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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Leak Checking R123 with Pressurizer

    So I bought this new chiller pressurizer, went to use it for the first time today... Hooked it all up, started running it everything was going well. The chiller holds 1400 lbs. of R123. After a few hours the chiller was at 4 psi, from there the pressure increase slowed way down... Might have gotten to 4.7 psi by the end of the day.

    In the past I would always recover the refrigerant, pressurize with nitrogen and a little 22 up to 10-12 psi, check chiller with electronic leak detector and verify/pinpoint leaks with soap bubbles.. Works great.. So i figured at 4 psi i would go around with the leak detector and see what I could find. Well, the electronic was going off consistantly in a couple back out bolt holes and a couple gaskets but couldn't get any soap bubbles anywhere...

    I am wondering if anyone has any experiance with these pressurizers? Do you like it? What type of applications do you use it on? What PSI do you typically try to get to for leak checking and how long does it take?

    The pressurizer unit is a 30kw.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    ottawa canada
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    1,853
    We use them all the time and 4psi is plenty .Just remember your electronic is just a guide (H10 I hope) get the soap out and try with soap ,no bubbles no troubles . Taking the gas out and all that B&@$&@T is a waste of time and lost refrigerant . Probably way more than the small leaks ????? you are finding .
    As for time it depends on the chiller size ,what your start pressure ("vac) and how good a flow you can get through the boiler .But with 3/4" connections with and good flow you should be able to get a 1000ton machine up to 4psi in about 4 hours from around 10".
    Just dont forget to drain the condenser or you will be chasin your tail .
    And the best leak detector on the chiller should be either a Trane purifier or Earthwise purge .
    The 64 roars to life Whoo hoo ...shes a rolling chassis .
    You bend em" I"ll mend em" !!!!!!!
    I"m not a service tech.. I"m a thermodynamic transfer analyst & strategic system sustainability specialist
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    624
    Agree w/ Graham, 4 psi is good. R-123 is allot lazier than R-11, I've heated up R-11 machines w/ leaving condenser h20 from another machine in the plant. H-10's are good detectors but they can lie to you, soap bubbles, halide torches are good for proof positive.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    In a mechanical room....
    Posts
    1,886
    thats the first time I've heard someone say halide torches, I thought I was the only person left using them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    32
    Most of the time I run the hot water in one side of the condensor,condensor out to the evaporator,evaporator back to the heater. Other times drain the condensor. R123 a pain in the bu##

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    55
    Agree that 4 psi should be plenty.If I pulled the gas out just to leakcheck everytime, i would probably find myself looking for a job.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    371
    Sorry Graham I have a different opinion I think hot water leak checking is %$#@^%! I have caused more leaks with hot water than I can stand. We went to chillers with no purge time, hook up the hot water and boom, leak rates up, we go back to the job and theres a big leak on the terminal board or somewhere. Usually a flat gasket! We do agree that the purge is the best leak detector. If it aint purgen! dont leak check it! Just verify purge operation. If you do recover the charge you get to do a leak test even better than a purge, thats is a vacuum test. When you leave the job you know for a fact how tight the machine is. I dont mind using hot water on some machines like 19ds, they have the paper/asbestos gaskets and dont seem subject to leaking after hot h20. I have 1990 CVHE that has about 500 mins of pumpout time, That came from my first hot water leak check on it. Caused the term board to leak. It has never been leak checked again and is tight. I have other stories but just to give my two cents own the matter, I think the hours padded into the annuals to leak check is BS. I wish the industry would change and stop leak checking non leaking chillers, also change the scope and price to reflect that! We at my "old job" always charged for the leak check but seldom performed the leak check. Which can get me off on another soap box so i will shut up while i am ahead!
    "Dying aint much, its living thats hard." (Josey Whales)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by txhvac View Post
    I've heated up R-11 machines w/ leaving condenser h20 from another machine in the plant.

    I usually do that on 123 machines to start with also. Saves a lot of time if you're not starting out so far in the hole.
    Low Pressure Forever!

    If you know heavy metal, you can work anywhere-Dave Andreson

    Anchors Aweigh my boys, Anchors Aweigh!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by SMSChiller View Post
    So I bought this new chiller pressurizer
    BTW...which one did you buy?
    Low Pressure Forever!

    If you know heavy metal, you can work anywhere-Dave Andreson

    Anchors Aweigh my boys, Anchors Aweigh!
    Farewell to foreign shores, We sail at break of day. Through our last night on shore, Drink to the foam. Until we meet once more. Here's wishing you a happy voyage home!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChillerWisperer View Post
    BTW...which one did you buy?
    Thanks for the input guys.. I bought the RefTec unit.. I also use there recovery units which seem to be top of the line..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Great country of Texas
    Posts
    429
    If you got to 4 psig, that's good. Look at the boiliing poibt of R-123 to R-11 at atmosphere. R-123 is about 6 degrees higher. That's why it takes so long to pressurize. We also run thru the condenser/evaporator to presurize. it is faster. Watch out for the big Trane spools. They will push the refrigerant in to the crossover pipe.
    "I'm from Texas, what country are you from?"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    I guess i am so used to leak checking at 10-12 psi that i thought 4 psi wasn't sufficient for a through leak check. This unit had a purge pumpout time of 500 mins. in a 30 day span.. you would think the leak/leaks would jump right out at me.. but they didn't... unit is a CVHF770.. any weird leak finding stories?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Great country of Texas
    Posts
    429
    First stage vane arms are notorious leakers. Alot of techs don't know you are suppose to lubricate them at least once per year. I would start there if you can't find anything.
    And yes I still use a halite torch!
    "I'm from Texas, what country are you from?"

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