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Why Battery Support units are Becoming Essential for Locksmiths

As vehicles become more and more complex and the programming process requiring access to an ever-increasing number of vehicle modules it is now essential for any locksmith to carry a battery support unit.

Vehicle modules are powered entirely through the battery and lower than adequate voltage will mean that your programmer or diagnostic tool is unable to read the vehicle’s systems as it should to identify the correct files or faults.

This is why Autowave considers it imperative for any locksmith, auto electrician or diagnostic technician to keep a battery support unit in their arsenal and without doing so, may find some jobs impossible to complete without knowing where the problem lies.

Why is this Important?

When the battery voltage starts to drop, the vehicle will automatically shut down modules to ensure power can be saved to start and run the vehicle. This will lead to situations where your scanner or programming tool is unable to read the modules, and therefore the files, that it needs to work correctly.

On some vehicles, the modules required for programming vary by make and model on this shut-down list but in many vehicles the priority for preservation is low; and therefore, even a small dip in voltage can cause programming to fail. It will also lead to inaccurate reads when doing a system scan.

We at Autowave have found programming impossible on some vehicles without battery support as even the smallest amount of battery drain stopped devices from connecting to the vehicle properly.

What Makes a Battery Support Unit Different from Other Battery Related Devices?

Some professionals incorrectly believe a battery charger or jump starter can be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Battery chargers will slowly raise the voltage of a battery, but only to a certain level depending on the charger’s own battery level. This can take hours to get to an adequate level and will also being discharging immediately leading to the same problems as prior to charging. On top of this, without proper monitoring battery chargers can overcharge the battery without providing the necessary protection to the ECU and other modules which can lead to irreparable damage.

Jump starters will jolt a flat battery into life but only with a small voltage; meaning the vehicle will have to be driven to return to the correct voltage levels (assuming the alternator is working!) The obvious issue here is the engine will need to be off in order to programme the keys and again, the battery will start discharging immediately.

A good battery support unit will maintain a higher than necessary voltage, whilst protecting vital modules from surges or damage. This means the battery voltage will never change or drop below adequate levels throughout the programming or diagnostic procedure allowing accurate reading, writing and programming.

Other Benefits of Battery Support Units

Charging: This is crucial when performing a job on a vehicle that has been stationary for a period of time. The battery support unit can charge the battery to capacity and then maintain the voltage for the programming procedure.

Battery swap protection: A good quality battery support unit is capable of maintaining a voltage to the ECU and other modules if a battery needs to be changed; preventing potential damage or corruption. This also means the tool can be used for demonstration purposes on vehicles in lieu of an existing battery.

Testing and reconditioning: battery support units will allow a user to check the voltage of the entire starting system (battery + starter) and the condition of the alternator. It also features a battery reconditioning feature to help the battery work optimally. This feature works for both internal and external batteries.


Even if it the good battery support unit is not needed during programming, it will be needed to clear any potential fault codes following programming or diagnostics to prevent the vehicle from running incorrectly or displaying unnecessary warning lights.

After thorough testing of a variety of different battery support units at multiple price points we at Autowave find the Auto-XT Battery Support Unit to provide all the features of top-end battery support units and value for money. The Auto XT Battery Support Unit is available from Autowave, Advanced Keys and Hickleys.