CHICAGO - Like most manufacturers of monitoring and test instruments,Testo( did not come empty-handed to the 2006 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). The Flanders, N.J.-based manufacturer introduced 18 new monitoring and test instruments in Chicago. It focused on its new Compact and CompactPro classes of instruments, which Testo claimed sport an industry first: wireless probe capability for HVAC and critical HVAC temperature and humidity measurements.

Referring to the wireless technology, Bill Spohn, product manager, HVACR, for Testo, noted that the "accurate and easy-to-use" battery-powered probes can be used up to 65 feet away from the handheld Compact and CompactPro meter. "With this technology, you now can really be in two places at the same time," said Spohn.

A user-installed module (similar to a cell phone SIM card) adds wireless capability to the appropriate meter in each class, he said. Reliable, secure RF transmission technology provides the flexibility to place a probe anywhere it's needed, he said. In the end, this allows the technician to perform multiple tasks, complete long-term measurements, all without instrument cables, climbing ladders, or hanging from unsafe positions.

Testo's Compact series instruments have been redesigned with a sleek, ergonomic shape, larger backlit screen, and essential functions, all available from a four-button keypad.

Here is a quick synopsis of some of the other new products Testo introduced:

  • 317-3 CO Stick, designed for fast and easy ambient carbon monoxide testing. According to the company, this low-cost test instrument automatically measures and displays CO from 0-1,999 ppm and warns of excessive levels with adjustable audible and visual alarms. It said the pocket-sized CO meter weighs 9 ounces.

  • 319 Flexible Fiberscope, designed to provide clear visual inspection tasks in and around heating, air conditioning, wiring, insulation, and ductwork jobs. The modular probe design allows adaptation to almost any work situation, the company said.

  • 335 Industrial 3-gas Combustion Analyzer, designed for engine tuning and maintenance and for industrial combustion analysis of NOx, low NOx, CO, O2, and SO2. It features plug-and-play sensors. Technicians can quickly field-swap other sensors, such as NO and NO low, for testing flexibility.

    (Testo, along with other instrument manufacturers, introduced several new refrigerant and refrigeration tools and test instruments at the show. Look for a full report of these new findings in the March 6 issue of The NEWS.)


    Of course, Testo was not the only company at the expo with new monitoring and test instruments. Sealed Unit Parts Co. (Supco) ( featured its new SmarTester, described as a nonintrusive, hand-held diagnostic tool designed for troubleshooting the electronic ignition systems of gas-fired heating equipment. According to the company, the ignition controls analyzer monitors electronic signals of various appliance components "through its unique interface and cable system." The tester is designed to test multiple circuits, eliminate guesswork, pinpoint intermittent problems, and reduce callbacks.

    Also new are its SL Series mini data loggers. This series of loggers is designed to provide concise measurement for critical environmental conditions, it said.

    Shortridge Instruments ( touted its new ADM-880C AirData multimeter, designed for measuring air velocity, temperature, pressure, and airflow. The all-in-one ADM-880C is a hand-held, battery-operated meter intended for use in qualifying new construction, remodeling, and maintaining existing air systems, said the company. Key test, adjust, and balance (TAB) applications include commercial and industrial buildings, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and cleanrooms.

    SPX Corp. ( introduced several new instruments under its various business units: TIF, Robinair, Amprobe, and Promax.

    TIF announced the availability of its IR (infrared) thermometers: the TIF 7620, TIF 7612, and TIF 7610. The 7612 and 7620 feature a thermocouple interface that can extend the temperature up to 1,999°F, said the company. These units can also set alarm temperatures. The company also touted its TIF 8500A carbon monoxide analyzer.

    Amprobe, on the other hand, introduced its new AM-220 and AM-240 digital multimeters. It said the 220 is specially designed for a wide range of electrical measurements, while the 240 is more suited for HVAC applications only. Both feature AC/DC voltage up to 600 V, AC/DC current up to 10 A, and have auto and manual ranging, said the company.

    Electronic Specialties Inc. ( introduced its EST-30 IR snake flexible infrared thermometer. The product features a flexible shaft, making it capable of measuring around corners, obstructions, and wires in crowded compartments. The non-contact IR (infrared) sensor and laser unit are built into the head. According to the company, the ability to snake around the obstructions and tight areas allows more accurate and direct line of sight measurements to be taken.

    Onset Computer Corp. ( displayed its new HOBO FlexSmart data logger. The company said the modular, reconfigurable data logging system will enable energy and facility management professionals to solve a broad range of energy and industrial monitoring applications without having to purchase a toolbox full of loggers and sensors. Snap-in signal conditioning modules convert signals from nearly any type of sensor, said the company.

    Fluke Corp. ( had several new product introductions. It said its new 971 temperature humidity meter has the ability to measure temperature, dew point, or wet bulb from –4° to 140°F (+/- 1°), and measure relative humidity (RH) from 5 percent to 95 percent (+/- 2.5 percent RH).

    It said the meter's 99-point data storage capacity means users can take multiple readings and store them for later analysis. It features a liquid crystal display with backlight and a low-battery indicator. It operates on four AAA alkaline batteries.

    Also new to the Fluke camp are its 1507 and 1503 insulation testers. According to the company, these testers are capable of delivering multiple test voltages and are designed to provide rugged reliability and ease of operation for a wide range of troubleshooting, commissioning, and preventive maintenance applications.

    Winters Instruments ( displayed its solar-powered industrial 9IT digital thermometer. With RTD/transmitters, it is designed to offer both a remote electronic temperature reading (4-20mA output) and a digital local indication. In short, the company said its new product is for applications requiring a remote electronic temperature reading and a direct, local readout - and this is accomplished via the same instrument.

    Controlotron Corp. ( announced a new energy meter, which it described as being suited for energy distribution monitoring. It said its new 1010E meter also provides immediate analysis of energy efficiency with real-time COP.

    Wohler USA Inc. ( announced three new products: the A 500 commercial/industrial combustion and environmental analyzer, the E 3 Series residential and light commercial combustion analyzers, and, from its visual inspection line, the VIS 220 self-contained service camera.

    According to the company, the A 500 combines the very latest in analyzer technology, field-exchangeable sensors, touch screen operation, plus advanced data management and data logging. It sports an extra-large display with all readings on one screen. The tool is designed for the service technician who needs to determine combustion efficiency and emission compliance, it said.

    The E 3 Series combustion analyzers are available in traditional probe/hose style - or the compact "gunstyle" - with integrated probe. Features include a one-button operation, advanced data management capabilities for storing and printing, all readings on one screen, rapid read-out technology (RRT), and a light compact design, it said.

    The VIS 220 is designed to inspect piping from 1-¼ to 6 inches in diameter.


    Fieldpiece Instruments ( featured its new SSX34 superheat and subcooling meter, designed for use in both A/C and refrigeration. The standalone meter features a rugged rubber boot and magnetic hanger. According to the company, a technician can hang the magnetic hanger over a corner to minimize slip and can plug in the pipe clamp thermocouple, which is included, into the K-type thermocouple plug. The company said a tech can connect the SSX34 directly to the A/C, or refrigeration, system using a standard ¼-inch EPA-approved refrigerant hose, using the pressure port at the top of the meter.

    Model ASX14 is an accessory head for superheat and subcooling for A/C (R-22 and R-410A). Model ASX24 is an accessory head for superheat and subcooling for refrigeration (R-134A and R-404A). An ATC1 pipe clamp thermocouple is included with all superheat and subcooling heads, it said.

    Fieldpiece also demonstrated its new HS36 stick meter. According to the company, the new meter allows technicians to detect non-contact voltage and measure temperature in addition to true RMS.

    Meterman Test Tools ( introduced five new products. Its new compact AC50 leakage current clamp meter is designed to measure low AC currents to measure ground conductors for leakage current down to 10 microamps.

    Meanwhile, its new EPM3 phase sequence and motor rotation tester is described as being two measurement devices in one. One-half of the unit is designed to measure the phase sequence of a three-wire system using the power of the unit under test (UUT). Using lamp indicators, it is designed to show the three-phase sequence or alternately indicate an open phase situation. The opposite half of the EPM3 is designed to verify three-phase motor rotation - clockwise or counter clockwise - on an unpowered motor using an internal 9-V battery.

    Also new is its IR608 infrared (IR) thermometer. Intended for variable distance temperature testing, the new product is designed to measure a minimum 8:1 target area of 1 inch in diameter to a distance of approximately 8 inches, with accuracy to 2 percent. Meanwhile, its new VT500 voltage tester is to be used to test for plus or minus AC or DC voltage. It is designed to indicate five different levels of voltage, from 12 to 400 volts.

    Meanwhile, its new AC71 digital multimeters employ two unique features: AutoTectâ„¢ plus an automatic backlight.

    Test Products International ( featured its new TPI 270 clamp-on meter, designed to measure motor inrush currents, calculate temperature differential, and measure frequency. The company said it could measure up to 40,000 microfarads.

    Vulcain ( introduced its VA301W gas monitor. The wireless monitor is designed to provide, as described in a company press release, "the same accurate measurement offered by other Vulcain gas monitors, while drastically reducing the installation and maintenance cost."

    Acme Engineering Products ( talked about its new E Series gas detector. The stand-alone unit is designed to provide ventilation control in enclosed parking facilities. It is available in three-digit LED display of CO gas concentration or bar graph illustration, said the company.

    Dwyer ( displayed its new DPGA Series and DPGW Series of digital pressure gauges. Meanwhile, it also introduced its pH/ORP temperature meter, designed to measure and display pH from 0 to 14 pH and temperatures up to 200°F. Model PHO-1 meter features manual or automatic temperature compensation and data logging capabilities.

    GrayWolf Sensing Solutions ( featured its new Direct Sense TVOC multi-gas PID monitor. According to the company, the monitor can be hooked up to a Windows mobile PC to measure, datalog, and report on worker and occupant IAQ exposure levels. GrayWolf's TG-502 probes offer a choice of two different photo ionization detector (PID) sensors, each optimized for each application, said the company. Each probe also includes sensors for relative humidity, temperature, and up to three electrochemical specific gas sensors.

    Ashcroft ( announced two new instruments. Its new CXLdp low-pressure transducer is designed to provide stable, reliable, static, or differential pressure measurement in comfort control systems. Meanwhile, its new Weksler® "Adjust-Angle" thermometer is rated at +/- 1 percent accuracy and is available with either a 7-inch or 9-inch scale.


    Ludeca ( featured its new Vibscanner® data collector. It features built-in sensors for assessing vibration acceleration, displacement, and velocity, according to ISO standards. It is also designed to sense shock pulse for bearing damage and lubrication conditions, pump cavitation, process parameters, inspection codes, temperature, and RPM.

    Leica Geosystems ( introduced its sixth-generation Distoâ„¢ hand-held laser distance measuring tools. The company said the instruments allow a technician to measure distances from 1 to 650 feet, and are designed to be accurate within 3/32-inch. The A3 model, at the low end, has a measuring accuracy of 325 feet within 1/8-inch, it said.

    Preso Meters, a division of Racine Federated Inc., ( touted its new PTTF ultrasonic transit clamp-on integral flow meter. It is designed to measure most clean liquids containing moderate amounts of suspended solids or aeration.

    The company said the non-invasive unit provides easy and low-cost installation by clamping on the outside of existing pipe systems ranging in size from ½ inch to 2 inches. It is designed to replace mechanical flow meters in applications where liquid conditions tend to damage or impede mechanical flow meter operation, it said.

    ACR Systems ( featured its HVAC solution kit, complete with its USB-ready loggers and TrendReader Standard 2, the company's new data logger software.

    According to the company, the new software features advanced equation capabilities and comprehensive and functional data presentation windows.

    According to the company, the kit contains technology designed to measure power consumption, zone temperature, building pressure, and control signals over time. The software, in turn, is designed to turn the logged data into a graphical format. It is supposed to give a picture where energy is being wasted and what is causing occupant discomfort, said the manufacturer.

    E Instruments Group ( talked about its new portable infrared thermometers. The IRtec Micro-Ray is a noncontact thermometer that has many applications, including boiler heating circuit diagnostics and air conditioning circuit diagnostics.

    Publication date: 02/13/2006