I own a collision repair facility in a small town. I don't do a lot of A/C work, but to expand a bit, I've decided to invest in equipment to recharge A/C systems that I repair. Most of the A/C repair that I do involves replacing damaged condensers, maybe a max of a couple dozen a year. I used to use a local mechanics shop whom would bring their equipment to my shop to recover refrigerant when needed, or I'd take the vehicle to them if drivable. Some vehicles arrive of course, with the condenser punctured and no refrigerant installed. I had always been told when putting in a new condenser to add a couple of ounces of the appropriate oil, so I did. The shop closed up a couple years back (retired), and I've been bouncing around between a couple of shops for recharging A/C systems.
I've purchased a Robinair set of manifold gauges, and dual stage vacuum pump. Also picked up a 30lb. bottle of Dupont Freon and a Master cool weight scale for recharging. I'm wanting to buy a small recovery machine, but I have a few (lot) of questions about what to get. I had been looking at either the Robinair/OTC RG3000 or possibly going with the Mastercool 69110 kit. At this point I didn't want to invest in a complete RRR machine. I might have to recover a dozen systems a year. I'm looking for input on a small recovery unit here.
Also trying to find out when recovering the refrigerant, how much oil is recovered with it? I've read a lot on various units, have read that some units separate the oil so that you can measure what was removed so I'd know how much to put back in. Then I read the manual to the Mastercool unit (it claims to separate the oil). I noticed that it said the reservoir holds approx. 1.5 ounces of oil, then it says this is equivalent to 8-10 recoveries (which to me implies there is negligent oil loss from simply doing a refrigerant recovery). I would really like some clarification on this.
I'm also confused about the recovery tank. The mastercool kit comes with the tanks and has an 80% recovery tank shut off switch. However, the EPA section 609 testing information stated not to fill them over 60%. If the oil recovery is negligent, then I could get away with the RG3000(quite a bit cheaper), and a recovery tank.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a pro, just a DIY'er.
1) ON EDIT: I use the Mastercool 69000 (just the recovery machine portion of the 69100), nothing fancy.
2) Another item to consider is a recycle guard. Although it's stated purpose is to remove solids, aside from the internal filter on the output port (leading to your recovery equipment), I've always thought the design is identical to an oil separator myself, and I do drain a little bit of oil out of it after every use.
3) Didn't see anything about a refrigerant identifier. Need to be certain you are recovering pure R134a (or R12) when working on other people's vehicles.
4) Flushing equipment? I use the Hecat from the site sponsors website
Edited: Sat June 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM by webbch
I'm just a DIY'r as well. I have the MC 69100 with is the kit which comes with the recovery tank with the 80% switch and oil recovery bottle. Something that I didn't know is that this unit will "only" work with recovery tanks with the built in switch if you ever decide on an extra tank. Don't know where you read 60% full as 80% if the standard full amount.
I may have posted a question myself about the oil recovery. I haven't used mine that many times but never recovered any oil from the unit as I always find it in the hoses. I must add that these uses so far were of the HVAC use on dehumidifiers which uses much smaller piping. I think the oil accumulates differently. I use separate vacuum rated hoses with my vacuum pump and have found oil pooling in the low spots of dangling hoses. Annoying since this was right after pulling the oil into the system!
I have the MC 98210A scale, 98230 charging module, 98250 heater blanket, 82375 oil injector and the dinky 91046-A flush kit which I've never used.
Edited: Sat June 14, 2014 at 9:04 AM by wptski
Thanks for the input. To answer the 60/80% question, the ASE MVAC certification quiz material says 60%, that's where the 60% comes from. I thought this to be odd since most other containers such as propane use the 80% fill rate.
Most of what I service is never touched systems, R134a, and I hadn't really considered a refrigerant analyzer. I'm a little confused on the RRR thing. Recovery versus recycle, on the all in one machines, when the refrigerant is recovered, what is that machine doing to recycle it? One the recovery only machines, a oil/moisture filter is used, and it appears to me that is pretty much all the all in one machines use as well and was curious if the recovered Freon could be put back in vehicles, or if it has to be sent off to be reclaimed. the EPA 609 seems to be a bit confusing on this. One section says no, while another says yes. Is it to be put back in the same car only? I'm not too concerned about this at the moment as my plan was to simply recovery, and recharge with new. I figured a recovery bottle would last me three to four years, with no more recovery than I would do in a year.
I've looked at the MC 69110 and the 69100, they seem nearly identical and I can't find anything online that tells me what the difference is. The only thing I see is that the 69110 comes with a set of hoses and T fitting to hook up both high and low hoses to the inlet of the machine for faster recovery, and from everything I've seen, there wasn't a filter installed, which sounds not so much like a good idea.... The speed of it all isn't a problem, there is always down time in the repair part of the collision to all for the car to be recovered or charged. The convenience of being able to do it in house is what I am after as well as not paying out some of the evac/recharge the insurance pays me, to someone else.
I'll check in to the recycle guard, but I'm probably not much on the flushing of the system. If a system was damaged so badly where I thought that was necessary, I'd probably rather take it somewhere than do that myself.
There's debate on whether or not the recovery machine with filter, etc. or the MC 69500 Recycler is good enough to reuse refrigerant. If your a business, I think you can recover/reuse "only" to same system or another of the same client/customer.
Recovery is just that. It allows you to recover (capture) the refrigerant. Recycle allows the refrigerant to be passed thru filters and used again for MVAC only in any vehicle. If You can not reuse refrigerant on a HVAC sysstem due to the chance that the refrigerant was damaged by the electrical motor in a compressor. Reclaimation means the refrigerant is processed and certified to be "like new" and reused anywhere.
In a HVAC system, you may recover refrigerant and reuse it if you put it in the system owned by the smae owner. IE: if my home's refrigerant is recovered, I can use the same refrigerant in my rental house.
The brass fittings on the recycle guard are standard R-134a fittings. I forget the thread pitch details, but yes, it's easy enough to replace with 1/4" flare fittings (which is what I did for my R12 setup). The threads in the aluminum housing are standard 1/4" pipe threads as memory serves, so the fittings are easily swapped.
Neutronics refrigerant identifier will tell you what is in a system. Separately they have a sealer identifier also.
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