YELLOW JACKET® provides online technical tips that address common questions and technical difficulties. Each tip is thoroughly researched by our skilled technical support team and written in easy-to-understand language. Our technical tips will help you make the most of your YELLOW JACKET products and further improve your efficiency.

Don’t see an answer to your question in the technical tips? YELLOW JACKET also offers telephone technical support. Our technicians provide unparalleled service and resolve nearly 90 percent of issues without requiring product returns. That means you have less down time, and more time doing what you do best—serving your customers.

Scroll down to browse technical tips. If you can’t find an answer to your question, contact technical assistance by calling 800-769-8370 or e-mail techserv@yellowjacket.com.

  • Refrigerant Recovery Systems

    Refrigerant Recovery Machines Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How long has YELLOW JACKET® been manufacturing refrigerant recovery machines?
    YELLOW JACKET began manufacturing refrigerant recovery machines in 1991.

    2. What refrigerants can RecoverX and RecoverXLT Refrigerant Recovery Machines recover?
    All YELLOW JACKET refrigerant recovery machines are tested by UL to either ARI 740-95 (RecoverX) or ARI 740-98 (RecoverXLT) and approved for medium (R-12, R-134a, R-401C, R-406A and R-500) and medium-high pressure refrigerants (R-22, R-401A, R-401B, R-402B, R-407C, R-407D, R-408A, R-409A, R-411A, R-411B, R-412A, R-502 and R-509). RecoverXLT is also approved for high-pressure refrigerants (R-402A, R-404A, R-407A, R-407B, R-410A and R-507).

    3. What is auto purge and how does it work?
    At the end of each cycle, several ounces of refrigerant can be left in the recovery machine to possibly contaminate the next job or be illegally vented. Many competitive recovery machines require switching hoses, turning the unit off and on, etc. The RecoverXLT can be quickly purged with a simple turn of the single control valve. In a few seconds, all residual refrigerant is purged into a recovery tank. Purging is completed without turning off the recovery unit

    4. Why do YELLOW JACKET recovery machines feature a built-in filter?
    Every recovery machine requires an in-line filter to protect the machine against the particles and “gunk” that can be found in failed refrigeration systems. The RecoverX, RecoverXLT and R 100 incorporate a built-in 80-mesh filter that you can clean and replace, if necessary. The filter traps 150 micron particles and protects against the dirtiest systems to maximize service life. In case of a burn-out, an acid core filter/drier is mandatory (P/N 95014).

    5. Can increased airflow benefit recovery cylinder pressure?
    Yes. For reliable performance in high ambient temperatures, YELLOW JACKET machines are engineered with a larger condenser and more aggressive fan blade with a greater pitch. This allows the unit to run cooler and keeps the refrigerant cooler in the recovery cylinder.

    6. Can I service a YELLOW JACKET system in the field?
    Yes. The operation manual which comes with every unit includes a wide variety of information such as tips to speed recovery, troubleshooting and parts listings. On the side of every unit you’ll find hook-up instruction, a quick start guide and simple tips for troubleshooting. If needed, call 1-800-769-8370 and ask for technical service. Training DVD’s are available upon request by calling 1-800-769-8370 or visiting www.yellowjacket.com.

  • SuperEvac™ Systems

    How to Use a Built-In Vacuum Indicator Gauge

    Every YELLOW JACKET pump features an exclusive built-in indicator gauge to monitor the evacuation progress down to the green (29″-30″) range. If the reading stays in the mid range, there is either high contamination or a large leak in the system.

    If you think there is excessive moisture, blow out the AC&R system with dry nitrogen before connecting the vacuum pump to the system wherever possible. This reduces the amount of contaminants that must be “pulled” into the pump and increases evacuation speed.

    Use a nitrogen regulator valve with pressure limited to 150 psi, and a frangible disc device set at 175 psig. When the indicator reaches the green (29″-30″) range, the electronic micron gauge must be used for more precise readings.

    How to Measure an “Adequate” Vacuum

    Many contractors pull the refrigerant out and think the work is done. In reality, when you get to 29 inches of vacuum (the green zone on your gauge), you are only half finished. Once the recovery machine has done its work, it’s time to finish off the job with a vacuum pump.

    Why a Vacuum Pump?
    ASHRAE recommends evacuation to below 1000 microns, and after isolation a system must not rise above 2500 microns within several hours. Some equipment manufacturers call for evacuation to 400 microns to ensure that harmful water vapor is removed from the system.

    When you have water vapor in your system, the risk of icing up capillary tubing and expansion valves becomes much higher. A high quality vacuum pump will be able to take you down to 200-500 microns. With the system almost completely free from water vapor, you are ready to put the refrigerant back in the system.

    A thorough approach to evacuation ensures longer equipment life and reduced risk of problems.

    Use a Vacuum Gauge to Read Vacuum Down to 15 Microns
    1000 microns equal only 0.039 inches of mercury, a measurement that cannot be made with a mechanical gauge, or determined by evacuation time or the sound of the pump. A popular tool that can measure vacuum at evacuation levels below 1000 microns is an electronic vacuum gauge.

    The best place to measure vacuum is at the system, not at the pump. With a combination vacuum/charging valve, you can attach the electronic vacuum gauge directly to the system and isolate it from the pump, hoses and manifold for a true indication of the vacuum in the system. With a digital vacuum gauge, you can see the last evidence of moisture being removed and witness that the system has been dried out.

    Vacuum Pump Cold Weather Starting

    By Bernie Williams, President of B.J. Williams Associates
    Vacuum pump cold weather starting problems, regardless of pump manufacturer, can be traced to oil viscosity.

    Upon completion of the evacuation process while the system being worked on may have a reading of 400 microns, it is conceivable the micron level within the pump head could be lower than 30 microns. As the entire vacuum head is immersed within the oil reservoir, when the pump motor is turned off oil from the reservoir will be pulled into the head, displacing the vacuum. As the pump sits unused in cold temperature the oil will thicken, eventually becoming the consistency of molasses. When power is next applied to the motor, which is designed to immediately turn at 1725 rpm, low viscosity oil within the stages is being forced to exit into the oil reservoir through very small discharge holes. The net result of this action will be severe strain on the electric motor, causing the motor to rapidly switch on and off until the low viscosity oil has eventually been expelled from the stages.

    Solution to the problem
    Upon completion of the evacuation, while the pump oil is still hot and any particulate matter and moisture is suspended in the oil, drain the reservoir. After draining replace the drain plug and turn the motor switch on and off twice for a period of three to four seconds. Again open the drain valve, removing any oil residue from the reservoir. This will remove any remaining contaminated oil from the pump. With the drain valve replaced refill the pump with new vacuum pump oil.

    During extreme cold temperatures, place your pump inside the cab of your vehicle while driving to the job site. Heat from the vehicle heater will assist in thawing the pump and in turn increasing the viscosity level of the oil.

    These simple procedures will ensure optimum performance from your pump while dramatically reducing excessive strain on the electric motor.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Does extension cord length affect performance?
    Increased length can decrease voltage, so use this as a voltage guide for selecting wire gauge.

    Distance Wire Gauge
    25′ 16
    50′ 14
    100′ 12

    2. How can I speed up evacuation?
    A. Select the right pump cfm. The following guidelines are for domestic through commercial applications.

    System size (tons) Pump cfm
    1-10 1.5
    10-30 4.0
    30-45 6.0
    45-60 8.0
    60 and above 11.0

    B. Use clean vacuum pump oil. Milky oil is water saturated and limits pump efficiency.

    C. Remove valve cores from both high and low fittings with a vacuum/charge valve tool to reduce time through this orifice by at least 20 percent.

    D. Evacuate both hi- and lo-sides at the same time. Use short, 3/8″ diameter and larger hoses.

    E. Superevac™ manifolds can reduce evacuation time by over 50-60 percent.

    F. Use a heat gun.

  • Vacuum and Charging Hoses

    General Information on Hose Assemblies

    1/4″ Flexible Hoses
    Easily connects to 1/4″ Male flare access fitting on system

    1. YELLOW JACKET Original 1/4″ Charging Hose

    All-weather flexible
    Dependable
    Adjust-a-Valve™ valve core depressor easily opens all out-of-tolerance Schrader valves

    Temperature: -20º to 180ºF (-28.8º to 82.2ºC)
    Burst: 2500 psi (172 bar) minimum
    Working: 500 psi (34 bar) maximum
    Safety factor: 5 to 1
    Available lengths: 6″ to 100′

    2. YELLOW JACKET PLUS II™ 1/4″ Charging Hose (SealRight™, FlexFlow and ball valve ends)

    Adjust-a-Valve™ valve core depressor easily opens all out-of-tolerance Schrader valves (SealRight hoses offer different technology)
    PLUS II™ hoses offer double barrier protection
    Nylon layer for permeation, braid for strength, and outer cover for protection
    Fully UL recognized assemblies (File SA9737)

    Temperature: -20º to 180ºF (-28.8º to 82.2ºC)
    Burst: 4000 psi (276 bar) minimum
    Working: 800 psi (55 bar) maximum
    Safety factor: 5 to 1
    Available lengths: 12″ to 100′

    3/4″ Flexible Hoses

    Evacuates and charges faster than 1/4″ hose

    1. YELLOW JACKET PLUS II™ 3/8″ Charging Hose

    PLUS II™ hoses with double barrier protection
    Higher working pressure

    Temperature: -20º to 200ºF (-28.8º to 93.3ºC)
    Burst: 3000 psi (207 bar) minimum
    Working: 600 psi (41 bar) maximum
    Safety factor: 5 to 1
    Available lengths: 12″ to 100

    1/2″ and 5/8″ Flexible Hoses

    Evacuates and charges faster than 1/4″ hose
    Allows you to pull a deeper vacuum
    More efficient job of removing moisture and contaminants from the system

    1. YELLOW JACKET PLUS II™ 1/2″ and 5/8″ Charging Hose

    PLUS II™ hoses with double barrier protection
    Large I.D. reduces vacuum time substantially over 1/4″ or 3/8″ hose
    Faster refrigerant transfer and faster charging on large systems
    Wide selection of fittings available

    Temperature: -20º to 200ºF (-28.8º to 93.3ºC)
    Burst: 3000 psi (207 bar) minimum
    Working: 600 psi (41 bar) maximum
    Safety factor: 5 to 1
    Available lengths: 12″ to 100′

    General Information on Stainless Steel Hose Assemblies

    YELLOW JACKET® stainless steel assemblies are 300 series corrugated hose and braid for applications where temperature and pressure could be a problem. With stainless steel braid wrapping a stainless steel core, all stainless steel hoses prevent permeation and moisture infusion. Use with all standard refrigeration oils and refrigerants, as well as the new alternative oils and refrigerants including R-123.
    Standard and custom length assemblies are made to order. Minimum length 12″.

    Applications: vacuum and charging, vibration isolation, movable components, and permanent application. Not for use with NH3.

    Stainless Steel Hose Specifications
        Size     Max psi working* Flexing bend radius Permanent band radius Temperature/
    pressure correction
     1/4″  1275 (88 bar) 5.5″ 1″ 68°F – 1.00
    200°F – 0.86
    300°F – 0.80
    400°F – 0.78
    500°F – 0.77
    800°F – 0.76
    900°F – 0.74
    1000°F – 0.70
    3/8″  1000 (69 bar) 6.5″ 1-1/4″
    1/2″, 5/8″  1200 (83 bar) 8.5″ 1-1/2″
     3/4″, 7/8″ 725 (50 bar) 10″ 2″
     1″, 1-1/8″  700 (48 bar)  11.5″ 2-3/4″
     1-1/4″, 1-3/8″  550 (38 bar) 13″ 3-1/4″
     1-1/2″  450 (31 bar) 15″ 3-3/4″
     2″  450 (31 bar) 17.5″ 5″
     2-1/2″  300 (21 bar) 21″ 7″
     3″  350 (24 bar) 23″ 9″

    * PSI at 68°F with a 4 to 1 safety factor. Core at T-321 SS with 300 Series SS braid.

  • Charging Systems and Gauges

    YELLOW JACKET® Certified Gauges

    10-point measurement and documentation
    Have greater confidence in measurements and decisions with certified Yellow Jacket Class 1 Replacement Manifold Gauges and Manifolds with Class 1 gauges.

    YELLOW JACKET gauges have always been manufactured and calibrated to NIST standards. The standard Ritchie engineering procedure has been to measure for accuracy at five points: two times up the scale and then back down. Many manufacturers measure at only three points (A, B, C).

    The Ritchie Engineering certification process documents the NIST calibration plus compliance to ANSI Z540.1 and ISO 10012 standards. The certification is good for one year; recalibration is recommended after one year.

    Calibration Certificate
    The certificate packed with each certified gauge provides evidence of calibration standards traceable to NIST and includes a serial number that matches the serial number on the gauge. Ritchie Engineering maintains records of each certificate.

    Repeated pressurization and recalibration

    Atmospheric pressure variations are of little importance with gauging pressures typically encountered in refrigeration and A/C service work. With a change of 2 inHg, the gauge changes by only 1 psi. It is unlikely that system pressures would cause concerns if the reading is correct within several psi.

    Repeated pressurization (especially over-pressurization) of a gauge does, however, tend to change the response of the tube or diaphragm, and recalibration may be required.

    The easiest way for a service technician to recalibrate a gauge is to connect it to a source of known, pure refrigerant, and then adjust the recalibration screw on the gauge to the appropriate pressure reading based on refrigerant temperature.

    The most accurate way to recalibrate is to connect the gauge to a deadweight tester at a recalibration facility that has equipment traceable to NIST. This is usually cost-prohibitive for most situations, but may be warranted when total documentation is required.

    Why should I zero out a manifold gauge?
    As a general rule, a gauge can get off “0” due to a change in altitude or barometric pressure. It’s important that you check to see that it’s set back to “0” before you start charging. To reset a gauge, look for the reset screw that will be located on the front or back of the gauge. Then use a small blade screw driver to set the dial back to “0”.

    Matching Refrigerant with a Yellow Jacket Gauge

    Gases UPC # Certified Size Type Color F/C Scale
    12/134a/413A 49165
    49166
    49265
    49266
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    12/22/134a 49013
    49014
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49083
    49084
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49103
    49104
    49203
    49204
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    12/22/502 49001
    49002
    49008
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Set 49001/02
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49003
    49004
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    kPa/psi
    kPa/psi
    49005
    49006
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49025
    49026
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/MPa
    bar/MPa
    49027
    49028
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    kg/cm2/psi
    kg/cm2/psi
    49047
    49048
    49049
    49197
    49198
    Set 49047/48
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Brass
    Brass
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49081
    49082
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49101
    49102
    49201
    49202
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49143
    49144
    49243
    49244
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/MPa
    bar/MPa
    49145
    49146
    49245
    49246
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    22 49511
    49512
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F/C
    F/C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    134a/404A/407C 49063
    49064
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49131
    49132
    49231
    49232
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49151
    49152
    49251
    49252
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49163
    49164
    49263
    49264
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/MPa
    bar/MPa
    49517
    49518
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49521
    49522
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    134a/404A/407C/507 49059
    49060
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    MPa
    MPa
    134a/404A/507 49051
    49052
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49055
    49056
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49057
    49058
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    kg/cm2/psi
    kg/cm2/psi
    22/134a/404A 49015
    49016
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Red
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49033
    49034
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49067
    49068
    49069
    49199
    49200
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Set 49067/68
    Brass
    Brass
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49105
    49106
    49205
    49206
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49169
    49170
    49269
    49270
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49513
    49170
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    22/134a/404A/407C 49183
    49184
    4″
    4″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    22/134a/404A/410A 49185
    49186
    4″
    4″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    22/134a/407C 49031
    49032
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49167
    49168
    49267
    49268
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    22/404A/410A 49137
    49138
    49237
    49238
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    22/410A 49515
    49516
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    410A 49035
    49036
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F/C
    F/C
    kg/cm2/psi
    kg/cm2/psi
    49053
    49054
    2-1/2″
    2-1/2″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F/C
    F/C
    bar/MPa
    bar/MPa
    49135
    49136
    49235
    49236
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F/C
    F/C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    49519
    49520
    3-1/2″
    3-1/2″
    Liquid
    Liquid
    Red
    Blue
    F/C
    F/C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi
    417A/422A/422D 49111
    49112
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    F
    F
    psi
    psi
    49113
    49114
    3-1/8″
    3-1/8″
    Steel
    Steel
    Red
    Blue
    C
    C
    bar/psi
    bar/psi

    Refrigeration System Analyzer Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Why is the analyzer so large?
    We felt it was important to have large, well-spaced buttons on our keypad. We also felt it was important to have all external sensor connections along one side of the instrument. These two items, along with the port spacing of the Titan 4-valve manifold, dictated the size of the instrument. We also added some features on the circuit board that will allow for future modular expansion.

    2. Why is the display in full color?
    We chose a full color graphic display to provide bright, high contrast, meaningful displays. This display, along with plenty of program memory on the circuit board, makes it upgradeable with a simple software update. The sky’s the limit!

    3. What type of transducer is in the analyzer?
    Contrary to speculation, the Refrigeration System Analyzer does not use the same pressure sensors as used in our solar/light-powered gauges. It uses a pair of sealed, linear, high accuracy pressure transducers.

    4. What is the battery life?
    Our specification mentions “approximately 14 hours of continuous use with industrial alkaline batteries.” This is based on the instrument running constantly without the “power saving mode” or “auto power off” features activated. Also, the Refrigeration System Analyzer allows for the use of four different types of rechargeable batteries, which can help save on battery costs.

  • Leak Monitoring and Detecting Systems

    Heated Sensor or Negative Corona?

    Heated Sensor Leak Detectors
    When the heated sensing element is exposed to refrigerant, an electrochemical reaction changes the electrical resistance within the element, causing an alarm. The sensor is refrigerant specific with superior sensitivity to all HFCs and HCFCs, and minimal chance of false alarms. When exposed to large amounts of refrigerant, which could poison other systems, the heated sensor clears quickly and does not need recalibration before reuse.

    Negative Corona Leak Detectors
    In the sensor of a corona detector, high voltage applied to a pointed electrode creates a corona. When refrigerant breaks the corona arc, the degree of breakage generates the level of the alarm. Sensitivity decreases with exposure to dirt, oils and water. False alarms can be triggered by dust, dirt specks, soap bubbles, humidity, smoke, small variations in the electrode emission, high levels of hydrocarbon vapors and other non-refrigerant variables.

    Tips for Detecting System Leaks

    • Inspect entire A/C system for signs of oil leakage, corrosion cracks, or other damage. Follow the system in a continuous path so no potential leaks are missed.
    • Make sure there is enough refrigerant in system (about 15 percent of system capacity or 50 psi min.) to generate pressure to detect leaks.
    • Check all service access port fittings. Check seals in caps.
    • Move detector probe at 1″ per second within 1/4″ of suspected leak area.
    • Refrigerant is heavier than air so position probe below test point.
    • Minimize air movement in area to make it easier to pinpoint the leak.
    • Verify an apparent leak by blowing air into suspected leak to clean the area and see if the leak remains.
    • When checking for evaporator leaks, check for gas in condensate drain tube.
    • Use heated sensor type detector for difficult-to-detect R-134a, R-410A, R-407C, and R-404A.

    Tips for Locating Sensors

    Sensors must be powered according to the instruction manual and be within the cable length from the control unit.

    • Do not mount in areas of high heat, direct solar heat, wetness, dampness or where condensation may form on the sensor.
    • Do not mount to piping or any structure subject to vibration.
      For perimeter detection, place sensors around the area in question to monitor the entire space.
    • For point detection, place sensor(s) at a point where you are concerned about a leak, i.e. at the compressor.
    • For heavier than air gases, place sensors close to the ground.
    • To help prevent false alarms from stray gas particles such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), mount sensors 16″ to 20″ from the floor.
    • For lighter than air gases, place sensors high on the walls or ceiling, but convenient for maintenance. Note: Ammonia is lighter than air at normal temperature but heavier in a cold room.
    • Take room shape into consideration and mount sensors downstream of any airflow.
    • In hot rooms, hot air rises to form a barrier below the ceiling and prevents gas from getting to a ceiling-mounted sensor.
    • Mount sensors out of traffic flow areas to prevent bumping.

    Contact customer service for detailed suggestions.

    Evaluating Refrigerant Monitors

    There are two major types of refrigerant monitoring systems – Fixed and Infrared (IR). Following is a summary of the differences:

    Fixed Monitoring System IR System
    Gases Measured Measures a broad band of most common CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs, such as: R-11, R-12, R-13, R-22,
    R-113, R-123, R-134a, R-404A,
    R-407C, R-410A, R500, R-502 and R-507.
    A single sensor must be used for each specific refrigerant.
    Cost Less than $500 per sensor to measure a broad range of refrigerants. $1000 and more per sensor for each refrigerant.
    Installation Controllers mount on any flat surface and cable is run from the controller to the sensor(s). Plumbing tube is used to reach sensing points. An additional tube for exhaust is required.

    Once you’ve chosen between a Fixed Monitoring System or an IR System for your application, you’ll have to evaluate the features that a monitor might include.

    Leak Monitoring Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Why should I monitor for leaks?
    There are several reasons to install leak monitors.

    • AHSRAE 15-2001 safety standards for refrigeration systems call for refrigerant monitoring systems to be installed in each refrigerating machinery room. Monitors must actuate air ventilation and visual and audible alarms inside and outside room entrances
    • Many refrigerants do not have an odor, can displace oxygen and can generate toxic fumes if exposed to flame
    • Many refrigerants are toxic at various concentrations and represent a possible threat to the environment
    • Fast detection and repair protect HVAC/R systems

    2. Are calibrated leak testers available to confirm monitor is calibrated correctly?
    Ritchie Engineering does not sell calibrated leak testers, but gases for testing leak monitor installations are available through:

    MSA Mine Safety Appliances
    121 Gamma Drive
    Pittsburgh, PA 15238-2919
    1-800-672-2222

    3. What refrigerants will the leak monitors detect?
    Leak monitors will detect most common CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs, as well as R-11, R-12, R-13, R-22, R-113, R-123, R-134a, R-404A, R-407C, R-410A, R-500, R-502 and R-507. Leak monitors are also available for ammonia and hydrocarbon- based refrigerants.

    4. Can the leak monitor be calibrated for specific applications?
    Yes, contact customer service for your specific need.

    5. If the unit goes into alarm, can it switch on the fan? Can it turn off the system at the same time?
    The leak monitor has a pair of dry, normally open/normally closed contacts that can handle 10 amps at 115 volts. When the sensor indicates a gas presence higher than the set point, it opens the closed contacts and closes the open contacts, which will turn equipment on or off.

    6. After a unit goes into alarm and the contacts close, what can it be connected to?
    The open contacts can shut the system down, call a phone number, turn on a fan or emergency light, etc.

    7. How does the sensor work?
    When the sintered metal oxide surface within the sensor absorbs gas molecules, electrical resistance is reduced in the surface allowing electrons to flow more easily. The system controller reads this increase in conductivity and signals an alarm. Metal oxide technology is proven for stability and performance.

    8. What is the detection sensitivity level of YELLOW JACKET fixed monitors?
    The dual sensitivity system has a low alarm level of about 100 ppm and a high alarm level of about 1000 ppm for most CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs. The high level for R-123 is an exception at about 300 ppm. Ammonia detection levels are about 100 ppm low and 150 ppm high. The alarm level of all YELLOW JACKET single level systems is about 100 ppm.

    Detection levels are preset at the factory to cover most situations. If necessary, however, you can order a custom level, or adjust the set point on site.

    9. What concentration must be detected?
    A monitor with a detection threshold of about 100 ppm for any gas provides an early warning so that repairs can be made quickly.

    10. Will the system need recalibration?
    Factory calibration should be adequate for five-to-eight years. Routine calibration is unnecessary when used with intended refrigerants. YELLOW JACKET sensors are stable long-term and cannot be poisoned or show negligible drift. You should, however, routinely check performance.

    11. Can there be a false alarm?
    For monitoring mixtures, the semi-conductor must be able to respond to molecularly similar gases. With such sensitivity, false alarms can be possible. YELLOW JACKET monitors are engineered to help minimize false alarms:

    • The two level system waits about 30 seconds until “certain” that gas is present before signaling
    • At about 100-1000 ppm calibration level, false alarms are unlikely

    To prevent an unnecessary alarm, turn off the unit or disable the siren during maintenance involving refrigerants or solvents. Temperature, humidity or transient gases may occasionally cause an alarm.

    12. My central A/C unit has been leaking. The tech did a Nitrogen pressurization hold test, but did not find any lost. It’s recharged and now, leaking again. What else can be done?
    Some leaks don’t appear until they are exposed to the pressure, temperature, and vibration of a running system. The technician may need to add UV dye to find the leak.

    Scanner Solutions FAQs

    1. Does the UV scanner light work better than an electronic leak detector?
    No one detection system is better for all situations; you can scan a system more quickly with a UV lamp, and moving air is never a problem. Solutions also leave a telltale mark at every leak site. Multiple leaks are found more quickly.

    2. How is the solution different from visible colored dyes?
    Unlike colored dyes, YELLOW JACKET fluorescent solutions mix completely with oil and do not settle out. Lubrication, cooling capacity and unit life are not affected, and there is no threat to valves or plugging of filters. The solutions will also work in a system containing Dytel.

    3. In a system with a mix of mineral and alkylbenzene oil, which scanner solution should be used?
    Base your choice of solution on whatever oil is present in the larger quantity. If you don’t know which oil is in greater quantity, assume alkylbenzene.

    4. How do test the system?
    Put solution into a running system to be mixed with oil and carried throughout system. Nitrogen charging for test purposes will not work since nitrogen will not carry the oil.

    To confirm solution in the system, shine the lamp into the system’s sight glass. Another way is to connect a hose and a sight glass between the high and low sides, and monitor flow with the lamp. The most common reason for inadequate fluorescence is insufficient solution in the system.

    5. What’s the most effective way to perform an acid test?
    Scanner solution affects the color of the oil slightly. Use a two-step acid test kit which factors out the solution in the oil, giving a reliable result.

  • System Tools

    Tips for Flaring

    • An incorrect flare is one of the most common sources of leaks. To help prevent leaks, cut tubing with a sharp wheel for a clean right-angle cut. To avoid tube constriction, don’t feed the screw too fast.
    • Since unremoved burrs can break off into the tubing or scratch the flared surface, remove burrs with a deburring tool.
    • A flare tool with burnishing cone puts a high polish on the flare and rolls out a perfect 45° flare for a good seal. Over or under flaring prevents a good seal. Use a drop of oil on the flaring cone and feed screw for precise action.

    Tips for Cutting Tubing

    Cutters are designed for different applications and materials, and must be used properly for optimum performance.

    • Tubing cutters are designed for softer thinner-wall materials such as copper, aluminum and brass. The wheel is designed very specifically with a sharp edge for quick cutting.
    • Black iron pipe cutters are larger in size and use fine pitch threads and large rollers for clean right-angle cuts.

    To ensure lasting tool performance, use the correct cutters for copper and pipe cutters for black iron pipe.