Small budget labscope purchase?

Eric Technician Illinois Posted   Latest  

Ok guys I have a very very small budget but have decided it's time I bought a labscope. The two I am looking at are the U Scope and the Hantek 1008c. My only hang up on the U Scope is the single channel, since I feel having atleast 2 channels would be best. I know a pico is the way to go, and that Vantage Pros are good but my current budget wont handle either of those right now.

So what say the scope masters out there?

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Jasper Owner/Technician
Colorado
Jasper Default
 

Check ebay for used Vantages. Usually going for $300-500.

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

I keep an eye on ebay and the vantage pros have been running 750-1200, the original vantage more toward that range. Bbefore our snap on dealer decided we didnt spend enough and quit coming by, I had him looking for a good use Vantage Pro. Best he ever came up with was an old Modis with no charger and a dead battery. Had to keep it plugged in to use the week I had it. Ddecided it wasnt what I…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Eric: You have your questions backwards. What are your expectations? What do you need the scope to do? What do you want the scope to do? Once you determine that, then you can see what units meet the needs. You asking others what is good for you is just this side of being as useless as tits on a bull. HTH, Guido

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Yeah I see that. This will be a get my feet wet first scope purchase. So I am not really sure exactly how I will employ it, but I need something to start learning. This would be easier if I had a bigger budget. But even with a limited budget I dont want to buy something that will hinder my learning curve more than help it.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Eric: I'll let you in on a l'il secret. It's often said that the best scope is the one you will use. This is true but it is misleading. You're more apt to stop using a scope if you purchase the wrong one. Give thought to what is important to you. Give thought to bells and whistles. The latter are nice to haves but not need to haves. Once you know that then ask about units which will do…

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Steve Diagnostician
Arkansas
Steve Default
 

Hello, I can tell you about my scope experiences. In 2006 I bought a Modis from the Snap on dealer (50.00) a week. Very easy to use, even has instructions on how to hook up for many tests. Using the Modis then upgraded to a Verus about 5 years ago, then I took out a small loan and got The ATS scope 4 channel elite, totally awesome! Much more detail and functions than the Snap On. A little bit of…

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Chad Technician
Florida
Chad Default
 

Get the uscope. You get good accessories for 400$. You can do a ton with a single channel. No matter how many channels you have you need accessories to plug into the channels and guess what, they cost more money. It’s kinda like welding. Oh I got a welder now I can make things. No, no you can’t do anything unless you can cut and form metal

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Scott Diagnostician
Wisconsin
Scott Default
 

Eric, I have a nice SnapOn modus Ultra 4 channel labscope/scan tool available. Looking for $800, cables included. Scott at …

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

I have noticed quite a few techs have powerful scopes, but use a uScope as a quick-check/backup scope. So, here is a fun idea: - Buy uScope, learn everything about it; - Every time the uScope helps you to diagnose bad crank/injector/ignition/fan control, etc signal, put the earned money into the "big scope" fund. - Once you have enough money for the big scope, buy it. In the end, you will…

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Allan Instructor
Manitoba
Allan Default
 

Sounds like a good plan. I like my Uscope. And I love my Pico. The Uscope is an excellent choice to learn on.

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Thanks for you response it is greatly appreciated.

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

I like that plan, plus I can buy the U Scope from the good folks over at AES Wave.

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Christopher Technician
Saskatchewan
Christopher Default
   

I am far from a master of scope usage but I would like to throw another check mark in for the Uscope .. Although it has limitations, it's portability far outweighs them, and for learning it can't be beat.. Just simply it's couple seconds of boot up time, and fact you can keep it in your pocket for quick checks from CAN networks, various sensor signal data, basic intermittent voltage drop diag…

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David Mobile Technician
California
David Default
 

Christopher, question, did you get that using an attenuator? I noticed the input setting at 1:1. What is the max input voltage can the Uscope handle? Thanks, Davie

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Christopher Technician
Saskatchewan
Christopher Default
 

80v is the spec I believe so yes there are definitely cases where an attenuator is required. In the case of the capture I posted no attenuator was used. With the latest Uscope software you can move your baseline to accomodate the shot, in this case I wanted to see the pintle hump and not the rest so it worked great ... Uscopes limitations are definitely there but in my opinion it's quick…

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James Educator
Kansas
James Default
 

I think it is a good plan I like the u-scope and use other scopes as needed

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Matthew Technician
Nova Scotia
Matthew Default
 

I'm no scope master by any means. I purchased the Hantek 1008c approx. a year ago, I added a couple of their attenuators and current clamps as well. I've maybe invested $400 in this along with a laptop I use at my box regardless. I've found this to be a great tool. It's helped me diagnose some great failures that I'm not sure I'd have found without it. I've attached some screen shots of some…

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Thanks for responding. I was hoping someone would give some real world info on that scope as there isnt much out there that I have found yet.

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Walter Owner/Technician
South Carolina
Walter Default
 

Eric the U scope is a great scope the learn on. Grant it it is only a single channel scope but is very functional and a great inexpensive tool to learn on MIke Reynolds (also on DN) is a mobile tech in Chas SC and uses it regularly and also has a scope training class that focuses on its use. I own one and also a Snap On Verus I grab the U Scope for quick checks and if I need additional channels…

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Thank you, greatly appreciated.

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Hollis Technician
Colorado
Hollis Default
 

You could start off with the uScope Basic and the Master Kit, there's your 2 channel set-up. aeswave​.​com/1-channel-scop… And Velcro tape them to a kneeling pad/work station, works great! amazon​.​com/s?k=mechanics…

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Sean Technician
Ohio
Sean Default
 

I never bought, (due to me having a couple already) soI can't dau on performance but for 560 a 4 channel on Amazon made by sainsmart

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Kabel Technician
Hawaii
Kabel Default
 

I own a couple scopes and by far the fastest for me to pull out and hook up is the UScope, also it will teach you about proper setup as it doesn’t have all the presets like for example a Snapon modus or vantage. If you call AESWave and talk to them they can also sell it with the cop wand and amp clamps with banana style ends so you can use them with another scope when you upgrade to a multi…

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Nicholas Diagnostician
New York
Nicholas Default
 

I would go on ebay and find a old original snapon modis. They sell for around 400 to 500 dollars 4 Trace automotive scope, easy to use. Don't worry about the level of software update, just buy to use as a scope.

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Stephen Technician
Tennessee
Stephen Default
 

The Pico scope 2204a is 140 on Amazon. It runs pico software but not the automotive version. It has all of the functionality of the automotive version but not the automotive menu items. So it will do way more than a Uscope, like long term captures, zoom in, save capture files, and uses standard BNC probes so if you do upgrade later all of the probes will work with the new scope.

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

Uh oh, you have mentioned the 2204a... it can do OK in capable hands, but first one needs to make the hands capable... Catch 22? Here is a thread about non-automotive Picoscopes that discusses the "cons" of using them for automotive work: diag​.​net/msg/mwtd109mgp… A few points from that thread are now moot with Picoscope recently releasing the 4823 with the same +/-100V input…

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Stephen Technician
Tennessee
Stephen Default
 

Well,,,I speed browsed the thread. I didn’t see any points that I would consider “con” to any scope. A scope is a scope is a scope. (I’m only considering. DSO types) All of the scopes, including Pico, show two things; voltage on the vertical scale and time on the horizontal scale. The differences are in the user interface, considering that all of the scopes being considered have adequate…

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

Stephen, just to be sure — the link that I provided points not to the whole thread, but should after a second or two scroll you to the sub-thread that talks specifically about non-automotive Picoscopes, with Matt F.’s reply on the topic. Have you read that one?

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

There is a way to make the 2204 work with the pico auto software-the thing to note is that the 2204 is limited to max inputs of + or - 20v so in most situations an attenuator is required with them. that is not a deal breaker though because it is easy to setup the parameters to give the proper readings.

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Stephen Technician
Tennessee
Stephen Default
   

Sorry Stephen, the other “reply” was to Dmitriy. I tried to post to 2 replies at once. I’m trying to find a way to copy it to him. Would you point me to where I can learn how to run pico automotive with a 2204?

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Stephen Technician
Tennessee
Stephen Default
 

In the words of Maxwell Smart; “Missed it by that much!” The selected subthread was one above Matt’s. So, I read Matt’s. He’s technically correct but, as with a lot of the posts, strikes me as an “elitist” opinion. The lower input voltage spec requiring attenuators in point. Attenuators are cheap and easy to homeroll. Lab scopes are most often used with X10 probes(also cheap) that takes care of…

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

May be the "tragedy" of non-auto Picoscopes is that they are immediately compared to Pico 4425, rather than to, say, the uScope. Why compare it to the 4425? Because people are likely to study automotive guided tests on picoauto​.​com try them on a non-auto Pico and then either get an ugly waveform or blow their scope. Inexpensive non-auto Picoscopes' 8-bit resolution, small buffers…

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Stephen Technician
Tennessee
Stephen Default
 

Dmitriy, I replied to your question but it posted to Stephen Taylor instead of you. I don’t know how to copy it to you so please read it on ST’s post listed under this one. My email is ….

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

The 2204a does not have a100v capacity it is +- 20v the pico 4425 scope has the 200v capacity

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
   

Stephen, ”maximum input voltage” and “maximum input measurement range” are two different concepts. Would you like me to elaborate?

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

yes please

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

Circled in blue are the supported input measurement ranges -- voltages that the scope can actually measure and show on the screen. The maximum range is +/-20V. Circled in red is the maximum allowed input voltage (overvoltage protection in Picoscope's lingo). Here it is +/-100V. This number is a matter of life and death for the scope. If you know a few techs that are interested in such…

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

thankyou very much for the reply. I will get in touch with some of the local techs and try to get a group together. Cost is something that would be a factor for the seminar for folks here and elsewhere I expect.

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
 

Stephen, don’t worry too much about the cost for the first one — I’d rather get the ball rolling on this topic, and go deeper next time(s) as long as there is interest. What is important for me to know is the preferred time — weekend morning or afternoon, or weekday evening? Please let me know …

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Samuel Technician
New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Hello Dmitriy...I know this is an older thread. However, something is driving me mad this weekend in relation to this topic. I have used a Snappy Scope since they were merely graphing meters...as they advanced, I NEVER needed an attenuator for any testing...Why? With the pico, users are huge on attenuators, claiming that without it, the scope can be destroyed. Even some Autel scope users, use…

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
Dmitriy Default
   

This is a wonderful question, Sam! Input circuitry of SnapOn scopes is designed differently. Most scopes have 1 MOhm input resistance, with attenuator TA197 from Pico raising that to 8 MOhm. But SnapOns have 10 MOhm right out of the box, which can be interpreted as having an attenuator always on, handling voltage spikes up to 400V. Such design has impact on performance (bandwidth, vertical…

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Randy Diagnostician
California
Randy Default
 

good to now . Thanks

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Samuel Technician
New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Thank you very much for the response....thorough explanation!!!

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Duane Owner/Technician
West Virginia
Duane Default
 

I have been using an Autoditex Car Scope Pro for more than 4 years. It is a 4 channel PC based automotive labscope with a bunch of presets and wave form examples. No it is not as fast as a Pico but it also doesn't cost as much. I have been very happy with it and it has had many updates to the software (all of which were free). I have also used their newest scope which is called the Car Scope…

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Matt Diagnostician
Minnesota
Matt Default
 

uScope hands down. I'd rather have a capable single channel scope than an arguably lacking multi-channel.

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Tim Mechanic
Arkansas
Tim Default
 

Just my 2 cents, but the way I use a scope sometimes involves checking two things at once to pinpoint where the actual breakdown occurs. For example, if you are losing spark intermittently, you can check an input (crank sensor) and an output (coil control) at the same time to quickly pinpoint where a problem lies, or another way to put it, where the problem isn't. Therefore, personally, I look…

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Edwin Technician
Utah
Edwin Default
 

I just got a 4 channel Pico in the spring. The shop has had a Vantage pro for years. I would definitely recommend the Pico. However I watched a video not too long ago comparing the Uscope to a "DSO201" series of scope. Those may be an affordable option. They have multiple channel model options for cheap. The thing I remember most about the video was the guy was using a penny as a COP wand…

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

Don't count the autel scope module out too quickly,it is in the budget range and works quite well. It can be used with the autel tablets that support it or laptop/PC.

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Sam Mobile Technician
Michigan
Sam Default
 

Eric, I have a 4423 pico. U scope and a hantek. All have their place. If you get a hantek do not bother with the leads it comes with. Spend a couple hundo on some better leads. I use the hantek at least 1 time per week when I need 8 channels. It is a really good scope for the money. It also has its limitations. I would get the hantek 1st. U scope 2nd and the pico 3rd

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Eric Technician
Illinois
Eric Default
 

Thanks your input is greatly appreciated

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Albert Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
Albert Default
   

Hi Eric, I have three scopes the U-scope the Hantek 8 ch scope and DS203 handheld scope with 4ch. I'm a Mobile Diagnostic Tech and each one of these scopes have their purpose the U-scope I use when I need one ch like for a sensor signal wire when I just need to see if there is a signal. The Hantek I use for more complex diagnostic work and when I need to study the waveforms also the…

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Helpful
Mike Technician
Missouri
Mike Default
 

Hi Eric...give me a buzz when you have time..three one four, six zero five, two seven three nine

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Randy Diagnostician
California
Randy Default
 

Buy both the u scope and the hantek . But start with the u scope first this you will use every day I do . And I have many scopes

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Ontario
Stephen Default
 

there is also another budget scope combination using Hscope android software combined with the hanteck scope. logical canuk has several videos of this combo in automotive use

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Mark Owner/Technician
California
Mark Default
 

All of the responses are good. I have used them all, and have the hantek 1008, 2 vantage pros, an OTC 4 channel, 2 modis, a verus. I use the Vantage pros 1st and as a beginner the hookup diagrams and expected waveforms are great. The Hantek is cheap, has 8 channels, and is no Pico. In a shop setting you will use a Vantage pro more often. INHO

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Rudy Technician
California
Rudy Default
 

I would not buy a Uscope if you are just learning. It is not user friendly for a beginner and (IMO) is a little hard to read and (again IMO) you need 2 channels to really get your feet wet. Dont rush and save up a little more for a 2 channel scope of your choice.

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David Owner/Technician
Ontario
David Default
 

Hello Eric, That is a good question because budget often makes for choices of equipment that are not adequate or that have serious limitations. HanteK 1008c is inexpensive has presets and several channels but form what i have read from others freezes when multi channels are open or when viewing really fast signals. Plus the voltages are minutely inaccurate. But it might be a good place to…

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