News / Testing, Monitoring, Tools

Invested Research, Design Yields New Tools

Gold goes to hilmor’s Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor

July 22, 2013

The features on this gauge kept piling up and the contractor judges of the 2013 Dealer Design Awards decided it deserved gold. Leading the Electronic Tools category was hilmor’s Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor. This hybrid gauge weighs in at 4.25 pounds and offers both analog and digital displays. The outer gauge face changes color to coordinate with the selected refrigerant and the outer gauges also have a real needle to show system pressure and LSAT/VSAT temperatures. This gives technicians an instant double check on their readings. The inner LCD displays pressures, temperatures, and calculated superheat and subcool. The self-calibrating gauges provide 1 percent accuracy every time the gauges are turned on, according to the company, and the cleanable vacuum sensor is integrated right into the tool.

Design Dedication

The Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor, along with rest of hilmor’s line, was a long time in the making. Hilmor spent six years researching existing HVACR tools and developed a full line of hand tools, manifolds, and gauges. “The Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor is one result of that extensive research and development process,” said Julianne Tacy, product manager, hilmor. “We worked alongside technicians — studying their tools, how they used them, and finding out how they could be better.”

According to the company, hilmor engineers, developers, and marketers visited over 45 job sites and rode alongside 80 contractors throughout the U.S. The manufacturer also held meetings with 48 focus groups, as well as conducted surveys of 1,700 contractors and 334 distributors.

“From drawings to prototypes, engineers developed and tested more than 60 product concepts with thousands of HVACR technicians in the field,” added Tacy. “Instead of creating tools and equipment we thought technicians needed, we relied on firsthand observations to determine where the gaps were and developed tools and equipment to address those gaps.”

Contractor Benefits

The Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor includes preloaded data for 39 refrigerants, dual temperature readings, vacuum sensor, and a micron gauge. The company said it did this to help contractors lighten their loads. Additionally, the outer gauges are backlit, which makes them easy to read in dark spaces and the vacuum is automatically detected and measures down to 50 microns. The cleanable vacuum sensor is integrated right into the tool.

The Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor is streamlined, simplified, and intuitive to help technicians do their job quicker and with more confidence,” said Tacy. “Hilmor continues to work alongside HVACR technicians in the field to gather insights and will continue to develop tools that raise the bar in terms of durability, accuracy, and simplified innovation.”

Gold Winner Highlights
Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor

Silver Winner

A/C System Analyzer

Mastercool Inc.’s A/C System Analyzer is an all-in-one tool that not only calculates critical information for the a/c system but also diagnoses basic system problems. The analyzer is able to calculate actual superheat, subcool, target superheat, temperature split, dry bulb, wet bulb, relative humidity, dew point, air velocity, and air volume. The LCD display leads the technician through basic tests, making service quicker and less complicated. The A/C System Analyzer Kit #52270 includes the Analyzer, a round vane, a 3-foot clamp-on thermocouple, and a pressure transducer in a rigid blow-molded case.

Silver Winner Highlights

Mastercool Inc.
A/C System Analyzer

Bronze Winner


The H25-IR PRO is an industrial-grade refrigerant leak detector and gas analyzer from Bacharach Inc. It is capable of detecting over 40 of the most commonly used refrigerants and halogen gas compounds as well as R-600a, R-290, and R-744. With nondispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor technology, the H25-IR PRO responds to leaks in less than one second and detects leaks as small as 0.03 oz/yr (0.9 g/yr), said the company. It features proprietary leak-quantification technology that ensures accurate and reliable operation and eliminates the need to periodically adjust the instrument to a calibrated reference leak source. Applications include air conditioning and refrigeration manufacturing lines, automotive Bronze Winner Highlights

Bacharach Inc.

Bronze Winner

TR21 Recovery Machine

The TR21 refrigerant-recovery machine from CPS Products is the result of five years of intense research and testing focusing on refrigerant-recovery equipment and the recovery process itself, said the company. It weighs 24.5 pounds and has a 6-by-12-by-9-inch footprint. Standard applications include the commercial and residential extraction of refrigerant from a/c and refrigeration systems in compliance with EPA regulations. The product features direct vapor or liquid recovery; a maintenance-free two-cylinder oil-less compressor design; and permanently lubricated and sealed main bearings. It recovers all common refrigerants including R-410A and has a patent-pending cooling system design.

Bronze Winner Highlights
CPS Products
TR21 Recovery Machine

Bronze Winner


The iBorescope - DCiS1 from General Tools & Instruments is a video inspection system for mobile devices. Using the instrument’s Wi-Fi hot spot capability and a free app, HVACR contractors and plumbers can instantly and wirelessly view and save high-definition inspection video and images on any iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone or tablet. This eliminates the need for an integral monitor or a wired connection to an external monitor. With a regular MSRP of $299, the iBorescope offers an economical way to visually inspect inaccessible or hazardous areas, said the company. General’s iBorescope has countless HVACR applications involving the visual inspection of inaccessible or hazardous areas, such as inside ducts; behind walls; and inside machinery, equipment, and appliances.

Bronze Winner Highlights

General Tools & Instruments

Publication date: 7/22/2013

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