A test of an alternative Tire Pressure Monitoring System
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    thubs up A test of an alternative Tire Pressure Monitoring System

    The following is a review of an aftermarket system designed to provide real time read outs of each tire's current air pressure. It might be of interest to those of you with earlier Corvettes, other cars without tire pressure monitoring systems as well as off road vehicles and golf carts.

    Papago! provided me their latest tire pressure monitoring system GoSafe TPMS 100 for review. Other Papago! products that I have reviewed include the Papago! 520 and Papago! S30 The Dawn of Combination DashCam-Navigation Units Part 1 and Dash to Dashcams, two excellent dash cameras.

    The GoSafe TPMS 100 came very nicely and securely packaged with everything one needs to install an after-market tire pressure monitoring system on your car or other vehicles.

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    Each sensor that goes on to the wheel, replacing the existing valve stem cap, has several components as seen in the following picture. The assembled sensor is on the left, with the arrow pointing to where the cap and interior components screw/unscrew. Papago! provides a plastic two-piece tool to facilitate the separation of the sensor unit from the cap.

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    The first step is to separate the sensor from the cap and install the battery seen partially slipped in to the unit in the following picture:

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    To check the accuracy of the Papago! sensors and system, I first went around and measured the current pressure in each tire using a trusted hand held gauge.

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    The next step was to pre-install the supplied ‘locking’ nut on each valve stem.

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    Followed by carefully and quickly installing the respective sensor on the correct wheel. Each sensor comes clearly labeled to reflect which wheel it is intended for. The reason for ‘quickly’ installing the sensor, is that once you have screwed it to the point where it contacts the plunger in the center of the valve stem, the air in the tire can be heard starting to escape, until you snug the sensor all the way onto the valve stem threads where the silicone sensor body ring and silicone sensor internal ring make full contact and seal the tire valve.

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    Then you secure the sensor to prevent it from theft, by tightening up the ‘locking’ nut with the wrench they supply. The instructions suggest that you spray test with soapy water to ensure there is no leak.

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    After similarly mounting and securing the remaining sensors to the appropriate wheels, you are ready to check out the system. When you turn on the ignition, the receiver unit, plugged into an accessory plug, will beep and then as you start to drive each sensor will come on, showing the respective tire’s current air pressure.

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    Initial product impressions:


    Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 is a sound aftermarket product for car and other type vehicle owners, whose cars do not include OEM tire pressure monitoring systems that display each tire’s current air pressure. Tire pressure is critical to car safety along with handling, tire wear and fuel economy. Too often we forget to frequently check each tire’s pressure. Having a gauge easily visible that provides you accurate and instant information is extremely useful. The Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 meets these criteria. In my testing the displayed read outs for each wheel were well within their advertised ± 1 psi when compared to both my hand held analog and digital gauges. The displays stayed highly visible on the road regardless of speed or road smoothness. Another benefit of the system is that in addition to digital visual display of each tire’s dynamic air pressure, is a built in alarm that sounds for high pressure (default set to 46 psi) and low pressure (default set to 26 psi). These can be set to any value you want easily by using the mode button on the receiver display. You can also change the psi to bars if you like. Additionally, you can use the same mode button to display the temperature of each tire from -40 to 99º C.
    Areas of improvement:
    • The Users Manual should be slightly rearranged. There is no “Before You Begin” guide. Since this was lacking, it is easy to anticipate a user may bypass the section on Code Learning as a first step after installing the batteries. Code Learning is discussed on page 12 of the manual, and starts off saying “Before installing the sensor on the tire….”, which seems to imply you should be doing that first. In reality, I don’t think it is a necessary step unless one of the sensor units is not being picked up by the receiver.
    • Better guide to separating the cap from the sensor. It does not simply unscrew using the Uncap Wrench and drop apart. Once the cap is unscrewed you need to use your finger nails to separate it from the sensor
    • Some quality control issues:
    o One of the original sensors refused to separate from the cap, even after completely unscrewing following the instructions and using the provided tools. I had to use a spare metal valve stem, thread the stuck unit on it, and after rotating in the correct direction to ensure it was unscrewed, pull the cap forcefully off of the sensor unit. When I inspected the threads, it appears that there may have been some cross threading on the cap preventing it from releasing normally from the sensor body.
    o The silicone ring that goes around the sensor unit body and between it and the cap, on a different one of the units, was difficult to keep in its groove.

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    I think there may have been a small rough spot on the cap that snagged the gasket as the sensor was screwed into the cap. I got around it by treating the gasket with a tiny amount of gasket lube and kept pressure on the gasket as long as I could while screwing the unit together, until the gasket was fully seated. Papago sent me a new set of sensors, since the original contained a preproduction unit. Unfortunately, I experienced the same issue with the gasket on two of the four new units. On each of these I kept the gasket in its groove by keeping pressure on it with my fingernail through a small notch in the cap while screwing the units together.
    o Two of the four newer units did not synch up with the receiver, after multiple attempts. I ended up using two of the original and two of the newer, resulting in a fully functioning system.

    • Ease of continued use. The only way to add or subtract air is to remove the sensor unit from the valve stem. Now, while you don’t necessarily do this with high frequency, you still do it several times a year. When you have a seasonal change, for example winter or summer, your tire pressure is reduced or increased as much as a few pounds or more based on the change in ambient temperature. Also, unless you are running nitrogen in your tires, they will naturally lose air through the rubber necessitating ‘topping up’ the tires every couple of months (or more frequently)—nitrogen, because it is dryer and larger molecules then regular air mix (which does include nitrogen) will lose pressure at a slower rate over the same period.
    To remove the sensor requires your using the supplied wrench, to first loosen the locking nut, then remove the sensor. And for many home air compressors, you will also need to remove the locking nut so that the compressor fitting will sit down on the valve stem. You would need to add or delete the necessary air pressure, measure the pressure using an independent gauge, re-install the Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 unit (and nut if you removed it), tighten up the nut using the supplied wrench. A couple of more steps than you would need without the TPMS unit on the tire. Then of course, there is the situation where you may not be the only driver of your car equipped with the Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100. You would have to tell the other driver(s) where you keep the wrench, show them how to use it and remove/re-install the sensor, etc.

    • Include spare sealing gaskets. The package does include some spare parts, such as an extra locking nut, locking rings, and internal (small) red gasket seals. It really needs to include four spare clear (large) silicone sealing gaskets based on my experience of some of them snagging when you assemble the unit after replacing the battery.


    Conclusions:

    For vehicles without an OEM tire pressure monitoring system (or even those with the rudimentary type where it only tells you ‘you have low tire pressure but not which tire’) the Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 is certainly worth considering. This is especially true if you are like many motorists who don’t check the air pressure in each of their tires with any regularity. Low tire pressure can lead to a catastrophic tire blow out, significant decrease in the handling characteristics of your car, and too low or too high of pressure to premature wear of your tires.

    The Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 is a viable system that can fairly easily be installed by the consumer, as compared to aftermarket internal tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Internal TPMS systems require the tire to be unmounted from the wheel, installed and the tire remounted on the wheel. Similarly, both systems are reliant on batteries and while the Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 has only a 1 to 2 year expected battery life (internal TPMS have a 5 to 8 or 10 year expected life), the battery is much easier and cheaper to change on the Papago! system than on an internal TPMS.

    I have some concerns over the quality control of the new Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 as noted above, but if you have any issues they are very responsive to resolving them. Once your system is sorted out it should not be an issue.
    Also, since the receiver/display uses an accessory outlet, if you only have one and have another accessory you want to use simultaneously (like the Papago! 550 dash cam), you will need to get a single to dual accessory outlet adaptor. The Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 does have a USB port, so if your other accessory can use a USB connection (like the Papago! S30 dash cam), you will be fine.

    Bottom line, I rate the Papago! GoSafe TPMS 100 3 thumbs up out of a possible 5. Hope this helps you to continue to enjoy miles of smiles and safe travelling. JD.
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    Impressive review! Thank you Jeff!
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    My pleasure Jeremy.
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    I've used a motorcycle version of that. The valve caps look the same, although the display is different. On mine, the locking nut was optional, and I never used them, and never had any issues. That made removing the caps to add air much easier.

    The system worked well, as long as you made sure the caps were screwed down tight. The one drawback to these types of systems is that the tire valve no longer does the job it's designed to do. You're depending on the valve cap to not leak. I never had any issues with mine, but it is something to keep in mind. The same basic system is available under various product names.

    It did once notify me of a dangerous low pressure situation. I hit an obstacle in the road that apparently broke the bead seal on the front tire briefly. Pressure dropped about 20 psi in an instant, but the tire had no puncture and held air after that. After that experience, I'm definitely a fan of TPMS. Checking pressures regularly can prevent problem from normal pressure loss and slow leaks, but only a real-time TPMS can warn you of a sudden loss of pressure.

    The best aftermarket TPMS system I've used is, unfortunately, no longer available for the automotive or motorcycle market. It was called SmartTire, and it actually mounted sensors inside the tire (mounted to the wheel), and would show temperature compensated pressure as well as actual pressure, and actual temperature inside the tire. And since it didn't mount to the valve stems, there was no worry about compromising the seal of the valves. It did require dismounting and remounting the tires, though, and rebalancing.
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    Great Review Jeff!
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    Jeff, outstanding product review for any gearheads out there.

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    Thanks Rick and Gary. meyerweb you can run it without the locking nut as you mention, however, that makes it a lot easier for someone else to remove the sensor.
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    Thanks Jeff for your thorough and insightful review!
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    Thanks John. As always appreciate the feedback.
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