A Case For Smart Probes

Right off the top let me state loud and clear. The tool does not make the tech.

Let that sink in before you move on.

A good tech has a solid understanding of WHY they are doing what they are doing, the basic math of the trade and enough experience to spot most problems with their senses before they reach for a tool at all.

However… there are some cases when you need a specialty tool. You need it so much that you cannot do your job without a good one (Leak detectors and micron gauges come to mind). In some rare cases the cheap version of a tool and the high end version are so different that you are at a real disadvantage if you don’t have the quality version.

There are multiple manufacturers who have come out with wireless pressure probe technology. Up until recently I couldn’t get over the fact that you cannot use these probes for charging and recovery… why would you want a separate tool set in addition to your gauge manifold?

Well… I think I finally get it. Here are some reasons that others have given me that have me seeing the light.

Low Loss

One big advantage is you can use the probes to check a system charge with no hose losses. This is huge for  systems with a critical charge (Think Ice Machines), when doing regular preventative maintenance and when hooking up to system to check it during a service call unrelated to charge. Keeping all that charge in the system is a service to the customer and helps save expensive refrigerant.

Additional Readings

With smart probes you can now check additional temp and pressure readings without the need to move your hoses around when you do have a manifold attached. You can check liquid and discharge pressure simultaneously, check temp drop across a liquid line or superheat gains across the suction. All great data that the wireless smart probes can help with.

Tight Spots

Now this one was the one that tipped the scales for me and it was brought to my attention by tech Joe Shearer (Thanks Joe). You can use the smart temp sensors to get readings on running systems in spots where wired probes can be almost impossible. Reading superheat inside a heat pump condensing unit during heat mode, reading temp differential across a reversing valve and taking discharge temp at the compressor are all examples where the smart temperature probes come in really handy.

So I think you may want to think about smart probes and if they might help you….. Once you already are confident enough to understand why and how you would use them to be a better tech.

— Bryan

P.S. – If you are interested you may consider going HERE and looking at the Testo smart probes. Yes, Testo is partnering with HVAC School, but I’m sharing this with you because I feel the Testo Smart Probes are the best value product currently on the market when you consider the price, features, upgrade options, support and reliability. If you disagree that is totally cool! If you do buy from TruTech tools use the offer code “getschooled” for 6% off your order. Whenever I suggest a particular product it is because I have done the research and I believe in what I’m telling you. Sometimes I may turn out to be wrong… and if I am I will tell you I was wrong.



One comment

  1. Thanks for the great article. Another reason for any of the wireless tools is to get out of the Arc Flash boundary while the equipment is running or energized. Because of the requirements in the latest NFPA 70e a worker needs CAT 2 or better arc flash (AF) gear on while standing in front of live circuits, and on a lot of HVAC equipment attaching hoses prevents the reinstallation of the panel that covers the live electrical. By using the wireless tools a tech can shut down the equipment and confirm the power has been removed while wearing the AF gear, then remove the AF gear during testing because the panels can be put back on.

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