 in 1 Digital Oscilloscope Handheld With USB Multifunction:
Allosun digital oscilloscope is designed to suit its users’ needs and satisfy their demands. It was built based on the production, repairs, and debugging requirements of professionals.
Unlike the typical oscilloscope, it comes with a lithium battery that serves as a power source in the absence of an external power supply. Its built-in 4100mAh battery and handheld design allow technicians to carry it about with convenience.
The battery also will enable users to work for several hours, provided it is well charged.
Allosun digital oscilloscope is one of the best small-sized and handheld diagnostic tools for debugging, repairs, research purposes, and production in the field. Besides its compactness and excellent design, it can quickly and correctly detect faults in a circuit.
Unlike the typical oscilloscopes, it can capture and store the waveform of a non-periodical signal. The oscilloscope is equipped with three trigger modes – Automatic, Single, and Normal modes.
● LED backlight
● Three trigger modes
● It has a built-in 4100mAh Lithium battery.
● Its multimeter can measure voltage, resistance, and capacitance.
● It is easy to use.
● Accurate measurements.
● It can detect faults in a circuit.
● A bright and easy-to-read display.
● Its multimeter part can’t measure current.
● It does not have cursor measurement.
Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner:
You will love Autel MaxiCOM diagnostic scanner if you are an automobile mechanic or a professional DIYer who deals with car repairs. This tool is affordable and effective in troubleshooting and detecting car faults.
It makes it easy for you to get your complicated and straightforward maintenance done quickly and efficiently.
Autel MaxiCOM diagnostic scanner can be used on all vehicles’ systems. It works effectively on any part of the vehicle and improves its performance, conserves its energy, and decreases its emissions.
This scanner can help identify any car error, even those that other oscilloscopes cannot detect.
A unique feature of this diagnostic device is its capacity to perform about 25 advanced service functions. This feature makes it desirable among mechanics who need these functions for car servicing and maintenance.
A few of these service functions are oil reset, battery registration, odometer, SAS calibration, brake pad reset, injector servicing, etc. Autel diagnostic tool is one of the best diagnostic devices that every professional should have.
● In-built memory
● It comes with a 7 LED touchscreen.
● It can perform diverse system diagnoses.
● It is cost-effective.
● It is easy to use.
● It is a versatile diagnostic tool.
● It has multiple functionalities.
● It supports many vehicles.
● You can perform multiple tasks at once.
● Modules might not return signal sometimes.
Before you buy an automotive lab scope, there are specific considerations you should make. First, you need to have an under of what work you need it for, how you want to use it, and also where you want to use the tool.
After considering these, there are other factors that you should also examine before you make your final decisions. Choosing the right oscilloscope can be challenging.
However, examining these factors will assist you to make the right choice without stress.
Number of Channels:
Different automotive lab scopes have varying numbers of channels. Some have one, two, four, or even ten channels. The number of channels is based on the kind of diagnostic tests that are conducted.
You can use an oscilloscope with one channel to perform a quick assessment or diagnosis, such as detecting the presence of a signal.
Before choosing an oscilloscope, you should deliberate on how many signals you want to be displayed on the screen. Oscilloscopes with two channels are great for reading signals from sensors, crankshafts, camshafts, etc.
You should choose an automotive lab scope that can help to manage visible signals. This is to guarantee accuracy and precision.
The bandwidth of an oscilloscope is simply the maximum signal that it can display or that can go through its front-end amplifiers. Thus, when you want to choose an oscilloscope, buy one with more bandwidth than the highest signal frequency you want to measure.
There are various designs and sizes to select from when it comes to laboratory scopes. There are portable lab scopes and bigger ones that can be linked to a personal computer or a laptop.
Some manufacturers offer input probes and accessories alongside the oscilloscope to expand the input ranges, the areas of applications, and what the device can measure. Extending the input ranges will allow for the measurements of higher voltage and current signals such as injectors, ignitions, etc.
Depth of Memory:
The memory depth of an oscilloscope refers to the size of the memory where it stores recorded data. An oscilloscope with a deeper memory will hold more sample rate for a long time, while an oscilloscope with a smaller memory depth will not capture the waveform correctly.
A large memory depth could also be disadvantageous as it slows down the device.
Ease of use:
Using an oscilloscope that is too complicated to understand can frustrate you and delay your work progress. Thus, choose oscilloscopes that have an easy automatic setup or a memorized setup process.
Some manufacturers can also include user manuals that will help to guide the users through the installation processes.
You should avoid tools built for industrial and scientific purposes as they are complicated and require more time to learn and understand. These industrial tools do not have already set features, and they cannot be used on automobiles without adapters.
As an automobile technician, your oscilloscope should be able to perform certain functions such as adding and editing new inputs, measuring high voltages, sensing temperatures, adding custom waveforms, current clamps, etc.
This refers to the frequency at which the laboratory scope samples the tested circuit. Usually, there are two sampling modes used by different oscilloscopes – real-time mode and equivalent-time mode.
You should purchase an oscilloscope with a sampling rate that applies to you. Real-time sampling is usually recommended for automobile diagnosis and 20 million samples per one second is a reasonable sampling rate.
Handheld and portable oscilloscopes are helpful for outdoor purposes. They are easy to set up and can be transported from a place to another.
They can also perform all the functionalities of PC-based oscilloscopes. PC-based oscilloscopes can be used if you do not have to carry them around.
They have wider screens and allows you to store your captured data on HDDs, giving you access to a broader memory depth.
The resolution of an oscilloscope is another crucial factor to consider. It is a term that describes the ability of an oscilloscope to correct small voltages.
This factor is dependent on various factors like the kind of analog to digital converter it has, the input signal preamplifier, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about best automotive lab scope
Q: What can I use an automotive oscilloscope for?
A: The automotive oscilloscope is also called a motor tester, laboratory scope, and engine analyzer. It is a diagnostic tool used to troubleshoot and detect faults in various electronic parts like ignitions, sensors, actuators, solenoids, etc.
Thus, it is a helpful tool by automobile mechanics in diagnosing problems or issues with vehicles.
Q: Can I use an automotive lab scope to measure current?
A: Yes, there are some brands of automotive oscilloscopes that allow you to measure current. Although, not all oscilloscopes can be used for current measurements.
Q: Can my automotive lab scope measure DC Voltage?
A: Yes. You can measure DC Voltages with most automotive laboratory scopes.
Q: Is an automotive oscilloscope better than a multimeter?
A: An automotive oscilloscope gives an accurate and graphical representation of the performance of each vehicle’s part using waveforms to show the strength of the signal, the wave shape, noise, and disturbances in the signal. A multimeter cannot perform this function.
Q: How does an automotive laboratory scope work?
A: An automotive oscilloscope is designed to diagnose problems with vehicles. Whenever an automotive oscilloscope is used to test any electrical part of a vehicle, such as a sensor, ignition, actuator, etc., electronic signals are produced.
These signals are then converted to waveforms which are eventually displayed in graphs. This shows the users how the signals change over time and the performance of each part of the vehicle.
As an automobile technician, it is essential to have the right set of equipment for your job. An automotive tool is one of those pieces of equipment that you need to make your work easier and faster.
Choosing the right oscilloscope for your repair as a DIYer or a technician can be a daunting task. That is why we have written a thorough guide and review of the top 7 automotive oscilloscopes to help you make a better choice.
Your job requirements, specifications and your budget should be the first set of factors to consider while purchasing an oscilloscope. You don’t want to run into debt to get an oscilloscope.
There are different oscilloscopes at different prices. Not all the low-priced tools have poor quality.
You can always get an affordable and effective oscilloscope that can meet your demands.
Also, you should consider the location where you will use the device. If you are an outdoor worker, you should consider purchasing a handheld oscilloscope that is easy to carry around.
A stationary or bench oscilloscope is not suitable for mobile workers.
With all the stated factors above, you should be able to make the right decision on which lab scope suits your needs.