Jaime Lazarus demonstrates Power Probe products at ISN Tool Dealer Expo

Tool distributors got a chance to learn about various Power Probe products during a presentation by mobile diagnostic technician Jaime Lazarus at the ISN Tool Dealer Expo in Orlando, Fla. Lazarus, who operates Ocala, Fla.-based The Car Whisperer, LLC, provided an overview of Power Probe diagnostic products and demonstrated some of the tools’ unique capabilities.

During the interactive presentation, distributors in attendance indicated that the Power Probe III is the most frequently sold Power Probe tool to date. Lazarus noted that the company is aggressively advertising its more recent product, the Hook. “The Hook is currently being advertised in nearly every trade magazine, so now is the time to discuss this tool with your prospects and customers,” he said.

Lazarus noted that Power Probe tools are popular because they allow technicians to diagnose circuit issues faster and accurately. “Since most technicians are paid flat rate, the faster they can get something done, the more money they can make. Power Probe products help the technicians solve electrical problems quicker,” he said.

He also noted that the company’s website, www.powerprobe.com, has information for distributors that can help users understand how Power Probe products work. “You don’t have to have technical knowledge to answer their questions, just direct the technicians to the PowerProbe.com website” he said.

Lazarus demonstrated the Short Finder, the Power Probe III and the most recent Power Probe tool, the Hook. 

The ECT2000 Short Finder is designed to find short and open circuits without removing molding or panels, he said. Previously, a technician had to pull a car apart to find a malfunctioning circuit. “The ECT2000 is something the technician will love,” he said. The tool mostly eliminates unnecessary disassembly.

Thanks to audible and visual alerts, the tool indicates the location of the circuit malfunction.

“It’s like a household stud finder,” he said.  It works even when wiring is between layers of vinyl, carpeting, wood and plastics. If the harness has a metal frame, the metal will block the radio frequency, he noted.

The short finder creates radio frequency using a circuit as an antenna, Lazarus said. It does not create heat or circuit load. “It’s a lot safer for the technician,” he said. “The LEDs visually direct the technician what direction to go without disconnecting anything. Without the Short Finder a technician may have to disassemble the vehicle, not knowing if he’s going to find the short,” he said. Finding a short is sometimes a tech’s worst nightmare.

The Short Finder comes with adapters to make connecting to the most common circuits quick and easy.

Lazarus then reviewed the different generations of the Power Probe. All Power Probes can test electrical components prior to component installation and prior to removal. “This allows a technician to verify whether a part works before installing or removing it.” Lazarus said.

The Power Probe I debuted in 1996. Its features include the ability to power-up components, act as a bad ground indicator, a continuity tester, a short circuit indicator, and a relay and component tester, and it came with a 20-foot power cord. The Power Probe II additionally introduced an audio tone and lights for the work area.

The Power Probe III introduced a multi-purpose screen and provides a 40-foot reach using the 20-foot extension for its power cord. “Power Probe III delivers everything the other two did,” he said. When Power Probe III touches a circuit, the technician can view the average voltage of the circuit. “It’s not going to trigger the computers in the car to do things,” he said.

Power Probe III can measure positive or negative peak voltages, as well as peak-to-peak voltages in circuits. Haphazardly applying voltage to certain circuits can damage a vehicle’s electronic components, he noted. He also reminded attendees Power Probe products should not be used around flammable vapors like gasoline.

“It’s a wonderful tool for voltage and for component testing functions,” Lazarus said of the Power Probe III. “It is like a digital volt meter that has more capabilities than a DVOM.”

Technicians can even perform voltage drop tests by subtracting tip voltage from the displayed battery voltage readings, he noted. Power Probe III is short circuit protected and it serves as a continuity tester.  “It is not an ohm meter, but performs much-needed continuity tests,” he said.

Lazarus described the Hook as the next level of diagnostics from Power Probe. The Hook can perform all the functions of the Power Probe III and more. It has a multi-function, 5-way switch that provides the user more functions than the Power Probe’s “rocker” switch. The Hook works on 12V to 48V automotive electrical systems. By touching the Hook to a circuit, the screen will automatically display the right meter and the right function for the right circuit condition. It can display as a volt meter, an ohm meter and if the technician needs to activate an electrical component, the Hook displays amperage on the meter. 

The Hook can test for corroded or resistive -- ground or positive -- circuit conditions when employing the “Hot Shot” function. “Hot Shot” is useful when trying to determine the cause of intermittent circuit malfunctions.  It provides instantaneous pass or fail test results. Lazarus warned, “You don’t want to use Hot Shot on low amperage circuits. The test should be done on circuits designed for 5 amps or more.”

“The tech has a huge amount of information right in his hand when using The Hook from Power Probe” he said.

Some of the advanced Hook features include:

  • Volt meter mode
  • Ohm meter mode
  • Counter mode (which displays frequency, duty cycle, and both positive and negative pulse widths.)

Another Power Probe tool few people had heard about, the Power Probe Key Assist, allows the technician to crank the engine remotely, from under the car, the hood or from either side of the vehicle, Lazarus said. It is not necessary to have someone else crank the vehicle or to get out from under the hood to crank it when using the Key Assist. Lazarus gave a brief description of this tool and suggested attendees view the Key Assist video available on the website.