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One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

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  • One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

    Normally I don't bother with Harbor Freight even though they have a store not too far from me. I've seen and owned too much of their real POC grade tools and anymore hate them and the company.

    The other day a friend of mine that manages a large battery (automotive mostly) dealership needed a portable carbon pile load tester. In the shop they have a fine Autometer model SB-5 that costs good $$$. He wanted something smaller and cheaper for field testing work. Anyway after looking over the Autometer model SB-3 and the Associated Equipment model 6034 here's what he came up with. At Harbor Freight they have a nice copy made over in China and it's priced far less than the name brand testers. He got one and I can vouch that it's a pretty good tester for the money. It's not what the SB-5 is but it does come close to the other two portable models. Personally I bet they are all made in China anymore. Please see links below.

    (The workhorse of battery dealers. This the most famous one of them all.) Autometer SB-5 series 2:
    http://test.autometer.com/productDet...tID=19&isKit=0

    Autometer SB-3:
    http://test.autometer.com/productDet...tID=20&isKit=0

    Associated Equipment catalog as .PDF file:
    http://www.associatedequip.com/catalog.pdf

    Harbor Freight copy:
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=91129
    (This is the one he got and it has been put to use many times. It really isn't junk but you must read the instructions and also give it cooling time between tests. Unlike the pro models there's no cooling fan in it.)

    If you checkout the Autometer SB-5/2 and the Associated 6036B you'll see these are professional battery testers for serious users. Associated is known for other automotive test equipment and also heavy duty (and some junky) battery chargers. It's a shame when companies known for professional equipment resort to making just to boost profits.

    For what it's worth the name brand similar testers cost over 6 times what the Harbor Freight one does and that's their cost. - not retail prices.

    The Associated model 6036B load tester is a serious piece of equipment like the Autometer SB-5. Also the Associated battery chargers 6001A and 6002B are real workers for the professional. These are sure not DIY products.

    The bottom line is that for field work where things grow feet and run away the Harbor Freight tester has proven to be a good buy and especially for the price. It does require being careful and following safety warnings/rules when using it.
    Last edited by Woussko; 07-26-2008, 09:52 AM.

  • #2
    Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

    been thinking about one of them very seriously, I have the small battery tester, and it works but some times on tractor and truck batteries it would be nice to duplicate the starting load on the battery to see how the battery is actuly doing, and also if the starter is over drawing,
    THank you for the report,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

      BHD

      If you have any big batteries like a group 8D chances are it won't load them heavy enough. It can do about 450 Amps. (real) for testing batteries up to 900 CCA rated at 12 Volts. On 6 Volt batteries it doesn't do so well. The small size carbon pile has too high a resistance. It is much better than the little hand held testers that manage a 125 Amp load at 12 Volts. Actually under load the Voltage drops some. I don't know if you have any large Diesel engines on your machinery or not. Also do you have any large size 6 or 8 Volt batteries. If yes and you really want to test them, you'll do better to look for a reconditioned Autometer SB-5 or Associated 6036 tester.

      For car and light truck batteries the Harbor Freight tester should do pretty well.

      The problem comes when you have high current starter loads and big batteries. Even the SB-5 can't really load down the newer high CCA rated group 8D batteries but it's much better than nothing. The Associated 6036 has 3 carbon piles and can load them down more. I doubt you will really need super heavy loads. The problem we found with all testers is if you need high current tests of 6 Volt batteries. That's where the Associated 6036 series shines. If I remember there's another big heavy load tester pros use. I'll try to find out more on it when I can.

      Another issue with all smaller testers is cooling. They don't have a fan. You can get one quick test and then you must allow about 5 minutes (no load) cooling or you can burn it up.

      What are some of your large batteries? Engines?
      Last edited by Woussko; 07-26-2008, 03:33 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

        all of my stuff is not that large, I have diesel tractors but there older units and only 100 hp, I do not remember the battery size, right now, but the cubic inch is 404 on the John Deere's, the combine engine is a 360 something, it is jsut a little smaller than the tractors,

        I replaced the starter on the one tractor his last winter, it was still working but was pulling way to many amps, I took it in and had it rebuilt, Deere want $500 for a rebuilt, and the core was only $75 or so. so now I have a spare starter for the two tractors,

        I have all the tractors now with 12 volt batteries they did have two 6 volt units, and that was pain, and I moved them out from under the cabs and built them into steps getting into the cab.

        but when it is -20 and the snow is coming sideways, and your needing to feed hungry cattle you want to figure out what is going on and fairly fast, as even with a good battery you do not have much cranking time, and when your dealing with a iffy one even with the unit plugged in the wind is taking the heat about as fast as one can produce it, and having a heaver tester would give one a better result, when one does a load test, I need to put new injectors in the loader tractor before winter here, there there small pencil style Roasamaster units, they are not hard to change out but just need to do it.

        when I pull the old ones out I will test the old units and see how there are cracking and what pressure they are cracking open, and if there any good save them back jsut in case,
        Last edited by BHD; 07-26-2008, 07:25 PM.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

          You may want to invest in a set of heavy gauge jumper cables, a good new group 31 deep cycle battery and a battery maintainer charger like in the link below. That should really be a big help in the winter. I do hope you have engine water jacket heaters but I'm pretty sure you do by now.

          Real Jumper Cables:
          http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-System...7115482&sr=1-3
          While you could go wild, these aren't bad for the price and they do work.

          Battery maintainer charger - The good one: (Worth every cent - This thing really works!)
          http://www.amazon.com/Deltran-Batter.../dp/B000NCOKQK
          Charges and then shuts off. As Voltage drops it will cycle on and off as needed. This keeps the battery up but doesn't over charge it and boil it dry. Leave it connected to the battery all the time. The smaller one below is good to put in equipment you don't run that much like maybe your standby generator battery.

          Battery maintainer - basic model:
          http://www.amazon.com/Deltran-Batter...7115797&sr=8-2

          Do check around for pricing on the chargers. I got some on eBay that were brand new and cheap. They were the small one and I think about $20 plus reasonable shipping.


          You did well converting the tractors over to use 12 Volt batteries. Using (2) 6 Volt in series is a PITA and costs too much when you have to replace both of them. Even the old models with battery under the seat can in many times use (1) 12 Volt battery. For old FARMALLs with a generator you can adjust the Voltage regulator and in many cases use an 8 Volt battery for winter. It gives just that needed extra to start her up on a cold morning. I don't have any, but know people that do.
          Last edited by Woussko; 07-26-2008, 07:48 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

            I should order the optional oil pan heaters for the tractors, as well I am sure it would help, I have the water jacket heaters, ON one tractor it is electric and one is a propane unit, nice if your not by power or power is out, the problem is it is not shielded enough from the wind.

            when I lived in Montana I found the battery maintainer helped more than the heat, (this was on gas engines) but normally the cost of the trickle charger is minimal to run in comparison to the heater, but if your battery is cold you can nearly lose 50% of your battery power when starting,

            I do have a good battery charger, a fleet style charger, that has a 100 amp booster if needed,

            My son could use that tester as well as he has a semi with a big Cummings in it and multiple batteries,

            I have been temped, to use a trick some of the oil well service guys use, they put quick fittings on the heater hose, and when they need to start some thing in the winter time they take there pickup and park it up close to the machine, and then disconnect the heater hoses and plug into the diesel they want to start and let the pick up run a few Min's, 10 To 15 they say usaly doest it and the engine is warm and normally starts. and since my truck will usaly start fairly easly down to about -30, I would think it would be some thing to possibly incorporate, would be a great idea on a emergency generator.

            I do not buy cheap battery cables, or jumper cables, cheap cables you really might as well jsut through your money in the trash. because that this where the cables will end up, (actuly the recycle pile) but any way gone.

            Thank you again,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

              Doesn't Espar make some diesel powered coolant heaters for trucks? I wonder if they could be used on your tractors and other fam equipment.

              http://www.espar.com
              ---------------
              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
              ---------------
              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
              ---------
              "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
              ---------
              sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

                I think BHD has a problem with cold wind removing heat from his engines faster than the little electric tank heaters can put it out.

                I would do the battery maintainer chargers on everything. They come with wiring so you can install it and leave in place.

                I'm sure you do this, but have you looked into a 0W-30 or 5W-40 fully synthetic Diesel service engine oil. Truckers in cold areas say it really helps for winter. Regular 15W-40 is like thick glop if you put it in a freezer at 0F or lower overnight.

                The PDF file is about Chevron Delo 400 synthetic oil. It may give you some ideas.

                You may want to check web sites of other major oil companies as I'm sure they have similar products.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Woussko; 07-27-2008, 07:21 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: One good item at Harbor Freight Tools

                  The Espar heaters are piped right into the vehicles fuel tank, and they are made to keep the rig's cabin and/or motor warm by heating the coolant. With one of these heaters you have instant cabin heat and quick starts.

                  They are available in gasoline or diesel versions and burn about 0.25 liters/hour. The diesel model can be had for either 12 or 24 Volt systems.

                  http://www.espar.com/html/applications/offhighway.html

                  Espars pre-heaters for building
                  machines and agricultural vehicles.
                  Espar Off-Highway Equipment Heaters can
                  provide engine preheat, cab comfort and
                  windshield defrost.
                  We offer two basic types for building
                  machines and agricultural vehicles:
                  air heaters and water heaters. Both
                  systems satisfy the highest demands on
                  sturdiness and cost effectiveness.
                  ---------------
                  Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                  ---------------
                  “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                  ---------
                  "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                  ---------
                  sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                  Comment

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