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  1. #1
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    Making sense of the Mars H-10G refrigerant leak detector

    I recently purchased a used Mars H-10G leak detector, manufacture date, October 1997.

    The unit seems very interesting in that it uses high line voltage -- 120 VAC -- to power it. However, the darn thing is so sensitive. I come to find out that you need to have r11 refrigerant on hand for calibrating the device. Is this absolutely necessary? I know that r11 at atmospheric temperature is in a liquid form, and therefore, can be poured in the tiny calibration bottle that you get with the unit. But again, I am confused as to why this is necessary.

    Also, there is a large-medium-small setting on there as well, which I assume is for different refrigerant types. It seems that once this unit goes off, it's difficult to get it to stop sounding the alarm. I do know that this unit is sensitive enough for 1/2 ounce loss per year, which to me is what I'd consider a very small leak.

    It would be greatly appreciated if someone with extensive knowledge on this unit can come to my aid. Thanks again!

    Steve

  2. #2
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    The FIRST thing you need to operate and H-10 is a dose of patience.

    If you don't have that in spades, sell that thing.

    If you are patient, then you will love this machine once you learn it.

    You have one of the older ones, and it is a little more difficult to use.

    Start with the machine in open, clean air. Turn it on, set it to small, and turn the balance dial full counter clockwise.

    Give it a good 2 minutes to warm up.

    Turn the balance dial clockwise until it starts to squeal and then back it down. You are looking for a good 1-2 ticks per second. THIS is the fiddly part. That is a sensitive machine in small.

    Now that you have it balanced, wave the probe near the calibration bottle. You are looking for a quick squeal from the machine. If you get the squeal, turn the machine to medium or large, tweak the balance knob and start sniffing.

    If you don't, turn it over and give the adjustment screw on the bottom about 1/8 turn clockwise and begin the process ALL OVER again. If that turns full CW, then replace the sensor, wind the adjustment screw full CCW and start over.


    The newer H-10 PMs have an auto calibrate feature that bypasses the fiddly balance knob, but I still like being able to use it in certain situations.

  3. #3
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for this long reply. I will say that it seems that once you get used to this unit, all will be easier. But let me ask you this: why in the heck do you need r11 to calibrate this unit? Can't I use the gas from r22? It seems to work for me, but maybe there's a reason for this. I don't have r11 on hand, this is why I ask. They supply you with a tiny bottle with a screw and hold in the center of it, but no refrigerant is in it now. You are right to say that this unit requires tons of patience.

    Thanks again!

    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Do not 'calibrate' with any refrigerant!

    The point of the R-11 bottle was to simulate a REALLY TINY leak. If you just use a puff of other refrigerants 'just to see if it's working' it will drastically shorten the life of the sensor.

    PHM
    -------



    Quote Originally Posted by roller_steve View Post
    Thanks for this long reply. I will say that it seems that once you get used to this unit, all will be easier. But let me ask you this: why in the heck do you need r11 to calibrate this unit? Can't I use the gas from r22? It seems to work for me, but maybe there's a reason for this. I don't have r11 on hand, this is why I ask. They supply you with a tiny bottle with a screw and hold in the center of it, but no refrigerant is in it now. You are right to say that this unit requires tons of patience.

    Thanks again!

    Steve
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  5. Likes ga-hvac-tech liked this post
  6. #5
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    when leak testing r22, start at the med switch position. The small position will eat the sensor. Battery models can be a pain...you must charge them. batteries are available for $20.oo but make sure not to cross the polarity.
    Doug

  7. #6
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    Really? Where can I get a battery for $20. ?

    I have a brand-new battery-type H-10 that I have never used. It seemed like a great idea but after getting it I kept using the corded ones while the battery one sat in a closet until the battery failed. <g>

    PHM
    -------




    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    when leak testing r22, start at the med switch position. The small position will eat the sensor. Battery models can be a pain...you must charge them. batteries are available for $20.oo but make sure not to cross the polarity.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  8. #7
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    Speaking of technique: I always start on the LARGE setting to go over the system. If that turns up nothing, or just an intermittent 'trace' response, I then switch down to MEDIUM and retrace my steps. About the only time I ever have to use the LOW setting is for braze joint porosity and eroded u-bends.

    PHM
    --------


    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    when leak testing r22, start at the med switch position. The small position will eat the sensor. Battery models can be a pain...you must charge them. batteries are available for $20.oo but make sure not to cross the polarity.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post
    Do not 'calibrate' with any refrigerant!

    The point of the R-11 bottle was to simulate a REALLY TINY leak. If you just use a puff of other refrigerants 'just to see if it's working' it will drastically shorten the life of the sensor.

    PHM
    -------
    He may have already had to replace the sensor before he got this info the thread is old
    UA Proud

    "Phfft! Facts. You can use them to prove anything." Homer Simpson

  10. #9
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    The bottle is, basically, a calibrated leak.

    There is an orifice in the top that allows a very small amount of gas out.

    You can do a similar job with other sources, but it won't be quite the same.

  11. #10
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    Thread Starter
    R22 works fine for calibrating, but it obviously isn't used because it's contaminating the atmosphere, while r11 stays put at atmospheric pressure in liquid form. Maybe I'm wrong, but in any case, I would like to get a new r11 vile. Are they readily available?

    Thanks for your input.

    Steve

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by roller_steve View Post
    R22 works fine for calibrating, but it obviously isn't used because it's contaminating the atmosphere, while r11 stays put at atmospheric pressure in liquid form. Maybe I'm wrong, but in any case, I would like to get a new r11 vile. Are they readily available?
    Don't know if it's R-11 or not but this is what Bacharach uses for their H-10G.

    http://www.centurytool.net/3015_0864.../3015-0864.htm

  13. #12
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    Straight R22 will fry the sensor......

    This is a very sensitive measuring device, the warm up time and other operationing instructions are critical.....

    It's 12 years old and should be rebuilt.......

    Aronolds Instruments used to do a great job.....

    As said.....you must be "patient" with this thingy....

    Stephen
    "Value our Differences"

  14. #13
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    large-medium-small setting

    Quote Originally Posted by roller_steve View Post
    I recently purchased a used Mars H-10G leak detector, manufacture date, October 1997.

    The unit seems very interesting in that it uses high line voltage -- 120 VAC -- to power it. However, the darn thing is so sensitive. I come to find out that you need to have r11 refrigerant on hand for calibrating the device. Is this absolutely necessary? I know that r11 at atmospheric temperature is in a liquid form, and therefore, can be poured in the tiny calibration bottle that you get with the unit. But again, I am confused as to why this is necessary.

    Also, there is a large-medium-small setting on there as well, which I assume is for different refrigerant types. It seems that once this unit goes off, it's difficult to get it to stop sounding the alarm. I do know that this unit is sensitive enough for 1/2 ounce loss per year, which to me is what I'd consider a very small leak.

    It would be greatly appreciated if someone with extensive knowledge on this unit can come to my aid. Thanks again!

    Steve

    The large/small settings allow you to adjust for the size of the leak. For example if you have a large leak and you are set to small your sensitivity will be too much and you will not be able to zero in on your source.I have found it better to start on small and find the general area and then bump down to the large setting to pin point the culprit. This is done by turning the ticking down to where it is excruciatingly slow but rythmic, it is the change in the cadence of the ticking that tells you that you are getting close to the leak.Find the general area with the small setting and then zero in with the large setting.
    “whenever an air conditioner starts up, it is very inefficient. Once you have it running, you want it to keep it running as long as you can.”
    John Proctor

    "Christ is the Son of God Who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ."
    Watchman Nee



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