Sunday, November 6, 2016

Digital Data Recording and Reporting

A relatively new class of communicating digital tools makes it possible to share your readings electronically. They not only take accurate pressure and temperature readings, they can share those in an email with your supervisor, company, customer or energy utility. And many of these can take more than just refrigerant pressure and temperature readings. The Stride I-Manifold, Testo Smart Probes, Fieldpiece System Analyzer, Sporlan Smart Tools, Yellow Jacket Mantooth, and Appion ION gauges can all send data to your electronic devices, which then use free applications to create and send the reports. Some can collect information from a variety of instruments and report on them as well. For example, you can also get ambient temperature, indoor wet bulb, and indoor airflow. I am sure I probably missed a few.  The point is, tools are available now that can do more than collect data; they can help you organize it and report your results.

The reporting capability allows you to document what you have done. For example, you can produce before and after reports showing the system performance when you arrived and the system performance after you have made adjustments. You can also send reports to your supervisors if you need help. Some utilities have rebate programs which require that the contractor use a particular reporting setup. The idea is that the utility can verify that the system really is performing as designed by the manufacturer.

This is both exciting and a little bit intimidating. Until now, if you went on a call and checked the system performance, you were generally the only person that would see all the measurements and make the judgement. If you have checked more than a handful of systems, you know that checking system performance really is a judgement based on a lot of variables. And, you only have control of a few of those variables. It is not as simple as matching a couple of pressures and temperatures.

There is the outdoor temperature, the indoor temperature, the indoor wet bulb, the airflow across each coil; any one of which can make your system perform in a way you don’t expect. That is before issues such as plugged expansion valves, restricted filter driers, underperforming compressors, or installation errors. All of these things must be verified before adjusting the charge. It would be nice if we could just state a couple of pressures and/or temperatures and leave it at that, but that is not reality. Even manufacturer performance charts and tables assume a lot of this information. If just one value is off from the assumption, the manufacturer’s chart will not work.

So, if you ever needed any incentive to up your game when checking systems, having to send reports to supervisors, utilities, and customers should do the trick. Beer-can cold is just not good enough in an environment that expects documentation and verification. That is unless you plan to strap a can of Coors to the suction line and send in a photo of the color change. Here are a few links to check out these new-age tools.

Appion -
Fieldpiece -
I-Manifold -
Sporlan -
Testo -
Yellow Jacket -

No comments:

Post a Comment