Friday, March 11, 2011

I-Phone, The HVACR Service Tool of Today

Do you have an I-Phone on your list of required service tools? I can not help but notice the increasing number of students in my classes that regularly use smart phones, I-Pads, and laptops. One student brings in his I-Pad and follows along on MyHVACLAb while I am lecturing. However, creative phone use goes well beyond using MyHVACLab. Students are looking up compressor data, working with PT charts, comparing different gauge sets, and pulling down articles posted on the web. I-Phones, Androids, and  I-Pads are not really phones, they are hand held computers that are always connected to the internet. Oh, and they can be used for phone calls too. So while discussing PT charts, superheat, and subcooling I notice that four or five of my students are looking at their phones rather than the chart I am displaying. Why? They are using the free Bitzer app that puts a PT chart on their I-Phone. When discussing different gauge sets, one student shows me different models he has found, asking about the pros and cons of each. Copeland has just announced that they have released an app that gives a complete reference of their compressor data. Add to that the many smart phone accessible standard web pages with service data and you start to see that a smart phone really becomes a very useful service tool, connecting the technician with more service literature and data than could be carried around in printed form.  More than ever, I see the job of the instructor as teaching our students how to intelligently use this information. Having access to a mountain of information does not make you a technician. You have to sort out the useful form the junk, and you need to know how to apply the information to solve problems. It is more important that students understand how to use this information than it is for them to memorize any particular piece of information. Rather than restrict the use of phones in class, I allow students to use them so long as it is not for texting their girlfriend. Allowing students to use their phones in class can be a little intimidating because you realize that you do not completely control the flow of information. That is OK. I do not see my job as one of stuffing information into my students craniums. That is their job! I try to think of myself not as a walking air conditioning encyclopedia, but as a coach whose job is to get the best out of each member of my team. I need to figure out where the gaps in understanding are and guide each student to improve their understanding of the information. If you allow phone use in class, inevitably someone will be texting their girlfriend rather than looking up compressor data. They are easy to spot. They don’t ask any questions or participate in the general discussion. The HVACR app masters are looking up PT charts for some refrigerant you never heard of before, pummeling you with questions and sucking in information at a breathtaking pace. The next generation of technicians is adapting the tools of their generation to the problems they face today. Smart phones are the service tools of tomorrow today. 


  1. Thanks for taking the time to help put this information out there Carter. The more people know, the better!

  2. I plan to show off these tools to my class.

  3. Carter,

    Do you have one come to mind?-one that can be read on a bright roof and can take the elements. P.S. Fundamentals of H/VACR is my favorite textbook. I also teach at an adult career center.

    Best regards,
    John Guilbert