New Snap-On Battery and Electrical System Tester

Mechanics Hub - March 14, 2014

The MicroVAT Elite Battery and Electrical Diagnostic Tester From Snap On

We recently had to send a Mechanic from our shop to one of our bus garages a couple of hours north. The Mechanic who resides there had to take medical leave for a few months. Our Mechanic was going through the shop tools and said he needed a battery tester....naturally we let him take our old tester while we looked at a new one to replace it.

They were both Snap-On testers and several years apart....the new one is a “MicroVAT Elite” which comes with a lot of bells and whistles. It even has a female voice to lead you through the set up. The first challenge was to study the manual and figure this new gadget out.

The short video above goes through the set up for testing a battery. The leads have to connect to the “lead” part (metallically speaking) of the terminals or it won't work. There are two screw-on "lead posts" for the tester leads to connect to. They are used for 3/8 top stud terminals commonly found on 31 series batteries.

Not only will this battery check the battery will also test the starting and charging systems. It comes with a printer as well to provide a print out of test results. This tester analyzes in great detail and is very mobile being a "hand held" portable unit.

The MicroVAT Recognizes Deeper Battery Problems

There are additional test results if the tester asks for it.... to further check out the battery condition. If the MicroVAT recognizes another problem it will display it before it provides the original test results. These alerts are telling you to remedy the situation in order to carry out an accurate battery test.

System Noise Detection

This indicates the analyzer has detected computer, ignition noise or parasitic drain and will attempt to retest. All vehicle loads have to be turned off with doors closed and ignition off. Retest will commence when it sees that the system noise is gone.

If the message reappears testing may be too close to a noise source like a charger or other high current device. You would just need to move further away from the outside noise. If the noise source can not be determined then the battery will have to be fully charged up and removed from the vehicle for a bench test.

Unstable Battery Detected

A weak or recently charged battery may cause enough electrical activity to alert the turn effecting test results. A battery that is fully charged should stabilize quickly then the analyzer will automatically retest. Weak batteries need to be charged and retested for a proper reading.

FACT: CCA also known as Cold Cranking Amps ...Specified by SAE - Society Of Automotive Engineers : Is the amount of current a battery can provide at zero degrees fahrenheit. The CCA has to be entered into the battery tester before beginning the test.

Deep Scan Test

In some cases the MicroVAT will analyze a deeply discharged battery to determine if it needs to be replaced or if it has a chance to be saved. It will complete a Dynamic Scan Test for a few seconds while displaying a battery on the viewing screen.

State of Health

The “State Of Health” will give you the results of the overall test. It will display various conclusions like Good Battery, Good – Recharge, Charge and Retest, Replace Battery, Bad Cell – Replace and so on. The MicroVAT also tests the starter and charging system so it gets a two thumbs up for me....the learning curve to get acquainted with these testing procedures is well worth it.

Do you own a MicroVAT Elite Battery Tester? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below. I hope this quick review helps you decide if this shop tool is what you're looking for. It's a costly unit but it does the job to troubleshoot any kind of electrical problem.