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Old 05-15-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
JackNorris
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Question Recovery Unit Operation

Hello

I've been speaking with Drewmeister via PM for a while now in regards to building my own water chiller - he has been extremely helpful and I've learned alot!
I am currently at the stage where I need to recover the gas from my AC units but rather than ask Drew in private I thought I would post here just in case it is of any use to anyone else.

The recovery unit in question is a Rothenberger ROREC (brand new). I also have a ProMax Minimax recovery unit but it appears to have seen better days!

So... What is the correct way to operate these units to recover the gas from my AC's? I understand the basic principles but I'd rather get some input from people who actually know what they are doing before I attempt this.

Additionally, neither unit has an oil separator but the Rothenberger unit comes with a filter.
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:01 PM   #2
coolerking
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Have you used a recovery machine before? Do you have a clean recovery tank?
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:41 PM   #3
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I hope the EPA isn't monitoring this! Lol.

Good luck either way.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:36 AM   #4
JackNorris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolerking View Post
Have you used a recovery machine before? Do you have a clean recovery tank?
Sorry I forgot you weren't all aware of my conversations with Drew.
I have not used a recovery machine before but I have all the kit, clean recovery cylinders, manifolds, vacuum pump, line taps, hoses etc.

Rather than getting into an argument about environmental laws I'll just say this... At least I am actually going to recover the gas instead of just releasing it into the atmosphere like some people would . I haven't just posted without a shred prior knowledge I have done a lot of reading on both professional HVAC forums and overclocking forums like this one - I am sure I could operate the unit safely but I thought posting first and getting some more input couldn't hurt.

Last edited by JackNorris; 05-16-2014 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:54 AM   #5
jbmcmillan
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I think Urban was just trying to be funny don't take it personally.Just include all your info so people don't ask questions that seem redundant to you.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:17 AM   #6
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Its really easy actually, you will be removing the refrigerant from the liquid/hi side if possible.
leave the tank valve closed, attach hoses to the high side, then into the recovery unit, then out of the unit to the liquid port on the tank, leave this fitting a little loose, then crack the gauges to bleed through to the tank, once you have purged the air, tighten the hose on the tank open the valve on the tank and turn on the machine, set it to recover and you're off and running, the unit will most likely shut off when it reached a vacuum, it shouldn't take long, the system you are working with prob has less than 3 lbs in it I would guess... I would read all the instructions for the machine before I started as well..good luck!
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:30 AM   #7
RDozzie
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i wouldn't worry too much about the environmental aspect of it leaking jack, our environment has already been damaged beyond repair anyway, and as to my readings and belief the gas if it escapes is heavier than air anyway and will sit on the ground and then dissipate, there's been a lot of so called debate from the old r12 to the r22 ans the a134 and r410a with all the hfc's they're supposed to produce and is still being debated....but as usual money talks all languages
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbmcmillan View Post
I think Urban was just trying to be funny don't take it personally.
^ This.

Poor attempt at humor, sorry Jack. I wish you luck.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:14 PM   #9
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Well I can say for sure that the new gasses out there have zero ODP, but they still carry whats called a GWP rating.
The new stuff has no chlorine molecule which destroys ozone at a ratio of 1:100,000.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:37 AM   #10
Drewmeister
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Hello Jack,

The recovery procedure will be very similar to how coolerking posted but I'd recommend recovering vapor from the lowside for a window a/c or any small unit that has a capillary tube. When recovering vapor you run less risk of carrying oil over from the system or slugging/stalling the compressor in the recovery unit. Pulling from the low side will also eliminate any possibility of unfiltered refrigerant flowing backwards through the capillary tube. That's more important on running systems where you're going to be tuning or making repairs.

Start by evacuating the recovery bottle to at least 500 microns. Attach the piercing valve to the highest point of the suction line on the a/c unit. Connect the blue hose from piercing valve to low side gauge set. Connect yellow hose from REF gauge set port to recovery unit. The highside on gauge set isn't used so just keep closed. Use the red hose from recovery unit to liquid port on recovery bottle. Open up the piercing valve, manifold valves, input/output/recover valves on recovery unit and purge the lines for a few seconds all the way back to the recovery bottle. Once purged you can open up the liquid valve on the recovery bottle. The Vapor port on the bottle isn't used for this recovery so stays closed and capped.

Now you're ready for recovery. You'll want to recover at a slow rate to avoid any oil carry over or possible stalling recovery compressor. Do that by adjusting the low side valve on gauge set to maintain around 20psi. Power on unit and adjust flow rate as mentioned, the unit should automatically shutoff when the recovery is complete. If not just shutoff when gauge reads approx 4" of vacuum. You can close the piercing valve and low side gauge set now.

Next thing to do is purge the recovery unit. Close the input valve and set the recovery valve to purge. Start the recovery unit and let it pull down till recovery complete or shutoff at 4", that should only takes a few seconds. Close all valves on all the equipment. If you're going to reuse the refrigerant soon, and have a second gauge set, then you may want to leave the hose attached to the bottle. If not then just remove it, hopefully you have zero loss ftgs or shutoff valves on the hoses. If not then be careful removing the hose as it will have some liquid refrigerant in it.

A couple excellent recovery videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg7XCa5VuHA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_eZzoRvH5U

Good Luck!
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:00 PM   #11
JackNorris
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanfox View Post
^ This.

Poor attempt at humor, sorry Jack. I wish you luck.
No harm done, I was actually worried others might take it more serious and I didn't want an argument .


Thank you Drewmeister and coolerking, I will probably give this a shot at the weekend. I'll be sure to let you both know how it goes.

Drew, we spoke a while ago about crimping the lines at about 0 psi so that I could store the compressor without ruining it - I take it that this still applies with your instructions? Instead of waiting for the recovery unit to pull a vacuum I'll just close the manifold at around 0 psi and crimp the lines?
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:14 PM   #12
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After recovery the unit will build up a small amount of pressure from outgassing. You can let the unit pull into vacuum to recover as much as possible, then wait till the pressure rises back to 0psi and crimp lines. You may also want to run a quick second recovery to get every last bit of refrigerant.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:10 AM   #13
JackNorris
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Question

Well, bit of a disaster on my first run.

Attached the piercing valve to the highest point on the suction line, hooked up all the hoses and purged everything back to the recovery cylinder. So far so good!

The problem came when I went to use the recovery unit (Rothenberger ROREC). I switched it on and after about 3 seconds there was a small pop noise and white smoke billowed out the front of the unit so I quickly shut it down, it's hard to recall exactly what it smelled like maybe rotten vegetables? Either way it wasn't very pleasant but it wasn't a burning smell.

Any ideas what might have been going on? The unit is brand new however it was from ebay so a faulty unit can't be ruled out. The AC unit was isolated from the recovery unit at the time using the shutoff valve on the hose that was attached to the piercing valve. I'm tempted to hook it up outside and run a purge to see what happens and see if the white smoke returns.

I've disconnected everything for now but I think the AC lost some oil in the process, some of it squirted out over my phone and I think there's some sat in the sight glass on one of my gauges. I can't be sure of exactly how much was lost. It wasn't a massive amount but I guess I'll need to think about it when it comes to building the chiller.

Additional Comment:

Okay, a small update.

I ran a purge on the unit and the white smoke stopped after 3 or 4 seconds and so did the smell. I still don't know what it was though, I have a feeling it might have been oil. I also blasted some nitrogen through the gauges to get rid of the old oil from my first attempt.

I did manage to get the recovery sorted in the end though. My scales indicated 320g recovered to the tank but the AC label states a 450g charge. I guess some was lost during disconnection the first time around and it may have been under charged at the factory anyway.

I do however have a few questions if anyone has any insight.
  1. Any ideas what that smoke could have been?
  2. During recovery the sight glass filled about 1/4 of the way with oil. Is this something to be concerned about? I don't want to have recovered large amounts of oil. [sightglass picture] [piercing valve placement picture].
  3. Will I need to replace this oil when it comes to building the chiller. As I don't know how much has been sucked into the recovery cylinder I won't know how much to replace.
  4. I have two other units to recover and break down, would it be worth fabricating an oil separator so that I can separate the oil and also measure the amount lost? Any design tips on this if it's worth while?
I'll wait for your inputs before moving onto the other units. If you think the recovery has gone sour I'll put this one down to practical education

Regards
Jack

Last edited by JackNorris; 06-01-2014 at 05:39 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:52 PM   #14
Drewmeister
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The smoke was probably a mix of refrigerant and oil. There is either a high pressure relief valve inside, or possibly a leak.

Shake the bottle around and see if you hear any sloshing inside. If not I wouldn't worry about it. You could always just drain the oil and replace with the proper amount from the manufactures spec sheet. On a rotary compressor you'll need to drill a hole in the top in order to drain the oil. Then just braze an access valve in when done... it's really not a big deal as some make it out to be.

No need for an oil separator, just recover very slowly by throttling the flowrate with the valves. Unfortunately the evap design and position on that last a/c contributed to more possibility of oil loss than a standard window a/c layout. If the other two a/c's are similar to that design then position the piercing valve on the top of the discharge off the compressor.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:52 PM   #15
JackNorris
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Thanks Drew. Can't really pickup any sloshing when shaking the cylinder so that's a good sign.

I've sent two or three e-mails to the manufacturers (RECHI + NEW WIDESTAR) but I've had no response as of yet. To be honest I don't hold out much hope of getting the datasheets so I'm not really going to know the correct oil charge for each compressor.

The other AC's all have a similar design so I'll try your recommendation and attach the piercing valve to the discharge side on top of the compressor.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:35 PM   #16
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Well all those rotaries with the same shell size usually have very similar oil capacities. For example, a 1hp rotary will normally have around 350-356cc. The oil charges in these compressors also take into account some losses from oil trapping/puddling in areas of the system like evaps, condensers, accumulators, long suction lines, etc. If you feel you only lost a few table spoons then I wouldn't even worry about it.
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