DALLAS - When it comes to monitors and test instruments, it is rather amazing to see the vast improvements recorded in almost every phase of instrumentation over the past few years. Nowhere is it more pronounced and eye opening than at the annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo).


ACR Systems Inc.(www.acrsystems.com) announced the re-release of its SmartReader Plus 4, a low-pressure differential data logger (LPD). The newer version includes easy-to-use software, said the company.

The product features extra-fine pressure resolution for commissioning, testing, and balancing HVAC systems, it said. Typical applications include monitoring filters, building pressure, and air duct velocity and volume. The company said the logger is a 10-year, self-powered, two-channel logger with internal pressure and temperature sensors. The low-pressure sensor is built into the logger and is designed to measure low gauge and differential pressure.

Amprobe (www.amprobe.com), which was purchased by Fluke last year, announced that all Meterman products will be changed over to the Amprobe name. Thus, the company touted 15 new multimeters and seven new clamp meters at the expo.

Fluke introduced its Ti family of thermal imagers and the 922 airflow meter at the expo. As a company, it also presented a donation of two Fluke 975 AirMeter test tools to 10 selected schools.

According to marketing communications manager Barbara Welde, the three new precision pocket meters - PM51A, PM53A, and PM55A - are ultra compact in size. “These meters come in a package less than a half inch thick for ultimate portability,” she said, adding that they are fully autoranging with oversized LCD display.

The two new specialty meters are unique in size, too, said Welde. Model DM73C is a compact probe-style meter, which has two different probes for hard-to-reach measurement spots. Meanwhile, the DM78B is a credit card-style meter, which has “all of the resolution and measuring functions of larger, more expensive meters,” said Welde, adding that the analog barograph and “Data Hold” maximize the display for easy viewing.

According to Welde, the two new full featured clamp meters - AC68C and AC75B - are designed for HVAC installers, as well as electrical contractors. The AC68C features true RMS, measures 400-600A ac current, and 600A dc current, as well as 600V dc voltage.

Ashcroft Inc.(www.ashcroft.com) came with five new monitors and/or test instruments. Topping the list was the Xmitr™ pressure transmitter-gauge, dual-function instrument, which earned an honorable mention finish in the Expo Innovation Awards. According to the company, the instrument “combines the advantages of the proven Ashcroft® PowerFlex™ pressure gauge with patented transducer technology to create a single, convenient, dual-function instrument.” With only half the number of instruments to install, the Xmitr reduces the cost of purchasing, installing, and calibrating multiple instruments, it said.

Ashcroft also introduced:

• The CXLdp low-pressure transducer, “specifically engineered to provide stable, reliable static, or differential pressure measurement in HVAC comfort control systems.” A small housing and multiple mounting options allow the CXLdp to be easily mounted on a DIN rail, conduit or wall, said the company.

• The G2 is an economical pressure transducer, specifically engineered for critical OEM applications, said the company. It is designed with an accuracy rated at 1 percent total error band.

At the expo, Testo featured more than 12 new instruments, including its 317-3 CO stick, designed to supply fast and easy ambient carbon monoxide testing.

• The DXLdp low-differential pressure transmitter is designed for critical airflow, room pressure, and air handler management applications, it said. It is equipped with the SpoolCal option, as this transmitter can be validated, zeroed, and calibrated while online, without ever having to disconnect the pressure tubing, it said.

• The Weksler® universal ad-just-angle thermometer, which is rated at ±1 percent accuracy and is available with either a seven- or nine-inch scale. According to the manufacturer, 360 degree case and stem rotation and large graduations “make it easy to read in nearly all types of installations.”

Fieldpiece (www.fieldpiece.com) touted its ASX14 and SSX34, which measures line temperature and pressure. Each can automatically calculate real-time super- heat or subcooling, said marketing director Mike Moriarty.

The ASX14 superheat and subcooling accessory head is for use for R-22 and R-410A a/c systems. It can work with the company’s “stick” meters, data loggers, and electronic handles. The SSX34 superheat and subcooling standalone meter is for use for a/c (R-22 and R-410A) systems, as well as refrigeration (R-134A and 404A). It displays line temperature, pressure, or superheat/subcooling right on the LCD.

Also new are its ADMN2, a dual-port manometer accessory head designed to measure differential, absolute, and static pressure in mBar or inches of water column (wc); and its SC53 dual-display amps and volts meter.

Fluke (www.fluke.com) announced its Ti family of portable thermal imagers, available in six camera models: the Ti20, Ti30, Ti40, Ti45, Ti50, and Ti55. According to public relations manager Larry Wilson, each is designed for technicians with little or no thermography experience, as well as for predictive maintenance experts, process engineers, and consultants “who require the best thermal imagers.”

In other developments, the company introduced its Fluke 922 airflow meter, which combines differential pressure and air velocity and flow measurements into a single meter; and its 975 AirMeter™ test tool, designed to simultaneously measure, log, and display temperature (wet bulb and dew point), humidity, CO2, and CO levels, said the company. Regarding the 975 AirMeter, Wilson noted it can also include airflow and velocity capability, using the optional air velocity probe.

TIF Instruments touted its new infrared thermometers: the TIF7620, the TIF7612, and the TIF7610.


General Tools Manufacturing Co.(www.generaltools.com) displayed its new handheld digital CO meter, model DCO1001. According to Peter Harper, director of marketing, the battery-operated meter features a new electromechanical CO sensor, designed with three points of auto calibration: 0, 100, and 500 ppm.

The meter has a backlit LCD and simultaneously exhibits dual readings of CO and “Max Hold,” updated every second, he said. Other features include high repeatability, auto zero, adjustable alarm settings, and an audible alert, which is designed to trigger above 35 ppm to indicate a dangerous CO concentration.

GrayWolf Sensing Solutions(www.wolfsense.com) introduced a new, portable six-channel particle counter. According to spokesperson Celia Bozsum, the product is supplied with exclusive data transfer and graphing software. “Unique, automated report generation software is also available,” said Bozsum, “as well as an interface to mobile PC which significantly enhances on-site documentation of particle count surveys.”

Offering 6 channels of simultaneous particle counting, Bozsum said the PC-GW3016 displays both cumulative and differential particle count data on its 3.8-inch touch screen. The handheld, 2.2 pounds. meter is capable of logging 3,000 sets of measurements onboard, said the company.

Kestrel Pocket Weather Meters(www.nkhome.com) displayed two new hand-held Pocket Air Flow Trackers, the 4100 and 4200. The 4200 measures every environmental condition, logs up to 2,000 data sets, and uploads to a computer, “all with the accuracy of instruments costing hundreds more,” noted brand manager Amy Winner. Humidity ratio is displayed in grains per pound or grams per kilogram, based on the company’s patented temperature-adjusted relative humidity sensor, said Winner.

Both the 4100 and 4200 are designed to automatically calculate cfm in seconds, with no calculators or equations, she said. All a technician has to do, she said, is select the duct shape, set the dimensions, and hold the meter in the airflow. “These pocket-sized airflow meters are exactly what HVAC technicians need to quickly analyze the effectiveness of an a/c or heating unit or verify system flow,” said Winner.

Newport Electronics(www.newportusa.com) was proud to show off its iSE environmental monitor, designed to provide Web-based remote surveillance of environmental conditions in critical HVAC applications, such as computer server rooms, clean rooms, laboratories, and museums. The instrument was selected the top 2007 AHR Innovation Award winner in the tools and instruments category.

According to spokesperson Kathleen Hurd, users can view virtual charts and record temperature, relative humidity, and dew point over an Ethernet network or the Internet with no special software - just a Web browser. Up to four years of data can be recorded on the removable flash memory.

Ridgid(www.ridgid.com) displayed its SeeSnake® LCD Monitor+DVD, for use with all SeeSnake camera reels. The new product, introduced late last year, is described as a rugged and durable high-resolution LCD monitor and DVD system, designed to provide users with digital recording capabilities, as well as improved picture quality, in a lightweight design, said the company.

“This latest addition to the SeeSnake family answers the industry’s need for digital recording, while providing Ridgid performance and advanced user interface,” said Tim Montbach, product manager, diagnostic products.

In two more announcements, Ridgid pointed out it has a new “extreme performance” aerosol threading oil, plus a new MicroRay™ IR-100 thermometer “with advanced measurement accuracy.” The noncontact infrared thermometer is designed to provide fast, accurate temperature readings without users having to contact the object being measured. It has a sensitivity reading from –22° F to 934°F, within +/- 1.5 percent of accuracy, said the company.

At the expo,Testo(www.testo.com) went a step further than most exhibitors by introducing a boatload of new products. At a press conference held at the Dallas Convention Center, Bill Spahn, HVACR product manager for Testo, said there is a need for quality and accurate tools, monitors, and test instruments.

In regard to new instruments, Testo introduced:

• 317-3 CO stick, designed to supply fast and easy ambient CO testing. Spahn said it automatically measures and displays CO from 0-1,999 ppm and warns of excessive levels with adjustable audible and visual alarms.

• 330 combustion analyzer, designed for commercial burner-boiler service. Per Spahn, it measures temperature, O2, CO2, CO, efficiency, excess air, and draft, and shows all results on the backlit, four-line graphic display.

• 440, a handheld portable, IAQ measuring system. It measures temperature, CO, CO2, rpm, mV, mA, humidity, dew point, plus velocity and volumetric flow, said Spahn. Operation is made simple with large LCD, drop-down menus, assignable fast function keys, and user-friendly keypads, he said.

• 506 Series differential manometers that read to 80-inch H2O (0.001 resolution), with temperature-compensated sensors in 5 units of measure, said Spahn. Applications include static pressure testing (ducts/fans), determining airflow over coils and heat exchangers, fuel pressure, pressure switch, and building pressure tests.

• 6340 differential pressure transmitter series, designed for clean room monitoring of differential pressures. Of the four new pressure transmitters - 6341, 6342, 6343, and 6344 - the latter two are equipped with, as Spahn described, “a unique automatic zero point adjustment.”

• 830 Series infrared temperature measurement instruments, designed to automatically measure and display temperature readings from -22° to 752°, “making the units suitable for a wide range of applications in HVACR,” said Spahn. An alarm both audibly and visibly warns when the user-adjustable temperature set point is exceeded.

• 845, designed to supply a wide range of infrared temperature measurements for a wide range of applications. It also data logs or may be used with a PC for real-time stream of temperature data.

• CO2 nondispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor for its 350 portable emission analyzers. Spahn termed this product suitable for certain processes such as cement, concrete, and limestone manufacturing, where direct measurement of CO2 is critical for optimum operation and accurate combustion evaluation.

• TesoView 318 series fiber optic inspection scope, which was improved to supply more powerful optics for easier examination of areas normally hidden from sight, said Spahn. It added a more comfortable grip, and a more convenient on-off light switch.

• HVAC performance test kits, which Spahn said were created in response to the 13 SEER a/c equipment requirement that “underscores the necessity of proper equipment sizing and setup.” He said the kits provide all the tools necessary to field commission a/c systems, providing verification of installed performance.

• Compact Class instruments with wireless probe capability. “They accurately measure temperature in two places at once, up to 65 feet away,” said Spahn. A user-installed module adds wireless capability to the thermometer, while a wireless handle accepts both air and surface thermocouple probes for one-button, wire-free measurements, from- 58° to 662°, he said.

TIF Instruments(www.tif.com) talked about its new infrared thermometers: TIF7620, TIF7612, and TIF7610. Typical applications include checking furnace exteriors, steam traps, and heat exchangers, plus it can take suction line temperatures for superheat.

The company also featured its new pocket infrared thermometer, TIF7201. Specifications include temperature measurement range of –27° to 428°, operating temperature range of 14° to 122°, and an accuracy of ± 2 percent of reading or ± 4°.

The March 12, 2007 issue ofThe NEWSwill feature the new refrigeration tools, test instruments, and recovery products introduced at the 2007 AHR Expo.

Publication date:02/19/2007