Electronic Torque Wrench - Electronic Torque Screwdriver
Check-Line DTW 100 Electronic Torque
Wrench and DSD-4 Electronic Torque Screwdriver
by Bill C. and "Mad Dog" Earle for webBikeWorld.com
Torque Wrench Articles
The Check-Line DTW 100 Electronic Torque Wrench
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
There are torque wrenches, and then there are torque
The $19.99 Harbor Freight "torque wrench" (Yes, Virginia,
there is a torque wrench for less than 20 bucks) is one of the former, and no -- it will not find a
home in my garage. I wouldn't torque the bolts on my wheelie bin with
The Check-Line DTW 100 electronic torque wrench -- aka
"torque tester" -- is one of the latter. This is as serious a tool as
has ever graced the webBikeWorld garage and I want to put on a pair of white
cotton gloves each time I remove it from its fitted case.
I mean let's face it -- so you just dropped 25 Big Ones for
that MV Agusta F4-R 312. And you're going to use which brand of
wrench on the axle nut?? Right, I thought so...
A good torque wrench is going to set you back several
hundred dollars, so let's get that out of the way right up front and
cheapskates beware. And since we're into electronics around here, mine has to
have a readout, which gives it the ability to easily shift between Nm and
Lbs. Ft. (mandatory when working on motorcycles; I can't/won't tell you how
many shekels have been blown already around here by mis-reading Lbs. Ft. for
It also should have a buzzer or click that lets me know when
the correct torque value is reached, and electronic versions must turn of
automatically after a reasonable time.
The Check-Line DTW 100 does all of that and more. The
"100" means that this is the 10-100 Lb. ft., 1/2" drive version. It
also displays 13.5 - 145 Nm and even 120 - 1200 Lb. In. It has both
clockwise and counter-clockwise torque capability, which is interesting, and
it also can store up to 50 data points for reference.
The DTW 100 uses two AA batteries, which have a claimed 110
hour life in continuous operation and 1 year in standby. It has a
claimed 10,000 cycle life expectancy (that's a lot of nuts torqued); it can
survive a 1 meter drop and 10G vibration. It also has a very nice
rubberized handle, which makes it a dream to use, and the entire device is a
very impressive looking, high-quality instrument...uh, tool.
The instruction manual is well written and easily
understandable, although like any instrument, it does take a bit of time to
go through all the functions to learn what it can do. There do seem to
be a few minor discrepancies between the Owner's Manual that came in the box
and the specifications published on the Check-Line website, probably due to
the various models that are available (1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive in
different configurations) and because Check-Line distributes some of the
tools that are globally sourced to their specifications.
Ours came with a signed-by-a-human Certificate of
Calibration, indicating that it was almost perfectly accurate within the
entire range and then some -- it was tested at 7.00 Nm up to 135.00 Nm with
a maximum error of only 0.92%. The Certificate of Calibration says
that 7.00 - 14.00 Nm is under the normal range, and it only has figures up
to 135 Nm, but the website says the high end of the range ends at 145 Nm.
But that's not a big deal to me. The Certificate also
shows the counter-clockwise calibration error, and the maximum error there
is -0.22% for our unit. Pretty impressive! The claimed error is
±2.5% clockwise and ±3.5% counter-clockwise, so we're well within specs and
about as accurate as you can get in a commercial torque wrench at this
The molded plastic case is robust very well made and it has
a fitted compartment for the wrench and the batteries. The two AA
batteries are inserted into the end of the handle under a 1/4-turn screw
top, and the space left in the case can be used to store an extra pair if
needed. And get this -- the case even has a molded section for the
Owner's Manual and Certificate of Calibration! No more twisted and
folded paperwork; it fits perfectly right where it belongs.
This is a hefty tool -- it weighs in at 1196 grams (2 lbs.,
10-1/8 oz.) on the webBikeWorld Polder scale; almost as much as a motorcycle
helmet! The head is nicely chrome plated and I can't seem to keep
myself from polishing it with a microfiber cloth after I use it.
Check-Line is a tool fetishist's dream; they have all sorts
of interesting electronic torque wrenches, electronic torque testers,
electronic force gauges and even ultrasonic wall thickness gauges. And
don't forget my favorite -- the electronic coating thickness gauges!
Hey, you never know when you're going to have to make sure that TiO2 coating
on your Öhlins forks was evenly applied!
So if you're as fanatical as I am about correct torque,
which is so very important on motorcycle repair and maintenance, and you're
looking for a treat, check this one out.
The price for the DTW 100 is $495.00 as of this writing,
which actually compares very favorably to some non-electronic torque
wrenches I've seen recently. It carries a one-year warranty.
Check-Line electronic torque wrenches can be ordered directly online from
the Check-Line website (see below for more information).
The Check-Line DSD-4 Torque Screwdriver
by "Mad Dog" Earle for webBikeWorld.com
We purchased the DTW 100 electronic torque wrench shown
above, but we also talked Check-Line into loaning us one of their
interesting electronic torque screwdrivers just for a look-see.
I was aware that such a thing existed, but even a tool nut
like me is sometimes too embarrassed to admit to a desire to torque the
screws on, say, my 1958 Heinkel Tourist scooter's luggage carrier, for
If you don't understand, I probably lost you a long time ago
anyway. But true toolies will drool at the site of this device!
I'll also admit that I have for some time wondered why
screws don't have their own torque specs. Screws on motorcycles either
seem to have as their female mates threaded holes made from your choice of
plastic or aluminum, both of which, need I say, are notoriously fickle with
their decisions to either accept the screw without complaint or start
playing games with the screwee (veiled analogies to human marriage
Anyone who has pointed the sharp end of a screwdriver at a
motorcycle knows what I mean -- one minute the screw goes in like buttah and
then all of a sudden it's as grabby as Grandma at Uncle Joe's funeral.
Not to mention: have you ever wondered why motorcycle screws are programmed
with a useful life of 4 ins-and-outs before they totally give up the ghost?
Take the screws that hold the Ducati GT1000's tail light
lens in place -- please! Screw one in 1/4 turn more than necessary and
BAM! the threads in the plastic are stripped quicker than that dancer the
other night at....(Editor's Note: Ah, we won't go there,
this is a Family Friendly site!).
So if screwing in screws is such a screwy problem, how come
there aren't any torque specs for them? I bet there are, but the
conspiracy theorist in me says that the dealers don't want us to know --
think about all the money they make by selling us replacement plastic and
aluminum bits! Now you know why those Triumph Tiger fairing screws
that cost $0.02 to make end up in your palms for $1.50.
OK, back to the electronic torque screwdriver, or "torque
tester", as it is sometimes referred to on the Check-Line website.
This is another jewel, apparently made in Japan by a company called
Imada and labeled for
Check-Line. No problem with that, considering the overall goodness of
Japanese products (which, by the way, were once ubiquitous and are now are
rarely seen on U.S. shelves).
The DSD-4 isn't quite as jewel-like as the DTW 100
electronic torque wrench; it's more business-like in its appearance, with a
matte silver coating rather than chrome. It feels pretty much like a
ratcheting screwdriver would or should, with the exception of that big LCD
The tool weighs 335 grams (11-7/8 oz.), and it also comes in
a very nice plastic molded box and it's fitted into a bed of foam. It
comes with two 1/4" drive Phillips screwdriver bits, and any normal 1/4"
drive bits can be used.
The DSD-4 electronic torque screwdriver has a built-in NiCad
battery, and it comes with a plug-in electric charger. Battery life is
claimed to be 8 hours in continuous use, and it automatically turns itself
off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
The DSD-4 model shown here is the basic electronic torque
screwdriver, with a range of 0.3 - 35.0 lb. in. The list price is $595.00.
It's interesting to note that even with its electronic
brain, the DSD-4 does not convert to Nm. Separate electronic torque
screwdrivers are available in various ranges: the DSD-4oz is 3.0 - 4.0 oz.
in.; the DSD-4kg is 0.3 - 40.0 kg. cm.; the DSD-4cN is 3.0 - 400.0 N cm and
the DSD-4N, which would be the Nm equivalent of the DSD-4 lb. in., goes from
0.030 - 4.000 Nm.
Obviously (I hope), I'm being somewhat facetious here,
because very few shadetree motorcycle mechanics keep an electronic torque
screwdriver in their tool belt, but webBikeWorld has always been about
bringing you the interesting, unique and the hard-to-find, so I hope this
expands your tool knowledge just a bit.
The DSD-4 also torques in both the clockwise and
anti-clockwise directions. It's claimed to possess ±0.5% accuracy, and
the Certificate of Compliance on this instrument is traceable directly back
to our own National Institute of Standards and Technology (right here in
Maryland). NIST has a voluntary program that allows laboratories and
industry to follow a series of guidelines for calibration that allow them to
claim traceability right back to "the horse's mouth", so to speak.
Our DSD-4 traces back to 7 different standards for
"Weights/Hangers" and one for "Temp/Humidity". And the results?
It's super-accurate: at maximum torque of 35.0 lb. in., ours actually
measured 34.97 clockwise and 35.07 anti-clockwise (sorry,
counter-clockwise), according to the certificate. That's about as
dead-nuts accurate as you'll ever find! It also reads 0.00 at 0.00,
which is crucial; nothing like having an instrument that doesn't start from
The resolution on the DSD-4 displays in 0.01 lb. in.
increments, and it's interesting to note that I can twist it up to about
2.56 lb. in. by grabbing the screwdriver bit and twisting the handle.
Above that, I lose my grip.
The DSD-4 electronic torque screwdriver has a variety of
settings, some of which come in handy and others we'd probably never use on
a motorcycle. It can be set to display a high or low setpoint for a
torque value; a "peak down minimum trigger point", which allows the
screwdriver to start the output of data points after it reaches a certain
point (the DSD-4 has an RS232C output jack); a batch counter to store
in memory the torque values of a set of inputs; a beeper, which can be set
to go off at certain setpoints; an automatic zero reset, used after applying
torque; and a timer.
Some of these are rather obscure to us but would be used in
a production environment, where a user can torque a set of fasteners, record
the data, output it and then get an alarm or statistics on which fasteners
met the requirements.
For us, the fun part is going through the bike and seeing
the torque values for the various screws and fasteners. If you're not
a toolie and you're still with us, congratulations, and let me tell the tool
freaks out there that it is a wonderful feeling to know that literally every
nut, bolt and now screw is torqued to exact specifications! Just think
how much smoother that MV Agusta will run with everything precisely buttoned
down, and how much better you'll feel knowing it!
The DTW 100 is a super-nice electronic torque wrench and should be in every
home motorcycle mechanics toolbox (but I store mine in the house). As
long as the manufacturer gives out exact fastener specifications, why not do
your part and make sure the nuts and bolts are torqued correctly?
The DSD-4 probably will land only in a select few homes, but
I'll tell you that it's a real kick and I'm sorry that our loan period is
over and it has to go back to Check-Line.
Review: Electronic Torque Wrench and Screwdriver
Retail Price: Wrench - $495.00. Screwdriver - $595.00
|Sizes: Many sizes and capacities
in: Wrench - Taiwan. Screwdriver - Japan.
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