Best Automotive Oscilloscope: Reviews and Guide 2021

by Chris Lewis.

Do your primary and the secondary ignitions malfunction from time to time? Are you having trouble trying to access the primary domain from your communication data stream and sensors?

Well, do you know that you can fix all of those by yourself? Yes, you will not have to go visit the mechanic to troubleshoot those. All you are going to require is an oscilloscope.

Now, you might wonder whether you will be able to get your hands on the best automotive oscilloscope or not. Well, we are not going to lie, but that would be a pretty challenging task for you if you go out in the market without having an adequate amount of knowledge about them.

But as you have stumbled upon us, you are not going to have to worry about that anymore. We will make things simple for you.

Editor's Recommendation: Top Automotive Oscilloscope 2021

Image Name Ratings
Launch X431 V+ Bi-Directional Scanner Full Systems Diagnostic
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4.6 / 5.0
Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Automotive Scan Tool
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4.7 / 5.0
SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size
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4.5 / 5.0

Top 9 Best Automotive Oscilloscopes

Before we get into the buying guide, we would like to introduce you to the units we think are worth the money. They achieved that position because of how well they perform. With that being, let us give you a rundown of the devices that we think you should consider. They are:

 Top 9 Best Automotive Oscilloscopes
Top 9 Best Automotive Oscilloscopes

1. Launch X431 V+ Bi-Directional Scanner Full Systems Diagnostic

Launch X431 V+ Bi-Directional Scanner Full Systems Diagnostic
Launch X431 V+ Bi-Directional Scanner Full Systems Diagnostic

Let us start things off by describing the one that stood out the most to us. It is from Launch that has plenty of well-performing scanners. And they surely did not disappoint us with this one.

First, let us talk about compatibility. This device has more comprehensive coverage than some of the regular ones that are available in the market.

It is compatible with Dodge, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Fiat models that came out after 2017. Alongside that, it also supports most of the heavy-duty vehicles.

Other than that, the unit comes packed with features. From the basic to the advanced ones, you will find all of them integrated into it. There are some guiding functions that will come in handy when you are dealing with some of the complicated sensors that remain in a car.

Aside from that, the device is online coding compatible. You will be able to download the source code from the website and troubleshoot your devices in just a matter of seconds.

Also, you will have the full freedom to customize the code afterward. You will be able to code and run your diagnostic program even with no internet connection.

Besides that, there are thirty plus reset services built directly into the chip that it has. You will have the capability to maintain and repair your parts the way that OEM does. It also has a built-in 32 GB storage.

Pros

  • Compatible with a wide variety of cars
  • Has both advanced and basic functions
  • Features guiding functions
  • Online coding compatible
  • Can run codes without any internet connection

Cons

  • Integrated software is not a stable release version
  • Can not properly scan VIN identification number

2. Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Automotive Scan Tool

Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Automotive Scan Tool
Autel MaxiSys MS906BT Automotive Scan Tool

For the Oscilloscopes, the more service options, the more versatile it will be. And if you were looking for one of those, then you should definitely put this one on your consideration list.

To begin with, it has 31 service options integrated. It includes Oil reset, EPB, SAS, ABS Bleed, DPF, IMMO, BMS, injector, VGT, suspension, and many other servicing options. There is a large screen on the front that will enable you to navigate through the services easily.

Other than that, it has a wireless chip built-in. That will enable it to access the system of all vehicles wirelessly.

You will be able to carry out the maintenance process by staying about 50 meters away from the car. Also, you will have the option to connect it with a USB cable if you prefer.

Aside from that, it features an ECU coding function. That will enable it to fix the fuel efficiency and drivability issues that some of the vehicles tend to have.

Also, it packs a large 1000 mAh battery, which will enable you to use it for a prolonged period without having to worry about it running out of juice.

It is also compatible with some of the car systems that require a bi-directional control system. That system will also enable you to check the integrity of different parts by checking the ECU data. You will also be able to monitor the operation of actuators using it.

Pros

  • Packs 31 service functions
  • Can wirelessly connect to systems
  • Has a secondary USB port
  • Features ECU coding capability
  • Comes with a built-in 1000 mAh battery

Cons

  • Some of the functions are not compatible with some cars
  • Does not include a TPMS service option

3. SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size

SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size
SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size

You are going to stumble upon plenty of best oscilloscopes for automotive in the market. Among all of them, only a few would be as portable as this one from SainSmart is.

First of all, the unit is considerably compact. It has such a form factor that you can easily carry it in your pocket. Hence, it gets the pocket size name on its label. Also, because of being small in size, it is not even that bulky too. You will have no trouble in the case of carrying it with you.

Aside from that, the display that it packs on the front is relatively big for the size of the body. It is 2.8 inches, and the resolution is 320x240 pixels.

Because of being TFT, the panel will be able to produce bright colors. As a result, getting stats about the different parts of your car will not be a hassle.

Other than that, it sports a 500 mAh built-in battery. That means it will always be ready when you are going to need it. And as there is an 8 MB storage space, it will be able to easily save waveform data. You can even transfer those and waveform images from it.

Lastly, the device is exceptionally easy to use. You will be able to navigate through the menu, just like a smartphone. It can also be operated in both vertical and horizontal modes.

Pros

  • Exceptionally compact
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Comes with a 500 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Has a 2.8 inches display on the front
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Takes a relatively long amount of time to update data
  • Connection pin is a bit too easy to break

4. Autel MaxiIM IM608 Professional Key Programming Tool

Autel MaxiIM IM608 Professional Key Programming Tool
Autel MaxiIM IM608 Professional Key Programming Tool

Not all of the oscilloscopes you will stumble upon in the market will come equipped with IMMO programming capability. Well, if you were searching for one of them, you should consider this one that Autel is offering.

First of all, the operating system that it is based on is android. That is why you will not have any trouble in the case of getting familiar with the UI that it boasts. The 10.1 inches screen will make operating it straightforward. You will not have to go through any hassles at all.

Aside from that, the programming features that it comes with are comparable to OE-level functions.

You will be able to carry out the maintenance and diagnostics of each of the parts like a professional. There are many advanced functions built into it, which will make it easier to monitor intricate parts.

Other than that, you will also be able to read transponder data using it. By using that feature, you will be able to make backup keys to unlock your car. Also, there are two different modes. One of them is the smart mode, and the other one is the expert mode.

Apart from that, there are twenty-three reset services integrated into it. Using them, you will be able to reset most of the signal transmitting parts of your car.

Alongside that, it is ECU coding capable. There is also a Bluetooth chip inside the device that will allow you to wirelessly connect to systems.

Pros

  • Boasts IMMO programming capabilities
  • Offers advanced OEM-level diagnostic functionalities
  • Based on simplified Android OS
  • Features a 10.1 inches screen
  • Can read transponder data

Cons

  • Scanner cannot scan some of the Benz and BMW models
  • Battery capacity is not that praiseworthy
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5. Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Programmable

Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Programmable
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Programmable

Are you worried that you would have to break your wallet if you want to get one of these devices? Well, that is not usually the case for all of them. And that can be illustrated perfectly with this unit that is offered by Hantek.

To start with, it comes with eight dedicated channels. Because of having that many dedicated channels, you will be able to connect it with multiple parts at the same time. You will not have to diagnose or maintain each of the parts separately.

Aside from that, the unit has a real-time sampling capability. That means you will see the signals in real-time. There would be no delays. As a result, you will be able to monitor the intricate parts of your vehicle efficiently.

Apart from that, the unit has a highly efficient spectrum analysis function. For that reason, you are sure to get accurate and precise waves out of it. You will be able to calibrate your network receiving components of your car properly.

Other than that, you will receive all the wirings that are required to connect it with devices. It comes with four coaxial connectors, four alligator clip converters, and an auto probe. There is also an instruction CD included, which will give you a rundown about how to use the unit.

Lastly, it comes bundled with a carry case. That will accommodate all of the components securely, which will make it easier for you to store it.

Pros

  • Has eight dedicated oscilloscope channels
  • Can output data in real-time
  • Outputs precise and accurate waves
  • Comes with all the wirings
  • Includes an instruction CD

Cons

  • Software that it comes integrated with is not that fast
  • Takes a bit of time to get used to the software

6. Owon HDS1021M Series HDS Handheld

Owon HDS1021M Series HDS Handheld
Owon HDS1021M Series HDS Handheld

Among all of the best oscilloscopes that are available in the market, the ones that have a relatively high sampling rate are the ones that will offer highly accurate data. And Owon kept that in mind when they were manufacturing this unit.

As we have mentioned, the sampling rate of the unit is at 100 MS/s. Because of that, it will be able to provide real-time data to you without any delays. You will be able to precisely see all the waveforms exactly at the time when they are transmitted from the parts.

Aside from that, it has a 6000 points record length. That length is relatively higher than most of the average devices that are out there.

Because of that, you will be able to observe highly-detailed waveforms. Diagnosing signal transmitters will be an easy task for you because of that.

Other than that, there are a plethora of built-in features. It packs 18 different measurement settings.

Those can also be switched within a matter of seconds because of the easy-to-use buttons that it has on the front. There is also an in-depth analyzing function that will enable you to scrutinize the waveforms closely.

Apart from that, it has a dedicated internal memory to save the waveforms you are going to view. You can save up to four lengthy waveforms in it.

After that, you can view them on the 3.5 inches TFT screen that it sports on the front. The screen is bright and can produce accurate colors.

Pros

  • Sampling rate is 100MS/s
  • Can record up 6000 points length of data
  • Features 18 automatic measurement settings
  • Has an internal storage
  • Boasts a 3.5 inches TFT display on the front

Cons

  • Does not have that many advanced functionalities
  • Some of the units have low-quality resistors

7. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes

Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes
Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes

The devices in the market that allow real-time recording of the waveforms can come in handy when diagnosing intricate parts of the car. And this one that Rigol can do exactly that.

First of all, the unit can capture 30000 wfms per second. Because of that, you will be able to record waveforms in real-time.

There is an adequate internal space that will enable you to save those recordings in the device. By connecting a transferring cable, you will also be able to move those data to a different device.

Apart from that, there are four different channels. All of the channels are analog and have a 50 MHz rating. Because of being analog, it achieves the capability to offer you a Relay Option. With that, you will be able to carry out Serial Bus analysis.

Alongside that, it does come with all the basic features integrated into it. You will be able to compare basic measurement data for the parts.

Also, you can measure the audio signals and compare them with the suggested signal ranges. The maintenance task will become much easier for you because of all those features.

Other than that, it comes with a relatively large-sized display on the front. That will enable you to scrutinize all the waveforms appropriately. The waves are separated by different colors, which will make it easier for you to compare them afterward.

It also has a large number of functional buttons on the front. Those will make it easier for you to navigate through the different functions of the device.

Pros

  • Can record waveforms in real-time
  • Has internal storage to save the recordings
  • Features a large-sized color display
  • There are a large number of functional buttons on the front
  • Boasts all the basic functionalities

Cons

  • Some of the functions have a 35 hours trial period
  • UI is not that polished

8. Auroland HANMATEK 110mhz Bandwidth DOS1102

Auroland HANMATEK 110mhz Bandwidth DOS1102
Auroland HANMATEK 110mhz Bandwidth DOS1102

It would be very difficult for you to measure and scrutinize the waveforms with a small screen device. Well, you will not have to worry about that if you opt for this one that is being offered by Auroland.

Unlike some of the wave monitors, this one boasts a 7 inches TFT LCD. The display can output 65535 exceptionally accurate colors.

It has a resolution of 800x400 pixels. You will not have any trouble in the case of viewing the waveforms while carrying out maintenance tasks.

Aside from the large display, it also has a range of automatic functions. It can read waveforms in both vertical and horizontal modes.

Also, it can combine two or more waveforms and track them at the same time. It will be much easier for you to diagnose parts with that.

Other than that, the device supports four kinds of probe attenuations. You will be able to work with 1000x, 100x, 10x, and, lastly, 1x probes. With those, monitoring the signals of intricate parts will be an effortless task for you.

Apart from that, the unit is also capable of tracking waves in real-time, just like most other devices in the market. Because of that, you will be able to monitor the waves at the exact time they are transmitted.

Lastly, it boasts a U disk storage functionality. You will be able to connect it with a USB device and run it in Host interface mode. It is also compatible with highly advanced Host software.

Pros

  • Sports a large 7 inches TFT display
  • Can read both horizontal and vertical waveforms
  • Has the ability to track multiple waves at the same time
  • Offers real-time reading
  • Boasts U disk storage functionality

Cons

  • UI is a bit glitchy
  • Battery life is relatively low


9. Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Scanner

Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Scanner
Injectronic CJ4-R OBDII/CAN Automotive Scanner

We would like to wrap up our best automotive oscilloscope review section with this scanner that Injectronic is offering. If you were on the lookout for something that can reprogram alarm and key functions of vehicles, this might be the one that you were looking for.

To start with, it is compatible with a large number of vehicles. It supports J1850, ISO9141, ISO 14230-4, CAN, SCI, and CCD protocols. For that reason, you will be able to connect it with most of the vehicles without facing any issues at all.

Apart from that, the device has a Bluetooth chip built-in. By downloading the app from the app store, you will be able to connect it with your smart device. And after that, you can monitor and track the waves on those devices if you prefer.

Other than that, it can reprogram the key and alarm functionalities of most of the cars. You will be able to modify that function on Nissan Sentra, GM Euro Opel, Dodge, Chrysler, Polo, and plenty of other vehicles.

Besides that, there are many advanced features. It has the ability to reset the memory of some of the parts. The ECU coding capability will enable you to download codes and extract them to the specific parts of your four-wheeler.

Alongside that, the device is pretty easy to use. It has basic buttons on the front of the body. You will be able to navigate through all the functions and modify them using those buttons easily.

Pros

  • Supports a wide range of protocols
  • Can reprogram key and alarm controls of most of the vehicles
  • Has the ability to reset the memory of some of the crucial parts
  • Capable of extracting ECU codes
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Screen is relatively small and can not output colors
  • Bluetooth chip is not efficient

Buying Guide for Best Automotive Oscilloscope?

Now that you have gone through the recommendation list, you must be pretty excited to get yourself one of the devices, right? Well, before you do jump into making a purchase decision, you will have to keep some crucial things in mind. They are as follows:

  • Display

Before anything else, you will have to consider the display. As we have mentioned earlier, a device with a bad display would be pretty hard to operate.

Keeping that in mind, you should shoot for the ones that pack a relatively large-sized panel on the front. Those will be much easier to operate. Also, you will be able to navigate through the different functionalities pretty quickly with those.

  • Features

Even though most of the devices you will stumble upon will offer you all the basic functionalities, you might require advanced features sometimes. Most of the intricate wave transmitting parts that are in the car will require some advanced features.

So if you want to stay on the safe side, you should shoot for the ones with some advanced features aside from the basic ones.

  • Coding Capabilities

Some of the units that are in the market will not support ECU coding capabilities. With those, you will be limited to the programs that come built-in.

Even though you will not have to modify the codes for most of the cases, having that capability is always a plus point. That is why we suggest going for the ones that support ECU coding.

  • Battery Life

The thing that is going to power these devices will be a lithium-ion cell. And you should keep the capacity of the battery if you want to carry out prolonged maintenance tasks.

It would be a bit hard for you to do all the diagnosing tasks with something that can only stay powered on for half an hour. That is why you should opt for the ones that sport large-sized batteries.

  • Internal Storage

You might not need to save the waveforms all the time. In fact, some of the parts can be diagnosed right from the device itself.

However, if you do want to diagnose intricate parts, you might need to store the waves and transfer them to another device.

In those cases, having internal storage for oscilloscopes is a must. For that reason, you should factor in whether the unit has internal storage built-in or not.

  • Wireless Functionalities

If you are rocking a car that is relatively modern, it is highly likely that most of the parts will have a wireless chip. Connecting to those with a wired-only device would be quite impossible. In such cases, you should only shoot for the ones with both wired ports and wireless chip in it.

How to Use an Automotive Oscilloscope?

If you are fairly new to these devices, you might not have an idea about the operating procedure of them. Well, let us give you a brief idea about the process of using them. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Power on the Device

Before anything else, you will have to power on the oscilloscope. If you are using an Android OS-based system, you will first have to turn on the power button and turn on the device accordingly.

Step 2: Connect It with the Parts

After turning on the device, you need to connect it with the part you are trying to diagnose. If the part has wired connectivity ports, connect it with the wire that you have received with the device.

And if the part has a wireless chip on it, connect it by going into your device's wireless settings.

Step 3: Start Monitoring the Waveform

Now that you have connected the device with the part you want to diagnose, you will have to make the part operate for a while.

After operating for a couple of minutes, the device should be able to capture the waveforms. Once you have all the required data, you should compare the waveforms with the standard ones.

Step 4: Make Adjustments If Necessary

After getting the waveforms, you need to make appropriate adjustments to the parts if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are oscilloscopes just another scan tool?

No, these are not regular scan tools. Yes, they are capable of scanning waveforms like the other tools. But these offer you the capability of making adjustments to the connected component after scanning.

2. Is it necessary to get a oscilloscope with a display?

If you get an oscilloscope without a built-in display, you will have to connect it with other display devices to monitor the waveforms.

And that can be a bit of a hassle sometimes. That is why getting one with a display is always convenient.

3. What can a technician do with an oscilloscope?

The technicians who have an adequate amount of knowledge of oscilloscope can make OE-level diagnosis to your parts. You will not have to rely on your OEM for fixing the malfunctioning parts.

4. Why is my oscilloscope not connecting with the parts of my car in the wireless mode?

If that is happening to you, it is highly likely that the device is not compatible with your vehicle. However, you can try to connect it with wires if you are not able to connect wirelessly.

5. Are oscilloscopes worth it?

According to us, they are very much worth it because of offering you the ability to make an OE-level diagnosis. If you can master operating them, you will not have to rely on a mechanic if a part fails to operate optimally.

Final Words

Hopefully, we were able to provide you an adequate amount of knowledge about oscilloscopes. To conclude, we hope that our buying guide and recommendation list was effective enough that it is now easier for you to choose the best automotive oscilloscope.

About Chris Lewis.

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