CHICAGO — The tools and test instruments that contractors and technicians use in the field continue to improve. The variety of meters, monitors, and detectors on display at the 2003 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) proved this point.

Several manufacturers unveiled entirely new instruments and product upgrades designed to make the lives of field technicians easier and businesses more productive.

A Smarter Manifold

Testo(Flanders, N.J.) unveiled its new TestoKool line of digital manifolds at the show. The line of products will provide one integrated meter for measuring, recording, and regulating refrigeration systems, the company said. For example, the TestoKool 560 features direct measurement of refrigerant pressure/suction up to 735 psi, with dual temperatures from 150 degrees F to 750 degrees F, and vacuum. According to Testo, the 560 has 35 different refrigerant charts with new refrigerant data available via Internet download. Other units in the series will measure only vacuum or temperature and pressure.

High-Tech Gauges

Dwyer(Michigan City, Ind.) introduced its new Series DPG-100 digital pressure gauge. According to the company, the new gauge has ± 0.25 percent full-scale accuracy. It also has a four digit digital display, which is intended to help reduce the risk of errors that can occur when reading analog gauges.

Dwyer plans to market several different digital pressure gauges in its DPG-100 line. According to the company, each gauge will have the capability to read psi, kpa, kg/cm2, and more.

Ashcroft’s (Stratford, Conn.) new digital gauge is the Type D1005PS, which can display a number of separate pressure readings. Ashcroft said that its new gauge is beneficial to contractors because it allows them to read and display nine separate units of measurement with one instrument.

Rick Pieper, ATP sales and marketing manager, ACR, Europe, demonstrates a new TIF leak detector at the 2003 AHR Expo. (Photo by Dave Wilks.)

Leak Detection

Advanced Test Products (ATP)(Miramar, Fla.) introduced the next generation in its TIF XL-1, RX-1, and XP-1 refrigerant leak detectors. The company has taken these three detectors and added new features, creating the XL-1A, RX-1A, and XP-1A leak detectors. The original leak detectors will still be available from ATP, but each new product takes the old and expands on it.

The latest detectors have the same leak-detecting capabilities, but with a new design that the company said makes it more aesthetically pleasing and more ergonomic. The latest detectors have a dark purple color (a change from the company’s previous orange color) and rubber cushioned grip handles.

Bacharach (New Kensington, Pa.) introduced its Tru Pointe™ electronic leak detector, which has been designed for an instant response for all refrigerants.

According to the company, the instrument can detect all CFC, HFC, and HCFC refrigerants. Bacharach said that the Tru Pointe is easy to use because it requires no calibration; contractors only need to turn the unit on and point it in the direction of possible leaks.

The H10Xpro Top Gun™ Refrigerant Leak Detector was introduced at the show by Uniweld (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The detector has a heated triode sensor and 16-inch flexible probe. The product comes complete with two removeable, rechargeable NI-CAD batteries, a battery charger, a 0.5 ounce per year (R-134a) calibration reference bottle, extra tip filters, and extra O-rings, as well as a fitted storage case. According to the company, the product has sensitivity for all refrigerants and will not cause false alarms. A five-year product warranty is available at purchase.

The Eliminator™ is a new electronic refrigerant leak detector from CPS Products Inc. (Hialeah, Fla.). The detector uses a cold cathode diode to detect leaks. According to CPS, the product can detect HFC, HCFC, CFC, and SF6 gases and blends. The company also said that its Powershift software can automatically monitor, control, and adjust all critical instrument settings to ensure maximum leak search results in any job environment.

Manufacturers used the show to introduce other methods of leak detection. ATP displayed its new Master HVAC Kit and its HVAC Injection Kit. According to the company, the Master HVAC Kit includes everything a technician needs for ultraviolet leak detection, including a UV lamp with charger, six separate A/C dye cartridges, injection gun with hose, UV-enhancing glasses with dye cleaner, and service stickers.

For the contractor who already has a UV light, the HVAC Injection Kit provides only the injection gun, six A/C dye cartridges, and service stickers.

Ashcroft said its Type D1005PS digital gauge can display nine selectable units of measure, including kpa, psi, bar, kg/cm3, and ft H2O.

Temperature, Humidity

Raytek®(Santa Cruz, Calif.) displayed its MiniTemp™ infrared thermometer. The noncontact thermometer is available in both MT2 and MT4 models. According to Raytek, the MiniTemp includes the same features as a professional IR thermometer, and can be used in a number of applications, including spot measuring, temperature differentials, and scanning. Raytek suggests using the noncontact thermometer for monitoring climate control systems, balancing room temperatures, checking supply and return registers, and testing ductwork for efficiency.

Fluke’s (Everett, Wash.) new Fluke 61 laser-sighted infrared thermometer is a simple point-and-shoot instrument that can read temperature measurements up to 525 degrees F, the company said. Also new to the company are the Fluke Combo Kits. Kits include the Fluke 16 Multimeter with temperature, Fluke 322 Compact Clamp Meter, Fluke TL75 Hard Point Test Lead Set, and the Fluke 80BK Integrated Temperature Probe. All pieces of equipment come in the Fluke C800 Carrying Case.

Extech Instruments (Waltham, Mass.) has developed new multimeters featuring a built-in infrared thermometer. Two current models include the Extech 400 and the Extech 450. Both have complete multimeter capabilities along with an infrared thermometer. According to the company, the built-in thermometer is helpful for diagnosing and troubleshooting, especially with electrical distribution systems, electrical circuit connections, motor and pump bearings, and HVAC lines and ducts.

Cooper Instruments (Middlefield, Conn.) introduced a new tool designed to display not only temperature, but wetbulb, dewpoint, and humidity, as well. The SRH122 Digital Psychrometer is a pocket-sized device that the company said allows technicians to set cooling systems at specific superheat or subcooling temperatures using wetbulb measurements. The company said the digital pocket psychrometer can help with determining simple cooling, heating, and ventilation needs.

Cooper also showcased its SP160 Digital Solar Panel Thermometer. The instrument is solar/battery powered and comes with a 4-inch probe cord to measure temperature in hard-to-reach spots. The thermometer response time is about 10 seconds and can display temperatures up to 158 degrees F.

ATP has added the Amprobe THWD-2 to its list of instruments. The tool displays both temperature and humidity readings. Temperature readings can reach 140 degrees F and humidity readings can reach 99 percent rh, the company said.

Onset Computer Corporation introduced a protective case for its HOBO LCD Temp/RH datalogger. The case can protect the device in dusty or wet environments.

Meters, Monitors

Besides its digital manifold, Testo used the expo to debut two more products. The Testo 305 Electronic Combustion Analyzer was on display. According to the company, the tool allows a technician to analyze and optimize oil- and gas-burning equipment in a matter of seconds.

The device is designed to measure O2, CO2, excess air, efficiency, and temperature.

The company also highlighted its new Testo 300 M-I/XL-I. Testo said that this compact flue gas analyzer can measure systems with the same accuracy as larger systems. The Testo 300 can display O2, CO, CO2, SO2, and nine other measurements. Additional advantages include an attachable printer and the capability to detect leaking gas pipes, the company said.

Another analyzer was introduced by Bacharach. The company introduced its Monoxer III, an analyzer that can locate CO in ambient air as well as stack gases.

The Monoxer III is an evolution of Bacharach’s previous Monoxer tools. The latest comes with a stainless steel probe and five feet of tubing to sample CO found in flue gases or residential furnaces, combustion appliances, and commercial and industrial boilers. A wireless printer can also be provided to record and print CO levels.

There was no shortage of handheld meters at the expo. Fieldpiece (Brea, Calif.) has introduced over 40 new pieces of equipment. These include leads, lead accessories, and thermocouples. The company has also developed new accessory heads for its meters. They include a new head to measure air velocity and air temperature, one for carbon monoxide, and another for dual temperature. Other new products include dataloggers with PC software, new manometers, and new clamps.

A new line of digital multimeters was on display courtesy of A.W. Sperry (Hauppauge, N.Y.). The multimeter models include DM-210A, DM-220A, and DM-230A. The company said the three new tools are more affordable and can test AC/DC voltage, DC current, resistance, audible continuity, diodes, and microwave diodes.

Other handheld devices offered by A.W. Sperry included the new Digital Psychrometer and the Automatic Circuit Breaker Finder. The Digital Psychrometer can test for temperature, humidity, dewpoint, and wetbulb. Temperature recording can reach up to 122 degrees F and 100 percent rh, the company said. The device also comes with a one-year warranty.

The Automatic Circuit Breaker Finder comes with a one-year warranty. The tool displays an audible and visual indication when it has found a correct circuit breaker. A.W. Sperry said the device can verify proper wiring, check GFCI operation, and requires no service interruption.

The newest meter for Mannix Testing and Measurement (Lynbrook, N.Y.) is its CFM Master II. Mannix said that the device can record up to eight multi-point readings and can simultaneously display air velocity and temperature. The instrument can also test for cfm, fpm, mph, kph, mps, knots, and temperature.

In the monitoring department, Bacharach also developed its new HGM300 Multipoint/ Multigas Refrigerant Monitor and the RDM800 Refrigerant Monitoring System. Bacharach stated that the HGM300 is a multiple refrigerant gas and multiple area monitoring system for low level continuous monitoring of refrigerant gases used in commercial refrigerant systems. The monitor can track CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants, the company said.

The RDM800 is a display module and provides remote programming and interrogation. The tool can display functionality to support the HGM300. The device also has four inputs via RS485 from up to four HGM300 refrigerant monitors.

Onset Computer Corporation (Bourne, Mass.) demonstrated its line of dataloggers. The manufacturer has a new protective case for mounting its HOBO LCD temperature and rh datalogger in condensing, wet, or dusty environments.

Onset also announced that it has been named the exclusive representative by Sensirion AG of Switzerland for sales of its digital rh/temp modules in the Eastern and Midwest United States and Eastern Canada.

Publication date: 02/17/2003