Tech Tested, Shop Approved: the IB Pulse Tester

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IB Pulse Tester

The best tools often appear the simplest. Hammers are made to pound. Rockets are made to fly. Whether pounding nails or blasting skyward on columns of flame, the perfect tool doesn’t need much explanation.

“Any tool should solve problems,” says Brian Madeley, Senior Manager of the Products & Innovation group at Interstate and developer of the IB Pulse battery tester.

“We always want to put time and thought into what technicians need.”

That’s exactly what Interstate did.


Shock the Shop

“Techs are demanding more out of their tools these days,” Madeley says.  

The IB Pulse is designed to tackle the demands of modern repair. Mimicking smartphone technology, it doesn’t come with a manual and guides you using simple on-screen prompts. It functions in tandem with wireless technology, updating quietly via Wi-Fi while the shop sleeps. Those updates include the latest OEM manufacturer info according to make, model and VIN number. The Pulse doesn’t require its users to have intimate knowledge of the vehicle and its battery location—it tells its users where the battery is located.

Battery power-ups and resets can wreak havoc on the other electrical-dependent systems of the car such as power windows, mirrors, and sunroof; with the Pulse, technicians no longer have to look up how to repair those systems. The Pulse has VIN-specific reset directions built into its database.


According to Interstate's World of Automotive Repair Study in 2018:

  • 24% of all cars on the road need a battery replaced.

  • 73% of customers will buy a new battery when a battery test reveals a failing battery.

  • 80% of mechanics own a battery tester but 30 percent of the testers do not work.

  • 66% of cars reportedly have their battery tested, but Interstate’s testing data shows the average is actually closer to 35 percent; the IB Pulse can more accurately depict the true state of a battery’s charge quality.

In another Interstate survey, 53 percent of technicians cite training and turnover as the reason why shops don’t regularly test batteries. Creating a tester that is easy for inexperienced techs to use will improve testing frequency and increase margins.


Its component parts are more reliable than other testers as well.

“The cables and clamps connected to the Pulse are secured within the tool; if something breaks, just unscrew the housing, swap the parts out, screw the housing back on, and the repair continues,” Madeley says.

No more hot-soldering as the clock ticks toward 5 p.m.

The IB Pulse also accounts for time (also known as money in each and every shop).

“Knowing the right vehicle for the battery, the Pulse has a list of all the Interstate part numbers that fit that battery,” he says. “We’ve shaved up to five minutes off the diagnosis.”

The Pulse database provides battery barcodes and OE specs as well as full-color battery location diagrams. It runs on Android software and updates via a proprietary wireless router (the hub) that the Pulse recognizes.

“Techs love it,” Madeley says, “they really do—they love its ease-of-use, they love the fact that they don’t need training on it. They love the ergonomic design, how it fits in their hand, the redesign of the cable and clamps. It really makes their lives easier on a number of levels.”

The IB Pulse is designed to function easily with gloves.

“A modern piece of technology in a modern shop needs to be touchscreen, and many technicians wear gloves—sometimes they have to wear gloves. We need a tool that addresses that.”

He pauses.

“We can’t solve one problem at the expense of creating another one. We’ve hit that middle ground with the Pulse. It’s really a fantastic tool.”


Pulse for Profit

The IB Pulse is capable of more than simply diagnosing batteries. It can help show you where money is being made—and lost.

“Many techs undersell and don’t realize how much revenue and profit they’re leaving on the table by not testing batteries,” Madeley says.

As a more accurate battery reader, the IB Pulse can create more revenue opportunities in the shop. Working with the Interstate database, the Pulse data pops into the cloud, and shops that use it will be able to see which testers use it the most as well as car counts, common repairs, etc. It will show the group sizes of what comes into the shop, helping owners ensure they have the right batteries on the shelves for their most common clients.

“In the portal, Interstate charts replacement rates and industry standards between year, make and model, VIN number, and we can show how many wipers / brake pads / alignments they should have sold based on national averages,” Madeley says.

The IB Pulse is only available to Interstate dealers and those who sell their batteries. The Pulse and its data hub are available on a lease basis which includes a 24-hour hot swap program. Just because the tester goes down doesn’t mean cars stop coming in, and Pulse owners will always have a tester available at all times.

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