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Bacharach informant 2

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  • Bacharach informant 2

    Anybody have any experience with them? I find myself in a need for both R290 and R134 leak detection and one tool to do both would be handy if they are any good. At $400-$500+ I am hesitant to drop that much coin.
    Bacharach used to be a quality name in all kinds of test equipment. It would be the only reason I would even consider dropping that much coin.

  • #2
    CB > I don't know that refrigerant nor the "Bacharach" brand for tools but looking just now found R-290 (so it said IDK) is just a refined PROPANE! Yes sniffers for leaks will pick up that too or Butane (pocket lighters like Bic) to see if one I use is working before I start.

    Mine is old but trusty still (nothing right now to test all worked this year) in my small world of things I would fix or test.

    That is some model of Matco BTW purchased thru a Snap-On dealer or maybe Mac Tool truck? Long time ago was $300 then I do recall. It's not a smart tool but does have setting for how sensitive will pick up evaporating used motor oil if you ask it to then useless always on WARNING it's detecting something.

    If flammables are the "enviro-safe" directions this world wants to go just again AYOR!

    AYOR on flammables to any reader know it's in use and sold to the public!
    MetroWest, Boston


    • #3
      Most all sniffers are NOT rated to pick up flammable gas at low concentrations. From what you say they will react to it in higher amounts. The sniffer in question (there are others made) needs the sensor changed to go between "normal" refrigerants and flammable gas.
      I occasionally work with NG and Propane and it would be good to have something more than "bubble check" to locate problems. With the proper sensor it will alert down to 50 PPM methane (parts per million) AND with a sensor change to SAE J1627 requirements of less then .5 oz/year of halogenated refrigerants.
      Since I don't do enough of either to justify a dedicated sniffer for each, with the associated spare parts for two sniffers. If I did a lot of both, a somewhat cheaper single use sniffer for each would likely be worth the extra money.
      Bacharach used to be the name in fuel and furnace test equipment. I just don't know anymore.


      • #4
        I plead IDK just that OLD now Matco I have works on all with anything "hydrocarbon" involved. OMG long ago got the thing the warning I recall is don't touch the tip to oil anything or could wreck it - just never did.

        Downside of that wide range is plain wind it goes brain dead. Other shops who couldn't find a leak I'd go try the most often one was so dirty inside (many cars asst. problems, projects) just the sprays used, cleaners - aerosol stuff would also set it off had to take the car out of there.

        It's just me I don't use other tech's stuff never did (just don't want to wreck someone else's) by mistake DUMB like a hood shuts by surprise and wreck things! > See list of foul language used by many techs ! :-(

        So for what I've used and watched all have limits to be sure a costly or difficult leak I really hate to be wrong would like two good and credible results to blame especially an evaporator knowing that the one (many) is a nightmare to do,

        MetroWest, Boston


        • #5
          Knowledge base button at the top of this page recommends a "heated diode" tester, which the Bacharach is for Halogen refrigerants, If yours is old enough to be pre R134a they say it is unlikely to be heated diode type. May be that is why it alerts on butane?
          As I don't have any sniffer at the moment, it isn't replacing but kitting out.
          I have used sniffers in the past, but they were always "shop equipment" and it was anyone's guess how well they were cared for. I never had much luck with those. I found most problems looking for oil and listening, which don't work for slow leaks.
          From what I read, the heated diodes have a limited life, so replacement parts is something I need to think about. They may last a long time with my limited use, but will replacements be available when I finely need them?


          • #6
            Well, I think I found a deal on a used one. Comes with spare sensors, and all original paperwork and a money back if it doesn't work. I was very hesitant to buy a used sniffer but the price difference was large and the pic's look like it wasn't used much.
            I have a few things I can test it on, if it works I'll report back on my opinion.
            Right now spare parts are easy to come by, even Grainger carries them.


            • #7
              Deal for you if used is good let it be. I did just go get mine (in house now) not in shop is Matco Model #AC850 made in Stow, OH. The tip can be unscrewed and with an exacto knife once or twice just let it go thru existing cuts in a cross at tip that deeper must do its thing? IDK but just checked it on a Bic brand lighter, blow out flame and on least sensitive setting it makes horrid screeching noise. It did.

              I really haven't needed it for a couple years not working on lots that isn't mine is enough (too many toys) may go check my own truck I know leaks a little ALL OE parts and all A/C untouched except for known issue with compressor shaft seals for now here Antique vehicles (over 25 model years vs calendar year. What took a while to learn is if outdoors vs heated shop/garage also for me if below about 15F (always in Winter last only dipped to -4F is easy for here or much lower usually.

              So the shaft metal and I think porcelain of seal no rubber I'm told I haven't touched it.

              So that may not be leaking took almost a full charge this year 32oz 134a bet doesn't leak now it's hot out 94F right now.

              It all matters another car Ford product will leak also IS STILL ALL OE '89 THING still R-12 will freeze you out still.

              What the sniffer has found is the dreaded evaps you can't really see (I don't own a scope to look yet/still) will do that screech thing at vents inside is pretty damming. Next would look for drain tube or spot or oil evidence declare it's that and be as close to sure as I know how to?

              Anyway local shops (back when now) most have gone out of biz that dealt with fussed to find leaks I'd go there with spray soap/water the sniffer + mirrors looking for a leak that may not be leaking at the time dag nabbit.

              Done with that but would again. Yes have had to add (mine or theirs) just enough for real static pressure and voila there's the leak most of the time.

              Sorry for the novel about this other places also have wild temp swings it's normal for right where I am is the first area altitude rises headed West from Boston itself (22 mi.) as the crow flies is @ sea level +/- 10 feet as it was filled in ocean!

              I'm @ 230ft. altitude just 1 mile more West of me altitude is 1,000 feet but you can't see it do that.

              Vehicles don't like this for A/C or other things. A few times a year an outdoor vehicle will be wet on inside like you usually might see dew on windows when humid enough close but not yet we are in a full blown draught here maybe not 10-15 miles away!!

              Welcome to New England - laugh - been here since forever it's home so used to this - getting older to put up with is me this BS is normal to be whacked,
              Last edited by Tom Greenleaf; 07-17-2022, 03:00 PM.
              MetroWest, Boston


              • #8
                The seals that are metal or ceramic are what is called "face seals" like a waterpump uses. There are two halves of the seal and each is stationary on the part it is mounted too. One part on the shaft, and the other in the housing. They rub on eachother to seal, so has to be very smooth. The stationary ceramic is sealed to the housing with a rubber O ring and the shaft portion of the seal is sealed to the shaft with a rubber "gator" but the shaft doesn't turn inside the seal half, rather both turn together.
                This means there is no wear on the shaft or housing, but is less than 100% leakproof. A trade-off a little leakage for no wear on parts. Makes the compressor (or water pump) rebuildable without replacing "hard parts" like the shaft.
                I'll let you know what I think of the sniffer. It is the type that Home/Commercial HVAC tech's would carry on their trucks, when installing furnace or A/C- heat pump.


                • #9
                  For tests try taking just caps off and sniff the inside should set it off on assorted refrigerants.

                  Home: I have natural gas has the odor stuff but if touched a licensed plumber must do it and inspector check it leaves a paper was OK to go.

                  My luck if anything went wrong and insurance knew of it not that way wouldn't pay. Water heater has an all the time pilot and furnace a sparker thing. Any reason not to pay will do - buttheads, but if a real leak bad + nobody to notice Ka-Boom - I was nice to know you!
                  MetroWest, Boston


                  • #10
                    Out here in farm country things are pretty loose, Farmers are exempt of many of the rules around wiring and stuff.
                    In my case, My work is the only stuff that looks like it is done to code. My wiring is in conduit, my gas piping work is black iron. The previous owner strung that corrugated gas tubing (not in itself bad) like he wired the place, strung loosely from the floor joists. That corrugated tubing is ok in walls and in protected "raceways" but needs to be properly secured and protected. If you use the proper stuff, and install properly, you have little to fear.
                    I am finding ground wires snipped off or not connected to anything. Romex wire exposed, all kinds of stuff I am slowly pulling out the junk and bring it up to scratch.
                    It is still legal and done often to run the graywater separate from the sewage/septic, just in a drain pipe. They finely made it illegal to dump the graywater into the ditches at least.
                    My Dad taught me to run conduit, run copper and pipe, pitch a drain line and just about anything in house correctly and to meet code.
                    My Brothers house in Des Moines still has some live Knob and Tube wiring! Be careful what you grab !


                    • #11
                      Re: Gray water! Not legal here to dump is foolish for some but rule is for all.

                      Stupid or brilliant to use that water all depends on the location always did.

                      Washing machine for example why not if the room and spot for it to go it's only soap and water? Showers, bath tubs + ordinary sink drains etc.

                      Flex gas pipe would scare me but outside have used fuel hose line (rubber) lasted over 10 years IMO not dangerous but shouldn't have. Can't see where that BBQ grille was anyway,

                      MetroWest, Boston


                      • #12
                        The stuff is called CSST for short. It is the new quick thing for running gas, Like the difference in PEX vs. Copper was for water.
                        Nothing wrong with it, and there are some advantages IF RUN correctly. It is easy to run poorly and the DIY'ers often do.
                        It can cut down the number of fittings if the curves are broad and in places of small earthquakes, can take movement better than iron pipe. The down side is if any of the piping gets a lightning strike (or anything connected to the tube does) it can arc through and cause a bad situation to become horrific. The newer CSST sold now has a foil "shield" to try and dissipate any electrical charge and the tube has to be "bonded" to earth ground. Iron pipe is much more robust in terms of electrical arcs, and is often direct buried in the earth providing a ground path.
                        With gas, every joint and fitting is a potential leak, and that doesn't change with CSST, but it can cut down on the number of joints.
                        When I pulled the stuff out and ran pipe, I used a pipe threader and bought the pipe in 21' lengths, so the only fittings were the required T's and elbows. This keeps the joints to a minimum. Pipe was supported at every floor joist and every few feet of a run that didn't cross joists. CSST was then used to connect the appliances to the shut off valve at the pipe.
                        There is special hose for LP liquid line or tank vapor pressure, It is like hydraulic hose and has a wire braid and special fittings. I did dual fuel conversions at one place I worked.
                        Low pressure LP (after the regulator) is much more forgiving of what you use for hose, but if it burns or bursts, that is when you find out why there is special hose. The low pressure flex has a nylon tube with fabric braid and rubber cover. It is most often attached to barbed fitting with a crimped furl and not a hose clamp.
                        I guess this is about as far off topic as we can get!


                        • #13
                          YOU are REALY up there with this stuff! I watch home's A/C lines can be seen from deck/slider I use to come and go if sweating I'm happy not frosted.

                          Been here over 35 years this the 3rd now oldish outdoor on slab compressor/condenser.

                          OE to this nightmare was a bendable pipe welded to that unit that ran thru finished sheetrock with real plaster skim over that 1st round of failure was an IDIOT alert. I don't do total home A/C was told had to dismantle whole house (ya right) back when to run that route for lines.

                          Told they couldn't deal with that type of hose/line as it wasn't possible to do anything to seal with what they just snipped off rather than unscrew.

                          Oh joy - the trades around me are marginal. I went out with a magnet and told them if it holds a magnet it's a steel now you can deal with that, braising or something since YOU (speaking to them) just stupidly cut it off rather than unscrew it!

                          I/we doing most vehicle A/C stuff don't end up with stuff like that but it's THEIR FULL TRADE!

                          It was legally put in up to any codes at the time told them DEAL WITH IT, YOU MESSED UP.

                          They did and that one lasted a fair while on the 3rd is doing well just a motor start up capacitor last year didn't know it had.

                          YOU mentioned "small earthquakes" to me odd but told New England and perhaps more of the NE where I am has the most in the lower 48 so small you don't notice many at all.

                          Same story (news item) said that's good vs where disasters happen over them all at once?? Not my job.

                          This a neighborhood of about 50 homes, huge lots TMK the only built new with central A/C others just window units the nasty heat usually doesn't last a central fan (strong) in houses then open windows and a breeze would come in was the common thing no A/C at all just put up with it.

                          Problem is contruction of buildings of most for many years now is not friendly to retrofit for A/C but most have in attics out thru soffits.

                          I'm not a carpenter nor qualified to design a building home or other wasn't my thing but see the mistakes AFTER they are done.

                          Knock on wood this house was only 8 years old was built in a hurry was already sold from a drawing what it would be virtually all had all the same mistakes so long ago now all fixed the original builder had incentive to cut corners with all homes sold before even built the joy (real) is the quietest neighborhood of HUGE homes (if desired) this close to fast commutes to where most would work worth all those fixes now over so many years the rule is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION was unbuildable for ages as too difficult with ledgerock everywhere just this area while not far are homes restored from the 1600s! No way would those be able to blast to make buildings which need the dug basement below frost line and diggable well for water or couldn't be there.

                          Fun in early America this wasn't the choice land but is now,

                          MetroWest, Boston


                          • #14
                            Bought a lightly used Bacharach unit. Came with spare sensors. So far I am happy. Found a propane leak that neither smell nor bubble test revealed, That's the good news, the bad is it has likely been leaking since the water heater was replaced two years ago by the contractor in town!
                            Haven't used it to find a refrigerant leak beyond putting the refrigerant sensor in it and sniffing a A/C charge fitting with the cap removed.


                            • #15
                              Used it today to clear up 3 small leaks, that were too small to find with bubble check. I am thrilled with it. If it does as well on refrigerant it was well worth buying.
                              Bacharach used to be THE name in fuel tools for furnace repair, but so many names get sold and the stuff isn't up to scratch. It seams to be the exception, quality tool.


                              • #16
                                Nice to hear of something meeting or exceeding expectations,
                                MetroWest, Boston