Wireless HVACR Measurements Come of Age

Posted: February 17, 2016 | News

But now we have entered the wireless age, and gathering HVACR data and monitoring equipment has taken a quantum leap with the new wireless sensing systems on the market. These allow technicians to handle the whole process seamlessly from one location: their handheld smartphone or tablet. Not surprisingly, wireless systems are seeing increasing use in the HVACR world and changing the way we do things.

Wireless systems are used mostly for servicing cooling and refrigeration systems, but they see use on other systems as well. You can monitor the vacuum process wirelessly. It calculates and displays the system’s actual pressures, temperatures, superheat, and subcooling. The system can select from over 60 refrigerants that might be in use.

With the Job Link Pro Mobile System HVACR professionals can fill out inspection checklists and adjust systems according to live data. They can add photos and notes to their reports for reference when communicating with customers and the office. All data and reports are stored in the system archive in the cloud.

Many benefits

HVACR service contractors will produce more accurate temperature and pressure readings because manual recording and transcribing of data is replaced by wireless transmission and storage. In addition, technicians will have more flexibility in performing tasks and save valuable time, increasing their productivity and efficiency.

Job Link saves time by eliminating manual calculations and the legwork needed to get measurements. Wireless connection to your smart device can range up to 400 feet (unobstructed), allowing you to be in other parts of the building making adjustments, while measuring pressure and temperature on the unit.

When you connect Job Link to an HVACR system, your smart device not only shows you what the readings are, but also what they should be. This feature allows for faster troubleshooting, more accurate verification of system performance, and on-board diagnostics that make technicians better at their job.

As part of this, wireless measurements can reveal system efficiency. Studies show that some 54 percent of the units in America only run between 50 and 60 percent of their peak capacity, so, for example, a system rated for 4 tons may only perform at 2- or 2.5-ton capacity. With wireless, you can just drill a couple of holes, mount a sensor, and learn this quickly.

But with all these features and advantages offered by wireless systems, the most important capability may be that the app links the technical and business aspects of the field tech’s job. It makes the job easier to explain to the customer when they can see numbers and results. The field technician can make adjustments based on live measurements and keep track of critical information such as customer specifications and checks performed. Techs can do prework authorization by connecting the wireless to a unit and showing the customer what’s wrong – such as why it won’t charge – and show them the BTU output and exactly what needs to be done. And then they can perform the work and show the customer the results.

Baseline, historical, and current inspection data is all in one place. Once the job is done, you’ll have detailed reports to send to the customer or office. With all the information stored in the cloud, you can access past jobs. Among other things, this enables users to set up a preventive maintenance or condition-based maintenance system.

The Job Link Difference

About half a dozen wireless systems currently populate the market. The Fieldpiece Job Link Mobile System is actually more a network of products than just an app. One of its biggest advantages is that it works with existing Fieldpiece tools already prevalent in the market. Its wireless instruments consist of the 4-port digital manifolds, dual in-duct psychrometer, and clamp meters (all products that have the Job Link Icon on the box). The Job Link Mobile App powers the system.

The JL2 Transmitter receives measurements from any Fieldpiece wireless manifold (SMAN4, SMAN440, SMAN460), the Fieldpiece wireless dual in-duct psychrometer (SDP2), and the Fieldpiece wireless clamp meters (SC460, SC660) via radio frequency. Then the transmitter converts all live measurements and data to Bluetooth for connection with your mobile device with a distance of up to 100 feet from instrument to phone.

Besides temperature and pressure, Job Link measures superheat, vapor saturation, subcooling, liquid saturation, and electrical parameters. It calculates power (kW) and system efficiency (EER and SEER). It also measures wet- and dry-bulb temperatures

so you can get wet bulb and dry bulb on either side of the evaporator coil. You can monitor vacuum levels from within the app and log how low you pulled a vacuum.

Job Link gives you options to select the equipment types you encounter in the field. Along with this, it generates inspection checklists that cater to the equipment type selected, allowing you to convey the condition of the system to the customer and highlight sales and maintenance opportunities. Checklists are taken from AGA Standard 4 and ASHRAE/AGA Standard 180 and are organized by section. You can include as few or many checklist items as needed; only the ones that have been checked appear.

You can do a prework or postwork report to differentiate the condition before and after any work is completed so the customer knows what work was done on the system.

When you look at what wireless HVACR sensing systems can do, it becomes obvious that they offer many advantages and take things to another level. HVACR technicians no longer have to perform hand calculations and record results with pen and paper. Data automatically goes to the cloud (with app subscription), from where it can be easily distributed. And the future should only get brighter as the technology advances even further and companies like Fieldpiece Instruments continue to bring innovative wireless products to market.

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