measureQuick® had an incredible opportunity (and a bit nerve-wracking for me) to demonstrate what we have believed for so long. “There is little to no difference between what is possible in the field and the lab with today’s digital instruments coupled with smart technology and an excellent application.”
I had the opportunity to work alongside one of the most brilliant minds (and seriously just an all around great guy) in the industry, Vance Payne, at the HVAC test lab at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). NIST is a part of the division of commerce, responsible for the standards of weights and measure. We were able to test our measureQuick application with both iManifold® and Testo hardware on equipment in an environmental chamber at the NIST campus. The results were nothing less than incredible.
I dragged along Bill Spohn at TruTech Tools, a long time friend to witness the event, as well as an engineer from the Department of Energy. Bill helped collect the data (a master at Excel). Bill and I have both held these same beliefs since our time at Testo, and honestly, this is a vision we have both been sharing for a long time. What we all witnessed confirmed what is possible.
The NIST lab is a multi-million dollar environmental chamber that can be controlled to maintain a variety environmental of conditions, outfitted with at least a hundred thousand dollars of test instrumentation and monitoring software. Just to put things in perspective, the hardware was tested alongside a $9000.00 chilled mirror humidity sensor, precision flow orifices, thermocouple arrays and more. and I am sure that its calibration was NIST traceable considering where we were.
Currently, NIST is studying faults in HVAC systems so the equipment had faults in place making it ideal to test the measureQuick application under non-ideal conditions.
So how close were we? So close that it was impossible to tell who was right (NIST or measureQuick) for most, if not all of the readings and calculations. Vance is going to help me further evaluate the data, so more to come. The overlap in the measurements was incredibly high. Most of our points were within a single percent and temperatures and humidities within 10ths of a degree. Calculations were within 1-3%, and our airflow calculations within 1-2% of that measured with calibrated flow orifices. Not only do you have to consider measurement uncertainty, but also that of the calculations. Seriously, this was really cool stuff whether you are a nerd or not.
What was even more interesting was that the Testo Smart probes performed as well as iManifold and the high-end sensors that it uses. This proves that sensor technology has come an incredible way, and is only getting better. Hats off to Testo for demonstrating that they are experts in temperature and humidity, humidity being one of the hardest things to measure accurately and repeatably.
As for diagnostics, meausreQuick was able to detect all of the faults that were placed into the equipment. It did exactly what it was designed to do.
What does all this mean? In a nutshell, the gap has closed. Tools are getting better and coupled with the right software (measureQuick) we are in an exciting time to be in the HVAC industry. What only a short time ago was thought impossible is possible and what we have considered theory for those of us in the field has become a science. Everything is provable with software and measurements.
Thanks so much Vance and NIST, and hats off to our team that has worked so hard on the developing the measureQuick platform. The testing was truly a validation of the work we have done. This was an incredible opportunity, one that I will not soon forget.
This article was originally written and published by Jim Bergmann, December 9, 2017 on LinkedIn. Edits made on this version by Valerie Buckles. See the original version here.