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Thread: New Technician looking for Veteran advice on tools

  1. #1
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    New Technician looking for Veteran advice on tools

    Hey all! My first post here on HT.com so please forgive any errors =)

    Ive recently began my journey in a new carrer in HVAC, and having difficulties settling on which (two sets to avoid mixing) set of gauges I should pickup for a 'first set'. Ive asked around the shop, but sadly everyone suggests just picking up Fieldpiece digis....I personally prefer to save a little and go with something like YJ41s. I have no prior experience in this field and landed the job soley because I am an Army veteran! Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!
    Bill

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the site, and thank you for your service.
    Being new to the trade, don't spend a lot on tools just yet. Just pick up a basic set of gauges (I still use regular analog manifolds all the time BTW). You need to first figure out what all you'll need and what kind of work you'll be doing before you start investing. For example, I wouldn't tell you to buy expensive sheet metal tools if your going to be working on chillers all the time. Or tell you to buy ratchets and pipe wrenches if you'll be doing controls.
    Get enough to get by, get a little experiance, get a list going of what you want/need to do that job, then start investing.

  3. #3
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    Yes, thanks for your service. I've been doing this for 30 years now and I still learn stuff from this site. Hang around or stop in once in awhile and you'll pick up all sorts of good tips.

    I'm old school, and still am using the 'old fashion' analog gauges. They're inexpensive to both buy and repair. Rider77's post above is right on, go easy on buying tools in the beginning. And don't feel like you need to buy the absolute best stuff out there. You'll have plenty of time to upgrade as the years roll by.

    A couple of months ago a rookie hooked my gauges to the rope I was pulling stuff up on the roof with. Then they came loose and fell maybe 12 feet. Ruined one gauge and a handle. Cheap to repair. Don't have a clue how the digitals would have held up falling 12 feet onto asphalt.

    One other thing, try not to carry too many tools for initial service work. There's one guy where I work and his back-pack style service bag is something like 85 pounds. My tool pouch is 12 pounds. Just saying.

  4. #4
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    At this point in the game, I would go with just the essentials to get you started where tools , materials are concerned. You need to NOT invest a ton of money if you can avoid it ; if after a few years of doing HVAC for a living you are convinced this is going to be your lifelong Career, and after you are making a decent income , then opt for upgrading to better this and better that. It is wise to go frugal in the beginning .

  5. #5
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    Thank you for your service. Welcome to the industry.

    I agree with the others stick with the analog gauges to start with however I would recommend going to the 4 port manifold instead of the standard. The 4 port have a 3/8 vacuum hose which will speed evac. Most also have a sight glass which can be useful in more situations than you would think. To me it's nice to not have to disconnect the vac pump just to hook up a drum to pressurize the system.

    Good luck

  6. #6
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    Ithought Iwas the only one in the world to use 4 valve. I have no use for 3.

  7. #7
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    I prefer 3 for running service. Ill pull a 4 port out for repairs
    I havent failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work. - Thomas Edison

    Its not whether you get knocked down, its whether you get up. - Vince Lombardi

    "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics" - Homer Simpson

    Local 486 Instructor & Service Technician

  8. #8
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    I see a lot of people on this sit have digital gauges. I have probably 6 or 7 sets of gauges ridding in my van at any given time all analog. I also have gauges that are solo and not on a manifold that ride in my tool bag that I use the most. As said before hold off on buying all the fancy stuff.
    UA Proud

    "Phfft! Facts. You can use them to prove anything." Homer Simpson

  9. #9
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks all for the replies! I think I'll pick up a pair of thw Titan 4 valve manifolds and still spend a lot less than the FP digis! Ive slowly started collecting a nice set of tools via pawn shops and craigslist. I did splurge a little bit and picked up a FP HS36 meter for True RMS ($185 on Amazon) and then a week later picked up a backup HS33 for $30! Been lucky on everything but the gauges so far and most of my shop recommended not buying used gauges, as they tend to need repairs immediately - most often.

  10. #10
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    Have you got a job in the field yet?

  11. #11
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    Although I keep a couple pair of beater manifold gauges in my truck for odd circumstances, my real go to gauges is one three way with short hoses, and one four way with six foot hoses. They both have their place and I typically use both on a daily bases.




    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyrock53 View Post
    Thanks all for the replies! I think I'll pick up a pair of thw Titan 4 valve manifolds and still spend a lot less than the FP digis! Ive slowly started collecting a nice set of tools via pawn shops and craigslist. I did splurge a little bit and picked up a FP HS36 meter for True RMS ($185 on Amazon) and then a week later picked up a backup HS33 for $30! Been lucky on everything but the gauges so far and most of my shop recommended not buying used gauges, as they tend to need repairs immediately - most often.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
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    Amazon.com is your best friend.

  13. #13
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    This trade is like a addiction when it comes to tools. Start with what you basically need first, the next thing you know, you will have enough for two people.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by buford View Post
    This trade is like a addiction when it comes to tools. Start with what you basically need first, the next thing you know, you will have enough for two people.
    And still not feel like you have everything you need!

  15. #15
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    New tool junkie in the making. Welcome and thank you. Glad to see you did not cheap out on the meter.
    You need to put the phone down and get back to work!

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