Tool review: Midtronics' DSS-7000 battery analyzer -- A very sophisticated diagnostic tool
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.
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).
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
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 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.
Using the analyzer
Press the power button on the left side of the lower face.
- Select language. Tap the highlighted are of the screen and tap to advance to the next screen.
- Use the keyboard to crate a user name and password. Tap Continue to advance.
- Select the shop preferences defaults. Tap to advance.
- Select the available connected accessories, linked diagnostic devices and linked CVG-2 devices. Tap Continue to advance.
- Select a default WiFi network. The analyzer scans for a detectable WiFi network and displays this on the screen. If the desired network is not displayed, tap Add WiFi Network to enter the information manually. Tap Continue to advance. If Add WiFi was selected, tap the button next to the desired network and tap Next. Tap Manual Setup to manually enter the network SSID, Security and IP settings. Tap Next when finished.
- Enter the BMIS account login email address and password. Click on Log In to connect with the BMIS account. Tap Skip to move to the next initial setup screen.
- Enter the address and server information the analyzer will use for sending test results via email.
- Enter the shop information including store name, street address, city, state, zip code and phone number. Tap Continue to advance.
- The user sign-on screen is displayed. Select a user to begin using the analyzer. By default, the first user created is assigned administrator rights. Tap Add User to add additional users.
The screen displays a menu bar at the top, a selection area and Android icons. Selection icons include PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE, BATTERY RETURN-VEHICLE, BATTERY REPLACEMENT, STOCK MANAGEMENT, BATTERY CARRY-IN RETURN and PRESALE.
The menu bar includes HOME (returns to the main user screen), MESSAGES (displays important system messages including any analyzer software updates and any scheduled battery tests), HISTORY (displays a history of tests performed by the tool) and SUPPORT (access to the analyzer's instruction manual).
Available functions include BATTERY TEST which allows you to test a battery that is not connected to a vehicle; and SYSTEM TEST which tests the battery, starting and charging systems of a vehicle (the battery must be installed in the vehicle to perform this test); CABLE DROP TEST (digital multimeter with eight test meters and options for clamps and probes); and DIGITAL MULTIMETER (test the voltage drop of user-defined circuits).
We've only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of this tool's capabilities in this brief article. If you have the opportunity, check out the DSS-7000 for yourself. I think you'll be duly impressed.