Innovation Award Profile: Power Probe PWM Adapter

Sept. 20, 2023
Q & A with David Merendino director of sales for Power Probe and Dave Barden manager of technical training for Power Probe and the inventor of the PWM Adapter.

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Q: What makes this product innovative?

Barden: It's a kind of a unique function. There are a lot of tools that can measure PWM, otherwise known as duty cycle, but not too many tools that will actually output a PWM signal. And if you do find them, they're rather expensive. This tip adds that function to any power probe.

Merendino: That's one of the great things about it is the fact that there are so many power probes out there. Techs can, with a small purchase, gain some great functionality when they're diagnosing vehicles.

Q: What was the inspiration behind creating this product?

Barden: Believe it or not, a lot of our inspiration comes from our tech support line. The customers are telling us what functions they're looking for. So, we usually take that into advice when we're building new tools, but sometimes we're thinking, ‘Hey, maybe existing users want these functions too.’ So, we came up with a line of tips, so they could add these different functions to existing power probes.

Merendino: That's one of the things I love about Power Probe is our focus on staying connected with technicians and we have a running joke about, you know, the further you get from the street, the dumber you get. So, it's important to really connect with technicians and understand what their challenges are on a day-to-day basis.

Q: How will this product improve the lives of technicians and shop owners?

Barden: More and more components and functions on vehicles nowadays are being controlled by this pulse width modulated signal, so it will allow them to either directly drive those components, or indirectly, through a computer module, control those components, which is something you really can't do without a PWM output signal.

Merendino: PWM's have been around for years. OEM manufacturers have been using it to control components for a long time, but over the last 10 to 12 years we've seen a big uptick in the number of vehicle components that are driven by pulse width modulation as manufacturers look for greater control and accuracy and they try and shed weight on vehicles. So, we've seen it for years, but just in the last few has it really become critical for technicians to be able to simulate that signal that the computer is putting on things like cooling fans and fuel pumps and blower motors. This really helps cut down diagnostic time for technicians.

Q: What has been the feedback from technicians who’ve purchased this tool?

Barden: Actually, pretty amazing. I knew it'd be a good tool. It's proven a little more popular than we thought it would be. In some of the uses that the technicians are reporting they're actually using, we didn't even think of. They're simulating sensor signals and things like that.

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