Testing The Tools Of The Trade At AHR Expo

March 8, 2002
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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — The test instruments on display at the 2002 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) were all about updating and improving old models to make them lighter, more versatile, and more technologically impressive.

Some manufacturers showcased completely new and exclusive test tools to make contractors’ and technicians’ jobs easier.

The new ZX-1 Heated Pentode Refrigerant Detector from TIF reduces false alarms and failures due to over-exposure of refrigerant, according to the manufacturer.

SOMETHING BRAND NEW

Advanced Test Products (ATP) (Miami, FL) showcased the new TIF ZX-1 Heated Pentode™ refrigerant leak detector. The instrument uses a patent-pending heated pentode sensor technology and detects all halogenated refrigerants at levels below 0.1 oz/yr.

According to Adam Seymour, vice president of business development for ATP, the new detector has two unique benefits. These benefits overcome problems seen previously in some other detectors.

First, the ZX-1 cannot be “poisoned” by a large amount of refrigerant. For example, if the detector is exposed to 100% refrigerant or to an unusually large leak, the instrument will not quit working.

“Large leaks can create a failure and shutdown,” says Seymour about some detectors, but this does not occur with the ZX-1.

ATP’s new product has also eliminated false alarms, according to the company. The ZX-1 has overcome sensitivity to temperature changes, which Seymour says can lead to the alarm sounding. The detector can be moved from a cold area to a warm area, and vice versa, without these false alarms occurring.

These unique features are due to the company’s patent-pending heated Pentode. The company also has patents pending on the product’s circuits, manufacturing process, design, and other features.

Seymour stated that since

ATP consolidated its companies, including Amprobe, TIF, Promax, and Robinair, the manufacturer has had more resources to develop new products that are more technically appealing and ergonomic.

Testo has five new Stick meters, each small enough to fit into a pocket.

MONITORING INDOORS

Testo Inc. (Flanders, NJ) introduced its 825 Series thermometer, which works as both a contact and noncontact thermometer. The infrared end of the thermometer is used to measure temperature in spots that are difficult to access, while the other end is used as a regular contact thermometer.

Testo also introduced five meters that have been designed specifically with size in mind: the 405 Velocity Stick, 505 Pressure Stick, 605 Humidity Stick, 905 Temperature Stick, and 825 Infrared Stick. Each is small enough to fit in toolboxes or shirt pockets, and each has one-button operation to start recording specific measurements.

The company’s Companion™ Model 325 combustion analyzer was unveiled at the expo. The manufacturer claims the device is its “all-in-one instrument,” measuring temperature, efficiency, excess air, and draft. It can also measure carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

The company also gave attendees a look at its new TestoView, a lighted, fiberoptic visual inspection tool that lets technicians diagnose problems in areas of an hvac system that may be obstructed from view. (See page 15.)

Dwyer (Michigan City, IN) showcased products that focused on CO detection, including its new CO monitor with a flashing beacon. The monitor can be programmed for different levels of CO. When the monitor comes in contact with dangerous levels, an alarm sounds and the flashing beacon lights up.

ELECTRICAL MONITORING

Fieldpiece Instruments (Fullerton, CA) displayed some new developments with its products. The manufacturer is best known for its removable head accessories. For example, a contractor can buy an electronic handle, and mix and match several attachments ranging from CO2 detectors to current clamp heads and more.

Over the next three to four months, the company will make available some new attachments. Fieldpiece gave attendees a sample of what is to come. Some of the new attachments include a head adapter, a dual-temperature head, a digital vacuum gauge head, and a true-RMS (root mean square) head.

Other developments include improvements on earlier products. The company will introduce its SC67 clamp meter, an upgrade from the SC66 Model. The modifications include an increased temperature range of up to 1,000 degrees F. Also, the SC67 contains a noncontact voltage (NCV) function to warn users when the NCV tab is close to live ac voltages. When this happens, an alarm sounds and a light on the LED will appear.

The instrument can also measure volts, amps, microamps, ohms, temperature, and microfarads. It also has been designed for better storage, the company says. The test leads can wrap about the body of the clamp and the probes snap into the back.

Finally, the company displayed its LT17 Series digital multimeters. The tool is an upgrade of its previous multimeters and can display true RMS. The device also has an increased temperature range and measures amps in three separate ways.

The Fluke (Everett, WA) booth boasted some improvements and upgrades to its equipment and tools. Greg Jourdan of Fluke says that the manufacturer’s tools are becoming more ergonomic. For example, its 330 Series clamp meters have been designed to fit easier in the hand and also have a backlit display.

The company has also reduced the size of its digital multimeters by introducing the 110 Series digital multimeter. Although smaller in size, Fluke says the instrument has added features.

The company is also moving to graphical meters, like its new ScopeMeter 190C Color Series. The meter allows the user to see waveforms that are being recorded on the instrument screen. The instrument will be able to work with Fluke software to print out graphs and data.

A.W. Sperry (Smithtown, NY) has reduced the size of some of its instruments. The company’s DSA-500A digital Snap-Around is more lightweight and smaller in size. The tool has a sleep function, data hold, dc voltage ranges, and more.

OTHER INSTRUMENTS

TSI (St. Paul, MN) was present at the expo and gave contractors a look at its new products specifically for the ventilation and IAQ markets.

The P-Trak™ ultrafine particle counter can detect particles that are smaller than 0.1 micrometers dia. The counter can also track down where the greatest amount of these particulates are derived, whether they are from boilers, furnaces, or not-so-obvious places, such as from printers and photocopiers.

The P-Trak can also work with the manufacturer’s TrakPro™ software, which helps compile the findings of the particulate counter. The software can organize where the particulate readings are taken and the level of particulates in the air over a set amount of time.

The Q-Trak™ IAQ monitor can also be used with the software. This device measures CO2, CO, temperature, and humidity at the same time with one probe. The instrument can then store the data and compile it with the help of TrakPro.

The company also displayed its DustTrak™ aerosol monitor, which measures particle concentrations corresponding to PM10, PM2.5, PM1.0, or respirable size fractions. The instrument can be used in various settings, from office buildings to industrial workplaces, to record potential problems with dust, smoke, fumes, mist, and other airborne contaminants. The DustTrak can also be used with TrakPro software.

Lumidor Safety Products (Miramar, FL) introduced the Solomat MP Surveyor Pro, which features a built-in micromanometer, a thermocouple, and two additional sockets to allow simultaneous connection to Solomat Smart Probes, allowing the user to detect pollution pathways in a building. The probes also allow the monitoring of temperature, humidity, rpm, CO, CO2, pressure differential, airspeed, and particulates.

Lumidor also introduced its Zephyr II micromanometer and its Unimax II. The Zephyr can also be fitted with smart probes to measure volume flow, humidity, dewpoint, temperature, rotational speed, particulates, and airspeed. The Unimax is a pocket-size gas monitor designed to pick up a variety of gases, including CO, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, chlorine, and more.

Invensys (Rockford, IL) has released the Pocket I/A™. The device is a programming, checkout, commissioning, and troubleshooting tool. The instrument runs on standard Pocket PC™ personal digital assistants (PDAs) and provides several capabilities, including complete controller database uploads and downloads.

Publication date: 03/11/2002

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