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For professionals, it’s always tool time. This brief year-end tool review rounds up a handful of items that might make the work a little easier in 2021.


1. Elitech Intelligent Vacuum Pump

Elitech Vacuum Pump.

INTELLIGENT VACUUM PUMP: Featuring a four-color touchscreen and intelligent motor and solenoid control, this Elitech pump is tailored for large-tonnage systems. Photo courtesy of Elitech

With the Elitech Intelligent Vacuum Pump, the company looks to make tasks simpler for technicians working on large-tonnage commercial and industrial HVAC systems.

A color 4-inch smart touchscreen and intelligent control for motors and solenoid vales lead the pump’s list of features. System leakage detection and job completion time notification add convenience, as do the unit’s datalogging capabilities and related available storage via the company’s corresponding app.

As for dedicated leak detection, Elitech’s IR-200 detects all CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOs. Applicable to any complex detection conditions, the unit offers real-time display of the concentration curve and peak recording.

The high-performance tip avoids water ingress, and the IR-200 extends battery life via lower power consumption.

The manufacturer recommends starting by using the headed diode sensor. Then, once the area has been narrowed down, users can switch to the infrared mode to further isolate the culprit.

2. Yellow Jacket Wireless Refrigerant Charging Scale

Yellow Jacket Scale.

SCALE UP: Ritchie Engineering’s Yellow Jacket brand now includes its wireless refrigerant charging scale, featuring a 220-pound capacity and Bluetooth capability for managing data. Photo courtesy of Yellow Jacket

The Ritchie Engineering Company’s Yellow Jacket Wireless Refrigerant Charging Scale sports a 220-pound capacity, large platform, and wireless Bluetooth® communication to make the measuring process fast and easy.

Operated with any Bluetooth-enabled smart device and the YJACK VIEW™ app, the scale allows users to save charging measurements to their devices to document the installation or service call.

Meanwhile, the YJACK series of Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) sensors includes a temperature clamp, a temperature strap, YJACK DEW™ psychrometer, and YJACK PATH™ repeater/range extender.

All options complement the P51-870 TITAN® series of digital manifolds or can operate independently. Related, they can communicate with the P51-870, with a smart device, or with both.

The user can measure system pressure and temperature while monitoring the temperature, relative humidity, wet bulb, and dewpoint at the supply and return registers. The YJACK PATH allows those measurements to be taken up to 2,400 feet away from the P51-870 TITAN and the smart device.

These sensors are sold separately or in two kits.

3. Malco’s Reversible Hex Drivers

Malco Driver.

STREAMLINED: Malco took 16% off the size of its ¼-inch option to improve on the company’s C-RHEX® reversible hex drivers. Photo courtesy of Malco

Malco’s popular ¼-inch and 5/16-inch C-RHEX® Reversible Hex Drivers have received an update: the new design tweak reduces the ¼-inch size by 16% for easier access in tight spaces.

The reversible hex socket can be quickly reversed and the magnet likewise easily cleaned, according to the manufacturer. These are available in four convenient lengths.

4. NAVAC’s Model NEF6LM Power Flaring Tool

NAVAC Pressure Gauge.

FOUR-GAS PORTFOLIO: NAVAC’s N2A4 manifold pressure gauge can diagnose and determine R-22, R-410A, R-134A, and R-404A, buffered by a molded protective shell and rubber covering for shock absorption. Photo courtesy of Navac

NAVAC’s new Model NEF6LM Power Flaring Tool weighs in at an easy three pounds while still producing accurate automatic flares in what the manufacturer calls a fraction of the time required by traditional flaring methods.

The NEF6LM can create flares in five sizes, ranging from ¼-inch to ¾-inch. It is designed to perform well in harsh environments and offers quick-connect functionality.

Featuring one-button operation and a luminous LED flashlight, the tool can complete a flare in just 15 seconds and is built to make over 100 flares per charge.

The charging process itself takes no more than 30 minutes for a full charge.

The ultra-lightweight tool aligns with NAVAC’s goal of meeting HVACR industry needs for user-friendly equipment and tools that are less complicated and save time. It is also intended to save money, priced one-third less expensive than its predecessor from NAVAC.

All in all, said Stephen Rutherford, vice president of HVAC Tools Business for NAVAC, the design goal here was to build “upon the original’s strongest asset — simplicity — while mirroring its ability to increase speed without sacrificing precision.”

NAVAC is also featuring the N2A4, its precision impact-resistant manifold pressure gauge with Class 1.0 accuracy.

This gauge effectively measures the pressure of various gases and liquids used in HVAC systems, helping technicians to troubleshoot and reduce leaks and system failure.

Featuring a premium construction with a durable aluminum body and ball valves, the N2A4 Manifold Gauge is used to diagnose and determine the status of four refrigerants: R-22, R-410A, R-134A, and R-404A. With the most commonly used refrigerants (R-410A & R-22) laid-out in its larger outer rings, the N2A4 Manifold Gauge is exceedingly easy to read.

The tool also features an impact-resistant design with a molded protective shell and rubber covering for shock absorption. An integrated folding hook design offers ease of transport.

5. Knipex Tools Forged Wire Stripper

Knipex Wire Stripper.

SCREW-CUTTING CAPABILITY: The latest Knipex Tools forged wire stripper includes screw-cutting holes for #6-32 and #8-32 screws. These holes do not have threads on them, so a screw can be inserted and cut faster and easier. Photo courtesy of Knipex Tools

For stripping and cutting solid or stranded wire between 10 and 20 AWG, Knipex Tools has just released its Forged Wire Stripper. It features several patent-pending features, but the manufacturer cites its screw cutting holes for #6-32 and #8-32 screws as the tool’s most distinctive feature. The screw-cutting holes do not have threads on them, so a screw can be inserted and cut, making the task faster and easier.

Additional design details include locating ridges between the stripping holes for easily finding the correct stripping holes without looking, wide knurled gripping jaws for twisting wires, and induction-hardened shear cutting blades that Knipex calls out for their high cutting capacity. The Forged Wire Stripper’s cutting blades are designed to cut individual wires, NM-B, BX/MC, and battery cable.

The wire stripper also offers a lock that can be used either right- or left-handed, an internal spring for easy opening, and a bolted joint for precise and smooth cutting adjustment.

6. Crescent Tools’ Tradesman Rolling Tool Bag

Crescent Tools Tradesman Rolling Tool Bag.

Crescent Tools finishes the job by providing a place to put those tools when the work is done. The 18-inch Tradesman Rolling Tool Bag features heavy-duty treaded wheels and a two-way magnetic lid with 200-pound lid capacity, so users can stack plenty of stuff on top of it as needed.

Newly designed sleeves hold the tools in place without losing small bits in the bottom of the pockets.

The professional-grade, 13-inch wide, 20-inch deep, 15.59-pound bag comes in black, gray, and rawhide. Regardless of exterior color, it is intended for rugged conditions — or dark ones, with a bright orange interior designed to help techs find tools faster in darker environments.

The bag features 35 total pockets for ultimate tool storage capability. Seventeen interior and eight exterior pockets line the bag, so users can organize and prioritize as they wish. An ergonomically designed top handle and a telescoping pull handle serve to let users get an easy grip when it is time to move to the next site.