AdministratorOctober 7, 2019 at 11:15 am
As the real experts in this field, I’m interested in feedback from you about the new generation of wireless pressure/vacuum/temperature gauges.
I’ve seen quite a few videos of techs using these, and while their clips make the systems look really simple to use, I’m guessing that it isn’t always that straightforward?
Do any of you have experience with any specific brands, or have you used them and then switched back to the “old fashioned” gauges instead?
Thanks for your feedback. I’ll pick a random member to receive some bonus techtown rewards points to thank them for their reply.
MemberOctober 8, 2019 at 7:40 am
It’s very interesting to watch the progression of field instruments. When I started it was with a Imperial 2 valve manifold, R12 was $16 for 30 lb. bottles and hoses never lasted more than a few months. Today I use 2 Brute 4 valves and a Testo digital manifold. I only break out the digital when I need precise values for adjustments. Having both temp and pressure and different refrigerant conversion on one screen makes it a lot simpler than having to carry temp-pressure charts that wear out in a month or two. Now with the third generation of units coming out that have remote capability, I can see that if one works on a lot of TXV remote condenser units it would save a lot of time and climbing. The question is if they are powerful enough to work thru metal cooler walls and masonry. I tried a early version and it was marginal. Also straight mounting on a valve does not always work well. There just isn’t clearance on all condenser units for a straight connection.
MemberOctober 8, 2019 at 8:58 am
I don’t think I would ever use wireless, I have an SMAN 360 gauge I use which is awesome but I just have trust issues with wireless stuff.
Being off 10 PSI or so can make a huge difference.
AdministratorOctober 8, 2019 at 10:47 am
Good point – I often have enough trouble keeping a reliable Bluetooth connection for a pair of headphones, let alone a trio of wireless gauges that could make or break the entire system… Great feedback, thanks all!
MemberOctober 10, 2019 at 8:54 pm
Yeah, that would be my only concern.
If I’m doing a walk in fridge for example, with a remote condenser, can I be downstairs looking at the evap when my “gauge” is hooked to the compressor? THAT would be SUPER beneficial as I otherwise have to run up and down the stairs and then up and down the ladder to check.
I SEE that these could be beneficial, my only concern would be how they work in actual application, distance, etc.
I originally was told about the SMAN gauges from a contractor who liked them with the bluetooth feature to his phone, so the gauge would be on the roof and he would be in his air conditioned truck, watching the pressures on his phone after a repair or something, rather than roasting on the roof.
I thought it was brilliant but questioned the feasibility and reliability of the numbers, which could only be confirmed with a second gauge.
AdministratorOctober 11, 2019 at 9:16 am
Many of the current sensors have logging built in, and when/if they lose the connection, they keep measuring, then transfer the measurements when the connection returns. Especially with situations like the one you mentioned, or when a tech is working on a hot roof, being able to leave it measuring for a bit is fantastic.
MemberOctober 11, 2019 at 9:29 am
Wow, well that would work really well then.
I guess they must work or they wouldn’t be on the market.
AdministratorOctober 11, 2019 at 11:00 am
I don’t know about that 😉 I have purchased my fair share of gadgets that simply do not work. Too much stuff is sold to the public when it should still be in beta testing. And too many companies just give up and never update products that are defective.
One decent exception is Bose – my sleep buds never worked right, and they recently recalled the whole product line offering 100% refunds. Shame to see them go, but good to see them doing the right thing.
MemberOctober 11, 2019 at 11:55 am
True, but in the refrigeration world, products that don’t work tend to die fast as many people will take the time to broadcast how bad something is a lot faster then they will to broadcast how good something is.
At least in my experience.
MemberOctober 11, 2019 at 11:26 am
I agree with that. Bought my share too. My Testo 550 is a earlier version without the Bluetooth (and cost a lot more than today’s). But I do love it for calibration and testing. I used to have to buy a low side gauge monthly for that that I put on a short low side hose with shut of valve. I can’t tell you how much I miss having acsess to a dead weight calibration unit. The digital has a self calibration and can be set for both psig and absolute. It cut down on call backs for icing or no starts drastically with suction pressure controls.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 9:21 am
UEI hub smart kits. The refrigerant probes have 180 degree bend for tight spots, and a charging port on the side, so you’ll never need to pull out a manifold.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 3:17 pm
After having used these a couple of times, I got some good and bad things to say.
For one, they are extremely easy to work with, they hook up on the app without a hitch and they are very light and easy to maneuver. What I like best about them is in hard to reach places or where fan blades are close to the connections, you don’t have to worry about the hose normally coming off the manifold to get caught somewhere or being in the way.
The case they come in is also really nice, keeps it nice and clean and easy to transport. The app also gives you a track of what the temps and pressures were, not just right now and then gone, you can look away and then scroll though and see how it went.
The one and only downside I found is that the app doesen’t translate the pressures into saturated temps like the SMAN gauge does, this is something I found very handy as I don’t need to carry charts with me.
The SMAN also calculates Superheat and Subcool for you which is just easier and it’s a running calculation so you can see it as it’s changing. I can do it manually but it’s easier, so why not use it?
They also come with the issue that they really are meant for monitoring or check ups, if you have to work on the system and pull refrigerant, then these gauges won’t work as they have no port on them for flow in any way.
I think they are great for critically charged machines as you don’t get a hose full of refrigerant.
Overall I’m very happy with them and I think once I get to work on a walk in again, they will come in very handy as I won’t have to climb up the ladder to check the readings, I can just check the app.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 4:52 pm
@olivero which set are you taking about that doesn’t call SH SC? Cause that’s just weird.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 5:08 pm
I’m talking about the set that’s mentioned in this post.
That’s what my review or opinion was about, these particular bluetooth gauges.
for sure, I do the same thing, no doubt.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 6:08 pm
? I haven’t used them, but maybe you could try a different app? I like testos, I use the 550s.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 9:15 pm
I use the Testos app, it’s the one they say to use with the probes.
MemberJanuary 10, 2020 at 8:40 am
There are 3rd party apps that might sync with them and provide more information than the testo one. Very odd, I think they should just combine the testo refrig app and the smart probes app into one.
MemberJanuary 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm
When I installed a walk in evaporator, I always added a test port on the suction line just for TXV calibration. It saved me a lot of time and climbing. With the new EPA sealed system requirements and no unbrazeded taps, I can see where they are a good thing.
MemberJanuary 10, 2020 at 8:47 am
From my studies, most TXV manufacturers say they should not be, or need calibration. But I can see if it was a build ur own from the supply house, and the book is not the field.
One thing I can’t stand is the position of the factory service ports in some evaporators, makes you pull out a darn hose. ?
MemberJanuary 10, 2020 at 10:26 am
Over time you get to see a lot of different installations. The TXV charges last till the paint gets chipped and they rust or the cap line gets damaged from improper install.
Before the balanced port designs, we were always resetting them. But when you get to some odd balls like a drying kiln is when it gets tricky.
You also have to be careful with low temp that have pressure limiting TXV’s to prevent the compressor from going into overload. I can sometimes be vary difficult to get them to a normal state if the compressor is under designed or marginal. There is no codes on freezers for capacity. So some bidders tend to short the design.
MemberJanuary 10, 2020 at 10:53 am
Sounds like you have had some nightmares to deal with lol. I haven’t dealt with much outside of restaurant work. I wanna branch out though.
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