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Old 14th August 2016, 11:52   #1
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Default Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS

Hi All,

I recently bought a Steelmate TP-77 DIY-Car-TPMS-with-LCD-Cigarette-Plug-USB-charger-with-4-External-Sensors from Aliexpress.

This review will cover the following points:
  1. Why a TPMS?
  2. Purchase Experience
  3. Packaging and product
  4. Installation
  5. Ownership Experience

Why a TPMS
I have been driving various cars for almost 15+ years and have heard about the in-built tyre pressure monitoring systems in high end cars but have not been privileged to use the technology on any of my cars.

As we know, tyres are an important and critical part of our driving experience. In the various reviews, ownership thread we have seen bhpians talk about how tyre grip, tread, tyre noise, tyre pressure, etc., and how important are these factors are to the overall driving experience.

Where tyre tread, noise, alignment can be felt and seen easily, tyre pressure always has remained a grey area. The only place one can track and check it has been the petrol bunks, when one fills up fuel. Other alternative is get a tyre pressure gauge and use it to check physically the pressure in the tyres before a long drive, so as to prevent any mishaps.

My personal experience with a tyre burst had always made me a little over-anxious regarding tyre pressures and apart from the visual inspection that I would consistently do before a long drive, I was always sub-consciously worried about the tyre pressure and hence the overall safety of the occupants of the car due to the same.

Hence, keeping the above things in mind and to ensure a relatively better peace of mind when driving, I started to look for an after market Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). There are namely 3 types of TPMS:
  1. Valve Based - Lowest price. Valve Caps that are colour coded to depict pressure status. Easiest to remove and install.
  2. External Sensor - Middle level pricing. Installed on valve of tyre. Has an electronic sensor with a receiver. Each sensor has it's own power. Medium level of install and removal.
  3. Internal Sensor - Highest price. Installed inside the rim of the wheel. Sensor has own power. External help required for install and removal.


While valve based type was the easiest TPMS to procure and install, I was not confident on the genuineness of their use. Also, the pressure visibility would be dependent on visual inspection before getting into the car, rather than real time, when sitting in the car. The internal wheel type was something that was not DIY and would required far more budget and effort that I was willing to put into this project. This left me with the external sensor option.

The Purchase Experience
Searching on popular ecommerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, ShopClues I saw a couple of generic products, but not very confidence inspiring. Checking out international ecommerce website like ebay.com, amazon.com and aliexpress, I came across this company Steelmate from China, which had a decent reputation, good quality products (reviews online) and relatively affordable.

Now Steelmate offers a variety of models under the TPMS for car banner. Lower spec models include only having a small LED display that showcases each tyre pressure one at a time, with each tyre being visible at a certain time interval (5 - 10 seconds). The other one included the full display of all four tyres and the one that I purchased, the TP-77, had both the entire 4 tyre pressures visible through a display connected through the power adaptor, but also a USB-out port for allowing charging of any electronic item. Since the TPMS display will plug into the power adaptor socket in the car, without the USB out, charging your mobile in the car would not have been possible.

So I created an account on aliexpress.com, ordered the TP-77 model and chose Fedex as the shipping option. The purchase experience was pretty straight forward and after completing all the address and other formalities, my order was put into processing state. I paid using my credit card (ICICI) and it was pretty convenient.

Total cost including shipping = $124.50 (TP 77) + $10.12 (Shipping by Fedex) = $134.62.

The Order and Delivery Timeline:
Order placed on - 12th August, 2016
Order Accepted on - 18th August, 2016
Picked up by Fedex - 19th August, 2016
Order Delivered on - 23rd August, 2016.

In total, 11 days, the TPMS kit was at home.

Infact the product had reached FedEx India on 21st, but there were some KYC documentation that was required, which delayed the delivery by another 2 days. On top of the total amount already paid, I had to end up paying additional Rs. 1300 at the time of delivery for custom duties.
So, total cost to me was: $134.62 + Rs. 1720

The FedEx and Aliexpress consistently kept me in the loop for every status change in the transaction. The only time I had to actively go on the website to check the status of the order was between the order process and order accepted state, which took about 5 days. Overall experience, very good.

Packaging and Product
I'll let the photos do the talking here:
The Front of the Box
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-box-front-shot.jpeg
The Back of the Box
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-box-back-shot.jpeg
All of the box contents
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-box-open-all-items.jpeg
The Sensors, the Display
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-box-opened-zoom-.jpeg
The TPMS Screen
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-screen.jpeg
The TPMS Display Unit
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-side-full-shot.jpeg
The USB slot on the display unit
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-usb-slot.jpeg

The items were well laid out and the packaging was premium. The box contained:
  • 4 Sensors marked for each tyre (FL, FR, RL, RR)
  • 4 rubber sheaths for each sensor
  • 4 screw nuts & sensor locks
  • A special wrench for locking the tamper proof screw nuts
  • A plastic wrench for scewing / unscrewing sensor to the valve
  • 4 coin size batteries for the sensors
  • Instruction manual for installations

Attaching a small product video for reference:


Installation
Installation was a simple DIY. The steps are mentioned below:
  1. Unscrew the valve cap of the tyre
  2. Cover the valve with the rubber sheathing
  3. Screw the tamper proof nut
  4. Screw the Sensor Valve & tighten the tamper proof nut counter clockwise where the sensor was screwed on clockwise
  5. Settle the rubber sheath so as to cover the rear of the sensor to ensure waterproofing
  6. Insert the Display unit into the car's cigarette lighter slot.
  7. Power on the car
  8. The sensor will start to calibrate. Keep the SET button pressed for 30 seconds and all the pressure details of the tyres will display on the unit
  9. Incase the sensor is unable to give any reading, recheck screwing the sensor on the valve and try SET button again

The results of the efforts
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-sensor-look.jpeg
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-sensor-rubber-beading.jpeg
Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS-tpms-.jpeg

Important Note:
Please ensure that you have inflated the tyres to a slightly higher pressure than recommended before installation. During the install, there will be some pressure that will leak out when you screw the sensor into the valve.
Also, once the sensor is installed, tyre pressure re-filling is a cumbersome process where you will have to remove the sensor. So, try to get the pressure right before putting the sensor on.

Ownership Experience
I have been using the sensor for 6 months now, without any issues.
Some of the good points about this unit:
  • Easy to set up - DIY in 30 minutes
  • Crisp display of all 4 tyre pressures in both PSI / Bar
  • USB slot ensures that I can still charge my phone
  • Fit it & Forget it types
  • Accurate in real time
Some of the bad / not so nice points of the unit
  • Once installed, cannot get air filled at local gas station. Have bought a tyre inflator to solve this.
  • Fear of removal from the tyre by miscreats / thieves. Tamper proof nut is a good security, but with Indian 'jugaad', that little apprehension is always there

Overall I'm very happy with the product and it sure has given me a peace of mind, especially while travelling long distance.

Last edited by prateekswarup : 4th February 2017 at 10:22.
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Old 5th February 2017, 15:25   #2
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Default re: Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Tyre & Alloy wheel Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th February 2017, 17:58   #3
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Default re: Installed! Steelmate TP-77 TPMS

Quote:
Originally Posted by prateekswarup View Post
Hi All,

I recently bought a Steelmate TP-77 DIY-Car-TPMS-with-LCD-Cigarette-Plug-USB-charger-with-4-External-Sensors from Aliexpress.

................

Overall I'm very happy with the product and it sure has given me a peace of mind, especially while travelling long distance.
Thank you for the review!

Please do update on the long term reliability of the product.

I had invested in a similar product as mentioned here (Review: Solar-powered Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. EDIT: Unreliable & waste of money), but within 3 months one of the sensors starter leaking air and within 5 months, two sensors went kaput.
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