Quiet Assistants Lend Help to Technicians

July 12, 2010
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Calling a person a “tool” is no compliment, but a device that can truly assist a person in performing work duties is a prized commodity and gives the word a positive meaning. The seventh annual Dealer Design Awards champs in the Tools category highlight the best of what an HVACR tool can be: a device that aids greatly a technician in resolving an HVACR problem of some sort. The winners are Appion Inc.’s Tez8 vacuum pump with the gold, Zebra Instruments’ Universal Zebra with silver, and both Leica Geosystems’ DISTO D5 and Lindab AB’s SR handle with a bronze.

GOLD WINNER: The Appion Inc. Tez8 Speed System™ vacuum pump is a combination of the Appion Tez8 Vacuum Pump™ and MegaFlow Speed Kit™.


The Appion Inc. Tez8 Speed System™ vacuum pump is a combination of the Appion Tez8 Vacuum Pump™ and MegaFlow Speed Kit™. (The MegaFlow Speed Kit consists of four MegaFlow™ hoses, two vacuum-rated valve core removal tools, and one multi-port gauge manifold.) The Totally E Z Oil Management (TEZOM™) makes it easy to monitor oil quality and helps the technician to identify and change wet or dirty oil on the fly. It is air-cooled by a custom high-speed turbine fan so the pump stays cooler and the oil stays thicker and seals better, longer.

The clear debris-monitoring tube prevents contamination from entering and damaging the pump. The debris tube is also a positive-pressure relief to eliminate accidental oil showers. The Tez8 also features an adjustable four-port input for easy connection and a garden hose threaded output for remote exhaust.

The ultra-flexible hoses allow the technician to attach large-diameter hoses in restricted locations. Designed for evacuation, the hoses will not collapse and remain fully open and unrestricted during evacuation. The MegaFlow Valve Core Removal Tool™ features a side-port access valve and vacuum-tight isolation valve to allow for easy, accurate reading of system vacuum levels. The Tez8™ allows the user to change the oil while the pump is running, without breaking the vacuum. The 5-Second Oil Change™ makes maintenance of the Tez8 easy and helps protect the pump against contamination and corrosion.

Large industrial systems, as well as residential systems, can be evacuated in one-quarter of the time it takes with a traditional vacuum system, and fast evacuation helps to ensure a proper evacuation of a system at the time of installation or service, according to the manufacturer.

The lightweight and easy hook Tez8 Speed System gives the technician the ability to bring the right tool to the job regardless of the size or inconvenient location of the system.

A judge commented, “This is a great tool. Having used previous models, we know this will be a great addition.” Another noted, “The Tez8 provides fast evacuation and it can outperform larger pumps. These are important features.” A third judge said, “It sure is a cleaner way to do it.”

SILVER WINNER: Zebra Instruments’ Universal Zebra is housed in a rugged, latching case, protecting the tool and wiring harnesses from damage in the service vehicle.


The Universal Zebra is an electronic tool that can be used to diagnose problems with virtually any HVACR ECM motor, says the company. A technician can use this tool to test run an ECM motor that is suspect. The motor can be run at 1 to 6 different speeds - depending on the actual motor.

The tool is housed in a rugged, latching case, protecting the tool and wiring harnesses from damage in the service vehicle. Online videos show technicians how to hook up, use, and test specific series of ECM motors.

It has three, three-way switches and seven LEDs. The unit ships with one adapter that fits a particular ECM motor, and many other adapters, each with their own magnetic overlay card, are available.

The Universal Zebra has an auto-reset circuit breaker built in, in case a mistake is made.

“This will be a very handy tool to have. … Having adapters to quickly check motors will be a great advantage,” said one judge. A second remarked, “I need one of these in my toolbox.” A third judge observed, “This gives techs a low-cost tool for testing and diagnosing multiple ECM motors. It sounds like a winner.”

BRONZE WINNER: The Leica Geosystems DISTO D5 can measure up to 650 feet within 1/16 of an inch.


The Leica Geosystems DISTO D5 is a laser distance meter with digital viewfinder (4x zoom), 2.4-inch color display, and ± 45-degree tilt sensor. A user can measure up to 650 feet within 1/16 of an inch. The integrated digital Pointfinder’s high-resolution capability provides a sharp, crystal-clear image. The tilt sensor allows the user to measure horizontally or measure past obstructions (horizontal distance). The integrated Power Range Technology™ allows someone to measure up to 100 meters without a target plate, and up to 200 meters using a target plate.

The laser dot is clearly visible, so the user can tell where the measurement is occurring. “This product appears to meet the needs of hard-to-reach measurements for construction sites, buildings, and homes. I really like the fact that it can read over 600 feet - that is impressive,” remarked one judge.

A second judge stated that it “looks like a great tool, a real timesaver.” A third judge observed, “This product allows for very quick and accurate measurements.”

BRONZE WINNER: The Lindab AB SR Handle is a carrying tool designed for handling large-diameter ductwork.

The Lindab AB SR Handle is a carrying tool designed for handling large-diameter ductwork. Constructed of galvanized steel, each handle weighs 4.41 pounds and is adorned with blue foam padding on the grip. When used in pairs, the SR Handle makes moving and carrying duct safe and easier and faster, says the company. The handles can be used for transporting ductwork within a warehouse or unloading product at the jobsite. SR Handles create a safe distance from the ductwork, lessening the risk of cutting one’s hands or legs. The tool helps those carrying the ductwork with load distribution. It promotes employee health and safety.

One judge commented, “Wow, good idea.” Another judge observed, “This should make it a lot easier and safer to handle large duct.” Yet another judge summed up the judges’ comments by saying, “It’s a handy tool.”


Gold Winner:
Appion Inc.
Tez8 Vacuum Pump

Silver Winner:
Zebra Instruments
Universal Zebra

Bronze Winners:
Leica Geosystems

Lindab AB
SR Handle

Honorable Mentions
Fluke Corp.
TiR32 Thermal Imager

Condenser Needle

Publication date: 07/12/2010

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