Running a Shop Shop Floor Tools and Equipment

The Return: EScope Pro

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EScope Pro
A shop founder reviews Automotive Test Solutions’ EScope Pro.

STATS: Vehicle Service Location: Albuquerque, N.M.  Website: automotivesolutions.com Cost: $5,495 Uses: Helps identify source of problem with electrical inputs or outputs Training Required: Instructional manual and videos available, as well as continued support through a help line

The Reviewer:

David Lang’s career in the automotive industry spans over four decades. Before opening his shop, Independent Vehicle Service, Lang worked at a number of smaller shops, drove a truck, worked at a Caterpillar dealership and even did some mechanical work in Venezuela. Lang is an ASE master technician with L1, L2 and L3 certifications and, in 2017, took home the Bosch/ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year award.   

The Shop:

Lang founded Independent Vehicle Service in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1981.

The shop is currently under second-generation ownership as Lang’s son, Daniel Lang, has taken over day-to-day operations in the last few years. The 10,000-square-foot location staffs 11 and is spread across two buildings that are across from one another.

For the first 20 years the shop was open, it did not do any type of advertising. It attracted customers through word-of-mouth referrals and Lang says that’s still the No. 1 reason people come into the shop. A big reason for that is because Lang has found a way to diagnose vehicles that other shops have had trouble with—and a huge contributor to that is his use of oscilloscopes.

Lang has used scopes since the '70s. When the EScope came out roughly 12 years ago, Lang immediately purchased it, and it has since made two updates. Currently, Lang has one EScope Pro for personal use and one for the shop.

How it Works:

Lang uses the EScope Pro to narrow in on problems that have to do with electrical inputs or outputs. For example, any issues with the engine, transmission or climate control system.

Lang says that the EScope Pro is used after all of the complaints are gathered from a customer and a scan tool has been used to identify any engine codes and give some direction to the source of the problem. After that, the EScope is used to further narrow in on the exact issue.   

The EScope is PC based, so in order to use it, it needs to be connected to a laptop through a USB port.

To begin, open up the program and choose from the menu of options. Lang says he typically chooses the “dual scope” option, which allows the user to view waveforms on two different time screens—slow and rapid.

One thing that makes the EScope stand out from other oscilloscopes on the market is that it has eight channels. Those eight channels can then be hooked up to different areas of the car. The screen then displays the different waveforms of the system on the screen. The user can then look at the waveforms for any irregularities to help narrow in on the location of the issue within the vehicle.

The Review:

Lang says that the clarity of the waveforms and the display options put the EScope Pro on top of other oscilloscopes that he’s used or seen demonstrated. Another feature that Lang enjoys on the EScope Pro is its circuit identification. With this feature, a user will be notified automatically with a red light if a wire loses contact with the desired area of the vehicle. This feature also helps identify when a wire is open.

Lang’s expertise is in control area network (CAN) diagnostics, and he says the EScope Pro has been an “invaluable” tool for him in this area.

“We’ve never had a CAN problem that we couldn’t solve with the EScope,” Lang says.   

Lang says that he uses the EScope Pro 3–4 times per day. On average, the shop sees between 15–25 vehicles per day.

The ROI:

Lang says that it’s difficult to calculate the return on investment because, according to him, the tool is invaluable.

“For what it’s able to do, I would have paid twice or even three times what I paid,” Lang says.

 Lang says that having the EScope Pro has allowed the shop to service 2–3 vehicles per month that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to, increasing revenue.

But beyond that, and most importantly, the use of the tool and the ability it gives the staff provides customers faith that Independent Vehicle Service will be able to accurately diagnose the problem. This has helped retain customers and bring in new ones.

 

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