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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Ventura, CA
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    Zoom Lock worth it?

    Ive been seriously thinking about buying the Zoom Lock tool and fittings but wondering if its worth it. The tool is expensive enough but the fittings. Dang!! $32 just for one 7/8 elbow?
    They advertise about the time and money savings by using the tool but I dont see how it could do that.
    Anyone out there have one and whats your take on it?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
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    I bought the Ridgid jaws along with the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic kit. Mainly to do plumbing, but wanted the added ability to do refrigerant lines as well.

    After learning how to use the tool, I only ended up using it a handful of times. I'm finding the biggest part of the process is preparing the tubing before either press or brazing is performed. The press does save time, and it can definitely help in poorly accessible locations like inside a wall. The big issue is connecting to the equipment. If you cut the bell end off the equipment then you're left with nothing if it doesn't go right. With brazing, you can simply re-sweat the joint. So, if you braze a stub on the equipment at the shop, then I guess it would go better in the field.

    The amount of potential joints also doubles, opposed to using a swaging tool. More often than not, tubing doesn't line up perfectly with the new unit. An added short piece of pipe is needed for connection. With that said, this would require 8 couplings. 2 on each line indoors, and 2 on each line outdoors. Even if you bend your own pipe, you still have the very expensive couplings. Roughly $7 each for 3/8" and $17 each for 3/4" that's almost $100 in couplings alone!

    The next big issue is ovaled ACR tubing. It's very difficult to round out tubing without making any imperfections in the copper. With ovaled tubing you run the risk of damaging the o-rings when connecting the fittings. I've contacted several refrigerant tool mfgs. about this issue, and none are interested in making a tool that can be used to help remedy the issue. Swaging tools will spread the tubing too large, and typically don't go deep enough. External clamps or even a crescent wrench will mark the tubing leaving a potentially poor seal.

    When I'm on the job, I find once I have my torch out to braze on a stub to the unit, and all of the fittings have been prepped, it's really not much more time to sweat the other fittings. Yeah, you have to pull out the nitrogen purge, but you still have to pull out the tank for a pressure test anyway. So, how much time does it really save???

    I don't think it will ever take off until the price of the fittings are reduced in half.

    Again, if you're in a no-flame environment, then it's a life saver.

    I feel like it's just poor leadership by the mfg. They have a product with a great potential, but they don't have the ability to mainstream it. Meanwhile the plumbing side of this with the Pro-Press, and Mega-Press are taking off. Fittings are a fraction of the cost of the Zoomlocks.

    What Zoomlock really needs to come out with is a flexible coupler in different lengths 1', 2' and 3'. Not only would this help isolate resonance from the compressor into the building, but also reduce the fittings in half, and reduce the coupler tubing prep. Bending up a piece of copper into an S bend is a pain in the butt sometimes, and takes the most amount of time. This would be a game changer!

    Imagine cutting the tubing to separate the old equipment, cleaning up the existing tubing end, slipping on a coupler, press, press, done.
    Instead we have to measure a piece of tubing to fit the gap between the new unit and old tubing, clean up all of the ends, bend the tubing at the proper angles, swage the ends, set up the nitro purge, lug out the torches and finally braze. Prepping the coupler section is 80% of the job. I know they already have the sweat type connectors, and they are the same damn price as a 2 friggin Zoomlock 90 fittings!
    Last edited by mgenius33; 08-08-2019 at 07:19 PM.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Arnold, Mo
    Posts
    959
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    I bought some Propress fittings today for the 1st time. I had heard how expensive the fittings are but I'm assuming that it's the a/c fittings that are expensive. I bought 3/4" couplers for $3.50 and a 3/4" shutoff for $18. I haven't bought the jaws for the Zoomlock jaws yet. I haven't really seen the benefit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
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    6,114
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    https://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread...how-tour-is-on!

    You planning on using it on soft drawn tubing? If so let us know how it works on 3/4” OD or 7/8” OD rolled tubing.

    BTW, I never made it to a Zoomlock Roadshow carrying a roll of 3/4” OD soft drawn tubing..as suggested in post 13.....I’ll have to put that on my bucket list before I kick the bucket ( no pun intended ) if they continue with the roadshow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago area
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    For residential installs, I see no place for zoomlock, unless you need a joint in a bad place, or your running rigid, but your better off to plan around that.

    In the commercial market where rigid is much more common, thats where I see much more potential, or in the VRF market.

    The company I work for bought one for a job in an explosive environment, and it works pretty well, but the fittings are very expensive and the elbow turning radius is also rather significant.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. Likes Zamoramax liked this post
  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Ventura, CA
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    122
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    https://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread...how-tour-is-on!

    You planning on using it on soft drawn tubing? If so let us know how it works on 3/4” OD or 7/8” OD rolled tubing.

    BTW, I never made it to a Zoomlock Roadshow carrying a roll of 3/4” OD soft drawn tubing..as suggested in post 13.....I’ll have to put that on my bucket list before I kick the bucket ( no pun intended ) if they continue with the roadshow.
    Thanks for the response. No. I would only use it on ACR pipe. But reading all the good feedback, Im more convinced that the cost for the fittings alone doesn't justify buying the tool. I have several jobs pending that will require installing the line sets and I didnt add in the cost of at least $300 in zoom lock fittings.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Ventura, CA
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    122
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by heatingman View Post
    For residential installs, I see no place for zoomlock, unless you need a joint in a bad place, or your running rigid, but your better off to plan around that.

    In the commercial market where rigid is much more common, thats where I see much more potential, or in the VRF market.

    The company I work for bought one for a job in an explosive environment, and it works pretty well, but the fittings are very expensive and the elbow turning radius is also rather significant.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the good feedback.

  9. Likes heatingman liked this post
  10. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Ventura, CA
    Posts
    122
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by mgenius33 View Post
    I bought the Ridgid jaws along with the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic kit. Mainly to do plumbing, but wanted the added ability to do refrigerant lines as well.

    After learning how to use the tool, I only ended up using it a handful of times. I'm finding the biggest part of the process is preparing the tubing before either press or brazing is performed. The press does save time, and it can definitely help in poorly accessible locations like inside a wall. The big issue is connecting to the equipment. If you cut the bell end off the equipment then you're left with nothing if it doesn't go right. With brazing, you can simply re-sweat the joint. So, if you braze a stub on the equipment at the shop, then I guess it would go better in the field.

    The amount of potential joints also doubles, opposed to using a swaging tool. More often than not, tubing doesn't line up perfectly with the new unit. An added short piece of pipe is needed for connection. With that said, this would require 8 couplings. 2 on each line indoors, and 2 on each line outdoors. Even if you bend your own pipe, you still have the very expensive couplings. Roughly $7 each for 3/8" and $17 each for 3/4" that's almost $100 in couplings alone!

    The next big issue is ovaled ACR tubing. It's very difficult to round out tubing without making any imperfections in the copper. With ovaled tubing you run the risk of damaging the o-rings when connecting the fittings. I've contacted several refrigerant tool mfgs. about this issue, and none are interested in making a tool that can be used to help remedy the issue. Swaging tools will spread the tubing too large, and typically don't go deep enough. External clamps or even a crescent wrench will mark the tubing leaving a potentially poor seal.

    When I'm on the job, I find once I have my torch out to braze on a stub to the unit, and all of the fittings have been prepped, it's really not much more time to sweat the other fittings. Yeah, you have to pull out the nitrogen purge, but you still have to pull out the tank for a pressure test anyway. So, how much time does it really save???

    I don't think it will ever take off until the price of the fittings are reduced in half.

    Again, if you're in a no-flame environment, then it's a life saver.

    I feel like it's just poor leadership by the mfg. They have a product with a great potential, but they don't have the ability to mainstream it. Meanwhile the plumbing side of this with the Pro-Press, and Mega-Press are taking off. Fittings are a fraction of the cost of the Zoomlocks.

    What Zoomlock really needs to come out with is a flexible coupler in different lengths 1', 2' and 3'. Not only would this help isolate resonance from the compressor into the building, but also reduce the fittings in half, and reduce the coupler tubing prep. Bending up a piece of copper into an S bend is a pain in the butt sometimes, and takes the most amount of time. This would be a game changer!

    Imagine cutting the tubing to separate the old equipment, cleaning up the existing tubing end, slipping on a coupler, press, press, done.
    Instead we have to measure a piece of tubing to fit the gap between the new unit and old tubing, clean up all of the ends, bend the tubing at the proper angles, swage the ends, set up the nitro purge, lug out the torches and finally braze. Prepping the coupler section is 80% of the job. I know they already have the sweat type connectors, and they are the same damn price as a 2 friggin Zoomlock 90 fittings!
    Wow. I really appreciate the great information. Its definitely caused me to hold off on buying this tool until the price of the fittings drop down to at least highway robbery.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Ventura, CA
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    122
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    Thread Starter
    For Zoomlock fittings, Johnstone Supply wants $32 per 7/8" elbow. $21.24 for a 3/8" elbow. $19.74 for one 7/8" coupling and $8.24 for a 3/8" coupling. I would get out bid if I added that kind of coin to a job.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    317
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    At my last company we used it on a line set replacement in an apartment complex. We used it on the soft copper line set with no issues. It's made life easy as we minimized the hot work to the last connection at the fan coil and at the condenser. We pressure checked it over night with no loss in pressure and it held vacuum with no problem.

    I also used it on walk in freezer condenser and evap replacement in a hospital. Again no issues. Same deal we did hot work only where needed and actually did it outside so we didnt have to pull a permit. It's still running with no issues.

    I was told by a classmate if it does leak you can just braze over it to seal it up. Never had to do it but apparently he had to.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT1 View Post

    I was told by a classmate if it does leak you can just braze over it to seal it up. Never had to do it but apparently he had to.
    No offense, but your classmate is wrong. You will burn the o-rings and leave the potential for refrigerant contamination.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  14. Likes Zamoramax liked this post
  15. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    15
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    You can always look at ZoomLock.com for some good information.

    Quote Originally Posted by navyguy1 View Post
    Ive been seriously thinking about buying the Zoom Lock tool and fittings but wondering if its worth it. The tool is expensive enough but the fittings. Dang!! $32 just for one 7/8 elbow?
    They advertise about the time and money savings by using the tool but I dont see how it could do that.
    Anyone out there have one and whats your take on it?


    Thanks!

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Posts
    1
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    I was just wondering why can't we Solder these tubings (using the electrical approach, soldering iron) instead of Brazing (gas/flame)? If an electric soldering gun can't get that hot on 110v then why not using 220v electric which is around us as the outside condenser unit!

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