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Craftsmans Electronic Rotary Torque Meter - A Better Torque Wrench? - Tools Of The Trade

Posted in Product Reviews on November 1, 2003
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Officially, Craftsman's Torque Meter is called an Electronic Rotary Torque Sensor System. For clarity, it's sort of a high-tech torque wrench, but it's unlike any torque wrench you've ever seen. Actually, the Torque Meter doesn't even include a wrench; you'll have to supply a 1/2-inch drive ratchet or breaker bar to drive the rotating shaft of the system. The Torque Sensor surrounding the rotating shaft is hard-wired to the Torque Meter's digital display with a 54-inch-long cable. The LED display is capable of displaying a Peak Mode, which indicates the highest torque value the fastener is torqued to. There's also the Target Mode, which allows the Torque Meter to be set to a torque value (number), after which the internal beeper sounds when the fastener's torque reaches 50 percent of that level, then sounds successively faster as the preset torque value is achieved.

The Torque Meter is adjustable for lb-ft (standard) or NM (metric) torque values, is powered by a 9-volt battery, and can be re-calibrated if the need should arise. Craftsman's Torque Meter boasts a 3 percent (plus or minus) accuracy, can display torque values in 0.1 lb-ft steps, and has a peak torque measurement of 150 lb-ft.

One cool aspect of the Torque Meter is its measurement of the actual torque being applied to a fastener as opposed to the oft-inaccurate torque measurement of a standard torque wrench when used with an extension between the socket and the torque wrench, such as when using a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts deep within a wheel. The extension changes the torque readings at the socket, and if accuracy is paramount, a mathematical calculation must be made to determine how much less torque a standard torque wrench should be set to in order to allow for the increased leverage of the extension. Using an extension between the Torque Meter's Rotary Torque Sensor and the ratchet will not change the amount of torque being measured at the fastener, so there's no fuss.

So, for the average enthusiast, is Craftsman's Electronic Rotary Torque Sensor System a worthwhile investment? Well, that depends on whether or not you actually value highly accurate torque readings time after time (most low-buck torque wrenches lose their accuracy within a few dozen pulls; even high-dollar torque wrenches need periodic recalibration). Also, let's face it, many enthusiasts enjoy working with high-quality tools, as the modification and maintenance of a vehicle is an enjoyable experience to many of us. If that's the case, or if you simply have to have the latest trick goodie, then the Torque Meter will certainly gain a coveted place in your toolbox. Whatever the case, the Torque Meter is worth a look; you'll find it at www.sears.com.

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