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  • Picoscope

    I've been using an ODB scantool from for my Ford's for sometime now and, on the whole, it's been nice. The software interface is not intutitive and it is a bit clunky. However, it does the job and gives me visibility where I would not normally have.

    A question that I have been wanting to have an answer to is how I can test COP's. I am not looking for a pass/fail type of test either. I want a comprehenisve-this-is-what-is-exactly-happening test with quantifiable values. Is the coil good or is it bad?

    Enter the picoscope. I haven't bought one yet, but it sure looks sweet!

    Has anyone used similar equipment for COP testing?

    edit: here is another video that has the same information with a bit more depth:
    Last edited by jblue; 02-02-2013, 11:48 AM.

    “Innovation is driven by having access to things.” -- Gleb Budman, CEO of

  • #2
    Re: Picoscope

    J, I used the Pico for several years when teaching. It is sweet and does just about anything you want. The video showed checking the secondary pattern much as we used to do to the distributor systems with the Sun Scopes. The secondary trace will give you a good idea of a shorted coil (I like it better than the primary current trace). You can also check burn time and get an idea of plug condition, fuel mixture and a couple other conditions (can't beat the secondary pattern) We also got a trace using a washer with a 1/4 inch bolt welded to it at a right angle, on the flat surface, set the washer on top of the coil and then clamped a secondary wire probe (came with the Pico kit I had) to the bolt. The method in the film I liked better. I used the Pico because I could run the computer through an LCD projector, put it on the big screen so all the students could see It. The students loved it. I took the system on test rides using the computer as flight recorder and scope traces.

    Check with in Fresno. They sell auto test equipment and also make some special probes, besides having some of the accessories I needed. Tell Carlos I sent you. His brother Jorge Menchu is also a real sharp trainer on scopes and electronics.

    Also, Beevo, if he still at autoenginuity has a lot of experience with the CNG fords. I'll be up grading my autoenginuity program.

    Last edited by larrycng; 02-02-2013, 07:30 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Picoscope

      Originally posted by larrycng View Post
      His brother Jorge Menchu is also a real sharp trainer on scopes and electronics.
      Thank you for the information Larry! I spent some time surfing out the website and ended up reading some of the articles that Jorge wrote for Motor here:

      ... which led me to start looking at past issues Motor published. I found an extremely fascinating article titled "Fire in the Hole Understanding Ignition Waveforms":

      The last sentence sums it all up:

      There's more information within the ignition coil's waveform than in any other waveform produced on the vehicle.
      Have you came across any articles, studies or root cause analysis that has been done on the various physical states of sparkplugs? Have you used a transducer to measure cyclinder pressure? I would assume that it would be extremely accurate compared to regular ol pressure guage ... yes/no? Confirm/deny?


      “Innovation is driven by having access to things.” -- Gleb Budman, CEO of


      • #4
        Re: Picoscope

        Glad you could use the info.

        As to spark plugs, I have some old info from Champion (somewhere), but it still applies. I don't know if they did pressure transducer studies, but they did some studies with a thermocouple with regard to timing, and fuel mixture and the effect. Pressure has effect on what goes on in the chamber, but mainly because of the relationship to temperature which seem to have more of an effect because of pre-ignition (not as much of a problem with CNG)

        Haven't use a pressure transducer in the cylinder, but I would favor the transducer over the gauge when hooked to a lab scope. You would get a better picture of the pressure rise in the cylinder. After you studied the pressure rises in the cylinder you could pick up pre-ignition or detonation before you hear it.

        It would be fun to see pressure rise differences between gasoline, Lp and CNG. I can tell the difference in combustion between gasoline and LP on my 460 (even my wife pick it up) The Lp is a little quieter than gasoline; CNG should be more slow because of it slower burn (higher octane) which goes to longer engine life

        There is a guy name of Olf Arens, who designed the Nology Hot wire (capacitive secondary wires) who like to Behru silver plugs for heat dissipation because of the heat produced by the capacitive discharge plug wires. He was not a big supporter of Bosch platinum plugs (I think they have since fixed the problem)

        For what it worth