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#2490373 - 01/11/12 04:00 PM Tool Review: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Quick review on a Cen-Tech battery analyzer. Part 66892. It pains me to buy HF, but this one really is the best of the handheld units that I saw. Solar and oother companies make them, but they are either similarly priced with less info, or a LOT more $ with possibly a bit more info but not necessarily...

What I really wanted was battery resistance. Calling companies like Solar, they essentially said that CCA was all that techs understood, so that is what they provided. I may not just use this with starter batteries, so that value is useful to me.

The unit was on sale for $69.99, but used an HF coupon.

The unit's box:




On an old group 49 battery I keep on float for backup:



Here you can see what you get out, voltage (test doesnt need to be dont on a fully charged battery), impedance, total capacity and CCA versus the OE amount (which is programmed in before the start of the test). This is on the group 49 AGM battery in my 91 BMW, this car seemingly not fully charging my battery even after long drives (this car was just driven 150 miles last night and showed 12.5V today):





Overall: the unit feels good, solid, like a piece of modern electronics. Clamps work good, they are wired with a supplimental lead wire to each half of the clamp, likely to serveas a referense measurement or something. The clamps dont open quite as wide as I'd like, but as you can see in the far lead (the black + wire) on the BMW, which is 4/0, it can cover that. I do wish the leads were longer, as it would be nice to be able to access another solid ground to determine differences in the grounding and its potential issues on the electrical system.

I called HF and they confirmed that the unit is good for use on AGM batteries, not just flooded batteries as is stated on the unit. I was concerned with this, but HF stated that it had been tested to properly operate.

My primary complaint, being technically-minded, is that they dont use the algorithm built in to provide an Ah capacity, but rather the bar shown across the top (0-100%) is percentage capacity of the battery. Interesting that the claimed capacity is so high. Not sure if it is correct. My batteries should be fully desulfidated and well maintained besides the low voltage on the one in the BMW.

Like the machine, recommend it.

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#2490396 - 01/11/12 04:19 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
Vikas Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 8477
Loc: NorthEast
Is it calculating the CCA based upon the impedance or really measuring it? After the test, battery needs to be charged again to recover from it? Essentially, I am asking if it is doing a real stress test or not. The wires seem big but are they big enough for 500A ?

- Vikas

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#2490400 - 01/11/12 04:22 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
This isnt a 500A carbon pile tester. This is a capacitance-based tester unit, which uses a 1kHz AC signal to determine impedance. AC impedance is a well-established method of determining characteristics of electrochemical systems.

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#2490402 - 01/11/12 04:24 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6714
Loc: Texas
That looks like a really nice tool. I think I'm going to get one too. I already have an expensive OTC battery tester and darn if that HF one looks like it does the same for probably $300 less!

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#2490408 - 01/11/12 04:31 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: GMBoy]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: GMBoy
That looks like a really nice tool. I think I'm going to get one too. I already have an expensive OTC battery tester and darn if that HF one looks like it does the same for probably $300 less!


Does your OTC give battery impedance (milliohm value) or just CCA/state of health?

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#2490415 - 01/11/12 04:39 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
JimPghPA Offline


Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 2852
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Does anyone have information about what the results of readings of that kind of meter means with respect to the size of the battery, and the temperature of the battery at the time the test was taken?
_________________________
Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


JimPghPa


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#2490416 - 01/11/12 04:40 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Found this too. A few more pictures:

http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=44177

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#2490418 - 01/11/12 04:41 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JimPghPA]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: JimPghPA
Does anyone have information about what the results of readings of that kind of meter means with respect to the size of the battery, and the temperature of the battery at the time the test was taken?


Size of the battery (which is put in because it is proportional to CCA) is kind of put in because CCA is entered.

Impedance will decrease with cell size, and with temperature. These are known characteristics.

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#2490549 - 01/11/12 06:37 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6714
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Originally Posted By: GMBoy
That looks like a really nice tool. I think I'm going to get one too. I already have an expensive OTC battery tester and darn if that HF one looks like it does the same for probably $300 less!


Does your OTC give battery impedance (milliohm value) or just CCA/state of health?


Just CCA/state of health, if there is bad cell, etc. You also enter the CCA manually. It puts 2 loads on and then reports the results. Takes about 30 seconds. It will also test your chargins system. But, honestly - that HF unit rocks! It looks better than my hi-dollar OTC...I would venture to say it is better too. The display alone is larger and has more info.

You did good.

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#2490776 - 01/11/12 10:42 PM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
Errtt Offline


Registered: 11/14/10
Posts: 2188
Loc: California
Looks fancy compared to my old Snap-On battery tester.
Clamp it on, load test for 10 seconds (it get hot fast), then see where the analog meter rest at that point against a color coded meter scale.

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#2490835 - 01/12/12 12:02 AM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
spackard Offline


Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 842
Loc: CA
The clamps have two conductors per clamp.
It's a Kelvin-style probe. Both halves of each clamp must make good contact, not just either.
A bit of a long-winded explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-terminal_sensing

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#2490909 - 01/12/12 07:06 AM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: Errtt]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Errtt
Looks fancy compared to my old Snap-On battery tester.
Clamp it on, load test for 10 seconds (it get hot fast), then see where the analog meter rest at that point against a color coded meter scale.


Yeah, a carbon pile tester. Nothing wrong with that, and it definitely still has its place for testing the charging system.

This is just a newer scheme to probe the chemistry without requiring a fully charged battery or moving so much current that you stress the battery and run it down hard.

You could calculate battery impedance from the carbon pile since Vt=Voc-IR, and since we know open circuit voltage, terminal voltage under load and resistance, the rest is easy.

But this is easier, and I prefer to be able to do simple in situ tests without a lot of heat and need to recharge the battery (spot checks on various cars in other words).

I also bought a carbon pile from HF, but it looks just like any other carbon pile, so if I can find a US made version, I might return that one.

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#2490910 - 01/12/12 07:08 AM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: spackard]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: spackard
The clamps have two conductors per clamp.
It's a Kelvin-style probe. Both halves of each clamp must make good contact, not just either.
A bit of a long-winded explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-terminal_sensing


Absolutely. That's it.

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#2490924 - 01/12/12 07:27 AM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: JHZR2]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 13989
Loc: Upstate NY
So at the end of the day is this or a carbon pile tester a better way of testing a marginal battery?
_________________________
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 - PP & M1
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 w/Cummins - Rotella T6 & M1
Amsoil ATF in both vehicles & Magnefine filter.

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#2490928 - 01/12/12 07:38 AM Re: Cen-Tech Battery Analyzer [Re: Donald]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 34665
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Donald
So at the end of the day is this or a carbon pile tester a better way of testing a marginal battery?



Originally Posted By: JHZR2
This isnt a 500A carbon pile tester. This is a capacitance-based tester unit, which uses a 1kHz AC signal to determine impedance. AC impedance is a well-established method of determining characteristics of electrochemical systems.


I havent personally tested (but will do so on various high resistance AGM batteries at some point) verified how good it is for marginal batteries. I do know that it can be used on batteries with low states of charge, which is nice (can get a good idea of what is going on, whereas putting a high resistive load on a battery with low SOC may not do much), and also that it spits out a resistance value and calculates a capacity percentage as well as retained CCA, so you can see easily if the battery is marginal or not.

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