Tool Reviews

Tool review: Midtronics' DSS-7000 battery analyzer -- A very sophisticated diagnostic tool

The Midtronics DSS-7000 with a built-in camera is a serious professional level battery/starting/charging system tester.
<p>The Midtronics DSS-7000 with a built-in camera is a serious professional level battery/starting/charging system tester.</p>

If you're thinking that the world doesn't need another battery tester, you haven't seen Midtronics' DSS-7000. Comparing this tool to a good/bad tester or a multimeter is like comparing the space shuttle to a child's kite. Rather than merely reading battery voltage, this tool does just about everything imaginable for diagnosing the battery, charging and starting system short of turning a wrench for you. As soon as you pick up this tool, it becomes obvious that this is a serious and hefty piece of professional equipment.

The analyzer uses Android function-specific applications accessed through a series of menus and icons to guide you through the battery testing, starting and charging system testing process via a touch screen. Test results can be displayed, or wirelessly printed or emailed. The modular design allows you to slip the display screen out of the main body to be used wirelessly, leaving the main body positioned over the battery (to maintain a constant battery temperature reading via a thermal sensor on the top rear of the main housing). This allows you to walk anywhere within 10 yards of the vehicle while performing checks and tests.

A handy amp clamp is available from Midtronics that captures the negative battery cable.
<p>A handy amp clamp is available from Midtronics that captures the negative battery cable.</p>

VIN scanner

The display unit acts like a tablet, and even features a built-in camera that can be used to scan a vehicle's VIN code in order to establish that vehicle's service data for your shop and to refer to the service history of a scanned vehicle. Select VIN scan and aim the camera at the VIN bar code at the base of the windshield. The screen shows a camera viewing window, prompting you to center the VIN barcode (you'll see a red horizontal line to use as a guide).

A data link module plugs into the vehicle’s OBD port. The unit pivots to allow access to the DLC port for various port locations. Pivoting clears any underdash obstructions.
<p>A data link module plugs into the vehicle&rsquo;s OBD port. The unit pivots to allow access to the DLC port for various port locations. Pivoting clears any underdash obstructions.</p>

You don't need to press anything, as the unit automatically scans the VIN while displaying the image on the screen. The unit then records and displays that vehicle's identification information (year, make, model, engine size, options, etc.). You also have the option of inputting the VIN manually by typing it in, or retrieving it wirelessly via the DLC connector (the screen gives you these three choices).

Examples of available tests

* Alternator voltage output at idle and at 2,000-3,000 rpm

* Alternator diode tests

* Voltage regulator tests

* Starter voltage

* Battery condition

* Battery temperature

* Vehicle history

* Battery voltage

* Multimeter capabilities

The unit can be used in assembled form, or by pressing the center unlock button, the screen display can be removed and used remotely as a wireless "tablet."
<p>The unit can be used in assembled form, or by pressing the center unlock button, the screen display can be removed and used remotely as a wireless "tablet."</p>

A "Stock Management" function allows you to schedule regular testing of batteries in inventory to identify any that need charging and to ensure that all batteries in stock are ready for sale.

A "Messages" function displays alerts and notifications for upcoming tests. This includes scheduled testing as well as tool software updates.

The "History" function accesses the tool's usage history (record of logged-in user totals, test totals, test types, number of tests performed in and out of vehicle) and vehicle history based on VIN (number and type of tests per vehicle).

The wireless screen display easily slips out or snaps back into the main unit.
<p>The wireless screen display easily slips out or snaps back into the main unit.</p>

The more we played with the DSS-7000, the more capabilities we discovered. At every touch of the screen, I could hear my guys in the shop repeatedly saying "cool," or "ooh" or "holy c**p."

As long as you have a WiFi connection, you can email results and send data to a printer. The breadth of capabilities was astounding.

Once you become accustomed to the operation, the unit walks you through every procedure that you select. LCD or LED screens are difficult to photograph, but in real life, the display screen is nice and bright and sharp, and easy to read in bright or low shop light. The DSS-7000's features are so extensive that we simply don't have the space here to detail all of them.

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