View Full Version : Refrigerant Identifiers

02-01-2002, 06:45 PM
I'm interested in your opinion of refrigerant identifiers. What are your real needs, and at what price would this be beneficial?

I realize this may be different for different countries regarding environmental regs, common technology, etc., but any input would be beneficial.


03-01-2002, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by dwheaton
I'm interested in your opinion of refrigerant identifiers. What are your real needs, and at what price would this be beneficial?
I would have thought that they are essential for safe and efficient working of personnel and equipment.

Why should anyone have to pay for an indentifier when it is such an important piece of information?

Would you buy a motor car without a makers label on it or model number/type? Being told that it runs on diesel when in fact it uses petrol ;)

07-01-2002, 03:11 PM
Refrigerant Identifiers are required by law in California for MVAC repair. It has be come an issue of liability. Knowing what is in the system allow you to choose the proper replacement refrigerant and make the proper modifications to the system. Refrigerant Identifiers are available for under $1,000.

11-01-2002, 03:22 AM
Peter is talking about a system like a recovery unit... (just an example) that will determine which refrigerant is in the system you may be working on which has lost its refrigerant identity or perhaps someone has retrofitted and you aren't sure which refrigerant they retrofitted to. I am not too up on it but I think it works with a refractory lens among other high tech inputs to analyse the chemical make-up.

There is a formula in Dossat's book to determine which refrigerant you are working with... but I wouldn't try it... too many refrigerants these days with similar pressures at ambient temps etc.

I was called out to service a walk-in unit that the installer deliberately used a "SHOP CODE" to obscure the identity of the refrigerant they put in. One other servicer was called before me.... they refused to service the unit, I was called and I speculated it was R-134a but told the customer they would have to verify it with the original installer. It turned out that it was R-134a, the installer charged the system for them. The customer was hit with three service calls in one day for one system. The original installer lost the account though.... I have it now.

11-01-2002, 03:26 PM
The principle behind the Refrigerant Identifier is NDIR or Infrared detection. Typically, there are 4 detectors, each tuned to a specific refrigerant. A gas sample is introduced into the sample cell and a light source sends light energy through the gas. The detectors look at the light pattern and determine the composition. The Identifiers are only designed accurately identify certain refrigerants and we typically do not know what the readings would be for other refrigerants.

11-01-2002, 10:08 PM

Can the equipment also identify refrigerant blends?


11-01-2002, 10:11 PM

Some units can Identify the blends used in MVAC applications.

11-01-2002, 11:06 PM
There are so many refrigerants today.... even companies such as yours are finding it difficult to manage solutions.

BUT... I really like some of the interim refrigerants.

This is all I carry as stock:

(R-12 on occassion)

I haven't seen R-404a yet in my local. But when I did tech support, I did see alot of problems with it and the POE oil issues.

27-01-2002, 07:43 PM
To answer your question most directly; a refrigerant identifier would be VERY nessesary to determine what refrigerant to replace with. For instance, if the refrigerant inside the system is R134a, and you try to put in R22, there is going to be a problem! And vice versa. As far as I understand, R22 was used in newer domestics until 1996 or so--SO who knows which ones have the new refrigerant and which ones have the old stuff? (ESPECIALLY with people doing cloaking of the refrigerant types in the system).

I would NOT invest in an identifier, because of the inherant lack of a need to replace refrigerant. Since sealed system problems consist of 1% of total problems, I dont personally believe there is a need to invest in an item that might be used one time in the next 4 or 5 yrs. I'd wait until it was nessesary!