Proto Drive Smart Torque Wrench Successfully Merges Precision Torque and Technology
Technology is making its way into nearly every facet of how we work, and the mechanic’s shop is no different. For those of us embracing it, the Proto Drive Smart Torque Wrench has the potential to change the way we set torque.
- Excellent Haptic Feedback
- IP54 Rated
- Interchangeable head
- Stainless-steel construction
- Hard-shell storage case
- OLED digital readout display
- No significant drawbacks
Using the Proto Drive Smart Torque Wrench
A few years ago, I got to experience the divine privilege of replacing my push mower’s driveshaft. You can imagine my excitement. Disassembly was the easy part. When it came time to put it all back together, assembling was one thing. Getting the correct torque was another.
At the time, I was still using a manual torque wrench. It’s not exactly the best or most precise, but I knew it was the only way I was going to finish my project that night.
Although I was able to finish the job, I know that some of the nuts and bolts are not as precisely torqued as I’d prefer. More than likely, it won’t really matter for a little Honda push mower in the long run. However, I don’t share that same feeling about the aircraft mechanic who is reassembling the engine for my Delta flight next month.
Plain and simple, there are times when precision is critical. When the job requires exact torque specs, the Proto Drive Smart Torque Wrench has your back. This 3/8-inch torque wrench delivers 5-100 ft-lbs of fastening power with a ±2% margin of error on torque and ±1° on angles. There are models that cover 1 – 22 ft-lbs (1/4-inch drive) and 25 – 250 ft-lbs (1/2-inch drive) as well.
The really big deal is that they use smart tech to make sure human error doesn’t have as big an effect as some designs.
Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench Technology
The onboard tech connects via Bluetooth to the Proto mobile app. From there you just set the desired torque on your phone and get to work.
In the app, you can organize specific tool applications into groupings which can then aggregate into a deliverable report. These reports are useful for maintaining standards and identifying any inconsistencies.
Additionally, it features a tool locator mode which causes the OLEDs and internal vibrators to activate. You might get some strange looks, but at least you’ll find your torque wrench! This a Bluetooth connection, not wifi or cellular, so the tool needs to be in range of your phone to use this feature.
One thing you need to know is that you have to use the app. All the adjustments happen there and there’s no way to set them manually on the tool. Once you set the torque, you don’t need the app running and you can still store up to 500 measurements on the tool for when you reconnect. If you’re not confident you want to use an app on your phone or tablet, Proto also has other electronic and manual options available.
The haptic feedback is one of my favorite features of the Proto J6112BT. As you approach your target torque (50% – 74% of target), vibration lets you know. Its intensity increases as you get closer (75% – 99%) and finally clicks click when it’s time to stop. There’s also a visual indicator that moves from a slow orange blink to fast, and then green when you hit your target. It turns red if you go past it.
Forget keeping alkaline batteries on hand—the Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench is also rechargeable with an internal lithium-ion battery. Set it on the charger when you’re done for the day, and you should have enough charge to make it through the longest days. You can even mount the charger on the wall if you’re not concerned about it walking away overnight.
Proto ships the torque wrench with an ASME certificate of calibration. Because of its precision nature, they recommend you have it recalibrated once a year.
- Interchangeable head
- Square rubber bumper prevents rolling
- Multiple outlet prong types included
Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench Price
This Proto torque wrench is definitely in the upper echelon of quality hand tools. Expect to pay around $842 for the 3/8-inch model we’re reviewing. That includes the tool, hard case, and a wall-mount charger in the kit. Proto has a 1-year warranty on the tool and a 90-day calibration warranty.
The Bottom Line
After getting some quality hands-on time with this wrench, we can confidently say this is the most advanced torque wrench we’ve ever used. There are so many unique and useful features that are clearly designed with the torque wrench’s real-work use in mind. If you’re confident with connected tools, the Proto Smart Drive Torque Wrench is one of the finest torque wrenches you can get your hands on.
Proto Torque Wrench Specifications
- Model: Proto J6112BT
- Torque Range: 5 – 100 ft-lbs
- Length: 17.5 Inches
- Weight: 2.75 lbs
- Charger: 2Amp
- Battery: Lithium Ion
- Accuracy: ±2% for torque, ±1° for angle
To learn more about this torque wrench from Proto, click here.