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Old 01-02-16, 09:16 PM   #1
stevehull
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Default suggestions for replacement pressure manifold

My old dual pressure manifold finally bit the dust. Over the years I fixed hoses, replaced dial plastic faces, put new o rings in the valves, but it got dropped and the pot metal body literally broke in half . . . .

I think I got it at a yard sale some 30+ years ago for ~$3. Time to look for a new one. Need to do R410, R 22, etc.

Suggestions on e-Bay, Amazon, Grainger, Northern Tool, etc? I see prices from $20 all the way up to nearly $100 (Yellow Jacket brand). I suspect something in the middle might be about right, but as always, you guys will know more than I do.

I understand that low loss coupling fittings are now standard, but some of the specs don't even mention them.

Thanks in advance.


Steve

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Old 01-03-16, 03:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehull View Post
My old dual pressure manifold finally bit the dust. Over the years I fixed hoses, replaced dial plastic faces, put new o rings in the valves, but it got dropped and the pot metal body literally broke in half . . . .

I think I got it at a yard sale some 30+ years ago for ~$3. Time to look for a new one. Need to do R410, R 22, etc.

Suggestions on e-Bay, Amazon, Grainger, Northern Tool, etc? I see prices from $20 all the way up to nearly $100 (Yellow Jacket brand). I suspect something in the middle might be about right, but as always, you guys will know more than I do.

I understand that low loss coupling fittings are now standard, but some of the specs don't even mention them.

Thanks in advance.


Steve
Most of the cheapie ones are just that. Much of the units are paper and plastic. When you have a problem, it is not easy or economical to find parts for them. You just throw them away and buy new. Not quite disposable, but close. The money you spend on them goes pretty much straight to Hong Kong or Guangzhou.

The same main names are still around: Yellow Jacket, Robinair, JB are the most widely available. Testo and Fieldpiece are the top-shelf, pro-lines (financing available). They sell different levels of durability and convenience for different prices. When you have problems, parts can be found locally today. The units are at least assembled and packed in the USA, and the ones that aren't knock-offs (beware of fleabay and amazon listings too good to be true) are only available through authorized resellers. So at least a fraction of what you spend ends up in friendly pockets.

There are two main types of manifolds: two-way and four-way. The two-way manifolds are the traditional style: one valve for the low side, and one valve for the high side. When opened, the valve is opened to the center port. The four-way valves are new: same two valves as the two way, and two more. There are two center ports, each with its own valve. One port connects to the vacuum pump and reclaim cylinder. The other port connects to the purge or charging gas cylinder. Prevents having to do lots of things between operations.

The less expensive manifolds still have analog dial gauges on them. If you only want to buy one manifold, make sure the faces have scales for the refrigerants you plan on using. Most are faced for either older, lower pressure refrigerants (R12/R134/R22) or newer, high pressure (R410a/whatever) refrigerants. Not many of them have both. The high pressure can be used for low-pressure, but readings are not as accurate. The low pressure cannot be used for high pressure, it will kill the gauges' accuracy when they peg past the stops.

The more expensive manifolds have digital gauges. These range from simple equivalents of the analog gauges with a digital readout to fully automatic. The more automatic gauges can display saturation temperatures for refrigerants they support. The automatic gauges have thermometer clamp sensors to rig into a working unit and calculate superheat in real time for you. The super automatic gauges are programmable, and basically tell you what to do throughout whatever process you select from a menu. What valves to open or close, turn on vacuum pump, etc. The most expensive ones are wireless. You connect sensor modules to various places, and voila!

Hoses are high pressure or low pressure also. The different types of systems all have different fittings nowadays. Old school, R12 old cars and R22 split systems are pretty much the only things that use 1/4" flare fittings any more. The R410a split units use 5/16" flare, the R134a car fittings are custom, most mini-split units also have custom fittings. Luckily, the usual manufacturers sell adapter kits that cover nearly all the units you will encounter.
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Old 01-03-16, 04:48 PM   #3
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I bought this one R134a R12 R22 AC A C Manifold Gauge Set 5ft Colored Hose Air Conditioner Refrige | eBay
It didn't work from the very beginning. The hoses were the problem. They used white plastic seals that break/shred the first time you use them.
DON"T WASTE YOUR MONEY. But if you REALLY want to, I have my set that I'll sell you for $20. JK JK!!

I now use these bad boys. Yellow Jacket 41215 Series 41 Manifold 60" RYB Hoses 2 1 2" Gauges R 12 22 502 | eBay
Though I paid close to $100 locally for them.
I can not say enough good things about them. They hold up well to abuse and misuse.

And if you want to start your own HVAC business NO ONE should be with out this monster with matching wireless meters!! Fieldpiece SMAN460 4 Port Wireless Refrigerant Manifold with Micron Gauge | eBay
HO RA!!!

Just my 2 cents.
Shalom
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Old 01-03-16, 07:52 PM   #4
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Sounds like the Yellow Jacket type are ones to strongly consider. I really like the convenience of the four valve system. Thanks to Jeff for the details and to Memphis as I WAS looking at that cheap eBay unit that Memphis bought (and regrets)

As for your offer, I think I will pass . . . . .

Once again, you guys are the best! Thank you.

Steve
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Old 01-04-16, 08:06 AM   #5
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IMHO, with instrumentation in general, devices that can be trusted to be accurate and reliable are worth much more than the price tags they command. I would rather pull out a 40 or 50 year old "dumb" device, use it, and move on, than fiddle and fart around with some new-fangled, clunky, junky equivalent. The more useful equipment you have in your belt or box, the lighter it becomes to accomplish the same tasks. The time saved, the reduced frustration, and the consistent results compound quickly.

In nearly all cases, professionals can point to certain instruments they would be lost without. Having become familiar with specific products, it is next to impossible to convince them to switch. In the HVAC industry, the manifold gauge set is one of these instruments. Choose wisely.
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Old 01-04-16, 08:26 AM   #6
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Jeff, you do have some specific suggestions? For both two and four port devices.

I completely agree with you on good quality instruments. I have a Fluke digital voltmeter (DVM) with over 20 years of age and I would never give it up. Expensive (at first), but a rugged workhorse that lasts.

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 01-04-16, 05:13 PM   #7
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I bought my Robinair manifold used a long time ago. Nothing has been changed or repaired on it except the hoses. When the original hoses failed, they got replaced. I still have the original low side (blue) hose left. the other two have been replaced with the no-spew yellow jacket hoses with a ball valve at the depressor end.


New ones don't look much different:

part no. 40153

The new YJ hoses I bought:

Part No. 29985

I have used some of the newer sets as well. The loaner ones from the advance zone are toys in comparison, and use 5/16 hoses with aluminum adapters. Not the same quality. The yellow jacket stuff is awesome, but I still like the brass manifolds better than the aluminum. The flutterless gauges are better than what I have, more like the old Union Carbide gauges on my oxy-fuel torch rig. They would be my first choice if I was going to buy a new manifold set.

Yellowjacket high pressure set:
https://www.hvacpw.com/yellow-jacket...04a-r410a.html
part no. 42201

I had a Supco micron gauge for a long time, it came up missing this summer. Looked like a drag strip light tree:

Part No. VG-60

You can spend a lot, lot more on this stuff if you so desire. It all depends on what kind of flashy gadgets you like. I got most of my initial hands-on training in the military, using ugly, obsolete equipment that held up to punishment like an anvil. Everything I have used since then has been more delicate, but not always better looking. The Navy taught me it is better to know how to use the ancient tools the hard way than to rely on a new, semi-automatic gadget. Cuz rain and gravity and dead batteries sucks. Your mileage may vary.

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