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Most non-electrical HVAC/R problems are charge related. Many systems in operation are undercharged or overcharged. This can cause decreased efficiency and compressor failure. The higher the efficiency of a system, the more critical it is that it is charged properly.
The Fieldpiece Superheat and Subcooling for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration meter, model SSX34, measures suction line, or low side, line temperature and pressure. It then calculates actual superheat in real time using built in P/T charts. It also measures liquid line, or high side, line temperature and pressure, and calculates actual subcooling. Use it to get actual superheat on R-22, R-410A, R-134A, and R-404A fixed orifice systems and actual subcooling on TXV / TEV regulated systems.
Use the "T" fitting to charge to actual superheat or subcooling by putting the SSX34 in-line between your refrigerant bottle and the system. Use it to monitor superheat and subcooling when recovering too.
How Does It Work?
Finding actual superheat or subcooling is easy with the SSX34. Simply hook it up to the system, let the system stabilize, and get your actual superheat or subcooling reading in real time. No charts, no calculations. It's all done for you in the instrument.
It has a 1/4" industry standard fitting and for actual pressure with a "T" to use in line when charging or recovering to actual superheat or subcooling. An advanced pipe clamp k-type thermocouple model ATC1 is included for actual line temperature. Connect the SSX34 directly to the A/C or refrigeration system using a standard 1/4? EPA approved refrigerant hose using the pressure port at the top of the meter. Connect the pipe clamp T/C to the meter as close to the condenser or evaporator as possible. Select R22, R410A, R134A or R404A. Select English or Metric units and test.
It features a rugged rubber boot for durability and magnetic hanger for easy use. Hang the magnetic hanger over a corner to minimize slip and work hands free. The SSX34 will display superheat or subcooling in real time.
Measuring Actual Superheat and Subcooling
Superheat is the difference between the actual temperature of the refrigerant (gas) as it leaves the evaporator and the boiling point temperature of the refrigerant in the evaporator coil. After boiling, the refrigerant continues to warm up. The number of degrees it "warmed up" after boiling is called the superheat. Under worst case conditions (low load for fixed orifice systems), the refrigerant in the evaporator boils off near the end of the evaporator coil. To make sure liquid doesn't enter the compressor under the worst case condition (low load), the AC manufacturers publish charts indicating what the superheat should be at a given indoor wet bulb measurement and outdoor air temperature.
Measuring superheat is your best indication on a fixed orifice system of the proper refrigerant charge and operating conditions. If everything else is working properly and the actual superheat is too high, add refrigerant. If it's too low, remove refrigerant.
Subcooling is the difference between the boiling point of the refrigerant in the condenser and the actual temperature of the refrigerant as it leaves the condenser. The number of degrees the refrigerant "cools down" below the boiling point is the subcooling. Under worst case scenario (low load for TXV) the subcooling will continue to rise. If the subcooling rises to high, liquid may be backed into the compressor causing damage and catastrophic failure. On TXV systems, subcooling is the best indication of the state of charge in the refrigerant system since these systems are designed to maintain constant superheat.
Properly charging a system ensures maximum efficiency and longer equipment life. When charging, the hose must have a Schrader valve depressor on one end to release the refrigerant from the suction or liquid line. This is the same type of hose available with most pressure gauge sets. EPA sanctioned "no leak" hoses are suggested. Exercise caution whenever working with any electricity and high pressure liquid or gas. Follow all instructions provided with equipment being serviced or installed.
Target Superheat and Subcooling
Heed all equipment manufacturer's specifications, warnings and suggestions above anything found in the manual. To determine the target superheat (fixed orifice system) or subcooling (charts vary dramatically from one system to another), you will typically need three things. Outdoor dry bulb (outdoor air temperature), indoor wet bulb, and the manufacturer's target superheat chart or subcooling chart. You can use the ARH4 accessory head or the SRH2 Diagnostic Psychrometer for both indoor wet bulb and outdoor dry bulb. In fact, the SRH2 calculates target superheat and target evaporator exit temperature automatically based on psychometric measurements. Or you can use any Fieldpiece meter that has a temperature function along with an ATWB1 wet bulb thermocouple.
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