Reprogramming with Battery Power Supply — How Much Noise is Acceptable?

Scott Owner/Technician Claremont, California Posted   Latest  
Case Study
Programming
Tooling
Battery Maintainer
Power Supply
Clean Power Supply

We recently took delivery of a new Midtronics GR8 Diagnostic Battery Charger and I noticed that it had an ECM mode for maintaining system voltage during extended diagnostics and or reprogramming events. I thought cool, perhaps we should take an inventory of the voltage levels with the scope from all the devices we have in the shop (battery chargers and maintainers) so we have performance visuals for each of the devices we own. (I figured this would also be a good learning tool for our staff)

We commissioned a test and collected the following results along with the raw data Picoscope data which we've included below for anyone interested. The following image shows our test set up and includes all the devices (except for the ancient Snap on charger). The Iota and PowerMAX devices are clear winners here and will continue to be our go-to device for reprogramming and extended diagnostic operations.

Snap On YA-167B - Low Charge Mode

Snap On YA-167B - High Charge Mode

Midtronics GR-1 - Low Manual Mode

Midtronics GR-8 - ECM Mode

PowerMAX PMDC-55 - Maintainer Mode

Iota DLS-75 - Maintainer Mode 13.5v

diag​.​net/file/f2sx4933d…

diag​.​net/file/f4qdndrbe…

diag​.​net/file/f5kjo2nz4…

diag​.​net/file/fhu081on5…

diag​.​net/file/f3wsvn4an…

diag​.​net/file/f35g8ibad…

diag​.​net/file/f55c154ig…

diag​.​net/file/f2dsxncrn…

diag​.​net/file/f6cc8xsy6…

What is the acceptable amount of noise one should allow for when performing critical steps such as reprogramming on today's vehicles?

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Justin Mobile Technician
Herriman, Utah
Justin Default
   

Keith Perkins and I had similar results with the iota and the powermax. I would have liked to see the shumaker 70amp unit.

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Justin, Swing on by one day and we'll test it out. ;)

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

Justin - I have one at the shop if someone doesn't beat me to it I will try and get a capture and upload it on Monday. I am curious too.

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Rick Diagnostician
The Woodlands, Texas
Rick Default
 

We have a Schumacher unit. it is the DSR labelled INC-700A if I remember correctly. On the scope in programming mode it is as clean as the Iota and powermax units as long as you keep it away from maximum amperage. It gets dirty when maxed out. It will go to almost 80 amps when pushed hard. I would not recommend or purchase this unit as it has failed twice, the first time 2 days out of warranty…

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Justin Mobile Technician
Herriman, Utah
Justin Default
 

I have one of these units Rick. It failed me when it failed to light up the display when plugged in. No ammount of button pushing would get it to turn on. It was sent in for repairs. Sent back to me with no communications weeks later. No note or anything. Still no go. I purchased through Aeswave so I called the boys there. They got ahold of someone there and it was sent back in again. Several

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Bartlett, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

I have heard that the DSR unit is very unreliable, very unfortunate because it seems like a good value based on features and price.

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Nathaniel Diagnostician
Ashton, Ontario
Nathaniel Default
 

Old post but I thought I'd put in one favourable user review on the Schumacher (DSR) INC100. I bought it in August 2018, so it doesn't have many years on it yet. However, it does get used daily as both a voltage maintainer for diagnostics and programming, as well as a battery charger when needed. So far, it's been fantastic. For what it's worth, I purchased it because the Snap-on D-TAC Elite…

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Justin Mobile Technician
Herriman, Utah
Justin Default
 

I will always respond to any Schumacher post. They will never get another dime from me. Why? Because they have terrible customer service. I had issues with my 70amp unit. Sent in to be repaired. Came back with no communication, no note, just the unit returned. Still not working. I had it sent back in only to have it sent back same as before no communication at all. No note. This time it would…

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Nathaniel Diagnostician
Ashton, Ontario
Nathaniel Default
   

That's exactly how I feel about Snap-on. Except I've been screwed by many of their products over the years. I can only speak for the one I have, and it's been good. I will promise one thing: if it fails me, I'll post all the gory details here for all to see. EDIT: That is by no means a comment on your or anyone else's experience. I hate poor customer service, and I'm disappointed to hear that…

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Rusty Owner/Technician
Oakham, Massachusetts
Rusty Default
 

I’d have expected better results with the GR-8 🤔 I use an Iota. Thanks for for taking the time to do the testing and put up results.

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Rick Technical Support Specialist
Saint Charles, Missouri
Rick Default
 

Nicely done. And the answer to the question is?? Minute, Zilch, Notta, 0, ?

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Ed Mechanic
Benton, Louisiana
Ed Default
 

Good morning, Scott. The question might be asked "what is the acceptable level of 'noise' that an OEM allows. The GR8 is interesting as to what kind of filter they've incorporated. It looks like they and snapon are using full wave rectification. You can still see it on the GR8's ecm mode. If I had that one at the house, I might try capping it and measure the voltage at the battery both with and

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Ed, Perhaps my test wasn’t scientific enough as I did not have any loads applied. In hindsight, perhaps a followup test is in order.

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Justin Mobile Technician
Herriman, Utah
Justin Default
 

load would matter as well as battery health. I have seen poorbattery condition effect the test. If you do this again Scott, use a known bad battery and a known good battery on the same load. Maybe force a cooling fan on high. Capture with an amp clamp on the charging cable to show the charge rate.

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Rick Diagnostician
The Woodlands, Texas
Rick Default
 

Ed, I don't have anything published but was told by several OEs that 0.3 volts AC was considered the maximum acceptable noise. I stuck with that as my rule because a correctly functioning alternator is below that spec. as well. We do programming recovery work for shops who have issues. I have had several shops using traditional battery chargers which when checked have been putting out between 8

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Paul Technical Support Specialist
Lefkosia, Cyprus
Paul Default
 

Interesting. Now i feel i need to scope with my TiePie how our Fronius Acctiva Professional Flash responds. I just have to satisfy the curiosity this has sparked to me. This "maintainer" , we call them "battery multi-function tool" has always performed great and has been a true workhorse for over a decade to many workshops locally. Plus it has been approved and used by many OEMs for quite a

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Albin Diagnostician
Leavenworth, Washington
Albin Default
   

This afternoon I had a battery charger hooked up and I grabbed a waveform while it was charging. This is a Solar PL2320 20 amp. diag​.​net/file/f73w1nr89… ​

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Rick Technical Support Specialist
Saint Charles, Missouri
Rick Default
 

Thanks Albin. Great Capture to help answer what would be the Norm?

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Christopher Technician
San Antonio, Texas
Christopher Default
   

Here's a shot of one of our GR-8's in Power Supply Mode diag​.​net/file/fwrbs6qe1… diag​.​net/file/f47z5e02u…

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Default
   

Here's two that I have in the shop. These were connected to the same vehicle one at a time. The headlights were on with an approximate 23 amp load. I use the AE100APS most of the time and although I was surprised to see the level of ripple, I have not had any issues programming with it. AEtools AE100APS Midtronics PSC-550

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Nathaniel Diagnostician
Ashton, Ontario
Nathaniel Default
 

Scott, Great test! The PowerMax and Iota look fantastic. Other metrics that would be good to compare would be response times and voltage deviation when a sudden, high-current load is introduced. Cooling fan is a good candidate for measuring response times, but motor start-up loads are inconsistent. Measuring any variation in system voltage as a response to the load would be difficult to…

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David Owner/Technician
Kitchener, Ontario
David Default
 

Thanks Scott, That is a really great Job. Just a question to you or the group. Has anyone viewed for noise on the can or network signals while running the power supplies under load. I had noticed someone on another site making certain claims but take such with a grain of salt over a trusted and experienced point of view. I have not had a chance to scope any power supplies but does anyone…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Dave, I haven’t sampled that data but if I get the chance I’ll have a look and let you know what I find.

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