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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,400

    REVIEW: Digi-Cool AK900 digital gauges

    REVIEW: Digi-Cool AK900 DRSA

    All I have to say is one word...."WOW."

    Prior to performing this review I had several conversations with the inventor and owner of DC, Doug Lockhart. Doug is a class act and a dedicated professional. All this is apparent in the quality of the AK900. From the knobs to the screen, everything seems precisely chosen for optimal performance. I think what makes this DRSA different from others is that it was invented and designed by a technician. Not an engineer.

    I opened the DC box and inside was a digital gauge apparatus, manifold, manifold hook, manual, CD, blue/red wire velcro pipe temp sensors, and a tire gauge. In the picture you will see two additional sets of temp sensors. The scissor clamp style and large head rubber velcro pipe temp sensors are extra accessories.

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    In removing them from the box, the first thing I noticed size and weight. They're not very heavy but seem well built/sturdy. The digital gauge apparatus is made of heavy plastic construction and covered with a snug fitting rubber boot. The thing that makes the DC gauges unique is the fact that you fit them almost any manifold. It fits right on a few, like the Sherman and YJ41 but other manifolds would require a few fittings.

    Turning on the unit, I noticed a large display with lots of info. This has to be my favorite feature, the amount of info displayed on one screen without any toggling. It has bright green backlight. The interface is fairly intuitive. I did have the reference the manual in order to figure out how to turn on the backlight.

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    Digi-Cool uses sealed thermistors for their pipe temp sensors. Testo and DC are the only ones who use this type. Others use "K" type which are susceptible to stray/EMI/induced voltages which could drastically throw off temp readings.

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    The pipe clamps have a large jaw opening. Easily could fit 1"1/8 or 1"1/2. The Velcro straps are huge and will fit up to a 3" pipe! The only draw back I have to these sensors is the reaction time. The reaction time is slower than other sensors for DRSA's. Not real slow, just not super fast like the SMAN'S. But I would take the slower accurate DC's sensors over faster and possibly inaccurate.

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    The AK900's use a 200 psia transducer on the low side and a 600 psia transducer on the high side. With 0.5% accuracy, that makes the DC's pretty dog gone accurate! Some of the other DRSA use 550 psia on low and 750 on high. Another of the great features is dynamic offset bar @ the top of the display. Early this week, I pressurized a split system with nitrogen to find a leak and the bar graph was a huge help in watching the pressure decrease. It is a valuable diagnostic tool. The bar graph updates 4 times a second and makes even the tiniest fluctuations easy to see.

    The actual manifold is unique in itself. It is ball valves. A quarter turn and each knob is wide open. I love this. I've gotten spoiled and don't want to go back to a traditional style manifold. The manifold also has sight glass.

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    Overall, I have a new primary set of gauges. They're now hung closet to the van door so I use them daily on every call. They're built tough as nails and work with pinpoint accuracy. I don't doubt the durability one bit. I created a list of good and bad features below.

    Good
    1. Display information
    2. Accuracy
    3. Ball valve manifold
    4. Bar graph
    5. Pipe temp sensor size

    Bad
    1. Sensor reaction time.

    I couldn't think of any other "bad" features. I've heard about DC for many years via this site. Now that I've finally got to work with these, I'm a believer too! I also want to note, DC's customer service is superb and help make the great product even better.

    I hope this helps someone in the market for a new DRSA (Digital Refrigerant System Analyzer). I will be reviewing the Testo gauges soon as well as several other tools including Blu-Vac, Nylog, toolbags, dual manometers, and a thermal imager.

    Thanks,

    Brent A. Ridley

    [Sorry for the picture being sideways. I haven't figured out how to rotate them (if possible]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    columbus, OH
    Posts
    2,018
    Tell us more about the key chain. How far away can i start it up?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,400
    Haha. It's a digital tire gauge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,179
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    REVIEW: Digi-Cool AK900 DRSA

    All I have to say is one word...."WOW."

    Prior to performing this review I had several conversations with the inventor and owner of DC, Doug Lockhart. Doug is a class act and a dedicated professional. All this is apparent in the quality of the AK900. From the knobs to the screen, everything seems precisely chosen for optimal performance. I think what makes this DRSA different from others is that it was invented and designed by a technician. Not an engineer.

    I opened the DC box and inside was a digital gauge apparatus, manifold, manifold hook, manual, CD, blue/red wire velcro pipe temp sensors, and a tire gauge. In the picture you will see two additional sets of temp sensors. The scissor clamp style and large head rubber velcro pipe temp sensors are extra accessories.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2814
Size:  56.2 KB

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2618
Size:  47.0 KB

    In removing them from the box, the first thing I noticed size and weight. They're not very heavy but seem well built/sturdy. The digital gauge apparatus is made of heavy plastic construction and covered with a snug fitting rubber boot. The thing that makes the DC gauges unique is the fact that you fit them almost any manifold. It fits right on a few, like the Sherman and YJ41 but other manifolds would require a few fittings.

    Turning on the unit, I noticed a large display with lots of info. This has to be my favorite feature, the amount of info displayed on one screen without any toggling. It has bright green backlight. The interface is fairly intuitive. I did have the reference the manual in order to figure out how to turn on the backlight.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2326
Size:  25.5 KB

    Digi-Cool uses sealed thermistors for their pipe temp sensors. Testo and DC are the only ones who use this type. Others use "K" type which are susceptible to stray/EMI/induced voltages which could drastically throw off temp readings.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2298
Size:  32.3 KB

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2262
Size:  26.5 KB

    The pipe clamps have a large jaw opening. Easily could fit 1"1/8 or 1"1/2. The Velcro straps are huge and will fit up to a 3" pipe! The only draw back I have to these sensors is the reaction time. The reaction time is slower than other sensors for DRSA's. Not real slow, just not super fast like the SMAN'S. But I would take the slower accurate DC's sensors over faster and possibly inaccurate.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2210
Size:  44.3 KB

    The AK900's use a 200 psia transducer on the low side and a 600 psia transducer on the high side. With 0.5% accuracy, that makes the DC's pretty dog gone accurate! Some of the other DRSA use 550 psia on low and 750 on high. Another of the great features is dynamic offset bar @ the top of the display. Early this week, I pressurized a split system with nitrogen to find a leak and the bar graph was a huge help in watching the pressure decrease. It is a valuable diagnostic tool. The bar graph updates 4 times a second and makes even the tiniest fluctuations easy to see.

    The actual manifold is unique in itself. It is ball valves. A quarter turn and each knob is wide open. I love this. I've gotten spoiled and don't want to go back to a traditional style manifold. The manifold also has sight glass.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2273
Size:  42.8 KB

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 2335
Size:  43.0 KB

    Overall, I have a new primary set of gauges. They're now hung closet to the van door so I use them daily on every call. They're built tough as nails and work with pinpoint accuracy. I don't doubt the durability one bit. I created a list of good and bad features below.

    Good
    1. Display information
    2. Accuracy
    3. Ball valve manifold
    4. Bar graph
    5. Pipe temp sensor size

    Bad
    1. Sensor reaction time.

    I couldn't think of any other "bad" features. I've heard about DC for many years via this site. Now that I've finally got to work with these, I'm a believer too! I also want to note, DC's customer service is superb and help make the great product even better.

    I hope this helps someone in the market for a new DRSA (Digital Refrigerant System Analyzer). I will be reviewing the Testo gauges soon as well as several other tools including Blu-Vac, Nylog, toolbags, dual manometers, and a thermal imager.

    Thanks,

    Brent A. Ridley

    [Sorry for the picture being sideways. I haven't figured out how to rotate them (if possible]
    HMMM....Just a comment: This review seems a bit "sugary"......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In a boiler room
    Posts
    7,044
    Thanks again for the reviews.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    797
    How slow is the reaction time? Is it roughly the same as a copper blue box?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,400
    HVAC5646,

    Take the review however you would like. I'm giving honest feedback.

    Don't worry, I will be doing your favorite next week, Testo (550's and 570's).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    columbus, OH
    Posts
    2,018
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    Haha. It's a digital tire gauge.
    Damn, i was gonna troubleshoot fron the van.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    6,007
    Did you get them direct from digicool?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In a boiler room
    Posts
    7,044
    Quote Originally Posted by hvac5646 View Post
    HMMM....Just a comment: This review seems a bit "sugary"......
    This is in very poor taste to someone that spent the time and money to do some nice reviews. Way to go.....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,381
    Can I add that the sensors that ship with the ak900 are difficult to use in tight spaces and are rather annoying when it gets caught in itself. Invest in the clamp ons or the other pipe straps pictured above. I own both and they are much better

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,400
    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    Did you get them direct from digicool?
    Yes.

    And Eddiegoodfellar,

    It is comparable to the cooper.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    797
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    Yes.

    And Eddiegoodfellar,

    It is comparable to the cooper.
    I can live with that.
    I need a second set of digitals ( have some 550s that have worked flawlessly for 3 years ) and would like to support did-cool ( Doug lives on Vancouver island close to where I used to live )

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