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  1. #1
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    Tools electronic gauges diminishing returns?

    First, I like many of you love tools; mine are the best without being gold plated. So, electronic gauges.

    What is the difference between a paper slide rule for sup/super heat and an a three hose setup? Assume a Appion vacuum line, etc with core removal, etc. if so inclined.

    With hoses the units are north of $400 and seem subject to the same issues as the new phones. Blue tooth does not go around corners and appears limited to line of sight.

    The Sporlan unit requires an I Pad. So if electronics are necessary and you are going to tote your I phone isn't there an app that lets you enter the numbers and come up with the answer skipping the electronic stuff? Is toting the fancy box around easier than a manifold with 2 gauges - think 32 foot ladder.

    Second point. Evacuation to 20 microns or so. One poster commented he didn't remove the schrader valves, sucked and ran. If there is a filter dryer, does it really make any difference? If the moisture goes into the dryer, and if there are no leaks, isn't it job done?

    This is not an invitation for poor workmanship, just a question regarding diminishing returns. I hate call backs, I hate remakes, I hate not feeling like I have done my job.

    But back to the beginning, a brass manifold, three hoses and two gauges, and a paper slide rule seems like a hard combination to beat. If you drop the manifold, replace a gauge, drop the electronic, and well, what happens when you drop your fancy phone? The computer between your ears goes up and down a ladder very easily with the rest of you, delicate gauges and a tool kit not so much so. Likewise, lose the slide rule, second one in truck, drip the I pad, second one in the truck?


    Dennis

  2. #2
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    Oct 2010
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    I have my fancy phone with me regardless and I like digital guages for accuracy. It makes me better able to do my job.

    I just recently ordered the iConnect kit, I'm excited to use it. If it breaks it's not that big a deal, I'll just use my digi-cools. If they break I'll use my other set of digicools. 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

    As far as fast evacuation goes, I'm impatient. If I can do something as good or better faster then I'll do it everytime. I can't stand waiting on the pump after a repair.

  3. #3
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    Okay, I will agree to the phone issue, that is a given.

    They probably are more precise at given set of conditions.

    If they work better for you, that is reason enough.

    I appreciate your taking time to reply.

    Dennis

  4. #4
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    Digital gauges are one tool I will not do without. It makes the job very efficient. I'm not talking about gauges that calculate superheat for you. I mainly use my AK900s (although I do have an sman460). Getting TSH is the easy part. I just use a chart on my phone or hvacmedic's formula.

    The value in the digitals is in not having to take the temps yourself. They are in your face. No extra effort. You can take them with clamps and temperature meters (in the old days, it was a dial thermometer tied to the suction or liquid line with wire and insulated with a piece of rubatex...a pain to obtain and read), but why fumble with the extras when you're already using your gauges? As to the Sporlans, I hear they are great, but more money than I care to spend, and as you said, I don't need or want to be hauling a tablet around the job. Even using the sman with a phone, SPD2, etc becomes a juggling act.

    No back to the beginning for me. I don't have time for that.

    As far as vacuums, I believe it important to pull as complete a vacuum as possible. Moisture, contaminates and non-condensables shorten compressor life. a thorough vacuum gives the customer's system the best chance at longevity, reduces callbacks and builds reputation.

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  6. #5
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    Yes I agree to the cost of equipment to actual worth of equipment. I will pay more for something that works better but there is the point about a lot of money for little gains. As for digital gages I did get a set this spring 3 hose no blue tooth. Got them for the improved accuracy of the pressures, and the fact of the saturation temps displayed especially with so many refrigerants today. Not to mention the above post about the line temps that allows you to look and analyze instead of figure -figure -analyze, then adjust- figure- figure -analyze.
    I like things that just plain work without having to fuss about connecting to this or that. Just another problem to have to have to connect to a device. Now my phone and iPad are valuable tools. Have formulas, cheat sheets, and all sorts of manuals, stat programing, check out procedures etc, at my finger tips - sure beats the folders and putting all those papers in sheet protectors.
    There is only one truly right way to do something, but there are thousands of wrong ways to varying degrees to do it.
    So the question is: If you don't do it right, then how wrong is it going to be???

  7. #6
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    I just like,
    Old Sh!p...
    Works every time and on the 'dime.
    Batteries tend to 'let you down' at the Time YOU Need them the Most.
    Once you 'get it' in this biz. your accessories tend to be minimized. But I understand the 'need for Toy's.
    Rock On.
    You all have a safe day out there because It IS HOT.
    No matter how long you have been doing this,
    Go back and reread the Basic's.You WILL Learn something.
    Why is it called,an Act of GOD when IT has Nothing to do with Him?
    Will of the Devil would be more appropriate IMO.Just Saying.
    PSALMS, 18 & 25.

  8. #7
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    This is a good question that I overhear being argued by my older and younger techs in the shop some mornings. I can't speak for the residential side, only what applies to the commercial and industrial world.

    I started in the trade with my dad and grandad decades before digital gauges hit the market. I personally don't own a set of digitals, instead I have at least 3 sets of analog gauges in my truck at all times. I'm not saying that the digitals aren't more accurate, just that they aren't necessary.

    My younger techs (35 years old or less) all have them and swear by them. My older techs all think they are just a toy. Now those older techs are far more competent and experienced than the younger ones. Both groups get the job done with similar results. Obviously the older guys have fewer callbacks, based purely on experience. They rarely encounter something they haven't seen before.

    I guess it boils down to the definition of necessity. Older guys like myself, learned the trade without them, so we don't need them. I have upgraded from my paper T&P chart to the one on my iPhone (thanks to one of the young guys.)

    Whatever helps you do your job better is a good investment, but I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns, just like every other investment. Chose wisely and spend even wiser.

    Good Luck out there.

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  10. #8
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    How are electronic gauges tested when they leave the factory? Most likely by analog. I have all electronic but it's always good to have analog as a back up

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zapatasblood2 View Post
    How are electronic gauges tested when they leave the factory? Most likely by analog. I have all electronic but it's always good to have analog as a back up
    With an nsti traceable calibrated digital guage. Just the angle you look at an analogue can vary the PSIG by 5 or so. Not to mention how out of calibration they get banging around in the van and being zeroed a thousand times. Do you still use a Simpson analogue meter everyday or a DMM?

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  13. #10
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    IMO there is another discussion that goes with this one...
    Which digital gauge sets are DURABLE... and which ones are fragile?

    While I am not gonna say I know for sure...
    I carry two DigiCools (one is none)... they seem to be the toughest and most durable I have fiddled with.
    From time to time, I will hook up this cool manifold I made... 1 input and 4 outputs: N2 goes on the input, and both DC's go on the 4 outputs (both blues and both reds, with the valves closed. So far, the digital pressures are always within 1# of each other, ALL 4 of them.
    Good enough for me...
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

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  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtrammel View Post
    With an nsti traceable calibrated digital guage. Just the angle you look at an analogue can vary the PSIG by 5 or so. Not to mention how out of calibration they get banging around in the van and being zeroed a thousand times. Do you still use a Simpson analogue meter everyday or a DMM?
    Fluke and Klein dmm. Testo gauges. Testo combustion analyzer. Fieldpiece digital manometer. But I still carry analog gauges just in case batteries die. I actually still have an old water manometer

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by zapatasblood2 View Post
    Fluke and Klein dmm. Testo gauges. Testo combustion analyzer. Fieldpiece digital manometer. But I still carry analog gauges just in case batteries die. I actually still have an old water manometer
    I still have analogue stuff but I never use any of it.

    Well I shouldn't say never, maybe the water manometer gets used once every couple years to check calibration of my digitals.

  16. #13
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    Been at this since 72. Only analogs I have are some gauges.
    Quote Originally Posted by jtrammel View Post
    I still have analogue stuff but I never use any of it.

    Well I shouldn't say never, maybe the water manometer gets used once every couple years to check calibration of my digitals.

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