The Wireless HVAC Tool Wave
A wide range of connected devices is now available
The rapid growth in wireless technology has resulted in a plethora of new products and devices, including those used by HVAC professionals. Manufacturers are responding to the demand by offering a wide range of wireless tools they believe will help contractors and technicians do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.
Cooper Atkins Corp. offers NotifEye, a cloud-based monitoring and notification system that uses wireless sensors to detect temperature and humidity changes, monitor inventory, and send data wirelessly for access on any smart device. Patti Ellingson, director of industrial sales, noted the system is a cost-effective alternative to having to hardwire sensors throughout a building. “The cost savings on average per job is 60 percent since this is a self-installable system that does not require the drilling of walls and running of wire.”
The system has no limit to the number of sensors (or locations that are being monitored) and can be expanded to multiple sites, as well, so a customer with multiple locations can monitor all of the locations at the same time. Ellingson added that contractors can use NotifEye as a revenue generator, as it allows them to monitor their service contract customers in real time, thus enhancing their relationship and reducing false service calls.
NotifEye comes with a one-year warranty and an expected battery life of two to three years. As long as the sensors are kept dry and within the ambient operating range, they are expected to last indefinitely.
With Fieldpiece’s Job Link™ app for both Android and iOS devices, real-time measurements can be taken from Fieldpiece tools wirelessly to diagnose a system and create reports to email to the customer. These reports can also be saved for later viewing or used for customer tracking. The JL2 Transmitter is required to link the smart device with any Fieldpiece wireless manifold (SMAN4, SMAN440, or SMAN460) or the wireless dual in-duct psychrometer (SDP2). These manifolds can check, evaluate, and charge systems using one easy-to-read instrument while the SDP2 psychrometer measures both supply and return air conditions simultaneously in real-time.
Job Link is designed to run the entire HVAC job through the tech’s smartphone, said Russell Harju, product manager. “Job Link is more of a network of products rather than just an app, and its biggest advantage right now is that it works with existing Fieldpiece tools already prevalent in the market. However, there is a lot more to come.”
Techs may find the app to be particularly useful as it links the technical and business aspects of the field tech’s job, said Harju. “Once it’s setup, the field technician can use Job Link on most jobs as a way to make adjustments based on live measurements as well as keep track of critical information, such as customer details, system information, measured values, and checks performed.”
The CM55/57 flexible clamp meters from Flir are ergonomic tools designed to simplify difficult current measurements. Made with a narrow flexible coil clamp, the CM55/57 allows measurements to be easily taken in tight or awkward spots — a difficult task with a traditional hard jaw clamp meter.
With Bluetooth communication for remote viewing and data transfer to iOS and Android devices via the Flir tools mobile app, it’s possible to analyze and share data right from the job site. Designed with convenience in mind, the stand-alone, flexible clamp meters offer easy inspection and navigation with bright, dual-LED worklights to provide built-in illumination for dark cabinets.
The clamp meters have been drop tested to 3 meters and are portable, lightweight, and tangle-free without compromising measurement range. Choose from two flexible coil lengths — the 10-inch CM55 allows for easy maneuverability and compact convenience while the 18-inch CM57 is designed for use with larger and multiple conductor measurements.
With the Fluke Connect® system, technicians can wirelessly transmit measurement data from Fluke Connect test tools to their smartphones for secure storage on the Fluke Cloud™ and team access from the field. More than 30 wireless test tools are part of Fluke Connect with more scheduled to be introduced this year and in 2016.
With the Fluke Connect smartphone app, technicians can combine measurement data from multiple Fluke Connect test tools to create and share reports from the job site via email and they can collaborate in real time with other colleagues with ShareLive™ video calls, increasing productivity in the field.
The Fluke Connect system offers a wide range of benefits to HVAC technicians, including safety and accuracy, said Dan Wright, communications manager. “Fluke Connect allows a technician to put the measurement tool in locations that would be potentially dangerous to the user. Test results can then be read, recorded, and stored on the Fluke Cloud while the technician is a safe distance away. As for accuracy, manual recording and transcription of data is replaced by wireless transmission and storage, which makes the technician’s job faster and more accurate as transcription errors are eliminated.”
In addition, with the Fluke Connect system, a technician is no longer required to stay with a piece of test equipment, waiting for intermittent faults to occur. Instead, Fluke Connect tools will record relevant events while the technician is performing other tasks or not on shift, said Wright.
Mastercool’s 98315 wireless scale with built-in solenoid is designed to provide precise, accurate, and hands-free wireless operation. The tool allows technicians the ability to program the scale with a specific amount of refrigerant and then move on to the next job site task. They do not have to wait for the programmed charge completion or beep as the unit will automatically shut down when the required charge is completed.
This tool allows contractors and technicians to work more efficiently as it installs refrigerant with precision and without additional hoses and connections, said Chris Carroll, sales manager. “Most scales offer standard programmable features with external solenoids available while others offer hands-free but not wireless capability because the solenoid is still external. Mastercool combined these two features, so the technician truly has wireless capability.”
Other features of the wireless scale include pause/charge, which allows the user to stop and continue charging; tank capacity programming; empty/full, which allows the user to know the amount of refrigerant at any time; and repeat, which allows a user to charge previously stored amounts.
This scale will provide many years of reliable precise performance, said Carroll. “While all scales need to be well taken care of due to weight sensors in the platforms, the heavy-duty Mastercool unit is built to protect the sensors and the core components. No regular maintenance is required.”
The Yellow Jacket® ManTooth™ wireless digital pressure/temperature gauge is a precise instrument designed to accurately measure and report critical information needed to service refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
The ManTooth provides a wireless connection and utilizes Bluetooth wireless technology with a smart device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This offers an HVAC technician several benefits, including the ability to roam up to 400 feet away from the a/c unit in order to perform other tasks; elimination of the need for hoses or manifolds in the testing process and less refrigerant loss while troubleshooting and system; fewer tools to carry to the job site; and the ability to communicate results of measurements (pressure/temperature) instantly via e-mail.
The thinking behind the ManTooth is that HVAC service contractors will not only obtain more accurate temperature and pressure readings while on the job, but also obtain more flexibility in performing tasks, which will immediately improve their on-site level of quality and efficiency in serving HVAC systems, said Mary Jo Gentry, marketing communications manager. “In addition, the data gleaned from each job can be stored digitally to create a report history for each HVAC unit. Technicians will save valuable time and increase their day-to-day productivity.”
The free, downloadable ManTooth RSA app wirelessly calculates and displays the system’s actual pressures, temperatures, superheat, and subcooling in an easy-to-read color format on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
Publication date: 11/9/2015