Fieldpiece SDMN5, SDMN6, JL3KM2 Dual Port Manometers Review
Fieldpiece SDMN5, SDMN6, JL3KM2 Dual Port Manometers - Overview
Hello there. In today's review, we're going to look at some of the features, applications, and finally, the pros and cons of Fieldpiece Manometers. We'll close out everything with a handy purchasing guide. Let's go!
Fieldpiece offers a handful of manometer options, but we're going to focus this review on the three most popular units, the Fieldpiece SDMN5 Dual Port Manometer, the Fieldpiece SDMN6 Manometer Pressure Switch Tester, and the Fieldpiece JL3KM2 Job Link Dual Port Manometer Kit. Now, these meters don't necessarily make up the usual sort of "good, better, best" ladder that many manufacturers market. They are all solid meters and are more suited to particular applications than they are increasingly better versions of each other.
Let's briefly have a look at them individually, and then we'll compare and contrast them, and then I'll give some recommendations for purchasing.
The Fieldpiece SDMN5 Manometer Review
The Fieldpiece SDMN5 is sort of the baseline workhorse model. I hesitate to say "basic" because you can do some pretty advanced calculations and measurement procedures with it, and it's really well made and accurate. On that latter point, there are a variety of unit options, but since we end using inWc (inches of water column) a lot in balancing, we can look at that. The resolution gets down to 0.01inWC with an accuracy ±0.02inWC. Translation: really good! More than enough for anything you're going to be doing in air balancing or boiler tuning.
It comes in a fairly heavy casing and includes a rubber boot for added protection. Fieldpiece has a few decades of experience and R&D in the pressure business (specifically HVAC/R), so you know that this stuff is really well made. They also use quite a lot of technician feedback in their designs, so I think you'll like the way it feels and performs.
So, it's a differential pressure manometer meaning a couple of things. You can use a single port just to check gas pressure on anything with an inlet or outlet (e.g., a gas manifold, flue, etc.). Also, it comes packed with static pressure probes, which is where the dual ports come in handy. Just set up the pressure probes on either side of a filter or blower, and you can check the pressure drop over that component.
We won't into too much crazy detail with the processes here since you probably already know them if you're manometer shopping. Suffice it to say; this ]meter is primarily for direct pressure measurements and differential readings, including static pressure.
The Fieldpiece SDMN6 Dual Port Manometer and Pressure Switch Tester Review
Next up is the Fieldpiece SDMN6 Manometer. This one is pretty similar to the SDMN5, except that it also is a pressure switch tester. First off, this meter will do everything that the SDMN5 with the addition of testing pressure switches. So if you're doing direct pressure, differential, or static readings] you're still good to go with this one.
Now the extra feature that this model packs in is an onboard pump for pressure switch testing. I'm sure you know already, but pressure switches are limiting devices that open or close based on the pressure pumped into them. They're typically used in our field of HVAC on furnaces.
So what you do with your Fieldpiece Manometer Pressure Switch Tester is make the connections using the included y-splitter to the P1 pressure port, the onboard pump, and the negative side of the switch you're testing. If the switch isn't adjustable, you can just verify if it is working according to the tolerance that the manufacturer has set.
If the switch is adjustable, you'll want to set the SDMN6 pump pressure at the value you want to calibrate to, and slowly turn the adjustment screw until the switch opens at that pressure. Boom, now it's all calibrated. It's a simple process but essential if you have any adjustable switches on the systems you're working with. This will work with that same ±0.02inWC accuracy, so you can rest assured that the switch is good to go after you calibrate it with the Fieldpiece SDMN6 Dual Port Manometer.
Fieldpiece JL3KM2 Job Link Dual Port Manometer Kit Review
And last but certainly not least, we come to the newest meter in the Fieldpiece line, the Fieldpiece JL3KM2 Job Link Dual Port Manometer Kit. These Fieldpiece Bluetooth Manometers add some very exciting technology to the baseline type of pressure testing you get with the SDMN5. You could almost think of these like a wireless version of the SDMN5, but with some key differences and unique benefits.
The first of these is that because there are two individual wireless manometers that connect to your smart device (acting as a dual-port manometer), you're not limited by the distance of your hoses. So with the single handheld units, the ports are right next to each other, and there's only so far you can go. With these wireless ones, you've got hundreds of feet of range without sacrificing any accuracy or connectivity.
That segues nicely into another exciting benefit, which is that the Fieldpiece JobLink App will support up to 10 of these manometers. Why would you need that? Well, I'm glad that I imagined you asked this. If you're doing static pressure testing, you need to check for pressure drops across the entirety of the system. With a handheld dual-port manometer, you'd need to make new connections before and after every obstruction to the airflow. With the JL3KM2, you can buy multiple units and take readings on up to 5 areas where you'd expect to see a pressure drop. Of course, it's a larger expense to invest in that many units, but I think over a few months, it would pay for itself in time savings. You'll have to make that call based on the type of work you do, of course.
Also, not to make it an afterthought, but the App has many handy logging and reporting features, like instant email of results with a logo stamp for your company. These kinds of professional and modern touches shouldn't be overlooked when seeking to impress customers and keep them coming back.
Conclusions and Recommendations
To be honest, there aren't many things to put in the "cons" column with these meters. I suppose you could always buy meters twice the price and say these aren't as good. Also, the JL3KM2 doesn't have a screen on board since they are wireless and compact, but you can view the readings in realtime on the App, so it's not exactly a problem. Overall, these are excellent pieces of testing equipment at great prices from a reputable and high-quality manufacturer. I recommend all three. That said, here's how I think you should buy:
If you just want the basics and have a limited budget, go for the Fieldpiece SDMN5 Dual Port Manometer.
If you need to work on pressure switches, go for the Fieldpiece SDMN6 Dual Port Manometer and Pressure Switch Tester.
If you think you'll work on larger static pressure jobs or just want to make use of a lot of cool new tech, go with the Fieldpiece JL3KM2 Job Link Dual Port Manometer Kit.
Overall, unless you need to test pressure switches, I'd say get the JL3KM2. The reporting features and the "wow" factor that goes with having "smart" tools are worth a lot in terms of acquiring and impressing customers. You can't go wrong with any of these, but the wireless JobLink probes will be the best investment going in into the future.
I hope this short review helps you decide on which one of the great testers you want to buy. Thanks for reading!
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