Proto Drive smart torque wrench successfully fuses precision torque and technology

Technology is making its way into almost every facet of the way we work, and the machine shop is no different. For those of us who embrace it, the Proto Drive Smart Torque Wrench has the potential to change the way we set torque.


Advantages

  • Excellent haptic feedback
  • IP54 rated
  • Interchangeable head
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Hard storage case
  • OLED digital readout display

The inconvenients

Using the Proto Drive smart torque wrench

Precision matters

A few years ago, I had the divine privilege of replacing the driveshaft of my push mower. You can imagine my excitement. Disassembly was the easy part. When it came time to put it all together, assembly was one thing. Getting the right couple was another.

At the time, I was still using a manual torque wrench. It’s not exactly the best or the most accurate, but I knew it was the only way for me to complete my project that night.

Although I was able to complete the job, I know that some nuts and bolts are not tightened as precisely as I would prefer. More than likely, that won’t really matter for a long-term Honda small push mower. However, I don’t share the same sentiment about the airplane mechanic refitting the engine on my Delta flight next month.

Plain and simple, there are times when precision is critical. When the job calls for exact torque specifications, the Proto Drive smart torque wrench has you covered. This 3/8 inch torque wrench offers 5 to 100 lb-ft of torque with a ± 2% margin of error on torque and ± 1 ° on angles. There are also models that cover 1 to 22 ft-lbs (1/4 inch drive) and 25 to 250 ft-lbs (1/2 inch drive).

Proto Smart Drive torque wrench

The big thing is, they use smart technology to make sure human error doesn’t have as big an effect as some designs.

Proto Smart Drive torque wrench technology

The on-board technology connects via Bluetooth to the Proto mobile application. From there, you just need to set the desired torque on your phone and get to work.

Within the app, you can organize specific tool apps into groups which can then be grouped together in a deliverable report. These reports are useful for maintaining standards and identifying inconsistencies.

Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench Application

In addition, it has a tool locator mode that activates the OLEDs and internal vibrators. You might get weird looks, but at least you’ll find your torque wrench! This is a bluetooth connection, not wifi or cellular, so the tool must be within range of your phone to use this feature.

One thing you should know is that you you have to use the app. All the adjustments happen there and there is no way to manually set them on the tool. Once you have set the torque, you no longer need the running application and you can still store up to 500 measurements on the tool for reconnection. If you’re not sure you want to use an app on your phone or tablet, Proto offers other electronic and manual options as well.

OLED display

Haptic feedback

Haptic feedback is one of my favorite features of the Proto J6112BT. As you approach your target torque (50% to 74% of target), the vibrations will let you know. Its intensity increases the closer you get (75% – 99%) and finally the clicks click when it’s time to stop. There is also a visual indicator that changes from a slow to fast orange blink, then green when you hit your target. It turns red if you pass it.

Rechargeable

Forget about handy alkaline batteries, the Proto Smart Drive torque wrench is also rechargeable with an internal lithium-ion battery. Place it on the charger when you’re done with the day and you should have enough charge to get through the longest days. You can even mount the charger on the wall if you don’t mind it going away overnight.

Charging

Calibration

Proto ships the torque wrench with an ASME calibration certificate. Due to its precise nature, they recommend having it recalibrated once a year.


Additional features

  • Interchangeable head
  • Square rubber bumper prevents rolling
  • Several types of output pins included
Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench Profile

Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench Price

This Proto torque wrench is definitely one of the top echelons of quality hand tools. Expect to pay around $ 580 for the 3/8 inch model we’re reviewing. This includes the tool, hard case, and a wall charger in the kit. Proto has a one year warranty on the tool and a 90 day calibration warranty.

The bottom line

After spending some quality time with this wrench, we can confidently say that it is the most advanced torque wrench we have ever used. There are so many unique and useful features that are clearly designed with the actual use of the torque wrench in mind. If you’re comfortable with connected tools, the Proto Smart Drive torque wrench is one of the best torque wrenches you can get your hands on.

Proto Torque Wrench Specifications

  • Model: Proto J6112BT
  • Torque range: 5 to 100 ft-lbs
  • Length: 17.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.75 pounds
  • Charger: 2Amp
  • Battery: lithium-ion
  • Accuracy: ± 2% for the torque, ± 1 ° for the angle

To learn more about this torque wrench from Proto, click here.


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