The health of a vehicle’s battery has always, of course, been essential to a vehicle’s operation. The chemical reaction within produces electrical energy that excites the starter, and the starter turns the engine. But throughout the years as comfort, safety, and performance features (think Start/Stop systems) have been added, the battery has been tasked with doing more than starting the vehicle and keeping the lights on. And so, vehicle manufacturers developed the Battery Management System (BMS) that monitors the battery’s State of Charge (SoC), its voltage and Cold Cranking Capacity (CCA) and acts to prevent its discharge or overcharge. The BMS also communicates with other vehicle systems to ensure proper voltage is maintained.
All this speaks to a simple truth that servicing today’s vehicle battery system is no longer an easy task. Heck, sometimes it’s even a chore to find where the battery is on many vehicles.
A quality battery service tool such as Autel’s MaxiBAS BT608 offers the technician everything required to service a vehicle’s starting and charging system including SoC and State of Health (SoH) battery testing and vehicle-specific battery replacement instructions and battery registration. The tool also enables Starter and Alternator testing, and the optional Amp Clamp and Multimeter enable even more thorough electrical systems diagnostics.
The BT608 uses Adaptive Conductance to gauge a battery’s conductance health. A low frequency alternating current is sent through the battery to determine its remaining plate area. As the battery degrades, the plates degrade, as does its capacity and its conductance. Beside its consistent results, this method’s advantage over typical load testers is its ability to allow multiple tests without draining the battery and to test batteries that are low or nearly completely discharged. The Autel tool similarly uses Adaptive Conductance to test the battery’s partnering components, the alternator and starter to see if they can take and store a charge.
The BT608 supports in-vehicle and out-of vehicle testing of 6- and 12-volt, 100 – 3000 CCA, Flooded, AGM, AGM Spiral, EFB and GEL batteries and 12- and 24-volt cranking/charging systems. The 5.5-inch Android-based touchscreen tablet enables the technician to quickly identify the vehicle via a quick camera scan of the VIN, confirm the battery’s CCA specification and begin testing. SoH results are displayed as a percentage of health with a graphical color-coded green-red display to indicate the battery’s condition. The same screen displays the measurements that determine the SoH, the SoC (as a percentage), the voltage, the measured capacity and the as-new battery capacity.
The tool features a built-in thermal printer perfect for demonstrating to the customer that a new battery replacement is merited. The BT608 also enables the technician to quickly remove, replace, and register a new battery. Detailed information is displayed to perform each step of battery replacement and registration based on OE-specification and procedures specific to each vehicle.
There’s little doubt that today’s vehicles’ cranking and charging systems have matured and its time these systems receive the same quality testing and data-driven service equipment they require.