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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    501

    Hmm All-in-one gauges, are they worth it?

    I'm in the market for a few things. Foremost, I need a micrometer and a reliable thermometer for measuring superheat and subcool (currently using an IR gun). I was thinking about buying an SMAN3 because I would get everything in one package and retire my standard manifold gauges to more abusive procedures, like dye insertions.

    What holds me back is that I'm not quite certain how accurate the K-clamps are compared to dedicated thermocouple/thermistor probe, or for that matter my IR gun. Also, my other concern is reliability. If the display on the SMAN3 fails, I potentially lose my micrometer and thermometer too.

    So should I just buy a dedicated thermometer and micrometer and stick with my old gauges, or is something like the SMAN3 worth investing in?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,572
    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    I'm in the market for a few things. Foremost, I need a micrometer and a reliable thermometer for measuring superheat and subcool (currently using an IR gun). I was thinking about buying an SMAN3 because I would get everything in one package and retire my standard manifold gauges to more abusive procedures, like dye insertions.

    What holds me back is that I'm not quite certain how accurate the K-clamps are compared to dedicated thermocouple/thermistor probe, or for that matter my IR gun. Also, my other concern is reliability. If the display on the SMAN3 fails, I potentially lose my micrometer and thermometer too.

    So should I just buy a dedicated thermometer and micrometer and stick with my old gauges, or is something like the SMAN3 worth investing in?

    I am not a fan of K-type thermocouples, but I am a fan of digital manifold gauges.


    You do know that fieldpiece isn't the only one to make a digital manifold gauge, right?

    Digicool, Imperial and Testo also offer similar units and none use a k-type temperature probe.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    6,828
    I'd use a dedicated micron guage, bluvac is what I use. I use my digicool ak900 for superheat and subcooling but also have fieldpiece clamps and other k type probes I can use with my meter to check superheat, subcooling or any other temps I may need. Also have a cooper blue box and a fieldpiece sdp2. It's best to have multiple instruments for one to double check your other probes to make sure everything is accurate once in a while and two so that if one breaks you're not left with nothing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    501
    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    I am not a fan of K-type thermocouples, but I am a fan of digital manifold gauges.


    You do know that fieldpiece isn't the only one to make a digital manifold gauge, right?

    Digicool, Imperial and Testo also offer similar units and none use a k-type temperature probe.
    I only mention the SMAN3 because I've used my partner's in the field and they're readily available at the supply houses. I'm not partial to Fieldpiece. What would you recommend? I hear Testo is not great compared to Digicool and Imperial.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    216
    IMO i like my sman 4, now that i am using a dedicated blu vac and vac setup, wish i had stuck with the sman3. i will be getting the imanifold when i have a few extra bucks. one thing to think of is the warranty and FP will not disappoint i have had a few issues with the sman and they give me a over the counter trade or have overnight-ed them to me. but i have many old sets for backup
    Do it once. Do it correct.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,572
    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    I only mention the SMAN3 because I've used my partner's in the field and they're readily available at the supply houses. I'm not partial to Fieldpiece. What would you recommend? I hear Testo is not great compared to Digicool and Imperial.

    Each manifold has its proponents.

    I have the DC manifolds and the Imperial manifold.

    Each has positives and negatives IMO.

    For a starter set, I would suggest the Ak-900. Very tough instrument and a quality instrument.

    Any supply house that deals with UEI should be able to get you one. DIgicool has licensed their product to UEI the same as Bluvac has. The quality is exactly the same, just with a different sticker on it.


    http://www.trutechtools.com/UEi-AK90...SC_p_2915.html

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