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HVAC probes

I am looking to purchase HVAC probes I was thinking either the Testo or Fieldpiece. I have heard pros and cons of each. I would love your thoughts Are there any other I should consider?
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Like test probes for a multimeter?
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,948
    Never had an issue with analog due to dropping, heat, cold, rain.  o:)
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    I researched this fairly extensively and went with the Fieldpiece. The probes are great, and with my SC680 they work great with the FP app.
    They also all work great with the MeasureQuick App.
    The best price is at True Tech Tools, and I can PM anyone a 7% discount code.
    I only use the probes, with core depressor and/or charging tee, and ditched the manual manifold gauges/hoses (don't even have them on the truck anymore). I do have separate Red and Blue quick connect gauges for recovery/vacuum, and quick checks.
    steve
    PC7060
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    @mattmia2 not sure I know what they are called i went to a seminar and they recommended not using hoses
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974

    @pecmsg I hear that
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    Thanks @STEVEusaPA I will look into it 
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Google sort of sorted it out. They are little temp and pressure sensing devices that can be placed at a remote observation points and talk it looks like bluetooth to a central monitor so you can measure the conditions in a system in real time for things like refrigerant charging.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,216
    Yeah, I use the Fieldpiece kit as well. Nice, and allows me to instrument a packaged unit, put the doors back on, & get valid numbers while I walk around & kick the tires. Neither the Fieldpiece app (graphing is poor) nor the measureQuick app (too complicated) are especially great, but they work.

    Note that, for reasons that are ostensibly true, you must turn on Location to use them with an Android phone. The Apple app can be used without globally enabling Location, however. (About the only thing I like about iOS is that ability.)

    PC7060
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    @ratio Thanks I appreciate the feed back. @mattmia2 A speaker at a seminar said these should be be used with ductless mini splits to limit refrigeration loss
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Or I suppose a manifold set with valves at the fittings that actually hold(which I thought was a requirement now, at least in theory).

    I can see where those systems are really like a window AC or dehumidifier where the total charge is tiny so small changes in charge make a big difference.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720

    @ratio Thanks I appreciate the feed back. @mattmia2 A speaker at a seminar said these should be be used with ductless mini splits to limit refrigeration loss

    They're good to use everywhere to limit loss from the refrigerant contained/released from in the hoses, as well as core depressors.
    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there. And with some of the more unscrupulous companies, an opportunity to get a customer to put in a whole new system or spend major money that wasn't necessary.
    steve
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,035

    @ratio Thanks I appreciate the feed back. @mattmia2 A speaker at a seminar said these should be be used with ductless mini splits to limit refrigeration loss

    They're good to use everywhere to limit loss from the refrigerant contained/released from in the hoses, as well as core depressors.
    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there. And with some of the more unscrupulous companies, an opportunity to get a customer to put in a whole new system or spend major money that wasn't necessary.
    I can't stand that.
    In my opinion if the system appears to be working correctly the caps shouldn't be touched let alone connecting hoses etc. The system should remain closed including the caps which are a secondary seal unless it's absolutely necessary to connect to it to address a known issue.

    Visual inspection as well as condenser cleaning, measuring current etc is all fine but the refrigerant system should remain closed and untouched unless it's for a specific reason.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705

    @ratio Thanks I appreciate the feed back. @mattmia2 A speaker at a seminar said these should be be used with ductless mini splits to limit refrigeration loss

    They're good to use everywhere to limit loss from the refrigerant contained/released from in the hoses, as well as core depressors.
    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there. And with some of the more unscrupulous companies, an opportunity to get a customer to put in a whole new system or spend major money that wasn't necessary.
    My non-professional opinion is that you shouldn't be connecting gauges unless you see something that looks like a charge problem. I'm open to opinions to the contrary, but it seems like you can only make it worse if other measurements don't point to a sealed system problem.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    I agree with both of you. Clean the outdoor coil, check/clean inside coil, check/measure the airflow. Then only gauges if there appears to be a problem.
    steve
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    I guess you could check superheat by using the temperature but its not as accurate. I was always taught to check the ac pressures yearly. My tech replaces the plastic cap he finds with a brass cap because the schrader valves always seem to leak. Guess that's why.

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705


    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there.

    Even if there were a leak that leaked a pound or 2 of refrigerant over a decade, could you find that leak with ordinary service tools?

  • RPK
    RPK Member Posts: 95
    A lot of votes for the fieldpiece probes here.  I have been using the Testo Smartprobes for years and have no complaints.  They improved the range dramatically in the more recent version.  In addition to Bluetooth probes for refrigeration pressures, I find the temperature/humidity, pipe temp, and air velocity probes quite useful.  Setting a probe in the return air and supply air or at a supply diffuser sure beats running long cables everywhere or standing on a ladder waiting for a temperature measurement to settle in.  The trending/data logging functions of the apps associated with filedpiece or testo probes is a great diagnostic tool.  Rather than recording conditions at single moment in time, you can see what was happening over time, fluctuations, oscillations, etc.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    Thanks @RPK I appreciate it. I like the testo and will look further into them. I have a testo airflow hood and a combustion analyzer and like them both
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,035
    edited May 20
    This is one of the things I really like about my own system......

    Because I installed a sight glass right before the TXV, insulated the liquid line and installed a condenser fan controller the sight glass will completely clear after a few minutes regardless of the outdoor temperature.

    If it doesn't.....I would likely see how my temp drop across the evaporator is vs the indoor humidity and judge whether or not I feel I need to dig deeper. For example, if my RH is in the 40s and I'm only seeing a 15 degree drop I'll likely start digging. If I see a 18-22 degree drop I probably won't.

    To be honest, with a TXV I can hear when it's not getting constant liquid, or if it's hunting even without a sight glass but the sight glass is a nice thing to have, even with 410A.

    But that get's a whole lot more iffy without a fan controller, especially when it's cool out. I'd expect a 410A system would struggle to clear the glass even with a ambient in the 70s without a fan controller.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    mattmia2 said:


    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there.

    Even if there were a leak that leaked a pound or 2 of refrigerant over a decade, could you find that leak with ordinary service tools?

    I don't understand your question. What do you consider 'ordinary service tools' to 'find that leak'?
    steve
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705

    mattmia2 said:


    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there.

    Even if there were a leak that leaked a pound or 2 of refrigerant over a decade, could you find that leak with ordinary service tools?

    I don't understand your question. What do you consider 'ordinary service tools' to 'find that leak'?
    Electronic refrigerant detectors, pressure testing, dyes, maybe a few other things I'm missing. It seems like the concentration with that small a leak will be incredibly low.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,035
    mattmia2 said:

    mattmia2 said:


    Some techs put gauges on for every service call, year after year. Eventually, that system would need refrigerant, and possibly cause the customer money, 'looking' for a refrigerant leak that isn't there.

    Even if there were a leak that leaked a pound or 2 of refrigerant over a decade, could you find that leak with ordinary service tools?

    I don't understand your question. What do you consider 'ordinary service tools' to 'find that leak'?
    Electronic refrigerant detectors, pressure testing, dyes, maybe a few other things I'm missing. It seems like the concentration with that small a leak will be incredibly low.
    I'm no expert but I think oil / dust is your best friend for such issues.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    My mom's system has quick connect fittings that leak somewhere around that rate and there is no sign anywhere of oil or dirt sticking to oil.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,035
    mattmia2 said:

    My mom's system has quick connect fittings that leak somewhere around that rate and there is no sign anywhere of oil or dirt sticking to oil.





    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    The liquid line fitting on the evaporator has a distributor that connects to a bunch of tiny tubes that connect to various points on the evaporator so it would be difficult to replace that fitting, adding half a pound or so every 4 or 5 years seems like the most practical solution. Reading the instructions for the quick connect fittings I suspect the leak because they weren't seated properly when they were installed, there is a flare fitting built in to them that seats if they are tightened fully and if the guy that installed it didn't read the label that said to add 10 oz of refrigerant when pairing that condenser and evaporator I doubt he read the instructions for the fittings either.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    We're getting off topic. What does this have to do with probes?
    steve
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 682
    I couldn’t decide either so I got them both.

    Haven’t had any problems with either. I usually just grab whatever is closest when I open the door to my van.

    I highly suggest getting some Schrader core depressors to throw in your kit as well.
    Never stop learning.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,216
    FWIW, something happened to the Fieldpiece app on my tablet yesterday, it couldn't connect to the intertubes so it wouldn't work. Irritating, but I can just use the measureQuick app, right? Nope, no easy way to just get temps to display without going through the whole rigamarole of setting up a job, etc. (At least, I couldn't find a way—and half the screen was basically ads.) <sigh> Is usability testing really too much to ask for?

    TL;DR: no internetz no worky; good apps are rare

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 974
    Thanks everyone I think I am getting the Fieldpiece ones.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    STEVEusaPA
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,216
    As a follow-up to my complaint above, it seems that Fieldpiece has an updated app & the old one was shut down. IDK why it didn't auto-update, but after I uninstalled it & installed the new one it worked. Unfortunately, I haven't yet had a chance to really exercise it, but judging by the appearance I'm hoping for a rewrite that makes everything work better.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,556
    Ratio- yes that drove me batty. The new mQ revision. I pasted a screenshot and one of the Facebook pages and a couple people get back to me saying you can edit the home screen. So that’s what I did. You want classic view. You want to customize the Home Screen and uncheck all of that poofy stuff 

    i use Testo, my guy uses Field Piece. His Bloo tooth may travel farther than mine 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,556
    Oh shoot you’re using field piece app? Ok sorry never mind 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,216
    @GW, I got all the stuff turned off that'll turn off in the mQ home screen, but all I want is the readings from the sensors. I couldn't figure out how to do that. I didn't spend a lot of time on it though, maybe it's one of those 'intuitive' buttons that I haven't figured out yet.

    All apps suck.

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,556
    Ok you are on mQ? Then scroll down to the very bottom and click Customize Start Screen, Classic View is what you want 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,216
    I'll give it a try, thanks for the tip!