Sunday, October 12, 2014

Playing with Your Phone on the Job

Many companies now issue company cell phones to their service techs. The phones are intended for communication, so the company can find the techs and talk with them virtually anywhere, anytime. Now those phones may need to be considered part of the technician’s toolbox. There are already many great apps, including free pressure-temperature apps – usually from refrigerant companies. Equipment and parts manufacturers have started producing apps for looking up parts and equipment service specs. Now you can use your phone or tablet to read the system pressures, line temperatures, superheat, and subcooling. Stride Tools (Imperial) released the i-manifold last year. It is a four port manifold without a display. It sends the information wirelessly to your phone or tablet, and your device becomes the display. Since the display is literally on a small computer, the app can do all kinds of cool things. For one, they have wireless thermometers that can work with the i-manifold to determine system operating conditions, capacity superheat, and subcooling. But wait – there’s more! Now Yellow Jacket has come out with a small device they call the mantooth. It connects to the system and has a tethered temperature probe. It also has no display, but sends the information to your smart device via Bluetooth. So you can see system pressures, temperature, superheat, and subcooling all on your phone. The advantage of this device is that you don’t have to fill up a hose with refrigerant to get a reading – so refrigerant loss is minimal. The “short” gauge concept is perfect for simply testing system performance. Another well known manufacturer is also testing “short” gauges that connect to smart phones and tablets. Their devices are also “short” gauges – eliminating the refrigerant loss from connecting hoses. Their gauges do have their own display as well as connecting to your device through Bluetooth. They are developing wireless thermometers to work with these gauges. Again, you will be able to see all relevant system operating conditions on your smart device and you won’t have to lose several ounces of refrigerant just to perform a check-up. You may soon be playing with your phone on the job – to improve your productivity!

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