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  1. #1
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    wats the best tool for freon leak detection


    i normally use leak spray or soapy water but always wonder is the a better method, are these fancy electronic jobs any good??



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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    For systems containing CFC's, HCFC's, the halide leak detector is still the best, apart from soapy water!

    Electronic leak detectors seems to find smelly shoes, smelly armpits and even rat urine very attemting.

    Even in systems charged with R-134a, or R-404A, we pumped the system down and charge a bit of R-22 with Nitrogen. With the halide leak detector you will find the leak.

    Just remember I am working in South Africa! Here you can dump the contents of a 57 kg R-22 Cylinder of refrigerant up into the air and making a nice steak griller out of the empty cylinder when cut in half.

    I myself do not promote it, but guys think of the R-22 sales soaring! (In South Africa)

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Definitely a sniffer!
    My personal choice is the Tec-Mate.

    Just remember that you have to practice using it before it becomes any good. When you take any leak-detector out of the box it will be rubbish, as stated above, it will go off for a lot of things that's not refrigerant.But with practice you will soon know what's leaks and what isn't.

    And the best part is that you usually find the leak without pressurising the system.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I agree the Tek-Mate is a reliable leak detector - we usually make sure they are tested regulary to ensure they are working correctly, with a refrigerant substitute solution in which the manufactures can supply.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Dear MarkFiddy,

    can you just give more details on Tek-Mate.

    When we use Electronic detectors, we genrally are in a position to find out the location on approximate basis. Atleast we zero down on span of work with that. That happens especially with Evaporator coil & knwoing exact location is still difficult.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    The other day Frank mentioned a powerful ultrasonic leak detector:
    http://www.refrigeration-engineer.co...ead.php?t=9060

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Regarding the ultrasonic leak detector, try to use it near an high voltage line and You will discover that We have freon inside ,together with 440 volts... :-) This kind of technology need to be a bit improved before to become reliable for Us.... And regarding the electronics leak detectors, personally, I don't trust any of them, I tried various kind and brand and the only one that looks like to be effective are the Yokogawa, but as I said ,this is my personal opinion...
    Evapcoil

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    if you are looking for something that works reliable use D-TEK from Inficon. I works with the most common refrigerants and detects down to 7gr. per year.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection


    Entropie we have 3 of these and we are very satisfied of those.
    Hello Bescie, I'm just back from 14 days holiday and reading through all the posts now.
    Heb je de thesis van de gasten van Stefaan al eens gelezen. Ik vond het een dankbaar onderwerp.
    It's better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you're stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Just read now the link you gave where Frank posted his vision on a leak tester. Good one Frank.
    It's better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you're stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Hi new to the Forum but thought i'd put in my 2c worth...

    I've found the TIFF electronic leak detectors to be excellent value for money (about $300 Aussie) and completely dependable. I use their base model unit. Quite a few times i've pulled a unit apart on the say so of this machine half expecting it to be a false call and been pleasantly suprised. Not so with CPS. I have used CPS leak detectors which have the best name here in Oz and found them to be completely unreliable. They'll have you pulling your hair out, and are best left in the toolbox to look pretty!

    For leak detector fluid I've found a product named Big Blu which seems to stick to the pipe work quite well for long periods of time for finding small leaks and pinpointing leaks.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Quote Originally Posted by smpsmp45 View Post
    Dear MarkFiddy,

    can you just give more details on Tek-Mate.

    When we use Electronic detectors, we genrally are in a position to find out the location on approximate basis. Atleast we zero down on span of work with that. That happens especially with Evaporator coil & knwoing exact location is still difficult.

    http://www.inficon.com/download/en/T...e_brochure.pdf

    With Kind regards
    Mark

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Ive had the Tif ZX-1 and was ok but not as good as the tek-mate or the more expensive D-tek..

    I now tend to use ultrasonic leak detection,as i find that sensitivity of most sniffers are crap with 404 and some other hcfc's..

    My favourite toy at the moment is the SPX-robinair Tru-track.. put the headphones on and listen for the leak! easy and pin point accuracy without worrying about air contamination and sensitivity issues in enclosed spaces..

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I find the ultrsonic leak detector very usefull once there isnt much backround noise. have found leaks on pipes behind plasterboard quite easily after the builder has punctured

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    i agree with peter 1 there is no better leak lamp than the d tek

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    My understanding of electronic leak detectors is useful when proximity of the leak location is known.

    May I suggest the RED TRACE from Highside Chemicals? This red dye is pump into the system and will be visually noticeable as it leaks out with the refrigerant.

    Cheap too.

    My 2c worth.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Tif wins hands down. Ultrasonic is indispensible when trying to pinpoint leaks either under a vacuum or pressure. They even beat soap bubbles when the leak is on the underside of pipe or deep in a coil or on a hot line. But soap bubbles are the final proof once you know where it is.

    But as far as electronics go, we have had duels over and over with fresh tips and the Tif is easily the best leak detector compared to inficon and detek and the others when sniffing HFC's.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I have a Tiff ZX-1 and a Yellow jacket detector as well.
    The Tiff works better but runs out of battery life quicker.

    i like to follow up the proximity detection with a liquid leak detector to be sure of the exact pin pointed location.

    The electronics can be a little hard when there is a larger leak.

    Rick

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I used H10-PM, along with soap bubble, work good for me.
    Be Happy

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Hi Dan. The HP's have always been the best. But they have no logic software other than "Sensitive" or "Large" or "Small". I think they use the heated diode? And the sensor failure rate is high.

    Now we have heated pentodes, and other electronic monster names, and cooler heating temperatures and various technologies that address battery life, but I am not so sure address fluoride sensitivity.

    You know what we need? A scholarly dissertation regarding how electronic leak detectors operate. I believe (but for no good reason) that the hardware is equivalent between the various brand names, but the software (human interface) is what matters.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I find the ultrsonic leak detector very usefull once there isnt much backround noise. have found leaks on pipes behind plasterboard quite easily after the builder has punctured
    The disappointing thing about ultrasonics is that they do not detect leaks behind armaflex.. sponge insulation. And you cannot just put a tube on them to extend their sensitivity, as you might try with an underfloor leak. They are lousy stethescopes.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I know the inficon sniffer, they are good. But at my work we have a better method since a few weeks. We bought an device to listen to air move. Doesn't coast much, works 200 % for all refr.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    can you give us a link or some info about it.THX

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeram View Post

    Electronic leak detectors seems to find smelly shoes, smelly armpits and even rat urine very attemting.
    Or my breath, LOL.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection?

    1. Engaged Brain
    2. Eyes Mk 1
    3. Tec-Mate leak detector

    In that order...



    Steve

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Ear MkI, or electronic to find the location, soap water to pinpoint.

    With NH3 I use sulfur sticks.

    (had a customer order some, two months later on a service call, he asks how they work and says he has been walking around checking everywhere without finding any leaks despite the smell... I lit one and he exclaims "ooooh!" he didnt light them )
    -Cheers-

    Tycho

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    (had a customer order some, two months later on a service call, he asks how they work and says he has been walking around checking everywhere without finding any leaks despite the smell... I lit one and he exclaims "ooooh!" he didnt light them )

    Good one Tycho! But I bet his last longer than yours


    Electronic leak detectors seems to find smelly shoes, smelly armpits and even rat urine very attemting.


    Or my breath, LOL.
    I find the Tif leak detector so far superior to every electronic out there that I insist some of you guys who rely on the Deteks, H10's, etc. spend a few Euros and try one out. You can home in on an HFC leak with much more confidence, and you can follow up with an Accutrak or Amprobe ultrasonic and then confirm with bubbles.

    Side by side tests always prove the Tif detector catching leaks that the Tek mates or Inficons don't even register... or home in on the leaks that the other electronics "know" is somewhere but cannot pinpoint. And, no. I do not get a commission.

  28. #28
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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I`ve used Refco`s Startek. It is good for R22 and similiar only in a machine area. If you enter in cold room store where food or vegetables is stored it becomes crazy. And for R404 it doesnt worth 2 cents. It will detect just leaks that you can hear with your own ears.

    Few weeks before we bought for test REFCO`s XP-1. Works just great. We`ve found a leak in 1400sqm supermarket. It was very small leak on evaporator and detector guide us from 50-60m distance. Point is to set it to max. sensitivity and walk to direction where it start to beep faster. When beeping is the fastest set down sens. and repeat procedure.
    Bad thing about it is probe because it loose it`s sens after cca. 40 working hours. But cost of 1e/hour suits us comparing to cost of refrigerant, working hours in case of filling the system with dry nitrogen....

    It is reliable, not so expensive (cca 300 euros) and easy to use. Worth every cent and lot more.

    I`ve heard from my collegues that ZX-1 is great too. Maybe even better because it uses heated penthode as a sensor.

  29. #29
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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Hi I am new
    For me the soap is still the best. It's cheap almost no cost no need maintain never spoil..... and it lead you directly to the spot! The only thing you need is great patience as the small leak may take few minutes to form a bubble.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    electronics r great to find the vicinity of the leak if there is no obvious signs ie oil but then go back to soapy water and its free

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    What was old adage" bad workmen blame their tools" and conversely even a good tool in inexperienced hands wont show much result! Its how you interpret what it's telling you.!

    I go along with general theme of all posts above ... halide was good for CFC/HFC in sheltered area, not much use for transport on side of road repair! soapy bubbles still relevant too and will have their day out!.

    Another post spoke of Uv dye of type that needs torch, -not visible 'dayglo' to naked eye types which leave a mess. Ok for certain case too.

    For electronic, have had very good results with the Inficon D -Tek consistently. Yokogawa was also a good brand but I have not followed it's progress. Some of the other well known name brands were not so satisfactory , at least earlier on. They may all be improved today but I must say , go with what you know and that's D Tek for me.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    As stated in earlier posts how to interpert the signs and the correct use has a lot to do with how good any detector is. We have all types electronic, ultrasonic, UV dye, halide lamp, soapy water (Snoop, Bubble Up etc) and sulphur sticks. It depends on where we suspect the leak is, inside a building, inside a condenser / evaporator or outside, they all have their uses.
    If you use soapy water a tip is to add some glycerine to the mix it helps it cling to the pipe longer.
    Ultrasonics work on all refrigerants even NH3 but will pick up other things other then a leak, Electronics pick up other things as stated before, UV dyes are messy. All have advantages and disadvantages. I never rely on one alone.

  33. #33
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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    did you mean 3 entropie units? where?

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    In tracing leak whether big or small with oil trace or none patience is the name of the game in such undertaking.Working with various electronic leak detector is very frustating.Still prefered soap and water.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Quote Originally Posted by abet_meneses View Post
    In tracing leak whether big or small with oil trace or none patience is the name of the game in such undertaking.Working with various electronic leak detector is very frustating.Still prefered soap and water.
    Absolutely,Although Electronic leak detectors can save a lot of time when leak testing larger areas.33,000 sq ft +
    A few times i have found leaks when walking through a store with the leak detector working.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Just make sure to change the sensor in the Tek-Mates regularly as walking around for a couple of days leak testing,unable to find anything because the sensor`s lost its sensitivity is quite embarrassing.
    If it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.


    Damo

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Electronic detectors get on my nerves when they start bleeping quick just because they are moved too fast.
    Look for oil/ spray bubbles. Cheap and cheerful!

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I have an old Tek Mate that stays in the tool box, a Freon D-Tek, a CO2 D-Tek and a large bottle of soapy water.

    The last three are all very reliable tho the two D-Teks take a little practice - just remember to move the tip in a slow deliberate manor and they find almost every leak first time.

    I do still use a halide lamp for R22, but tend to use that only when the leak is large, difused and causes background levels to be high enough to confuse the electronic units.

    Regards
    Steve

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    WE find the AEL ZX1 LEAK DETECTOR a very good tool but take a bit to get used too.

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    Talking Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Hey guys,

    I enjoy reading everything here on Refrigeration Engineer; especially since I did AC in South Florida and now the Wife and I are in SC and AC is seasonal here. I started a new restaurant repair company and am happy to say IMMERSED in refrigeration.

    I didn't see any "FIELDPIECE" mentioned in the above............ since they make so much for our Industry.....maybe I am missing something here?

    Check this out = "Our heated diode SRL8 showed a small reaction, but the SRL2 infrared leak detector showed the clearest sign that a leak was there. The technician put the competitorís product right up to the leak and it had no reaction."

    which was Googled in my searches....


    I need to upgrade this "Annie"; but I do and can jack a small R-22 in with 134a, or even 502.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I must have missed the boat on the ultra-sonic leak detectors, how do they work, do they work like a doctors stethoscope - does it look like that. Or does it look more like a regular leak detector with ear pieces.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I found that apprentices are the best tool to find leaks, regarless of which method.
    They take their time and want to impress!

  43. #43
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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    yea but at some point the padawan must move aside so I can get my job done and move on to the next call, I have that I am training, he is a hard worker but he will stay there all day if he has to find that leak, at some point you have to call-it.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I must admit i do not limit myself to a single test method, it depends upon the size of the system, is it windy, how bigs the leak (repeat calls), I have found the the fluro dye and UV light has been succesful on problem jobs

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    my problem with the dye is that it gets on every thing and the next to put his gauges on the unit get that dye all over his gauges and so on, my boss admittedly against the use of using any kind of dye, and if you use the dye in a unit it voids the warranty on the unit. ARS - the american standard dealer has the dye on there counter, but when you ask if that dye is american standard approved they say no - it will void the warranty if you put any dye into an american standard unit

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I stated I use on problem jobs (normally older systems), but I can agree with your issues.
    Excluding equipment which is dead on arrival, I can say I after 30 years i can count manufactured warranty issues on one hand, I think refrigeration mechanical equipment is pretty reliable,
    Electronics thats a different issue

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    I'm sorry I must have missed the "on problem jobs portion", I agree on systems that are 30 years old, yea what is the point warranty doesn't matter then, but on those unless it is a very small leak I would just make the call and tell them that it is that time.

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    Sorry for that, slightly of subject, Here NZ due to location we self warranty/insurance (cheaper from the manufacture) So the dye is not an issue, and can say i have not seen a problem caused by the dye. (if used correctly)

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    Re: wats the best tool for freon leak detection

    have used loads of different electronic ones D tech make the best the heated diode one is as good as a halide torch but you have to change the diode after 40hrs use sometimes sooner and yes have worked with guys who never change them and wonder why they cant find leaks lol i heard mention of soapy water would stay away from that unlessyou desperate as washing up liquid has a very hi salt content an tends to rot bits of a system you really dont want to i currently use D Tech with infrared sensor its great an rechargeable have found loads even picks up flare joint weepage where ya cant get a bubble to form

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    Re: wats the best buy for ultrasonic freon leak detector.

    wats the best buy for ultrasonic freon leak detector. Thank a lot.

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