- Autonerdz Frequently Asked Questions
· I have been looking into getting a PicoScope kit. Why would I buy from you when I can get a better deal elsewhere?
The short answer is because you can’t get a better deal elsewhere. I understand that you are trying to get the best bang for your buck and I respect that. Just be sure you fully understand the options before laying down your hard-earned money. Our custom kits have more hardware in them. They also include our support and training system. This is a $1300.00 per year subscription when purchased separately. It is included with every custom kit we sell and does not require renewal. Our training is unique. We don’t just copy and paste others’ works that you can find on other web sites. Our material cannot be found anywhere else, at any price. We offer the best value anywhere, period. Don’t take my word for it:
· Is PicoScope a good starter scope?
Using scopes is something many technicians have avoided.
Those that have embraced them in automotive diagnostics now wonder how they ever lived without them. You never really know what you will be able to do with a capable scope until you have one.
It has been said that new scope users should start out with a lower end 'starter scope'. This is a myth. A less capable scope is probably not that much less expensive than a high end PicoScope and may actually cost more. In addition, they can be harder to use and more frustrating. This is because they don't capture very much information at one time and therefore your window of opportunity to capture the events is very small. This can create a lot of frustration and often results in scopes sitting in the corner gathering dust. No matter what scope you get, you are going to have to spend time learning how to use it. Not just the buttonology of the unit but also how to interpret those squiggly lines.
When you discover that the scope you chose as a starter scope isn't capable of doing what you want, you wasted your time and money. In addition, never being able to see the panoramic view in glorious detail can deprive you of being able to fully analyze signal interactions over time and the enhanced learning experience that goes with that.
So, if you are at all serious about getting into scopes, why not get a serious instrument? You don't have toy wrenches in your tool box do you? No, you have professional tools. So, why not get a scope for a pro. Even if you have no intention right now of becoming a scope expert, you will likely change your mind when you discover the possibilities and how much fun it can be. Don't underestimate yourself. Once you decide to start with the best, there is only one place to get the best automotive training and support to go with your new PicoScope package.
We do have a modest quantity discount on 5 or more kits but no special discounts for educators.
We elected not to offer special discounts to anyone but instead to offer the best value possible to everyone. We did this for several reasons, but no one ever gripes about someone else getting a better deal (this does not mean we never have a sale). No one ever gripes about the value they get with Autonerdz either:
Here at Autonerdz, we decided long ago to set a new standard for automotive dedicated technical support. Each PicoScope custom kit we sell comes with this support package. The training and support system has evolved and expanded since we started it in 2002. This support has been called the best in the industry. Combined with the stellar Pico factory support, there is no equal. We blazed the trail for Pico in the automotive market and since then, they have rocketed to the top of the heap in automotive scopes. The concept was new in 2002 and it has taken time and effort to accomplish this. Pico's forward thinking was in tune with the automotive industry development in this area and their entry in to the automotive field was timely. We knew that support and training was key to product acceptance and, well, you know the results.
As the automotive industry leader for PicoScope, we often get coattail riders. Might be another distributor trying to reinvent the wheel by attempting to copy us, or trying to grab sales on a popular product by slashing prices. So....you will find a cheaper price. When you see this price cutting, it's because that's all they have to offer. We have a large happy global users group. The only unhappy PicoScope users didn't purchase from us.
If you do want the best vlaue, just be sure to compare apples to apples. All our custom kits have additional hardware in them that kits from other suppliers don't. So, check kit contents. Also, if you do want our PicoScope support and training system later, it will cost you $1300.00 per year. It costs zero dollars when you purchase a custom kit from us. We don't sell equipment; we sell an experience.
As for The Nerd Series on CD, the same applies. This kind of training cannot be found anywhere else. Besides, where else can you get nearly 30 hours of any training for $600? We do customarily send out the set when Nerd I is purchased. Then keys for the remaining CDs can be purchased later. No waiting...just unlock and go. This helps spread out the cost over time.
· I have heard much talk about the 'Pico Gap' where data is lost between screens when using a Pico and that this is a disadvantage of the equipment when compared to some Snap-On scopes. What is the 'Pico Gap' and should I be concerned about it?
Anyone who continues to insist that a 'Pico Gap' is any concern is simply uninformed or providing dis-information. You can run Pico without any gaps between screens at all if you choose to. The technique results in a mode of operation very similar to the Snap-On scopes but on steroids. Pico can run over 700 times faster than a Modis or a Verus and capture much longer gapless data streams while keeping sample rates high enough so as not to lose any detail or glitches. For the real story, please read this thread:
Anyone can engage in this discussion. So..you have to ask yourself, if they disagree, why don't they join the discussion and explain why they still believe in 'Pico Gap'? Rhetorical question of course.....
· I found another supplier offering a PicoQuad Kit for less money. Why shouldn’t I get it and save some bux?
Impossible. PicoQuad (four channel) and PicoDeuce Kit (two channel) PicoScope packages are ONLY available from Autonerdz. Autonerdz is the sole supplier of these kit packages and they cannot be duplicated. If you find anyone anywhere claiming to have a PicoQuad kit that is not an Autonerdz affiliate, they are fraudulent. Don’t fall for this one.
There is only one smart choice for PicoScope in North America…. The Autonerdz Team.
· I purchased an older 212 series from you years ago. I have upgraded to the 4000 series now but got a screaming deal from another supplier. I thought your support system never expired. How come you won’t help me anymore?
Duh. Obviously the support system is meant for equipment you purchased from Autonerdz. We are not in the business of subsidizing other suppliers. When you choose to upgrade from another source, the support system no longer applies to you. You may have gotten a screaming deal, but the price was cheap for a reason. Probably because that’s all they have to offer. It’s not fair to expect us to support your choice to go elsewhere for your new model PicoScope. You should have at least contacted us first. Loyalty is well rewarded.
· I see that you have done many ‘Nerd Series’ training classes all over the USA but I don’t see much on your schedule since 2005. Why is this? How can I get hooked up with some of this training?
In January 2006, we released ‘The Nerd Series’ on CD. This is nearly 30 hours of virtual classroom. Techs are now getting the CDs. It’s less expensive; you can train on your schedule, and can watch them over and over. In the words of one user, “You have no idea how nice it is after spending so many years sitting in folding metal chairs in the back of someone's garage for training what it is like to be home in my comfortable chair, while my wife makes dinner, and to be getting great training." It’s also getting more expensive to travel and this drives up the costs of classes.
· Tom, I have an older PICO scope, I was told you have a CD that gives good instruction on using PICO scopes for advanced users. Is this true? If so, how do I acquire one?
True, it does exist. This CD contains many hours of PicoScope specific training. It is not available separately, but is included with our PicoScope support and training system. This is a $1300.00 per year subscription when purchased separately. It is included free with every custom kit we sell, you can read the terms here. I’m sorry you got your PicoScope from another supplier but all is not lost. You can either purchase a subscription or take this opportunity to upgrade to the PicoQuad kit powerhouse and get the support for free:
One of our Canadian customers put it best: "The Tom Roberts support is easily worth as much as the scope."
· What are the PC system requirements for PicoScope?
For PicoScope 6.xx we recommend a minimum 4GB of RAM for Windows 7, 8 or 10 (recommend that you get as much RAM as you can), 2 GHz dual core processor or higher, and 2 GB free disk space for the installation. The largest part of this is the required Microsoft .NET Framework needed for this software. Also, a USB 3.0 port is required for the high speed streaming capabilities. Things that are needed by OS:
Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) and .NET Framework 2.0
Windows 8 32 or 64 Bit
Windows 10 32 or 64 Bit
PicoScope will not work on the stripped down versions of windows, like RT or S versions.
If your PC needs any of the components listed, the PicoScope 6 installer will try to go get them off the Internet. This takes a while the first time through and, if you are not connected during the install, it will fail to complete.
· I am a member of iATN and I have benefited from your posts there but I don’t see as many as I used to. What’s up?
I have been a member of iATN since the early days before there were any forums and have enjoyed very much sharing there over the 10+ years. As my career evolved, however I found that I was unable to share there as freely as I had been in the past. This has to do with my position in the industry now and the iATN guidelines. I still contribute and join in discussions occasionally, but have limitations on what I can say, link to, share, etc. This is as it should be, but I get easily frustrated.
Enter The Autonerdz Community Forums. Here I can and do share freely as I wish and you can find me and other Nerdz from all corners of the world there in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere based on learning and mutual respect.
· What is your service territory and when do you do PicoScope classes?
Autonerdz territory is global. We have customers on six continents. That doesn't happen by accident.
The Autonerdz PicoScope support and training system, which is included with each custom PicoScope kit, is an ongoing growth experience for users, as long as they own the equipment. PicoScope class happens whenever you want it to.
The Autonerdz PicoScope support and training package can be purchased separately, on a subscription basis, and many of those who have purchased Pico from another supplier do just that. There are good reasons for this.
Autonerdz has a track record as a national lab scope trainer and now globally via digital media.
Besides his Indian name "Burps at Bears" Tom Roberts is called 'The Picotologist"..among other things ;-p
Those who do their PicoScope homework before they purchase avoid costly mistakes, saving time and money.
· Do you have a training facility where you offer classes?
Yes we do. We recently built one and are now scheduling events. We will have guest trainers, offer general scope classes, and also PicoScope specific basic and advanced training for those in the Autonerdz Picogroup. These events will be announced on the events page and also in The Autonerdz Community Forums.
· Why don’t you provide support and training to all PicoScope users?
We do. But it’s only free to our customers for many reasons….
1. We have limited resources and time.
How do we best use that time and direct those resources? We made the decision that we would direct those resources back to those who provided them. That would be our customers. That way we can direct our growth to benefit all those who helped make it possible. We owe it to them.
2. We would love to help everyone..
Unfortunately, that would result in not being able to help anyone. We are not subsidized and have no sponsors of any kind. All our services are entirely supported by our customers and we are eternally grateful. We show that by trying to be fair and not use up resources they provided to support others who chose another vendor.
3. Our 'competition' is increasingly irrelevant each day.
Thanks to all of our customers contributions and continued referrals of new customers. It's all the members of the Autonerdz Picogroup. Otherwise we would be history instead of the PicoScope automotive authority on the continent. We owe our customers everything. There is no reason NOT to purchase from Autonerdz and enjoy all the many benefits.
4. Subsidizing other vendors is suicide.
When we pioneered Pico in the automotive industry, everyone laughed. No one is laughing anymore. We started by being all inclusive but later, when some other vendors were focusing on volume sales by slashing prices, we found that we were subsidizing this behavior and enabling them to take the bread off our table. That's what happens when you leave the chair up against the table....the mice can climb up. So...we just pulled the chair out. We felt like that was in all our best interests. Now other vendors have to recruit and hire members of our group to get the needed expertise to provide their own support. And they do...in the US and Canada. That certainly validates the effectiveness of our program. Here is a reply from one of our Canadian members who was recruited:
"Thanx for the offer.
But, I am already closely associated with Autonerdz.
The only Pico distributor that I would recommend.
Not only in North America but world wide.
Autonerdz is not only a distributor but has continuous support unparallel by anyone.
Tom's support and training can not be had anywhere else in the world, FOR ANY PRICE!
Besides being an extremely fair distributor he has been my mentor and is a very close friend.
Straying from The Autonerdz Community would be like stabbing myself in the foot with a pitchfork after I cut off my own hand with a rusty hack saw!
But, thanx for the offer"
Such loyalty is quite rare these days.
All the PicoScope automotive experts in North America came from Autonerdz one way or another. They were either part of our Picogroup or trained by someone who was. After all, Autonerdz started the whole thing on this continent..
5. Unique business model.
Having been a tech all my adult life, I have had my share of equipment support experiences. When I found myself on the vendor side, I brought these experiences with me. I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted to earn my customers and provide an unprecedented level of support. This meant time and effort to build a foundation. While this was not appreciated by some, it clearly is by all of our customers. Sales numbers will always take a back seat to support as long as I am here.
· Pico Technology is in the UK. Why would techs in the UK purchase from Autonerdz?
As you know, Autonerdz has customers on six continents that purchased a PicoScope directly from us. Many of them are in the UK, even though we do not actively market in any region overseas. In fact, when we get inquiries from overseas, we encourage them to purchase locally. We really don’t like to horn in on other vendor’s turf overseas. However, if the customer insists on purchasing from us, we will not refuse them.
Why am I telling you this? It’s just some food for thought. I’m talking to all you techs who are right here in North America.
Why would anyone in the UK, which is Pico Technology’s back yard, purchase a custom PicoScope kit from Autonerdz and have it shipped from the USA? Seems silly doesn’t it? Obviously they would pay more than if they sourced the equipment locally. There are hundreds of $$ in additional costs with international shipping, plus all the import duties and taxes. Do techs in the UK just have too much money? I don’t think so. The economy isn’t exactly booming in the UK either. Are they stupid over there? Just the opposite, the UK techs I know are some of the sharpest. Are they crazy? Maybe crazy like a fox.
So, why do they do it? They do it because they did the homework and concluded that they were getting enough additional value to more than cover the extra costs involved. They don’t do it just for the additional hardware we include in our custom kits, even though that may be several hundred $ worth alone. They would save money sourcing the additional items locally. They do it for our support and training package. They do this, in spite of the fact that Pico offers fantastic support of their own.
If it makes sense for the UK techs to do this, how much more sense does it make, if you are a tech in right here in North America looking into PicoScope, to do your homework and find out what all the fuss is about? I encourage you to check around. But do yourself a big favor and take a few minutes to check with Autonerdz before you make any purchasing decision. Find out why we are ‘THE PicoScope Automotive Authority in North America’ and also support customers globally. We will be happy to explain to you how it works and answer any of your questions.
· I saw a Pico ad in a US national trade magazine but when I called them, it was not Autonerdz. What's up with that?
We are sometimes asked why we don't do advertising in national print media like some of the other PicoScope vendors. But we are not like the other guys. We do things differently. Rather than spend a lot of money on a very expensive ad in a national trade magazine, we choose to provide services to our loyal customers. Seems to us that supporting our customers who support us is much better marketing. It's all about priorities. We figure, that if we have done our job right, our customers will do the advertising. And they do. We show our appreciation by investing in them like they did with us. We do this by providing more training and suport resources to them. It's not that we are any smarter than some of the other guys, we just put more into it than anyone else can (we even trainied some of the other guys ;-p). So, next time you see a big PicoScope ad, think about that. Then call the real deal. You have not checked into PicoScope until you have talked to Autonerdz. Just ask one of our customers how they like the 'Autonerdz PicoScope Experience'. No slick ads, no BS, no smoke and mirrors. We will actually still talk to you AFTER we have your money. Imagine that.
· I saw a post on iATN that said techs get kicked out of the Autonerdz forums when they don't tow the line and agree with the thinking there. Care to address that?
Sure. Put simply, those are lies. No tech has EVER been kicked out of our forums for any reason. The ones that are saying that are still members of our forums. I am not going to speculate on their motivation since I really don't know for sure where this slander comes from. We enjoy challenge. There have been members of our Picogroup support and training community that have been removed from that group. Some of them went to work with other vendors and others took their business there. None have been removed from our Picogroup for any other reason. As we have stated, we are not in business to subsidize other vendors. See 'Why don’t you provide support and training to all PicoScope users?' What you will find on our forums is automotive professionals from all parts of the earth behaving in a professional and respectful manner. I think you will find it all quite refreshing.