Snap-On Counselor oscilloscopes--A Primer

By Published by
Snap-On Counselor oscilloscopes--A Primer
. Views . Comments Comment . 227 Votes
Snap-On sold several different designs of automotive oscilloscopes.  This guide is intended to acquaint you with three full-sized (not hand-held) Counselor models that were produced in the '80's and '90's.  These units are the original Counselor (MT1665), the Counselor XL (MT1765), and the Counselor II (MT3000).

All Counselor units are fairly compact considering that they were sold as full-featured shop equipment.  The days of hand-held or PC-based oscilloscopes were still a long way in the future.  All these units are capable of running on 120V "house current", or on 12 volts for use in the vehicle on road tests.  The original Counselor, the MT1665, would be the most portable, the other two units are larger and heavier.  There is also the matter of how to secure the cables which must be connected to the engine, and routed into the passenger compartment so the unit is viewable.  Obviously, the cables must not be allowed to move around while on road test, so they don't burn or fall off.

None of the Counselor series is useable as a "code reader".  The MT3000 will communicate with, and display codes and data captured by an MT2500 or MTG2500 "Red Brick" scanner, but the scanner must be connected to both the vehicle and the MT3000 using cables supplied with the scanner.

A handy feature of all Counselors is that once attached to the engine, you can connect your timing light to special terminals on the back of the Counselor--the Counselor provides a proper signal for your timing light rather than having to attach it to the engine wires.  Many technicians leave the timing light permanently connected to the Counselor.

MT1665 Counselor
The first of the Counselor units, this one and the MT1765 are strongly related.  The MT1665 can display information from distributor-style ignition systems.  It will work with some distributorless ignitions, but only if used with the distributorless ignition interface, the MT1658, which was an extra-cost item.  An optional roll-cart, the KR495 is usually, but not always, used to store the Counselor.  Snap-On sold a printer for use with the Counselor, called the Scribe.

MT1765 Counselor XL
The Counselor XL (X-tra Large) is based on the Counselor MT1665, but with a larger screen and a built-in printer.  It is significantly more bulky than the original Counselor MT1665.  The 'XL performs the same tests as the Counselor MT1665.  The 'XL must be used with the MT1658 when testing distributorless ignition systems.

MT3000 and 3000A Counselor II
The Counselor series was substantially updated to produce the Counselor II MT3000.  The 3000 series does more tests than the other Counselors, and is capable of interfacing with both the Snap-On scan tool and a Snap-On 4- or 5-gas exhaust analyzer.  There were at least two styles of roll cab designed for the 3000 series, one a small and compact unit, (KR495) with an optional "boom" that lifted the cables up and out of the way (KRB495A); and the other cabinet was much larger and had significantly more storage space inside, along with space for a printer (MT3010 Scribe) alongside the Counselor II.  Several nylon fabric dust covers were offered, including the MTC3000 for the Counselor II only, and the MTC30003010 which protected both the Counselor II and the printer.

In addition to all the tests performed by the Counselor and Counselor XL, the Counselor II has distributorless ignition capability built-in, when used with the MT3000-340A leadset.  This leadset allowed distributorless engines up to 8 cylinders to be displayed.  An expansion leadset MT3000-341A added capacity for an additional 2 cylinders--for example, the Dodge V-10.  Optional probes and adaptors allow the Counselor II to display vacuum waveforms (MT3000-400); cylinder-to-cylinder cranking-speed variations (MT3000-420); high amps (MT3000-410); low (under 10) amps (MT3000-440); in addition there is an optional infra-red remote control (MT3000-600).  Coil adaptors include MT3000-300 for GM coil-in-cap HEI; MT3000-310 for Honda; MT3000-330 for Toyota and Toyota-built Chevy Nova; there is a back-probe adaptor set MT3000-430; and YA859A is a "quick connect" adaptor set for HEI and Ford coils.

The MT3000 (* if equipped with the optional accessories) would perform tests on engines from 1 to 16 cylinders (up to 10 cylinders for distributorless ignition system):
Primary waveform
Primary parade waveform
Dwell Bar Graph
Duty Cycle/ Dwell Bar Graph
Duty Cycle/ Voltage Bar Graph
Secondary Waveform
Secondary Parade Waveform
kV Histograph
kV Bar Graph
Burn Time Bar Graph
Voltage Waveform
Lab Scope Waveform
Fuel Injector Waveform
Alternator Waveform
Vacuum Waveform*
Power Balance Waveform
Cylinder Time Balance Bar Graph*
Cylinder Shorting Even/Odd Bar Graph
Cranking Amps Bar Graph*

The Counselor II will communicate with the MT3100 series 4-gas exhaust analyzer.   Be aware that the MT3100 series 4-gas analyzer will probably not work properly because they require a new oxygen sensor to be installed approximately every six months, and nobody does that.  Therefore, the exhaust analyzer will fail it's own self-test at least until the sensor is replaced.  A Counselor II will also drive an auxiliary color TV screen, provided the TV has RGB inputs.  Ideal for remote viewing as a training aid.

The Counselor II has a built-in self-test feature that checks the integrity of some--maybe most--of it's circuits.  Any seller of a Counselor II should be able to follow the menu system to access and perform the self-test.

A minor revision to the MT 3000 resulted in the MT 3000A.  The "A" revision has some additional internal protection circuits, and it also displays more information when paired with the exhaust analyzer.  Otherwise, the 3000 and the 3000A perform the same tests.

It is NOT my intention to offer anything like a comprehensive price guide for these machines.  They are getting on in years, and the condition of an individual machine, along with the optional accessories offered, can greatly influence the price. 
On the other hand, I've been "watching" the eBay prices for about three years now, and I've bought three Counselors on eBay within that time frame, so I have some idea what the typical "going rate" is.

I bought an MT1665 with the distributorless adaptor MT1658, including all cords except the 12-Volt "cigarette lighter" power cord, and the owner's manual and VHS tape, but NOT including the roll stand or a nylon cover.  There were NO additional accessories like the MT3000 uses except for a nicely-complete set of Thexton coil adaptors. I paid about $475 shipped to my door about four years ago.  This unit turned out to be defective, and was returned to the seller.

I bought an MT3000A with a nylon cover, the "huge" roll stand which I've been unable to find a part number for, the overhead boom, all cables, a binder-sized owner's manual, and a remote control.  It did NOT have the vacuum adapter MT3000-400, the high amps probe MT3000-410, the low amps probe MT3000-440, or the cranking speed probe MT3000-420.  The seller did not know that there was a 4-gas analyzer "hidden" in the cabinet--he didn't advertise it, and I didn't know it was included.  I paid $880, I think--at any rate it was $1125, delivered to my door via truck freight.  The 4-gas analyzer did not work, most likely because of the ancient O2 sensor which I did not replace.  This unit was destroyed in a fire about a year after purchase.

To replace my 3000A, I bought an MT3000 (not a 3000A) that included the small roll stand, the 4-gas analyzer (which did not work, and I haven't installed an O2 sensor), a vacuum adapter, high amps probe, the binder-sized owner's manual, and a separate, but related accessory, a diesel/magnetic timing probe MT1480.  This auction did NOT include the overhead boom, remote control, the low amps probe, the cranking speed probe, or a nylon cover.  I paid $1300 shipped to my door, about $150 or so was the shipping cost--I forget exactly.

Pay (or ask) whatever you like.  Yes, these machines were hugely expensive when new.  That was then, this is now.  Don't forget that shipping gets expensive especially when a roll stand is included.  Both of my MT3000 units arrived with shipping damage to the roll stands, and there was no recourse through shipping insurance, because the carrier claimed "inadequate packing materials".  Paying more for a "local" machine and/or one with all the optional gizmos is probably a good use of money.  You've been warned...

Please also look at my guide to  home shop air compressors .

If this guide has been helpful, please give me a "Yes" vote by clicking the button below.  If you have suggestions for improvement, you can contact me through the "My Messages" feature of eBay by clicking on my user name above, and then click on "Contact Member".  Thanks, all.

Entire contents copyright (C) 2007, 2008  Camino3X2    Feel free to LINK to this Guide in your auctions.
Explore More
Choose a template