“This is an excellent product that should be well received by the industry professionals who use it,” said one of the contractor judges that governed the 2014 Dealer Design Awards Testing and Monitoring Products category, in reference to Dwyer Instruments Inc.’s HVAC Mobile Meter™ Application.

The product is for use with Dwyer Instruments Inc.’s test instrumentation. Currently available for Android® devices, the Mobile Meter App measures and logs differential pressure, air velocity, volumetric airflow, temperature, and humidity via wireless probes and/or modules.

According to the company, the app seamlessly interfaces with wireless probes and/or modules in Dwyer’s UHH Universal Handheld product family. The UHH-BTG Mobile Wireless Gateway Converts UHH Wireless Signals to Bluetooth SIG Inc. Wireless Technology and communicates at a distance of 25 meters or greater between hand-held devices and the wireless probe. The Mobile Meter displays parameter values in gauge and meter views. Area and K-Factor can be entered for velocity and flow. It records and logs measurements when users push a button on the probe and/or module, and it emails logged files directly from the user’s phone or tablet.

“Wireless probes were designed to allow a technician to measure the static pressure at the duct while seeing the reading on his or her phone or tablet and simultaneously allowing a user to make damper adjustments, all at the same time,” said Michael Chhutani, market development manager, Dwyer Instruments Inc. “The ‘Log Files’ function on the Mobile Meter Application freezes a given measurement at the precise moment the desired measurement is taken, so the technician can verify the measurement’s validity. Additionally, the number of logged measurements is incremented, allowing the technician to know which measurements to delete, if there were any errors.”

According to the company, measurements from this product may be made available to any app, and report-generating software companies may integrate measurements directly into reporting apps, which reduces entry time and increases the accuracy of the data in the reports.

A year and a half of research went into the product’s design. The company held focus groups of HVAC customers at several tradeshows and participated in direct calls to existing Dwyer customers. The company plans to continue to develop additional probes with a goal of eventually automating the complete balancing and commissioning reports.

Silver Winner

The 6-in-1 Psychrometer with Enthalpy (EP8711P) from General Tools and Instruments is a multifunction instrument and silver award winner. The EP8711P measures six different environmental parameters relevant to HVACR technicians: ambient temperature, relative humidity (RH), dew point, wet bulb temperature, absolute humidity (mixing ratio), and enthalpy. Many of the parameters measured by the EP8711P are also typically used by water damage restoration contractors and professionals charged with monitoring and maintaining the environment of facilities such as office buildings, greenhouses, food and equipment storage facilities, wineries, freezers, shipping containers, computer rooms, labs, libraries, museums, and saunas.

Technicians can choose Imperial or metric units display for all measured parameters except RH. The EP8711P employs an integral 6-inch-long sensor-tipped probe to measure conditions inside ductwork. The probe’s ability to swivel increases placement options. A rotating protective cap safeguards the humidity and temperature sensors at the probe tip when not in use. The product has a pocket/belt clip to aid in portability and on-the-job convenience. Other features and specifications include a 4-digit, 1.5-inch (38-mm) diagonal LCD; a Farenheit and Celsius toggle switch; a two-minute auto power-off function; and a low battery indicator.

This product was created by an inventor, not a research and development team. The inventor provided a prototype of the EP8711P to General Tools’ product development committee — including upper management and engineers. The leadership team made an initial evaluation of the instrument and decided to manufacture the product. The instrument then underwent an intensive three-month development discussion, review, and research process. General engaged its product development committee, focus groups, and key customers in this process. Important issues and objectives related to product performance, features, benefits, and more were identified. The product underwent subsequent revamping and redesign, leading to the EP8711P’s current form. In the future, General Tools representatives plan to develop a recording version that will offer users the ability to record and save measurements on an SD card.

Bronze Winner

The Patriot 2-Valve Manifold from JB Industries Inc. took bronze in this category. The mainfold is used to test, diagnose, charge, and evacuate HVAC systems. Features include a new bar design, swiveling hose holders, easy-grip metal handles, 1 percent surge-dampened gauges for reduced needle movement, and replaceable intake fittings. The product also has a free-floating piston. According to the company, it allows for maximum flow to save contractors time on the job.

A full year of research went into the design and development of this model. JB Industries explained that extensive field input on preferred style combinations was gathered. The company was intent on creating what it called, “the go-to manifold that didn’t have to sacrifice style and quality.”

As part of its marketing plan, JB Industries donates to Operation Homefront for each Patriot sold. Operation Homefront is a charitable organization that supports families of deployed service members.

JB intends to introduce camouflage- and sportsman-patterned rubber boots to coincide with the patriotic theme of the manifold in the near future. The company also plans on creating a long-term relationship with Operation Homefront.

Publication date: 7/21/2014 

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