The world of automotive service continues to change at an accelerated rate. That includes mobile air conditioning service challenges for service technicians.
Currently, techs and shop owners must deal with electrically driven compressors found in hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. That means recover/recycle/recharge (R/R/R) equipment must be up-to-date beyond compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and the Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2788.
Briefly, the purpose of the standard, which was revised in January 2013, as stated by SAE, “... is to establish the specific minimum equipment performance requirements for recovery and recycling of HFC-134a that has been directly removed from, and is intended for reuse in, mobile air-conditioning (A/C) systems. It also is intended to establish requirements for equipment used to recharge HFC-134a to an accuracy level that meets Section 9 of this document and SAE J2099.
The requirements apply to the following types of service equipment and their specific applications. a. Recovery/Recycling Equipment, b. Recovery/Recycling-Refrigerant Charging, c. Refrigerant Recharging Equipment Only.”
If you service hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles, make sure the equipment you use is certified for these high-voltage systems.
If you are looking for the latest R/R/R service equipment, we want to help. Following is a roundup of equipment to better help you make an informed decision. Here is the latest on SAE J2788-compliant equipment.
Robinair Cool-Tech 34988
The Cool-Tech 34988 from Bosch Automotive Service Solutions LLC’s Robinair division combines simple operation with superior accuracy. It recovers, recycles, evacuates, leak tests, and recharges R134a quickly and accurately. A fully automatic function allows the technician to recover, vacuum and leak test, charge, and then walk away. Other features and functions include automatic refrigerant refill, automatic air purge and oil drain, refrigerant charging and refrigerant management.
According to the company, the model 34788 is a UL-listed, single-pass system that meets SAE specifications for recycled refrigerant. Follow the SAE-J2211 recommended service procedure for the containment of R134a.
The unit includes a 1.5 cfm vacuum pump for fast, thorough evacuation. The compressor pulls the A/C system to 0 psig, then works in series with the vacuum pump to achieve highly efficient recovery and immediate recharge. The company says it recovers 20% more refrigerant than other models, and has a charge accuracy of +/–0.5 ounce. There are two large tool storage areas and storage for an extra filter and compressor oils. The control panel flips down when not in use.
Features include full automation to recovery, vacuum, leak test and charge without operating any panel valves; automatic UV dye inject into a vehicle’s system; and automatic oil measure and inject that determines how much lubrication oil is needed based on how much oil was taken out during recovery. It flushes a vehicle’s A/C system with refrigerant, eliminating a residual oil or other liquid. (Flushing adapters sold separately.) The save and print feature lets the user store before-and-after service information and print it for the customer. There is an indicator light and notification alarm when service is complete, or if a problem has occurred. Oil injection has less than 1% cross-contamination, and a vacuum leak test informs the tech of a possible leak. Automatic air purge eliminates damaging air without monitoring gauges or opening valves. An automatic refrigerant refill maintains a user-selectable amount of refrigerant in an internal tank and signals when it is time to change supply tank.
For more information, go to the company’s website at www.robinair.com.
Matco Tools AC788 and AC789H
Matco Tools’ AC788 and AC789H R/R/R machines are certified for compliance with SAE J2788. Both models include a refrigerant database, auto air purge, auto vacuum leak test, auto oil discharge, oil injection low and full refrigerant alarm with a large graphic display and thermal printer. The 6 cfm vacuum pump allows technicians to quickly and efficiently remove air and moisture from the A/C system with the dual filter design.
For added protection against moisture and contaminants, the machines also include an auto filter alarm which warns the technician of the percentage of remaining filter life.
For more information, see the company’s website at www.matcotools.com.
Flo-Dynamics CCST 388
The CCST 388 Clima/cs machine from Flo-Dynamics Inc. is design certified for compliance with SAE J2788. It features fast, efficient refrigerant recovery and recycling and can transfer liquid refrigerant at the rate of one pound per minute.
It can be operated in full automatic or assisted mode. The unit’s display provides menu-driven operation in multiple languages. A vehicle charging capacity reference database is included.
Automatic air-purge and automatic oil purge are standard. The CCST 288 features integrated oil injection and heated power charging upon demand. Audible notification alerts the tech when the service is completed, when the filter needs changing and when the vacuum pump needs an oil change. It features a printout following each service stating the refrigerant recovered, oil recovered, oil charged, refrigerant charged and time for vacuum.
Features include visual and audible alarm when the pressure of the fluid in the circuit reaches 290 psi (20 bar). The recovery operation is then automatically interrupted. A beeper and LCD advises when the bottle is filled to more than 80% of maximum capacity (40 pounds); when the quantity of refrigerant fluid contained in the bottle is low; whenever the total recovered refrigerant amounts to 132 pounds (60 kg); when there is insufficient gas and when the charging quantity set exceeds the amount available. A code for resetting the service alarm is supplied with the spare filters.
For more information, see the company’s website at www.flodynamics.com.
RTI ActicPRO RHS 980H
MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.’s RTI Division’s R134A Recovery, Recycling, Evacuation and Recharging station is a digital refrigerant handling system for hybrid and conventional vehicles. The model 980H is SAE J2799H certified for high voltage compressor service. The unit can be used to service hybrid and non-hybrid powered vehicles.
RTI’s RHS 980 series machines consistently outperform competitive models with the fastest service times and best charge recovery accuracy because it has one of the highest useable refrigerant capacities available, states the company.
The machine is designed for use on vehicles having R134a refrigerant and is compliant with the SAE J2788 standard. The unit reportedly recovers 95% of automobile refrigerant systems and has a refrigerant recharge accuracy of +/– 0.5 ounce. It features fully automatic operation. All control functions of the RHS980 are designed to provide intuitive and rapid interaction with the service technician.
Features include full-automatic recovery cycle, system oil capture, vacuum, leak test, charging (includes automatic air purge); multilingual (English, Spanish and French) display; and a low-side combination filter which includes a full capacity alert. The unit comes standard with an integral printer; high-pressure leak detection function; and liquid refrigerant flush function; micron vacuum level sensors and ambient air humidity sensors. It also features technician and/or service manager password protection
On-board diagnostics check solenoids, transducers, compressor, vacuum pump, and calibration functions and internal date/time clock. Options include a printer and refrigerant identifier.
For more information go to the website www.rtitech.com.
Mastercool Inc.’s 69789-H features a large graphic display 4.3 inch x 2.4 inch and is design certified for compliance with SAE J2788 and certified for use on all hybrid and conventional R134a vehicles. The unit reportedly charges systems within 0.5 ounce and recovers 95% of the refrigerant.
The 69789-H can be programmed to complete a continuous recovery/recycle, vacuum, vacuum leak test and recharge. The machine can also be set to run each operation individually.
Features include information on refrigerant capacities for domestic and import vehicles from 1995 to present. The 69788-H is capable of software upgrades as well. It can be programmed to perform a vacuum leak test and will inform the technician of possible leaks. Oil is automatically discharged during the recovery process. If oil is present, it will drain into a graduated container clearly displaying the amount removed.
Automatically purges non-condensable gas (NCG) from the storage tank during recovery. The machine’s LCD and alarm will warn that a filter change is required. It notifies the operator when the tank is full and when refrigerant is low.
Automatic oil injection with electronic scale protects the contents against contact and ambient humidity.
A thermal printer provides a complete, detailed report.
Fully integrated real loop flushes service hoses only by refrigerant circulation. Flushing eliminates the risk that residues of different (non-insulating) oils may be injected into the A/C system.
For more information, go to the company’s website at www.mastercool.com. ●
High voltage oil flush
Many automotive air conditioning systems contain PAG (polyalkylene glycol) oil, but high-voltage hybrid systems require POE (polyol ester) oil. Although it acts as a lubricant, more importantly, POE oil isolates the high voltage from the automobile’s chassis.
When doing an oil flush on one of these systems, it is important to make sure there is no residual PAG oil in the service hoses and couplers.
System damage or technician electrocution are possible.