ACtion Magazine - May 2013 - (Page 22)

New equipment, tools and service parts for 2013 by Paul Weissler EDITOR’S NOTE: At the most recent MACS Convention and Trade Show, long-time contributor and editor-at-large Paul Weissler walked the trade show in search of the newest tools and products for A/C service and repair. As the industry begins its change to a new refrigerant, Weissler’s unique position and history in the industry makes it possible for him to explain why these new tools are important to your business. Refrigerant identifier A refrigerant identifier may be the most important near-term purchase you’ll make, and now there’s a new urgency. Rogue refrigerants have come into circulation that are supposedly R-134a, but are actually spurious blends — surprising, since R-134a has been running under $100 for a 30 lb. container. MACS board member Jim Atkinson got a delivery of what was supposed to be a container of brand-name R-134a, but when he saw strange names on the container and on the box, he shipped it right back. The parts store told him it was brand-name stuff in a different container, and that it had come from a car dealer who had made an advantageous purchase, but Jim had heard that kind of story before. Since then, it’s been discovered that similarlylabeled boxes and containers held blends with R-40 (methyl chloride), a refrigerant that is highly corrosive to aluminum, and forms a toxic, explosive gas. As a result, the R-1234yf identifier standards are being revised to make sure all identifiers will reject R-40 (at least as “unknown”). Peter Coll,Vice President of Refrigerant Analysis for identifier manufacturer Neutronics Inc, told ACtion magazine that their new identifiers labeled “ID1234yf ” will already reject R-40. Right now, R-40 has been found only in blends sold as R-134a, but for the future, Equipment maker Ritchie who knows? Engineering (Yellow Jacket If the only identifier you brand) displayed an R-1234yf have is an oldie from the days machine that resembles their of sorting out R-12, R-134a R-134a unit; a switch on and maybe hydrocarbons, the control panel is clearly it’s definitely out of date. a premium design antiFurther, the oldies are also arcing type to meet the SAE missing important features standard. that, per SAE standards, must 22 ACTION • May 2013 be incorporated into the new ones: a USB port and software. You’ll also find a USB port on the new R/R/R machines made for R-1234yf, and therein lies an important aspect of any forthcoming R-1234yf service: The machine will not operate unless it gets a valid signal from the identifier indicating the vehicle’s A/C system contains the correct refrigerant. This means that any dual-refrigerant R/R/R machines, if they come to be, would have some sort of electronic lockout to prevent cross-charging. In R-134a mode, no refrigerant Neutronics vice President identification would be Peter Coll holds new required (per the SAE identifier, which has been standard). But with “whomodified to reject R-40. knows-what” refrigerants in unmarked or mismarked containers out there, it’s getting more important to check to be sure. Probably the other most common possibility for crosscontamination will be putting (known-good) R-134a into R-1234yf systems. When Daimler removed R-1234yf from its systems and installed R-134a in its place, that told the world that there is no significant performance difference between the two, at least in that one model vehicle. So with the high price of R-1234yf and no legal prohibition, a lot of shops will find it pretty tempting to just suck out any remaining R-1234yf into a recovery tank, then (using adapter fittings), recharge the vehicle with R-134a. These new systems are very tight, and will leak under 15 grams (0.5 oz.) of refrigerant per year. So when they arrive on the market, it’s likely they’ll go 6-8 years before they need more refrigerant. Further, the refrigerant charges are small (as little as 11 ounces), so if a system needs perhaps four ounces

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2013

Action Magazine - May 2013
Freeze Frame
Virtual View
Under the Southern Cross
Leonard's Law
News & Updates
What Is Happening in the Auto A/C Industry?
New Equipment, Tools and Service Parts for 2013
Striking Customer Service Gold
Asociation News
Quick Check
New Products & Services
Last Watch

ACtion Magazine - May 2013