Well if you can't tell, I fairly technical and as luck would have it, I am EPA ceritified... I even have gauges (but they are for r134a).
I hear you on the "beer can cold" approach to diagnostics. I'm sure it works in the vast majority of cases too. Unfortunatly there's the problem children like me that know enough to question the "beer can cold" and if thats the best explanation the tech can offer... I know I picked the wrong tech.
In any event, I can get a ser of gauges and take some temp readings as suggested. I will likly do that over the weekend and re-post.
Im very intrigued by Midhvacs notion on attick solar loading.. it really makes sense and given all the time I've spent up there, I certain he's on to something... now I just have to prove it by the numbers.