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Thread: Ultrasonic Leak Detector

  1. #1
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    Ultrasonic Leak Detector

    Looking at an ultrasonic leak detector for our 70 ton chiller. One circuit is completely dead, oil all around under the condenser coil and some evidence of a small leak up above. Could just be from oil pulled up from the bottom coil leak. I have the Inficon Tek-Mate and it does a great job, but not pinpointing a leak. I expect to find the general location of the leak with the TM, but need to better pinpoint the leaks and number of leaks. I'm looking at this one:

    https://smile.amazon.com/711-203-G1-...%2C153&sr=8-21

    Anyone use this one? Any good?

  2. #2
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    I have that one. I find it to be completely useless. Not worth the space that it takes up on my truck
    -Marty

  3. #3
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    I have that one and the older Amprobe ULD300. Both detect in the 35 to 45khz range and I have located many leaks with them. I like them so much that I start every leak search with them especially on RTU's. However not all leaks are in that frequency range so many folks think they are useless if they haven't used them enough to understand the parameters. I noticed that the new Amprobe ULD405 has a detection range of 20 to 90khz which could really be a game changer in ultrasonics picking up many more leaks. Or just get the $28,000.00 Fluke that picks up from like 2khz range :-) But I'm not even sure if that level of sensitivity is even helpful for HVAC leaks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSafety View Post
    I have the Inficon Tek-Mate and it does a great job, but not pinpointing a leak. I expect to find the general location of the leak with the TM, but need to better pinpoint the leaks and number of leaks.
    I was always taught, you use a detector to find the general location of the leak, and bubbles to pinpoint it, but maybe the strategy has changed today.
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  6. #5
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    I could never get ultra sonics to work for me until I knew where the leak was. On the opposite end of the scale, had a co-worker at my last job who was a wizard with those things, he could find leaks in short order with an ultra sonic, then confirm with soap bubbles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    I was always taught, you use a detector to find the general location of the leak, and bubbles to pinpoint it, but maybe the strategy has changed today.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

    I'm feelin' a little peculiar.

  7. #6
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    I use the Bacharach Tru Pointe and it works really well. Ultrasonics in this price range aren't great for pinpointing leaks they are more for pointing you in the right direction if you have critical equipment and need to maintain maximum uptime you're going to be spending a lot more money the best of the best from a company like Fluke costs as much as a nice car.

  8. #7
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    I use my ultrasonic mainly in condensers... condensers where the refrigerant leak detector is going off anywhere near the unit.

    In evaps..... if my refrig leak detector goes off in the unit..... its time for a new coil. We dont even repair rubbed thru tubes in evaps. Condensers... yea... but evaps... nope

    amprobe uld 300
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  9. #8
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    Thread Starter
    Just saw a Tru Pointe at the local pawn shop for $200. Looked in good condition. The Tek-Mate should get me close.

    They also had a torch set for $110. Only thing usable there was the tanks for exchange and the holder. The gauges were ancient, the hoses nasty, the torch assembly not trustworthy. $60 just for the tanks and holder, maybe. Not for $110.

  10. #9
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    I have the ULD 300. It's worked well for me
    Nest is POO!!

  11. #10
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by BBeerme View Post
    I could never get ultra sonics to work for me until I knew where the leak was. On the opposite end of the scale, had a co-worker at my last job who was a wizard with those things, he could find leaks in short order with an ultra sonic, then confirm with soap bubbles.
    Tried the soap bubbles in the general location my leak detector went off. No luck. This condenser is almost 2 inches thick, four layers. I suspect the leak is buried deep inside the fins. Boy, I'm having all sorts of fun with AC units right now.

  12. #11
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    I've a few through the years where it initially appeared to be the condenser. But after due diligence, found the leak somewhere else. What was happening was a small narrow stream of refrigerant was being 'shot' onto the condenser from a nearby location.


    Quote Originally Posted by RedSafety View Post
    Tried the soap bubbles in the general location my leak detector went off. No luck. This condenser is almost 2 inches thick, four layers. I suspect the leak is buried deep inside the fins. Boy, I'm having all sorts of fun with AC units right now.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

    I'm feelin' a little peculiar.

  13. #12
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    R600a is offline Professional Member*/Membership Committee
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    I found a condenser leak this spring on a 90 and it would only leak when you either wiggled the compressor or the compressor ran. So I spent a good 20 minutes searching knowing there was oil all over the place so it had to be a leak and I couldn't find anything I had big blue all over the place and then I left the fan motor off but turned on the compressor and sure enough there it was. It was a vibration dependent leak.
    "Is this before or after you fired the parts cannon at it?" - senior tech
    I'm tired of these mediocre "semi flammable" refrigerants. If we're going to do it let's do it right.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by R600a View Post
    I found a condenser leak this spring on a 90 and it would only leak when you either wiggled the compressor or the compressor ran. So I spent a good 20 minutes searching knowing there was oil all over the place so it had to be a leak and I couldn't find anything I had big blue all over the place and then I left the fan motor off but turned on the compressor and sure enough there it was. It was a vibration dependent leak.
    Not going to work on a 70 ton water chiller. It's definitely in the coils. One is up in the corner of the vertical coil. At least one major one is in the middle of the horizontal coil. Big Blue isn't finding it, but the sniffer says it somewhere in the vicinity, occasionally, on high sensitivity.

  15. #14
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    Had a leak today on a rev valve pilot tube where it goes into a stub. Inficon going off anywhere near the unit..... soap bubbles not showing anything..... cause the leak was blowing hard enough to not make bubbles..... I used my ultrasonic to confirm the leak location....
    The bible is my constitution and the constitution is my bible.

    WE THE PEOPLE refers to THEM and not YOU.

    Jonathan Lawson 2024

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