A real tool: Local inventor receives Motor Magazine award

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By Roger Snodgrass


Automobile Test Solutions principals Bernie Thompson, left and Neal Pederson, right, receive a 2008 Top 20 Tool award from Motor Magazine at the Automobile Aftersale Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Anybody who has looked under the hood of a car these days without a computer really can’t see very much about the nitty-gritty of what’s going on in there.

Neal Pederson does engineering and programming in his garage on North Mesa. He’s an inventor and, along with a partner at Automotive Test Solutions, recently won his fourth Top 20 Tool award from Motor Magazine.

The “EmissFire Detector” which won the latest award is a new technology for diagnosing “driveability” problems.

“When automobiles have driveability problems, they don’t have power or they’re jerky,” Pederson said. “If it’s misfiring, the EmissFire Detector will tell you which cylinder it is.”

Although most late-model cars have all-kinds of dashboard diagnostics, Pederson said they give limited information.

“They don’t alert you until you go over a pre-determined limit,” he said. “The goal is not to have your dashboard light go on until you have a serious problem.”

The EmissFire Detector can give a car repairman accurate information in a matter of minutes, before he spends days ripping the engine apart.

Car repair shops and dealership repair centers are the main customers for these devices. They sell for $2995 each.

“We’ve been selling them since June,” Pederson said. “We’re doing pretty good. The economy is slow. That affects us like everybody else. But we’ve designed products that nobody has. It’s a small business, but growing quickly and we’ve received a lot of attention.”

The first Top 20 Tool award he won was for the EScope. The “EScope Pro comes with a ruggedized notebook PC. It’s described as an “eight-channel dual time base PC diagnostic scope” that allows for viewing up to eight channels on two different time bases.