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Thread: Hvac Tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    San Jose, Ca
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    What are some good multimeters, gauges, drill, etc...What brands are good and bad? I'm thinking of getting a Fluke 179 meter...any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Tech Guest
    Multi meter: Fluke or Fieldpiece

    Gauges: JB or Tif

    Drill: Wouldn't trade my Makita angle drill for anything but for heavy duty, Dewalt 18 volt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Fort Worth, TX
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    Fieldpiece HS-35 stick meter:

    This meter is very versatile. I have the dual temperature accesory head, anemometer head, and amp clam. Soon to get a microamp head. The temp. head is extremely handy. Some techs may think this meter is too versatile to be accurate but I haven't found that to be so. No "Fischer-Price" syndrome here.

    Imperial four valve gauge manifold (replaced creaky old J/B set in previous picture):


    Apologies for fuzzy pic above. Vacuum hose is 3/8" vs. 1/4" for increased evacuation volume. Gauge set is solid, though valves are a bit touchy. Spin it just a little and it's open! Took a little getting used to over my old J/B set (lower end but considering I thrashed them they held up pretty well).

    CPS charging scale and a recovery bottle:

    The CPS scale has a hand held readout that also has a magnet and/or a hook on it for mounting while you work.

    Inficon recovery machine (belongs to employer but was purchased for company by me. Good machine):

    This machine is kind of loud but it gets the job done. It's simple to hook up and use. Whether the machine is yours or your boss's, be sure you use a drier in the line from the equipment, and change it often.

    These are what I have or use and prefer. Your mileage may vary. But it helps to see the tools in action, I think.
    Building Physics Rule #1: Hot flows to cold.

    Building Physics Rule #2:
    Higher air pressure moves toward lower air pressure

    Building Physics Rule #3:
    Higher moisture concentration moves toward lower moisture concentration.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    My opinion/experience on one of my favorite subjects:

    Klien- tried and true choose carefully because they will be around for a while.
    Baco- A Snap-on subsidiary they are great tools comparable or superior to Klien (I know some of you think it’s blasphemy).
    Knipex- their diagonal cutters are amazing. The channel lock type pliers are an improvement over the original.
    Grip-on has a good vice grip style plier you can clamp to a table and use as a mini vice

    Snap-on- the best available and they price them accordingly. You and bet your life on them.
    ProTo (Stanley and Husky) my next choice Husky would be my recommendation for value priced tools when you are first starting out (Home Depot).

    Screw/nut drivers:
    Snap-on- screwdrivers are pretty good they fit the hand nicely
    Klien- makes some great cushioned screwdriver/nut drivers these are a very good bet.
    Rigid- makes decent screwdrivers as well.

    Snap-on- Simply the best combination wrenches ever no one even comes close. Their box end offsets are great. The ratcheting boxed end wrenches (dog bones) are worth every penny there is no comparison!
    ProTo- pretty good
    S&K- My second choice after snap-on
    Husky- The polished husky wrenches are a close imitation to snap-on a very sound choice for a beginner.

    Eastwing- The snap-on of hammers
    Malco-sound hammers and duct tools

    DeWalt- widely available and rugged higher end of the price range.
    Milwaukee-very rugged replacement parts easily obtainable
    Bosh- pricy but performs well
    Rigid- soon to be a competitor with the big boys I would not feel unarmed with one
    Makita- a little less robust than the others but it makes up for it in longevity.
    Ryobi- great for a beginner very economical and the quality is pretty decent

    Milwaukee- The only corded drill for many I agree. Tough as a tank.
    The others mentioned above same thing here!

    Lennox- tried and true

    Fluke- the best all I’ve used

    Hard to say you will end up with more than one pair if you work on bigger equipment. I was told buy a pair that you won’t cry over when they fall off the roof. You can repair them most wholesalers have parts.
    Refco- makes some robust gages catering to the refrigeration side of the house and they have a vacuum pump that looks like a tank. Their refrigeration tools are nice.

    Rigid- the best tubing cutters reamers all piping tools don’t care for their flare set it does not swage.
    Refco- Flare kit flares and swages


    I was told along time ago a power tool quality is related to the length of its cord. I find this to be true in almost every case (longer = better).

    When you select a cordless drill consider an impact driver. They out perform a regular drill when shooting screws and eliminate wrist whipping

    Good drill bits (Lawson products) are expensive so get a Drill Dr. or buy cheap ones with disposable intentions.

    Hope that’s enough to chew on.

    [Edited by hvacbear on 08-07-2004 at 03:16 AM]
    “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own." Scott Adams

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
    Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Yuma, Arizona
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    I'll second shophound's list... The Fieldpiece meters are great. Only go the HS-36 (newer)it's true RMS rated.

    As for hand tools I have Klein for the most part and some Craftsman sockets (can get them replaced or repaired almost anywhere).
    The main point is that your tools say a lot about you!!!!
    AND they help you make your living. Don't be cheep!
    Now where I live I buy craftsman cordless drills only because the batteries on all models only last a year or more (due to heat) so the cost on them alone, it's cheaper to replace the entire drill with two batteries every two years. ( I do have a Mikita 9.6 angle drill thats in my bag all the time)
    Also hvacbear's notes are also right on and to the point.

    What is snow? Is it that white stuff in a freezer?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northeastern Illinois
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    Also look into the REMS line for tubing bending and cutting. I also bought a REMS swaging tool, A little pricey but it works great. The only corded tools to use,as stated above, are Milwaukee. I have 15 year old saws and drills that will not ware out. I love tool shopping on E-bay. They have every thing.
    If it ain't broke don't fix it!!

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