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Thread: Digi gauges or smart probes

  1. #1
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    Digi gauges or smart probes

    Last fall/winter my testo 550 were hooked to a unit but I must have bumped them and they fell. Hit just right it sheered off the low side connection. They also got wet several years back when a wshp line snapped and flooded me and the apartment. So I just pitched then and grabbed my analogs.

    Been using them ever since. But Iím getting lazy. Lot of work to switch the clamp style thermometer back and forth between the suction and discharge. Plus Iím starting to play with other refrigerants so Iím always pulling a pt chart out. Thought about getting another set of digi, something other than the 550, since there were a few things I didnít love about them. But then I started thinking so I just get those smart probe thingy do dads. The ones that link to your phone or iPad.

    Looks like for the long run might be better.
    Get all pressure and temp of the refer cycle as well getting the supply and return all on one screen.

    Havenít looked at an specific model yet as I figured my research would start here.

    Anyone using anything they love and couldnít work without?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2
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    I'm a fieldpiece guy so for me it would be a choice between the fieldpiece sman3 or the smart probes and I much prefer the smart probes. They are so much more versatile. They make checking superheat and subcooling on a package unit a breeze. Another advantage for me is I can have a few backup probes and if a transducer starts leaking or something from my rough treatment I swap it out and next time I'm in the supply house I can send it in for warranty without being out an entire set of gauges.
    That said the other day I did have a pressure probe start leaking but I was an early adopter so mine are some of the very earliest they made and I may have twisted a little too hard on the body of the probe a few times but I'm learning and I think my next one will last a lot longer.

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Also I even use mine when working on residential refrigerators.

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    The Fieldpiece smart probes are nice and convenient for quick checks. If you're on a heat pump, it's simple enough to hook a charging hose to the true suction port in cooling or carry an access tee. They're also small and light enough to keep in my primary tool bag and they are great for RTUs so you can get the access door on to prevent air bypassing the coil. But if I know I'll be doing service, I break out the SMAN.

    Most of the time, the smart probes work great and so does the Fieldpiece app, but problems I've noticed since having them is:
    (1) You need an internet connection when you open the app or else it'll hang up (iOS)
    (2) The range is great, but not perfect if you're a few concrete walls away
    (3) Sometimes the probes lose connection and you have to restart the app

    These are just minor gripes, but they're definitely versatile and have a place. I don't think they can replace digital gauges, so if you're having to decide between one or the other, definitely get the SMAN 380V or 480V, which utilizes the Fieldpiece app if you choose and you can pair the wireless psychrometers to use without the app.
    Everything Iím going to say today are my conclusions and my opinions, my opinions are based on my education, my training, my experience. Different people have different experiences, so they have different opinions and I make no claim that my opinion has its origin in the mind greatness. - Paul Harrell

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    The Fieldpiece smart probes are nice and convenient for quick checks. If you're on a heat pump, it's simple enough to hook a charging hose to the true suction port in cooling or carry an access tee. They're also small and light enough to keep in my primary tool bag and they are great for RTUs so you can get the access door on to prevent air bypassing the coil. But if I know I'll be doing service, I break out the SMAN.

    Most of the time, the smart probes work great and so does the Fieldpiece app, but problems I've noticed since having them is:
    (1) You need an internet connection when you open the app or else it'll hang up (iOS)
    (2) The range is great, but not perfect if you're a few concrete walls away
    (3) Sometimes the probes lose connection and you have to restart the app

    These are just minor gripes, but they're definitely versatile and have a place. I don't think they can replace digital gauges, so if you're having to decide between one or the other, definitely get the SMAN 380V or 480V, which utilizes the Fieldpiece app if you choose and you can pair the wireless psychrometers to use without the app.
    More reasons I don't use the fieldpiece app.
    I'd recommend if you go with smart probes don't even bother with the fieldpiece app just get measure quick and learn how to use it. It's so worth it once you learn what information you have to enter every time and what information you don't it becomes quick easy and amazing what it can show you. I only use the app diagnosis to validate what I think / know is wrong but usually it is pretty accurate.
    I never enter the job location info I only enter the actual measurements required to calculate everything.

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbhenergy View Post
    Last fall/winter my testo 550 were hooked to a unit but I must have bumped them and they fell. Hit just right it sheered off the low side connection. They also got wet several years back when a wshp line snapped and flooded me and the apartment. So I just pitched then and grabbed my analogs.

    Been using them ever since. But Iím getting lazy. Lot of work to switch the clamp style thermometer back and forth between the suction and discharge. Plus Iím starting to play with other refrigerants so Iím always pulling a pt chart out. Thought about getting another set of digi, something other than the 550, since there were a few things I didnít love about them. But then I started thinking so I just get those smart probe thingy do dads. The ones that link to your phone or iPad.

    Looks like for the long run might be better.
    Get all pressure and temp of the refer cycle as well getting the supply and return all on one screen.

    Havenít looked at an specific model yet as I figured my research would start here.

    Anyone using anything they love and couldnít work without?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    When they came out I went with the Testo smart probs. Anyway one of the pressure probs hit the dirt and just had to replace it. Newer prob, better range, cheaper price for buying just one item... Win... Win
    Life is too short, Behappy!
    TFMM

  7. #7
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    Thread Starter
    alright im back for a min.

    What i didnt like about the testo was there was nowhere to put the temp clamps. I had to clamp them to the hoses but then the connection stuck out the sides. of coarse i could have put in a case after every use but im using them 4-6 calls a day in the summer.
    Second, everything was not on the same page. I had to scroll to get sh sc and then back again to get sat temps.

    That said, does the fieldpiece address those issues? I think those were my two biggest. In use the only other digi i have seen is the fieldpiece. So not sure what else is out there.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbhenergy View Post
    alright im back for a min.

    What i didnt like about the testo was there was nowhere to put the temp clamps. I had to clamp them to the hoses but then the connection stuck out the sides. of coarse i could have put in a case after every use but im using them 4-6 calls a day in the summer.
    Second, everything was not on the same page. I had to scroll to get sh sc and then back again to get sat temps.

    That said, does the fieldpiece address those issues? I think those were my two biggest. In use the only other digi i have seen is the fieldpiece. So not sure what else is out there.
    Yes fieldpiece SMAN has a spot to park the clamps and everything is on the main screen

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by R600a View Post
    Yes fieldpiece SMAN has a spot to park the clamps and everything is on the main screen

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk
    if you have your probes installed, do you have to get guages to charge a unit? Or do you have an access T. What about recovery machine. Probes or sman?

  10. #10
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    Thread Starter
    just googled real quick the sman and it looks like now you can even connect wireless probes to the gauge set.

    Will look more into tonight though.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbhenergy View Post
    if you have your probes installed, do you have to get guages to charge a unit? Or do you have an access T. What about recovery machine. Probes or sman?
    My SMAN stays in the tool box with no hoses attached because it is only emergency backup. I have a cheap yellow jacket mechanical for recovering contaminated systems I use my old leaky hoses on it.
    For everything else I use my probes set up as in the picture below. Plus a hose or two.

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    I connect the refrigerant probes to the side ports on the t attached to the ball valve. I use copper washers between the t and the valve to prevent leaks. Also I don't torque the connection to the same specs as a normal quarter-inch flare because it strips the brass threads on the ball valve for some reason. I use NRP houses and ball valves from United refrigeration because I can buy individual ball valves and hoses and rebuild kits for the ball valves.

    Sent from the Okie state usin Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    I have been using a Fieldpiece digital manifold and other asstd meters for a long time. I've dropped them So many times I've lost count, been rained on, just so many abuses . They just keep working. I bought all my trucks Testo manifolds when my preferred supplier started carrying them and we had so much trouble with them the supplier bought them all back.
    If I wasn't working just part time now I would get the latest & greates with all the Bluetooth gadgets to go along .

  14. Likes R600a liked this post.
  15. #14
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    I have the iConnect kit with the hi & Lo pressure probes, a repeater probe and 2 air probes, then I have some wired probes also. They can run on either iManifold or MQ and you get good reports with either. I have thought bout upgrading some probes as I have had them several years. I have also thought about the subscription which give you a few more options as to reports and tests you can do. all in all I have been satisfied with the performance and abuse they have taken. I do have a Veto MC bag they all fit in and it makes it handy to grab what you need or take the whole bag.

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