SigmaProbe Smart Tester Review - The Trial Report from our customers
I recently had a chance to review the new SigmaProbe smart tester by VXDAS and I have to say I’m excited about the features it offers! It promises to take the place of 5 major diagnostic tools for the same price as a Power Probe IV so I have to check it out.
Sigmaprobe smart tester package includes
Here’s what you get with the SigmaProbe smart tester: Probe unit with a six-meter power cord. A robust solid brass tip. A handy probe extension wire which you’ll need in tight spots. Booster cable-sized power clips. Relay test lead set. Smaller probe adaptor for small connectors which is often overlooked by the competition. Spare fuse. Alligator clip connector for rear test lead. User manual. Sturdy ABS tool case.
Sigmaprobe with a flexible body
The first thing I noticed was the size of this beast! It has a presence and it feels like I could run over it with a car and it would be fine. The plastic used for the body is flexible like the kind used in higher quality multimeters, which means it will definitely be able to withstand the daily abuse it will get in the shop.
I also liked the large rubber connector used to attach the power leads to the main power cord (noted as the six-sided orange coupler in the photo).
The extra-large power clips for the power cord are the largest I’ve seen in the industry. These will prevent that horrible click sound you hear when one of your tiny power clips coming off the battery when you just made your way under the dash. I believe a good addition would be to include a set of small power clips for some of the tighter battery installations you occasionally see.
The menu is operated by a 5-button keypad all within easy reach of your thumb.
Sigmaprobe smart tester functions
When you power up the SigmaProbe smart tester this is the menu you’re greeted with. I found it relatively easy to read and the operation was very intuitive. I really didn’t need the manual for 90% of my first use which is impressive. (Please ignore the scratches you see on the screen; I didn't remove the protective film.)
So, what are the 5 tools this probe will replace? From the above first picture would obviously be a powered test probe. would obviously be a powered test probe. There are 4 components.
The first one being the Smart Probe. This test module will give you positive or negative LEDs with automatic ohm readings. This is great for ground quality testing and short to positive or negative testing. There are two probe modules that all probes have; a positive/negative tester and an activator module. I’m still pondering whether it’s better to have the activation app separate from the regular smart probe app or not. I’m used to it being immediately available but I have to admit I have done some damage by mistake that I wouldn’t have done with this probe. This probe will kick out a healthy 18A which is way more than any other test probe I’ve seen.
Another probe component is a really cool relay test feature that adds a three-wire test lead (Below left) to the mix. When a simple relay is hooked up the relay position is shown on the screen. (Below right)
The below picture would be a multimeter. Digital display intelligent multimeter meets all functions of vehicle multimeter (VDC, OHM, DIO, APM, HZ). It can continuously test circuits or components of the vehicle circuit system.
The following would be a small scope. (Below) This obviously won’t replace a lab scope but it will give you some slower sign waves, sensor sweeps, and pulse waves. Not having to pull out the big scope will save a lot of time.
0–5-volt power supply
The below is a 0–5-volt power supply. (Below) For me, this is very exciting since a sensor emulator is about $600, and more often than not all I need is a variable voltage reference to mimic a simple sensor when troubleshooting.
Finally, the below is an injector actuator. You are given 4 modes to choose from ranging from a single pulse to a fine multi-pulse. This could be used in other systems such as EVAP systems as well.
The SigmaProbe smart tester comes with the ability to update the firmware, the process was relatively painless for the most part but there was a little software maneuvering involved. (Below)
The design of this tool shows a lot of engineering and thought and I can certainly appreciate the beauty of the design.
The high-power handling relay and the massive current shunts allow the SigmaProbe smart tester to handle much higher than usual current loads. Issues with testing power windows and starter solenoids are a thing of the past with this powerful beast.
So where does this tool fall short? Mainly in two places:
1. The rubber hook on the grip is annoyingly small and deformed (below) and I don’t see the point of it being there at all.
2. The tester needs a daughter board to mount the LEDs and menu buttons more securely.
With the current arrangement, as seen to the right, the LEDs line up poorly to their windows, and pressing one button without pressing them all is a challenge.
Is this tool for you? I’ve been diagnosing automotive electrical issues for over 25 years now and with each new tool idea, my job gets easier and easier, which is good because cars have gotten way more complicated. What I can see this tool offering me is a great preliminary test tool or goto tool. It can’t replace a full multimeter, scope, and senor emulator but you don’t always need these expensive cumbersome tools in the engine bay right away and with the SigmaProbe smart tester, you may find that you didn’t have to get them out at all.
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