The USB Autoscope IV is a new generation 8-channel automotive diagnostic oscilloscope and engine analyzer. The Scope is designed for displaying, recording, and analyzing signals from pressure transducer, vacuum and automotive electrical systems.

The USB Autoscope IV performs comprehensive diagnosis of main car systems:

  • ignition system;
  • fuel supply;
  • engine mechanical;
  • sensors;
  • actuators;

Provides accurate information on the status and operation of electronic and mechanical systems of vehicles that OEM / Professional scan tools cannot provide. The USB Autoscope provides automated analysis of critical systems using the CSS, Px and ElPower scripts.

The advantages of the Autoscope is has 8 channels for multiple sensor recordings. It also has a built-in ignition scope inputs. The basic package comes with a high pressure transducer for in-cylinder testing and a vacuum/low pressure transducer for intake, exhaust, and crank case testing. The software package includes applications for interpreting compression and intake waveforms, as well as a variety of other scripts for interpreting data.
As for disadvantages of the Autoscope, the primary issue is that it is still new to North America and not all of the technical information has been translated from Russian, though they are working on it. Google translate can overcome this, but it takes a bit of effort. Is that a major limitation? Not really for me. The scope functions are quite intuitive. Its mostly just button ology, as they say 🙂
I find the USB Autoscope to be an excellent tool. The scripts are very helpful. You can also write your own scripts if there is something special you want to accomplish.
The 12v supply from the scope to the transducers is done through a dc to dc converter, so there is full galvanic isolation on the power supply side.
The USB data connection to the laptop or pc is also galvanically isolated from the signal gathering circuit. The scope can continually record data to the hard drive, not just frame by frame. You can set sample rate and time-base wherever you want it, for resolution and zooming purposes. It has built in attenuators, for use on things like GDI injectors and ignition coils without having to use external attenuators. The probes have built in LEDs for lighting what you are trying to probe.
I have been using a USB Autoscope for a few years now. It really is a nice scope with some unique features. There are some very interesting scripts available for it that add another layer of functionality to a lab scope. Beyond the scripts, I really like the interface and methodology behind the scope. I have more lab scopes than I know what to do with and, of all of them, I find the interface and features of the Autoscope to be the most comfortable.
I have owned and used this particular oscilloscope family for a good many years. I started with the USB Autoscope II and am now on the IV model. The waveform fidelity is on par with the mainstream oscilloscopes in my opinion. It utilizes a streaming recording process where it sends data to the host computer in a continuous fashion. They have used galvanic isolation between the oscilloscope front end and the host computer for a long time, the connection is actually optical.
The scripts are probably the main thing that sets this system apart from others. And yes, it is a system. The designers like to think of it more as an engine or system tester than simply just another oscilloscope. If you are handy with some simple coding, you can write your own scripts to do specific things that the system cannot presently do.
The main drawback is probably that it is different and you may need to retrain your mind just a little before you become comfortable with using it. Like any other tool, time spent becoming comfortable with it is time well spent. Unfortunately, for me, there simply isn’t enough hours in the day, so I am not spending as much time with it as I should.
The CSS script is very interesting as it uses the CKP signal and a trigger signal to perform a live power balance. Very handy for some vehicles. I could imagine that for diesel applications without misfire counters or a power balance feature, it could be quite useful.
Another script that is very interesting is the Px script, used for analyzing engine cylinder pressures. There are a number of other scripts.
The extensibility of the scope is underrated and under-appreciated. The currently available scripts take the individual pieces of scope usage and combine them together for certain tasks. Pretty interesting philosophy and execution. It is absolutely stunning what can be done with software. My hats off to the designers as they have created a functional, useful, and engaging product.
The Autoscope is better because it was designed from the ground up for automotive market. You have your excellent scripts and it analyses the data and give you direct results and assists in troubleshooting. You also have ignition analysis, PX, injector, lambda and all the other sensor tests. As for which one is better, I honestly would say Autoscope because of it’s automated scripts. When I have a car to troubleshoot, I would choose the Autoscope first and run the scripts to help analyse the problem.

* Reposted with permission of Babcox Media