There’s more to bolts and nuts than losing or tightening them. Yes, bolts and nuts need pressures to clamp down and hold something in place, but the exact precision matters.
Losing or tightening bolts requires a torque wrench. Most DIYers and new mechanics often ask, digital torque wrench vs mechanical; which is best? A torque tool is needed for almost every auto repair job you’re working on.
This article will explain the purpose of a torque wrench, the advantages of using a digital wrench, and the differences between digital vs mechanical torque wrench. Read on to learn more. But first, let’s start with the difference between them.
Digital torque wrench vs mechanical: what are the differences?
As we know, a torque wrench is a tool used to tighten or loosen bolts and nuts. This tool allows technicians and DIYers to tighten bolts and nuts properly without wearing the threads. Here are the common differences between mechanical and digital torque wrenches.
The digital torque wrench allows the technician to preset the required values to torque down a bolt or nut on display. On the other hand, the technician sets the mechanical one’s values by turning the handle to the values inscribed on it.
The digital torque wrench has a clear display for easy reading, making it better than mechanical torque, which mainly relies on the technician’s calculations and the forces applied. Though, some mechanical wrenches have preset values.
The mechanical one only gives a clock signal, while the digital torque wrench gives a vibration, sound, or flash signal once it gets to the set values.
Mechanical torque wrenches are affordable and do not require a battery. Digital torque tool, on the other hand, is costly and needs a battery to function.
The digital wrench uses strain gauge technology to measure values, while the mechanical one uses a mechanical scale for measuring torque.
Having seen digital vs. click torque wrench differences, let’s see how each works.
How does a mechanical torque wrench work?
Mechanical torque wrenches can be difficult for amateurs to torque down bolts properly to the specified torque range. This equipment gives a click signal to tell the technician when the bolt or nut is tightened correctly. However, mechanical torque wrench has slight accuracy issues.
This means they do not tell you the correct torque. It only gives a clicking signal based on the applied forces. The technician must work with his calculations to determine whether the bolt or nut is at the correct torque range.
This item is not recommended for losing rigid or stubborn bolts or nuts. They are recommended for mostly tightening bolts. Handle or analog torque wrenches are better for losing bolts. Though, the best torque wrench for accuracy is a digital torque tool.
How does a digital torque wrench work?
Digital torque wrenches are accurate torquing tools and perfect for daily torquing applications. They’re precise, technology-assisted tools that project torque readings on their small display screen. As reiterated above, they alert the user with an acoustic, vibrations, sensory, or visual signal once it achieves the preset values.
The best digital torque wrenches on the market shelves are easy to use, even for those without experience. All they need is to input the specified torque value. The digital torque equipment has a sensor that determines when you reach the set torque, preventing you from damaging the nut or bolt threads.
How to check a torque wrench
Frequent use of torque wrenches will cause them to go out of balance, and you’re required to check them a few times or once a year. There are two common ways of checking a mechanical or smart torque wrench. These include a torque analyzer and a torque loading bench.
A torque analyzer is an easy-to-use tool. It has a small screen display that lets you know if the user knows if the torque wrench is appropriately analyzed. This tool has several built-in sensors that let you test the torque on different applications. Some torque analyzers must sit on a leveled surface like a workbench to work correctly, while others can work anywhere.
- The screen has menu options like Setup, mode, filter, and quick test
- Input the required torque into the torque analyzer.
- The movement transmits to an indicator. The indicator rests on the maximum torque reading until it is set to zero.
- Compare the reading on the analyzer and the reading on the wrench scale.
- Examine the readings and see if your torque tool needs calibration. The analyzer also has a feature that lets you upload the readings to your computer.
Torque loading bench
The torque loading bench offers quick and easy calibration. It works in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions.
- Safety should be your no.1 priority. Safely secure the load on a bench or any stable and flat object.
- Connect the transducer to the loading bench and place the wrench on it.
- Utilize the presetting positions to prevent accidental adjustments for most torque equipment testing results.
- Ensure the large handled wheels moves in both directions.
- Glide the loading device assembly and the reaction bar to create enough support to install the tool.
- Test the wrench using the lowest torque capacity transducer.
- Make sure the tool handle turns along the reaction bar length.
- Install the wrench into the square driver of the torque transducer.
- Glide the reaction bar and loading assembly.
- If the item you’re testing has a ratchet, ensure it allows free movement of the handle.
- Keep the tool in a horizontal position while running the test.
- Secure the clamp plate properly before loading the equipment.
- Glide the hand wheel to transmit the load to the wrench.
- The torque transducer attached to the projection screen will display the readings.
Advantages of using digital torque wrenches
- It has a preset torque wrench setting option.
- It gives visual, acoustic, or sound alerts when it obtains preset values.
- Suitable for use on heavy-duty applications
- Manufactured for everyday use
- It can hold a max torque of up to 15 seconds
- It is a battery-assisted application
- It has a visual display screen
- It can measure torque in kilograms, newton meters, foot ponds, and inch ponds.
Do digital torque wrenches lose calibration?
All torque wrenches, including digital and electronic torque ranges, should be calibrated to offer optimum performance and accurate reading. Calibration is even needed the most on digital torque wrench, which often converts analog to digital readings.
The conversion process requires a voltage supply to function correctly and should be calibrated to ensure accurate readings. For example, a drift in a voltage supply may affect the reading, which may mean inaccurate readings.
Digital torque wrenches have a ‘self-check’ feature, which tells you when the circuitry is faulty. But unfortunately, they do not have a ‘self-calibration’ or ‘self-maintenance’ feature that calibrates the equipment. For this reason, they require manual calibration from time to time.
How long do digital torque wrenches last?
In all honesty, there’s no direct answer to this question. The longevity of a digital torque wrench depends on its capacity, usage, and maintenance. We could say that digital torque wrenches can last 7 to 10 years on average.
However, we have seen a digital torque wrench with accurate readings for up to 15 years. All torque wrenches should be calibrated annually or after every 5,000 cycles to ensure it maintains accurate readings.
We have outlined the differences and all you should know about digital torque wrench vs mechanical. From this, you can make a better buying decision. However, it’ll be unfair to tell you that you need only a mechanical, digital, or handle ratchet wrench.
You need all these tools for different purposes. While both help to lose or tighten bolts and nuts, there are some applications you should use to handle ratchet torque wrenches.
In summary, a digital torque tool is the most accurate torque wrench. So, digital torque is the right guy for you if you’re after accuracy. On the other hand, a mechanical wrench is a suitable option if you’re looking for an affordable one.