I been planning to buying an electronic leak detector but would like some more information on it. How do you use it? I see in pictures that it has a long flexible bendable tube with an end to it. That is a much as I know, how does this work? You just the tip near the hose and it will let you know where is a leak or what? Thanks.
There's a little tube that sucks in gases using a pump, and that gets measured by a detector, such as a thermoconductivity detector. the leak detector is "zeroed" using air itself, so air containing halogens refrigerants (R-12, R134a) measures as a difference, and you see a digital reading, a needle deflect, a faster beeping, etc.
The system must contain at least some refrigerant under a positive pressure. You hold the end of the tube up to a fitting or whatever might be leaking. If refrigerant is detected, an alarm will sound. Leak detection is done with the engine stopped. The air from condenser fans would disturb the process.
Some models have the detector at the end or the probe and some have it back in the body of the unit. The ones with a probe-mounted detector offer the potential of faster response, but the fragile detector part is more exposed to damage. The ones with the detector in the body, the probe is just an air tube. A pump draws air (possibly with refrigerant in it) down to the unit and through the detector.
Edited: Wed October 08, 2008 at 9:28 AM by mk378
Thank you very much. That was very helpful. Do you think a leak detector that beeps selling for 69.99 is a good deal?
Aw, come on Tim - don't hold back... tell us how you really feel!
I noticed one nationwide seller of chinese crap tools is now selling a vacuum pump for under 75 bucks - looks like a poor copy of a mastercool unit. I guess we will see some really bad systems next year - "I ran my vac pump for an hour" (yeah, @ 20 inches!) "and the system still does not work right".
When it comes to tools, you get what you pay for - if you are lucky. I have a fortune tied up in tools, but I never question my measurements. I spend money every year having meters, gauges & measuring tools calibrated. With something like a leak detector that has no calibration, it is best to step up for the best unit you can afford.
If you do buy that cheap leak detector, make sure you can return it. Then go practice using it. Start on your lawnmower. You may find the grass bag is leaking refrigerant. Check the fuel cap, and muffler - they may be leaking too. Try the inside of a new car with that "new car smell". Or your bathroom right after the wife get's ready to go someplace... I have a detector (Tim's favorite brand) I keep for fun. It will show most computer printers to be leaking refigerant.
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.
Go for quality when it comes to "any" automotive tools. Especially auto aircionditioning tools. That is an area of automotive repair that many mechanics don't fully understand. You get what you pay for couldn't be more true in this area.. I like Bohica's "testing" methods and would bet you'd get some hits on the detector in the areas mentioned using the chinese cheapo's... Of course this is just my opinion....
Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose
Well, that being said, which brand or which ones do you guys recommend me getting? Here is my situation. I have a leak in my car for a while now, I do not know where it's coming from. All I know is that when I charge it up, it'll work for a couple of months but a super hot day will cause it to blow cool and remain cool. When I charge it I got it down to -29. Put the correct amount in. Both low and high side numbers. I have charge many cars before, none of them ever have a problem. They all stay blowing cold. I just got the bad luck of having my car getting the issues. But any ways getting back on subject I would like to spend no more than 200. The cheaper the better of course but if it's too cheap where you guys don't think it's worth it let me know also. I do not plan on using this often, it's just a tool I'm planning to have around the house just in case I ever need it. Thank you.
I'm going to suggest what we use in our shop with very good results. Some of our staff my self included also have a Yokogawa/Bacharach but that's not even close to you price range for the h10 model. Which is the only Yokogawa/Bacharach model I would suggest in their line.
Tek Mate 705-202-G1
Have you tried running UV dye in your car? Dye is often helpful on slow leaks. I put dye in all my cars to make it easier to find any leaks that may occur in the future.
My only experience with leak detectors is the Tek-Mate. It will find leaks, it is somewhat prone to false alarms off of other chemicals, but not those typically found under the hood of a car.
I have not tried it. But I am pretty sure I have other dye already stuck all over my pipes, I was wondering is there a way to clean it all off. It's an old car and I am not the first owner of the AC unit. I won't be surprise if I run a UV light over my pipes and find old dye still lingering around.
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