MOT Workshop 42 – Equipment Review: Emissions Testing Equipment

From MOT Testing Magazine. Prices may not be current.

Equipment review…

Emissions – Tailpipe Testing or OBD?
Dave Garratt, the Chief Executive of the Garage Equipment Association has a look at the latest trends and ideas on emission Testing.

Over a decade of emissions Testing…

Over the years, MOT ‘emissions testing’ has ‘cleaned up’ our inner city areas. However, the MOT Exhaust Gas Analysers (EGAs) were approved to VOSA’s 1996 specification and the Diesel Smoke Meters (DSMs) to 2001 specifications, so it’s old technology, but car development continues apace, so what’s next? So what’s wrong with our current method of Testing the two different engine types, petrol and diesel?

The petrol emission test detects a rich/weak mixture or a misfire and identifies a faulty catalyst or lambda sensor, so there’s no great need to change that. 

diesel-smokeDiesel problems

The diesel smoke test, however, is fast becoming out of date and can’t detect a vehicle with a faulty diesel particulate trap – installed on most diesels since 2005.  Such vehicles can emit high levels of Particulate Matter (PM) undectable during the MOT. Next we need to look at how European pollution has changed… Years ago high carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbon emissions (HC) caused concern, but today people are more worried about the sudden increase in the level of Nitric Oxide (NO) and Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emissions, which appear to be increasing throughout Europe. Perhaps made worse by diesel engines with faulty nitrogen gas reduction systems.

So regarding vehicle emissions, and diesel emissions in particular, of most concern is:
• Not being able to identify faulty particulate traps, which could be causing a high levels of Particulate Matter.
• The high level of NO and NO2 being measured in most European States.

There’s a strong lobby across Europe looking to include particulate matter (PM) and NO and NO2 detection in the MOT emission test. A year or so ago the European Commission launched its ‘TEDDIE Report’, which recently finalised on the future of diesel emission testing.

The report found that reduced PM can be achieved by introducing another free acceleration check into the MOT, and whilst the equipment required to conduct the Test is now available, it also concluded that the accuracy and stability of the equipment required to carry out an accurate and affordable “off load” NO and NO2 test needs to be significantly improved.

Why not use On Board Diagnostics (OBD) systems?

It has been suggested that the OBD system is good enough to maintain acceptable environmental standards, without new emission equipment for more accurate ‘tailpipe’ Testing. This is achieved by using the engine’s Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) or on board diagnostic data. But is that reasonable?

Modern petrol engine OBD systems have lambda sensors both upstream and downstream of the gas flow through the ‘cat’, so can detect a faulty ‘cat’.  So for petrol engine vehicles it is tempting to end tailpipe Testing and use the vehicle’s OBD system for emission checks.  A few years ago Germany did just that, using diagnostic equipment to check the OBD system for fault codes. If a fault code is present they conduct a tailpipe test.
This speeds up testing, but emissions equipment is still needed as a ‘back-up’. And perhaps not all emission problems are actually detected by the OBD system; there may be many so called “non-coded faults” detectable only by tailpipe testing.

Using the OBD system on diesels to detect a faulty particulate trap or nitrogen gas reduction system is a possibility, but more research is required. Some countries, including Holland, have started a two-way evaluation by conducting tailpipe tests whilst interrogating the OBD.
Hopefully, by compiling a lot of data, this will help to identify whether it’s the case that a vehicle found to be outside limits using a tailpipe test also shows the problem as a fault code logged on its OBD system and vice versa.


CITA is an international organisation that brings together interested parties involved in ‘MOT’ vehicle examination from across the world. Work carried out by CITA, their Working Groups and their Technical Experts Group, is used by the European Commission amongst others to give guidance on ‘MOT’ testing.  CITA will spend the next six months gathering as much data and comparisons as possible to allow further debate on the future of diesel emission Testing.


It certainly looks as if the emissions Test needs modifying, especially when it comes to Testing diesel engines. A ‘Particulate Matter’ test is a possibility, but we await the results of the OBD/tailpipe test comparisons to see if OBD could be a credible alternative – watch this space!

 4-gas Analyser and Smokemeter Review

As we’ve just seen in Dave Garratt’s analysis of how emissions may develop into the future, tailpipe Testing is here to stay for at least the next few years. So if you’re thinking of upgrading, what’s on offer?

There are many products to choose from, all with different features. Stand-alone units for petrol or diesel, combination products offering both in the same package, most now with Bluetooth connectivity and some products with different levels of diagnostic packages included, going well beyond simple MOT Test equipment.

Some suppliers brag about the quality of their graphic displays, whilst others are particularly proud of the robust nature of their product in the modern workshop.

We’ve surveyed the marketplace and compiled a review of some of the top names offering  – so have a look at what’s on offer for your particular business here.

Actia Muller (UK) Ltd
MOT Workshop Equipment Review: Actia MullerNew designs for 2012 Emissions Testing. Actia Muller claim to be continuing to offer cost saving solutions with their MOT ATL equipment, with the new ActiGAS range, including a bespoke design which integrates Brake Tester and Emissions console. Designed and manufactured in Actia Group, the AT505 Gas Analyser and AT605 Smoke Meter may be installed in the Bilanmatic 8000Mx console – which is now delivered pre-equipped to receive these emissions testers as standard. ActiGAS also comes as a dedicated combination station.

Price: Smoke Meter from £1855.00, Gas Analyser from £2055.00
Contact: Melanie Cox
Tel: 01686 611177
Fax: 01686 621068

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Autocal Ltd
MOT Workshop Equipment Review: Autocal-CombiAutocal claim their 9500 combined Gas analyser and Smoke meter is proven and used in thousands of MOT bays. Items can be easily swopped to ensure continuous operation of the MOT bay. They use PC software including automatic RPM selection. There’s a purge valve to purge the system without the need to bring the unit back to base again, reducing time. The latest addition is an EOBD accessory for RPM and temperature simplifying the operation Manufactured in Melton Mowbray UK.

Contact: Bob Garrett / Emma Jeffery
Tel: 01664560992
Contact: Autocal

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MOT Workshop Equipment Review: DGI S BEA MidBosch’s BEA 850 and BEA 350 are VOSA approved for MOT Petrol and Diesel engine emissions testing:
• EOBD kit (engine access unnecessary)
• Nitrates of Oxygen (NO) measurement
• Engine speed measurement via battery terminals for non-EOBD vehicles
• Remote control – BEA850:
• Windows based System with a 19’’ Monitor
• A4 inkjet printer
• Wireless EOBD kit – BEA 350:
• Extremely stable and reliable due to embedded software
• Thermal scroll printer
• Brilliant colour TFT screen

Contact: Your local Bosch distributor
Distribution: Bosch distributors nationwide

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Boston Garage Equipment
MOT Workshop Equipment Review: Boston-EmissionsBoston emission equipment is claimed by Boston to be the ultimate package for MOT emissions testing and that their analyser/smokemeter combination is state of the art, and competitively priced. It is computerised with optical mouse, high-speed laser printer and integrated customer database, it has a 19’’ flat screen and graphical displays for servicing and repairs. Boston’s ATL braketester can be operated from the computer with optional Bluetooth. The package mounts on a cabinet (which has internal storage), housing the printer.


Price: P.O.A (Currently discounted from £29.75 Per Week)
Contact: Ross Tabor or Mark Putnam
Tel: 01708 525 585
Fax: 01708 525 408
Distribution: UK Agency network, but S. E. England direct from Boston Head Office

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Crypton Limited
MOT Workshop Equipment Review: Crypton CCP-CombiCrypton claim their 700 series emission analysers have a host of standard features. The cabinet houses the PC and printer and holds the tilt-able flat-screen.  They believe the programmes are both bright and modern in their appearance and user friendly, so the Diesel & Petrol emission tests easy to perform.  The Diesel Smokemeter is available in both cabled and wireless configurations, the latter with wireless temperature probe as standard.  The quick warm up petrol analyser has a battery tachometer as standard.

Price: £4000-£6000
Contact: Crypton Sales Desk
Tel: +44 (0)844 665 7613
Fax: +44 (0)844 665 7604
Distribution: Authorised Sales Outlets

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JHM Butt & Co
MOT Workshop Equipment Review: JHM-Butt-EmissionsStargas 898 Plus is a gas analyser that functions both as a measuring system and as a multipurpose centre, without requiring any connection to an external PC. Its CPU measures CO, CO2, HC, O2, NOx, Lambda, RPM and Engine Temp, as well as other functions, such as self-diagnosis, oscilloscope, technical database and control of moped speed tests. The unit is c/w an infrared remote control & can be fitted with a TFT screen.

Price: P.O.A.
Contact: Nigel Poynton
Tel: 01302 718226
Fax: 01302 719481
Distribution: Direct to end-users

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MOT Workshop Equipment Review: Protech-V-GasProtech was purchased in 2011 by a UK Company who now manufacture in the UK based at Melton Mowbray who can now offer complete service and support including VOSA Approved Updates The VGAs and V Smoke Units are both blue tooth operated with rechargeable batteries, stations on the cabinet or wall mounted. The EOBD connection on their unit is standard to deal with the majority of vehicles from 2001 a separate system can be used for the older vehicles

Contact: Chris Winterton
Tel: 01664503153
Distribution: Contact Protec

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