Automechanika Frankfurt 14 – 16 September 2021

I recently attended a press briefing about the upcoming automechanika show in Frankfurt. For those of us in the UK it is a fairly short flight to attend but this event is hybrid! This means that a digital version almost mirrors the actual event. C19 or otherwise the time taken to visit can be much reduced by attending digitally – I think I will be there however for the German beer (and ll the interesting technologies of course)… More details below:



What are the current issues and trends in the aftermarket? What are the future challenges for car repair shops, e.g. due to the fast increase in alternative drive systems? This year’s Automechanika Frankfurt Digital Plus will be held in a more compact form, with a different model adapted to suit the prevailing situation, and also with a wide range of online products and services. There is a strong demand for personal interaction, as around 75 per cent of the approx. 200 exhibiting companies want to have physical stands at the exhibition. What’s new is that Automechanika will take place at the same time as Hypermotion – the tradeshow of the logistics industry – at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre. This will give the automotive sector valuable inspiration, e.g. with regard to resilient supply chains, fleet management and IoT systems.

The aftermarket sector will finally be meeting face-to-face again at Automechanika, from 14 to 16 September 2021. Olaf Musshoff, Director of Automechanika Frankfurt, says: “I’m really pleased that our ‘plug & play’ offer of fully equipped stands has been so well received and that so many companies who’ve signed up want to meet in person again in Frankfurt. However, even those who are not coming to Frankfurt can take part in our wide-ranging complementary programme. Thanks to our new online features, we’ll be providing additional options for presentation, for networking and for a wide international reach.” There has been considerable interest from other countries these days: exhibitors will be coming not only from Germany, but also from Belgium, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, the United Arab Emirates, Korea, China, Taiwan and Australia.

The following companies, among others, will be exhibiting at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre: Schaeffler, Hunter, Liqui Moly GmbH, SATA, Mercedes-Benz Gebrauchtteile Center (Spare Parts Centre), Snap-on Equipment GmbH, Alfred Kärcher Vertriebs GmbH, Otto Christ, WashTec GmbH, AVL DiTEST GmbH, Hengst, Heinrich Eibach, ABBT Arnott, AJUSA Auto Juntas, Audatex, Adriateh d.o.o., BBT Automotive Components GmbH, AUTOonline GmbH, MAPCO Autotechnik GmbH, DINEX A/S, Glaubitz GmbH, Saxon Junkalor, Inficon, ATH Heinl, Schumacher, Auger Autotechnik, Erich Jaeger GmbH, Nissens Automotive A/S together with AVA Benelux, Inforserveis S.L., Visomax Coating, TÜV Rheinland, ZDK (Central Association of the German Motor Trade), and many others. And here are some of the companies that will be participating entirely online: Continental with four business units, including the tyre division, ElringKlinger AG, Mahle, Mol-Lub KFT, Body Shop News, Vogel Communications Group GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, who are also supporting the Workshops for Car Repair Shops, and BMW AG with its Original Spare Parts division. The latter will be exhibiting at Automechanika Frankfurt for the first time.

Programme highlights at Automechanika Frankfurt Digital Plus
As an innovation showcase, training centre and test lab for car dealerships and repair shops, the Future Repair Shop 4.0 will be working with the Institute for the Automotive Industry (IfA), demonstrating tomorrow’s technologies, processes and business models at the trade show. There will be eight learning stations on the customer journey with a focus on aftersales, giving visitors a hands-on experience of technological change. Motor industry professionals can gain valuable expertise and fresh inspiration for their own business in the future. Digitisation and new technical developments are posing new challenges to car repair shops on a daily basis. To keep up with it all, it’s important to engage regularly in professional development.

As before, hands-on workshops will be held at the trade fair. They will take place in cooperation with well-known partners and will be directed at car repair shops, in particular. There will also be several live accident repair demonstrations, hosted by FabuCar and the Car Doctors (Die Autodoktoren). In addition, the Automechanika Academy will be running a wide-ranging programme on all three days. Recent developments on the topics of Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility, Electromobility, 3D Printing and Car Wash will be presented in several visionary talks, given by professionals, and will be debated in panel discussions. Anyone who runs a car repair shop will be particularly interested in Schadentalk (a vehicle damage chat show) as well as a range of talks and panel discussions on the day-to-day business of a car repair shop. In times of climate change and environmental protection, the topic of a circular economy and remanufacturing is becoming increasingly relevant.

The first Automechanika Remanufacturing Day will be therefore held on 15 September, in cooperation with APRA (the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers’ Association). On this occasion, several professionals will be presenting the topic from various angles, with opportunities for questions.

Hypermotion Frankfurt at the interface of mobility and logistics
Hypermotion Frankfurt is all about smart solutions in mobility and logistics, with numerous conferences in addition to the traditional exhibition. For example, one exciting feature for an audience from the automotive industry at Hypermotion will be the new container system of GH System GmbH. It will be presented at a special show and also in the Future Mobility Park. The new system can be used throughout the supply chain, right down to the regional and local levels. Using a small standardised container, the innovative system focuses on the end-to-end shipment of goods. RepairFix, a start-up company, is set to present a software application that smartly networks drivers, fleet managers and repair shops in dealing with damage and servicing.

Avia Autos wins The Motor Ombudsman’s inaugural Garage Star Award for Wales

A well-deserved award for my friend and colleague Hayley Pells and her team at Avia Autos.


  • Avia Autos in Bridgend claims the regional trophy for Wales in The Motor Ombudsman’s inaugural Garage Star Awards after making it on to the shortlist of 24 finalists from over 800 consumer nominations that were submitted for individuals, teams and garages across the UK
  • The independent garage was chosen by the judging panel for the award in recognition of the high level of support and care shown by the business when assisting customers
  • The awards have been designed by The Motor Ombudsman to recognise those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help others during the last 12 months

Bridgend, 24 November 2020 Avia Autos in Bridgend is pleased to announce that it has won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The Garage Star Awards were introduced by the Ombudsman dedicated to the automotive sector for customers to be able to nominate individuals, teams and garages accredited to its Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Service and Repair and Vehicle Sales, that have gone above and beyond to assist them during the past 12 months.

Over 800 nominations were received from consumers for garages up and down the country, which were then whittled down by The Motor Ombudsman according to a strict set of criteria to create a shortlist of just three finalists for each of the eight regions that had been earmarked for the contest. They were then passed to a judging panel, which included members of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), to determine the recipients of the winner’s trophies based on the extent to which they had excelled in providing customers with a far superior level of service and work than what would normally be expected.

Competing against other high calibre entries, the Bridgend-based independent garage emerged victorious to claim the top prize for the Welsh region. Avia Autos was unanimously chosen by the judging panel as a clear winner for the regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The trophy was bestowed to the garage belonging to Hayley Pells in recognition of the high level of support and care shown when assisting customers, which includes taking the time to give clear explanations about any issues on their vehicle, and providing practical tips on driving and car care as part of Avia Autos’ free of charge courses.

Hayley Pells, Owner at Avia Autos, said: “We are delighted to have won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales, and we are extremely grateful for all of the nominations that we received from our customers during the past few weeks. Supporting motorists beyond the work that we do, with free tips and classes, has always been a core focus. With cars being relatively complex machines, it’s important to provide vehicle owners with a good understanding of any repairs that have been undertaken and why, and any preventative action that they are able to take themselves to help avoid future mechanical issues. The trophy will take pride of place in our reception area to remind our staff that their continued hard work and dedication has been publicly recognised with what is a very prestigious award.”

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, added: “We would like to congratulate Avia Autos on their fantastic achievement. This year’s awards were a closely fought contest, but it was this independent garage that clearly stood out from the other shortlisted entries that were put forward for the Welsh regional trophy. Their commitment to going above and beyond by supporting the local motorists with educational initiatives really shone through in the customer’s submission, and this business was therefore deemed a worthy regional winner by all of the judges on the panel.”

End of 2013

As it is almost the end of 2013 and then end of a long term at school/college for many students and teachers, I thought I would do something a bit different!

What we need is a piece of music that summarizes our feelings at this time of year – and helps us to relax. So, choose one of the following songs or lines from a song that sums up your year in education/training – and let me know why.

Alternatively, suggest a track of your own – there is a prize for the best one!

  • Another one bites the dust (Queen)
  • My way – “I did it…” (Frank Sinatra)
  • One piece at a time – “With the help of an adaptor kit” (Johnny Cash)
  • Sixteen tons – “Another year over and deeper in debt” (Tennessee Ernie Ford)
  • Oops I did it again (Britney Spears)
  • Bat out of Hell (Meatloaf)
  • Yesterday – “All my troubles seemed so far away” (The Beatles)
  • Another brick in the wall – “We don’t need no education” (Pink Floyd)

Tom Denton, December 2013

How do I measure… everything from voltage to the speed of light

Here is a selection of some interesting and fun information about measurement from my favourite ‘scope’ company Pico. Visit the site to see more.


How do I measure… everything from voltage to the speed of light

How Do I Measure…

Our oscilloscopes and data loggers are capable of measuring a large variety of measurements — everything from voltage to the speed of light.

Select the type of measurement you want to make from the drop-down list below and find out how you can measure it using Pico products.

how do I measure… 4-20 mA  signals acceleration audio signals automotive signals battery discharge current flow food temperature frequency humidity light level liquid level output of a dynamo oxygen in air pH pressure rainfall resistance sound level speed of a car speed of light speed of sound strain, force and load temperature the beating of a bird’s wing the swing of a pendulum video signals voltage wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT)

4-20 mA  Signals

Pico products for measuring 4-20 mA  signals

Pico has several products suitable for measuring and recording 4-20mA signals, but the input circuit has to be slightly modified.

shunt resistor

A simple shunt resistor can be used to convert the current in the loop to a voltage that is suitable for the ADC to measure. A 250 ohm resistor will give a voltage output of 1 to 5 V. This method can be used in systems where the signal can be grounded.

Other resistor values can be calculated using the formula below:

Rb = Vmax / Imax

where Vmax is the maximum input voltage of the ADC, Imax is the maximum measured current and Rb << Rin.

Other information

Pico has four products where this resistor can easily be placed on a terminal board:


Pico products for measuring acceleration
  • PicoScope 4224 Oscilloscope: The most popular product for measuring acceleration. Most moving-coil and piezo sensors can be plugged directly into the PicoScope. Silicon sensors are often 10 V bridge-type sensors that require a 10 V excitation voltage and produce a millivolt output. An additional precision 10 V power supply is required when using silicon sensors with Pico products.
  • PicoScope 4224 IEPE Oscilloscope: The ideal instrument for use with a phantom-powered accelerometer, as it has a built-in IEPE power output. Just plug in the accelerometer and use like a normal scope. We can supply a suitable accelerometer — the TA095 — with a ±50 g measurement range.
Other information

There are several types of accelerometer:

Piezo resistor

A piezoresistive sensor uses a piece of material whose resistance changes when it is compressed, attached to a weight. When the weight is accelerated, it exerts a force on the piezoresistor. If a constant current is passed through the piezoresistor, the voltage changes. Current is about 4 to 8 mA and voltage is 8 to 24 V. Typical sensitivity is about 100 mV/g over the range 0 to 50 g. This type of sensor responds to frequencies up to 10 kHz.


A piezoelectric sensor generates charge when it is accelerated: typically 50 pC per g. It is necessary to integrate the charge to give a voltage which is related to the acceleration: this means that it is not suitable for low-frequency work, but piezoelectric sensors respond to frequencies up to 30 kHz.

Silicon bridge

A silicon bridge sensor is a piece of silicon that has been etched to leave a block of silicon at the end of a beam. When subjected to acceleration, the block exerts a force on the beam and the resistance of the beam changes. Maximum frequency is about 5 kHz. The sensor is a bridge, and so it requires an excitation signal of 5 to 10 V. Temperature compensation is required.

Micromachined silicon

Micromachined silicon accelerometers are a form of differential capacitor. One of the advantages of this type of sensor is the ability to measure DC acceleration (and consequently tilt). The maximum frequency is about 1 kHz. The popular Analog Devices ADXLxxx range of single and dual-axis sensors have built-in signal conditioning circuits that produce a voltage output suitable for use with our data loggers and oscilloscopes.

Voice coil

Voice coils work on the same principle as microphones, hence the name.

Audio Signals

Pico products for measuring audio signals

For measuring high-quality audio signals and for audio spectrum analysis the PicoScope 4000 Series precision oscilloscopes are ideal. For less demanding applications, the lower cost PicoScope 3000 Series can also be considered.

Other information

The PicoScope software includes common audio measurements such as THD, SINAD and SFDR. It is included with all our oscilloscopes and data loggers.

We also have the following application notes on audio measurement:

Automotive Signals

Please visit our automotive diagnostics website for more information.

Battery Discharge

Pico products for measuring battery discharge

Pico has several products suitable for recording battery discharge. They all connect to a USB port on the computer.

  • PicoLog 1012: This 12 analogue input channels. The input voltage range is 0 to 2.5 V and the resolution is 2.5 mV. This device is suitable for measuring multiple channels at higher speed.
  • PicoLog 1216: This has 16 analogue input channels. The input voltage range is 0 to 2.5 V and the resolution is 625 µV.
  • ADC-20: This has 8 single-ended or 4 differential high-resolution analogue inputs. The input voltage range is -2.5 V to +2.5 V and the resolution is about 5 µV. This device should be used if more precise measurements are required at a slower speed.
Other information

Terminal connector boards are available for the PicoLog 1000 Series and ADC-20 data loggers.

We also have the following application note on battery discharge:


Pico has several products suitable for measuring and recording current.

The Pico range of current clamps allow current to be measured without having to break into the circuit. All of them can be used with any of our data logging or oscilloscope products:

Current Monitoring kit

The Pico Current Monitoring Kit contains current clamps, power monitor, data logger and everything else you need to start logging currents from up to three separate circuits. It is ideal for measuring and balancing 3-phase power supplies as well as machine monitoring and energy efficiency studies.

shunt resistor

For small currents, a simple shunt resistor can be used to convert the current into a voltage, which the ADC can then measure. This can be done providing the signal can be grounded.

The resistor value can be calculated using the formula below:

Rb = Vmax / Imax

where Vmax is the maximum input voltage of the ADC, Imax is the maximum measured current and Rb << Rin.

WARNING: This method is NOT suitable for monitoring mains currents.
To monitor mains currents with data acquisition or oscilloscope products, use a current clamp.

Pico has four products where this resistor can easily be placed on a terminal board:


There is a wide variety of flow sensors that can be used with Pico products.

Flow is commonly sensed by measuring differential pressure across two points in a pipe. This can be done using the Venturi effect (by placing a restriction in the flow). An alternative approach is to use a Pitot tube. The main advantage of this type of approach is that disturbance of the flow can be kept to a minimum. One disadvantage is that two holes are usually required in the pipe, making cleaning difficult. Also be aware that many differential pressure sensors are intolerant to aggressive gases and chemicals. The method for measuring these sensors is described in the section on pressure sensors.

For applications where pipes regularly need cleaning, consider using a bending vane type of sensor. As the name suggests, this consists of a vertical vane that deflects as flow increases. This deflection is measured using a strain gauge. The method for measuring such sensors is covered in the section on strain.

‘Paddle wheel’ sensors rotate in proportion to flow. The rotation is detected by either optical or magnetic means. These sensors produce a pulsed output. The main advantage of such sensors is low cost, and some are also suitable for measuring aggressive gases and liquids. The main disadvantage is disruption to the flow. For information on interfacing to such sensors, see measuring frequency.

Ultrasonic and magnetic flow sensors allow flow to be measured with no moving parts. This minimises (or eliminates) disturbance to flow and provides for increased reliability. The main disadvantage is cost. These sensors tend to have built-in signal conditioning with either voltage or 4 to 20 mA current loop outputs.


Pico products for measuring frequency

Many Pico products can be used to measure frequency. The choice of device is dependent on the frequency range, the voltage input range and the number of channels required.

There are four possible measurement requirements:

  • Logging frequency variations over time:
    PicoLog can be used to record fluctuations in frequency over time.
  • Measuring spot frequencies:
    PicoScope’s automatic measurements can be used to take spot frequency measurements and to show variation statistics.
  • Investigating the frequency components of a signal:
    PicoScope’s spectrum analyser shows the frequency spectrum of a signal, allowing the measurement of any frequency component within the signal.
  • Viewing frequency variations over time:
    When used with the PicoScope 4000 Series 12-bit scopes, PicoScope can be used to graph fluctuations in frequency over time.

Oxygen in Air

The DD103 oxygen sensor can be connected to the external sensor sockets on the DrDAQ Data Logger to measure oxygen in air.

Unlike previously available oxygen sensors, the DD103 oxygen-in-air sensor can measure the full 0 to 100% range. This makes it ideal for many chemistry, biology and physics experiments.


Pico products for measuring pH

ph probe connection circuit

The DrDAQ Data Logger has a dedicated pH input. Optional pH electrodes are also available. DrDAQ measures pH over the full 0 to 14 range with a resolution of 0.02 pH.

Despite the low cost of DrDAQ, options are provided for calibration and temperature compensation, allowing very accurate pH measurements.

The circuit on the right allows any of our oscilloscope and data logging products to monitor signals from pH probes. The op-amp needs to have a very high input impedance — an LT1114 is suitable.


Most pressure sensors are ‘10 V bridge’ type that require a 10 V excitation voltage and produce millivolt outputs. An additional precision 10 V power supply is required to provide this excitation voltage when using this type of pressure sensor with any of our products.

Note that some pressure sensors have signal conditioning built in. These sensors usually have a voltage output or a 4-20 mA output. See the appropriate sections in this guide for information on measuring these signals.


Pico products for measuring resistance

Pico has two products that can be used for measuring and recording resistance:

Other information

Other Pico products can also be used to monitor resistance. This is achieved using a precision voltage reference and a known resistance. The two resistances are connected in series and fed by the precision voltage source. The voltage developed across the unknown resistor can then be measured and used to infer the resistance.

Pico has two products where the resistors and voltage source can easily be placed on a terminal board:

  • ADC-20 with terminal board: can monitor 8 channels with high accuracy.
  • PicoLog 1000 Series with terminal board: can monitor 12 or 16 channels at higher speed.

Sound Level

Pico products for measuring sound level
  • The DrDAQ Data Logger has a built-in microphone that can directly measure sound level over the 55 to 100 dB range. The low cost of DrDAQ makes it ideal as either a sound-level meter or sound-level data logger.
  • PicoScope 4224 IEPE Oscilloscope: The ideal instrument for use with a phantom-powered,calibrated microphone, as it has a built-in IEPE power output. Just plug in the microphone and use PicoScope like a normal scope.

Speed of a Car

One of our series of educational technical notes, this experiment looks at measuring the speed of a car. (Unfortunately due to budget restrictions a rather small car had to be used!)

Speed of Light

This topic is covered in the science experiment “Measuring the Speed of Light”.

Speed of Sound

This topic is covered in the science experiment “Measuring the Speed of Sound”.

Strain, Force and Load

The strain gauge is perhaps the most popular sensor for measuring force and deflection. As a strain gauge is stretched or compressed, its resistance changes. By mounting the strain gauge on a calibrated carrier, force can be indirectly measured. Such a sensor is commonly referred to as a load cell. Load cells consist of one or more strain gauges configured in an industry-standard ‘10 V bridge’ arrangement. Sensitive load cells are used in weighing scales, while at the other extreme heavy industrial load cells can be used to measure loads of several tonnes.

As mentioned, most load cells are ‘10 V bridge’ types that require a 10 V excitation voltage and produce millivolt outputs. An additional precision 10 V power supply is required to provide this excitation voltage when using this type of pressure sensor with any of our products.


Temperature is the most commonly measured real-world signal. We have several products dedicated to measuring temperature. In addition, if you wish to monitor a mix of temperatures and other parameters, our data logging products provide a simple plug-and-play solution.
Other information

We also have the following application notes available:

See also:


The majority of Pico products can be used for measuring voltage. To ensure you choose the correct product you must consider the following:
  • How many voltages (channels) need to be measured
  • How big (or small) are the voltages
  • How fast the signals change
  • How long you wish to record the voltage for
How many voltages (channels) need to be measured

If your requirement is to measure a large number of channels, then consider the PicoLog 1012 (12 channels) or the PicoLog 1216 (16 channels). If more channels are required then it is possible to use multiple ADC units on the same PC to give very high channel counts. If you have a number of voltages to record over a wide area, then the EnviroMon networked data logging system can measure up to 30 channels per logger.

How big (or small) are the voltages?

Most of our data logging products have fixed input ranges (2.5 V or 5 V). These can be easily increased through the use of simple potential divider circuits. Our oscilloscope products have software selectable ranges (10 mV to 100 V).

If you wish to measure high voltages then the range of our oscilloscope products can be extended to 1000 V using suitably rated x10 scope probes. For higher voltages, and high-current supplies such as mains (house current), we recommend the use of one of our oscilloscope products with an isolating x100 differential scope probe.

If you wish to measure small voltages, you need to consider the input range of the device and also the resolution.

If your signals have frequency components above 1 kHz then consider our oscilloscope products. If all your signals are lower than 1 kHz you can use either our data logging or oscilloscope products.

How long you wish to record the voltage for

If you wish to record voltages for long periods of time (more than say 5 minutes), then use one of our data loggers or, if you need a stand-alone system, use EnviroMon.


Pico Technology — for all your oscilloscope and data acquisition needs

How do I measure… everything from voltage to the speed of light


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Socrates, (469-399 BC)

  1. There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
  2. To find yourself, think for yourself.
  3. I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.
  4. I was afraid that by observing objects with my eyes and trying to comprehend them with each of my other senses I might blind my soul altogether.
  5. How many are the things I can do without!
  6. The unexamined life is not worth living.
  7. Enjoy yourself — it’s later than you think.
  8. An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all
  9. Whom do I call educated? First, those who manage well the circumstances they encounter day by day. Next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all men, bearing easily and good naturedly what is offensive in others and being as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as is humanly possible to be… those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not ultimately overcome by their misfortunes… those who are not spoiled by their successes, who do not desert their true selves but hold their ground steadfastly as wise and sober minded men.
  10. True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
  11. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.
  12. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have laboured hard for.
  13. How much there is in the world I do not want.
  14. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.
  15. The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.
  16. Wisdom begins in wonder