Testing Products Help Save Valuable Time

July 16, 2005
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In an age of HVAC when labor shortages often hinder a contractor's ability to take on more work projects, new equipment diagnostic tools often make fewer workers more productive. The Testing and Monitoring Products category yielded a large number of entries in The News' second annual Dealer Design Awards. First and second place honors were snagged by Testo Inc. (Flanders, N.J.) for the testo 330-1 Advanced Digital Combustion Analyzer and TestoKool 523 Digital Refrigeration System Analyzer, respectively. The third place award winner is Nielsen-Kellerman (Boothwyn, Pa.) for its Kestrel® 4100 Pocket Air Flow Tracker.

GOLD: The testo 330-1 Advanced Digital Combustion Analyzer was one of two Testo products honored.

Gold Winner

Testo Inc. (www.testo.com) received the first place award for the Testo Advanced Digital Combustion Analyzer (Model testo 330-1). It is a handheld analyzer that measures and simultaneously displays eight parameter readings including oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, temperature, draft, and pressure. In addition, it calculates combustion efficiency, excess air, and flue gas dew point.

Bill Spohn, Testo HVACR product manager, said, "A contractor can store 200 combustion test records for data analysis or customer report generation in the companion software product, Easy Heat. The test record storage feature of the testo 330-1 allows the contractor to create professional reports for the customer as well as store valuable data for later comparison."

The product offers a fast, 30-second startup, the ability for online measurement (via USB connection) of real-time combustion parameters, and an easy to check and maintain filter to keep the product in perfect operating condition.

One judge commented the field replacement of plug-and-play sensors that are precalibrated is a major benefit for a diagnostic hand-held tool.

"Not having to send sensors back to the factory for calibration will save weeks of down time in our business."

Another judge liked the "robust and sturdy design" of the testo 330-1 product. It has an integrated protective coating and triple recessed magnetic support, to avoid scratching the appliance. Details and reliability were a concern, according to Spohn. "This product will continue to perform for years on the job," he said. "We designed it with the rigors of field service in mind."

SILVER: The TestoKool 523 Digital Refrigeration System Analyzer can handle the rugged work requirements of HVACR technicians.

Silver Winner

The Digital Refrigeration System Analyzer (TestoKool Model 523) from Testo Inc. (www.testo.com) allows technicians to test refrigeration and air conditioning equipment with laboratory accuracy while in the field.

Users have a "digital window" into any refrigeration system via an easy display revealing pressures and temperatures. The unit also has the capability to directly read the refrigerant line temperature for automatic superheat and subcooling calculations.

The data-logging feature of the TestoKool allows a contractor to find intermittent problems, and verify the operating characteristics of a piece of equipment over seconds, minutes, or even 24 hours or longer.

The contractor simply leaves the TestoKool attached to the system while tending to other projects. When the technician returns, the information is waiting.

Spohn said, "The built-in manifold allows for evacuation, charging, or partial system bypass, all in one tool. It even has a small refrigerant holding capacity."

A judge commented, "This is an excellent tool and has plenty of benefits for a technician."

The temperature compensated pressure sensors are built to measure up to 725 psi, well beyond today's typical high-pressure refrigerants. The sensors will withstand up to 1,087 psi in an overload situation.

Spohn said, "This helps to make this product one that can endure many years of service."

BRONZE: Kestrel Pocket Weather Meters won third place with the Kestrel 4100 Pocket Air Flow Tracker. The hand-held tool holds up to 480 data points.

Bronze Winner

Nielsen-Kellerman (www.nkhome.com) presented the company's recently introduced hand-held Pocket Air Flow Tracker (Kestrel Model 4100) for the consideration of our contractor judges. One zealous judge told us that, "Every technician I employ will have one of these ASAP!"

The Kestrel 4100 is specifically designed for measuring cfm, temperature, relative humidity, and dew point with storage of up to 480 data points.

The data-logging function allows technicians to monitor facilities in a specific area over time. The user is able to set the logging interval to store data automatically (frequency options of anywhere from every two seconds to every 12 hours), providing great user flexibility.

The data can be viewed on the Kestrel's screen in chart form, or uploaded to a computer using the optional interface.

Christine Munding, assistant brand manager with Nielsen-Kellerman said, "The Kestrel 4100 makes a technician's job easier by eliminating the need for calculators or equations. The user simply selects the shape of the duct or opening (rectangle or circle), and then enters the dimensions of the duct and the airflow is automatically calculated. The cfm is instantaneously displayed when the Kestrel 4100 is held in the airflow."

In order to ensure accurate readings when the airflow is fluctuating or variable across the duct, this instrument has a simple averaging function that allows the user to control the timing of the averaging. Because the Kestrel holds the maximum and average flow values, this function is also ideal for technicians taking readings in ducts that are reachable, but hard to see.

Honorable Mention

Four products received honorable mention from the judges in this category: The SmarTester Ignition Controls Analyzer (Models ST50K and SISVK) from Sealed Unit Parts Co. Inc. (www.supco.com); the AirAdvice IAQ Monitor (Model 5100) from AirAdvice Inc. (www.airadvice.com); the OPTIMAX Jr.â„¢ (Model OPX-500CS) from Spectronics (www.spectroline.com), and the Stargate SG3000 from Stargate International (www.stargateinternational.com).

Publication date: 07/18/2005

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