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Auto Meter delivers game-changing battery tester on Samsung tablet

Auto Meter delivers game-changing battery tester on Samsung tablet

Auto Meter delivers game-changing battery tester on Samsung tablet

Auto Aftermarket Manufacturing
Electrical Testing Interface

Auto Meter, headquartered in Sycamore, Illinois, and founded in 1957, focuses on instrumentation for the automotive aftermarket, with products that are widely used by performance enthusiasts and racers.

The company also serves automotive OEMs, retail outlets and repair shops with a line of test equipment for vehicle electrical systems. Auto Meter’s load-based testers apply a true load to the battery, starter, alternator and cables and measures performance as a way of gauging the equipment’s health.


The Challenge:
Optimize the Auto Meter Battery Testing Solution

Auto Meter’s proprietary load-based testing protocol accurately analyzes a vehicle battery’s state of health, and tests the entire electrical system including the starter, alternator, cables and electrical connections. While the Auto Meter testers have worked well for many years, helping a large variety of customers reduce their warranty expense and sell more batteries, Auto Meter recognized the need to further optimize the user interface and connectivity to their cloud based data management system, AMPNET. With wireless connectivity to AMPNET, many paper-based customer processes could be fully digitized, improving data accuracy while further streamlining the test process.


Among other things, Auto Meter develops a line of electrical test equipment that allows technicians to accurately predict the useful life of batteries, alternators and starters. The proprietary test, compliant with the industry standard, RP-129B, accurately simulates a true electrical load on the equipment. This accuracy is invaluable to automotive repair and vehicle OEMs — it prevents them from having to replace batteries prematurely or issue warranty claims based on faulty test results.


Auto Meter has been selling their load-based testing solutions for many years, but in 2016, it decided it was time for an upgrade. Utilizing the Bluetooth-enabled Android tablet allowed Auto Meter to design a user interface that detaches from the load module that is connected to the electrical components on the engine. This allows the technician to bring the user interface behind the steering wheel of the vehicle, and perform vehicle testing wirelessly following the step-by-step testing instructions on the screen. Auto Meter’s previous heavy duty testing solution required two technicians to perform some of the testing steps: one to read testing steps from the tester that was connected to the engine electrical components, and the other to increase the engine speed at the proper time to conduct the alternator output test. Auto Meter was looking for a solution that would remove the need for a second technician, as the testing steps could be read and performed remotely using one technician due to the Bluetooth connection to the load module.


One of Auto Meter’s OEM customers previously used an electrical system testing process that required the technician to use multiple pieces of equipment, then manually record measurements and perform manual calculations to determine if there was an electrical issue with the vehicle. “This manual testing process was time consuming and prone to measurement and calculation errors,” said Dean Panettieri, COO and president of Auto Meter.


The company had also designed an in-house cloud-based data management system called AMPNET, and was looking for a solution that could automatically upload the vehicle test results and then pass that information on to OEM customers. Auto Meter’s former testing solution was quite robust, but did not have a wireless connection to the AMPNET software or the range of display graphics to pictorially show the technician where to make the tester connections to the vehicle.

The Solution:
Future-Proofing Battery Testing With a Samsung Managed Mobility Solution

Auto Meter decided that switching to a mobile tablet for the user interface would provide an even more compelling reason for customers to buy Auto Meter testers. The company opted to build its solution on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, which provides long battery life and the ability to read under a variety of lighting conditions, something that was an issue with the LCD screen of their previous model. Moreover, Auto Meter could now leverage Wi-Fi for data transfer and Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting the load-testing unit to the controls and readout. “The Samsung sales and technical support team was very helpful in integrating their device with our battery testing solution,” said President and COO Dean Panettieri.


In 2016, Auto Meter decided to evaluate Android tablet solutions for one that could modernize and mobilize their electrical testing solution. This tablet-based tester would have all of the unique features of Auto Meter load-based testing while also providing a state-of-the-art user interface with technology-forward connectivity.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab A delivers on that promise on a number of fronts, and Auto Meter now hosts the solution on the mobile tablet.


The company also developed a ruggedized enclosure for the Samsung tablet that would allow operation under a wide variety of environmental conditions. To ensure that the industrial product is used only for the purpose for which it was created, Auto Meter relies on Knox Mobile Enrollment to deploy the tablets it sells.

Now test results automatically populate relevant forms, which completely eliminates manual entry.

Now test results automatically populate relevant forms, which completely eliminates manual entry.
Future-Proofing Battery Testing With a Samsung Managed Mobility Solution

With the Galaxy Tab A, a technician can perform the vehicle testing remotely from inside the vehicle’s passenger compartment following step-by-step instructional diagrams on the large display area of the tablet screen. The device’s autofocus camera is an integral part of the testing sequence, since it scans barcodes located on the vehicle (such as the VIN number) and eliminates manual input. After conducting the test, the tester automatically uploads the results to Auto Meter’s cloud-based data management system, AMPNET, using the Wi-Fi-enabled tablet. All claim and warranty forms get filled out automatically. OEMs access comprehensive test data from AMPNET and run their own predictive maintenance algorithms to determine when to proactively replace batteries, starters and alternators for fleets before they fail and cause a no-start situation.


“Long-term sustainability was one of the key things going forward, so one of the reasons we selected the Samsung Galaxy Tab A was the commitment from Samsung that the tablet would be available to us for an extended period of time. We didn’t want to have to go through a redesign process every time a model changed,” Panettieri said.