Seitron Novo Combustion Analyzer Review
Updated September 2023.
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Seitron NOVO comparison with leading Commercial Combustion Analyzers
Hello again. Today’s review is going to be a look at the exciting new line of Seitron combustion analyzers called Novo. We’ll begin with a quick summary of the features that make this analyzer a unique and valuable tool compared to other offerings on the market. Then we’ll go over the meter in more detail, followed by a comparison to some other major competitors.
Seitron NOVO Review Summary:
This is the section for those of you who just want the most important facts about the analzyer’s features so you can make a quick buying decision.
Firstly, I think the Seitron Novo is an excellent choice for a combustion analyzer for everything from residential to commercial work. There are a couple standout features that make my case.
The first big selling point is not obvious at first glance, since it’s a very visually impressive meter. I’m speaking of the long-life oxygen sensor that is expected to last four years with regular use. If you’re a heating technician you know how important it is to have an O2 sensor in good shape and what a pain it can be to order them yearly and sometimes need to wait for calibration. You can sidestep all this with a Seitron combustion analyzer and that feature alone is very worthwhile, if not flashy.
The second point to pay attention to is that the entire probe assembly is a single “plug and play” style block. Normally the probes for temperature, draft, and flue gas testing are separate pieces that need to be individually plugged into a combustion analyzer. Since the connections are often fragile, this old style design leads to a lot of malfunctions and broken connections. The Seitron flue gas analyzer Novo has integrated all these connections into a single block, so there’s nothing to get in your way and very little to break or damage. Additionally, the water trap is built into the instrument body, so there’s nothing but hose between the connection block and the flue probe itself. Once you get your hands on this thing you’ll see how convenient it is and I think it will contribute greatly to the longevity of these meters on the job.
Third, the Seitron Novo will support a wide variety of sensor configurations and upgrades. This makes it ideal for jobs where you’ll need sensors for things like NO, NO2, SO2, H2, CxHy, NH3, etc. (there are a ton of options and you’ll need to work with a knowledgeable salesperson to find out what’s right for your job).
Finally, another big point to look for is the reporting software and bluetooth capability. Also, Seitron Americas is known in the European market for analyzers that feature a built-in printer. Depending on the taste of the tech, external printers may be on the way out but if you like a printer, you can have it built-into the analyzer. Note that you’ll need to order it this way up front, as the built-in printer cannot be added later. If you do need to add a printer later, there is a bluetooth printer available as well.
So much for the short version. Let’s dig a little deeper now.
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Okay, down to the nuts and bolts. The most important part of selecting the proper combustion analyzer for your job (and probably the least interesting and fancy part) is getting the right carbon monoxide (CO) sensor range. Generally speaking, you’ll need to be able to accurately read between 2,000 and 4,000ppm for residential work. The dividing line between commercial and industrial work gets a little hazy, but anything over 4,000ppm should be good for what we call “commercial” work. That just means larger heating or combustion-powered machinery that isn’t your household boiler. The standard CO sensor that comes with the Novo reads up to 8,000ppm, so it’s a real workhorse and will cover all your bases for commercial work. If you need to get into the industrial space, you can special order it with a high range CO sensor that will get you through the most demanding large-scale jobs.
Speaking of the CO sensor, another great feature of all the Seitron Novo models is the CO dilution pump. This is a fairly simple concept and is a must have for you folks working on jobs that might have unexpectedly high levels of CO present. Basically, the analyzer will immediately detect if there is a CO quantity that would overload and likely damage your CO sensor. Through vents in the side of the analyzer, it will automatically pump fresh air into the sample to dilute the CO and protect the sensor from the excess. The CO level will also display up to many thousands of ppm past the sensor range by way of internal algorithmic calculations. Theoretically you can read way higher than 8,000ppm by this mechanism, but do keep in mind this is a calculated value and the primary purpose of the pump is to protect your sensors from overload.
I mentioned above in the summary about the longlife O2 sensor. Especially since the basic O2 and CO model from the Novo clocks in at under 1500 dollars, it is well worth considering getting a Novo for this feature alone. I don’t have to tell you the cost in both real money and time lost when you have to constantly replace oxygen sensors. Anything you can do to reduce that downtime and expense is a big plus in my book. So between the long life O2 sensor and the dilution pump protection on the CO sensor, I give two big thumbs up to the sensors in even the basic unit.
Sensor configuration is also, broadly speaking, an area where the Novo shines. Seitron has designed the analyzer to be highly modular, meaning you can get it in a ton of different configurations based on what you need to measure. The body of the analyzer will house up to 4 different sensors and you can select whatever you need when you order. Obviously you’ll want CO and O2 as your baseline for combustion analysis, but you can add a variety of others based on the job, including NO, NO2, SO2, H2, CxHy, NH3, and high-range or infrared versions of the CO sensor.
Finally, in terms of sensors, when you do need replacements, they are all pre-calibrated and field-replaceable. So, it’s a piece of cake to plug the new ones in and get back to work. Even considering this functionality, it is a good idea to have your analyzer calibrated regularly and calibration is an area where Seitron is really offering highly competitive service. Turnaround time is just a few days and the pricing is significantly less than some competitors, often to the tune of about a hundred bucks. Nothing to scoff at, certainly.
Physically, the analyzer feels great. It works and feels more or less like a tablet computer but much sturdier with the housing and it has some super strong magnets in the back for hands free work. The menu navigation is the most intuitive I've seen on the newer touchscreen combustion analyzers and it’s also got the biggest screen at 7”.
As I mentioned in the summary, the probe connection block is another really exciting design feature on this thing. If you manage to get your hands on a Novo you’ll see what I mean immediately. Usually probe and temp connections are a mess of wires and they have fragile pieces that are prone to damage. The Novo has a single plug in block that contains all the connections you need and aside from being the easiest setup I’ve ever seen on a combustion meter, it also gives you a lot of peace of mind in terms of things potentially breaking. This thing has as solid a connection as you can get and I imagine other manufacturers will soon follow suit with this design unless it’s patented (I’m not sure if it is). Really, it’s a “hindsight is 20/20” situation where once you see it you wonder why every analyzer isn’t made this way. Great progress in this area from Seitron. You can also pop a piece of manometer tubing on the left side of the connection block to take draft pressure at the same time as you do your combustion analysis. This saves you time and money in extra tools and lets you do more complete work.
Also, as I said in the summary, you have the option for a built-in printer. I personally think separate printers are on the way out, however Seitron has informed me that close to 50% of customers still prefer a physical printer. There you have it. So, if you like to have instant print results onsite, the built-in printer is an attractive option. It’s a small addition to the top of the analyzer and I must admit that it’s very convenient. So if that appeals to you, it’s another standout feature.
The last area to look at is the software. There’s internal storage in the Novo but it also links via bluetooth to a really great reporting app. More or less you’re getting datalogging and reporting software for free when you buy one of these. Track combustion readings over time, stream them to the app, and then you can annotate and organize everything for storage and records or for emailing and printing. It’s all super easy to run and even though the word “intuitive” is probably overused in marketing material, I personally found the app to be just that. Easy to understand and generates great looking professional reports that will make an impact on your customers. Whether we care or not, image matters to our customers and having a Novo makes you look like the technician from the future. Great stuff.
That’s about it for the key features on this thing. I must say I’m overall very impressed with this offering compared to comparable units and recommend it totally. The price is right and the technology and performance are top notch. Before we finish up, let’s compare the Novo to a few other direct competitors.
Seitron Novo Comparison:
The two most obvious and direct competitors for the Novo are the Bacharach PCA 400 and the Testo 300. The feature that they have most in common in the ability to custom configure the sensors when you order. Beyond that the similarities more or less end. I’m going to give it to you straight: I don’t see why you would pick either of those two over the Novo.
Look, Bacharach and Testo both make good products and if you use one of their analyzers it’s not like it will do a bad job. For the reasons I mentioned earlier, most name brand combustion analyzers are more than competent for the task. However, past basic performance I look for the features that really stand out in terms of the impression they make for a customer or what makes your job easier. Novo has both of these things to a higher degree than the competitors in my opinion.
First off, the Novo just looks better. Maybe it shouldn’t matter, but it does, and customers are impressed by it. Second, I think the reporting app and software are superior. And finally, The probe block connection and the lack of inline water trap add far too much convenience to pass up.
Of the three choices in this class, I prefer Novo.
Current versions of Novo include:
Seitron Novo 1 Combustion Analyzer - O2, CO, and CO2 sensors
Seitron Novo 1P Combustion Analyzer - O2, CO, and CO2 sensors, plus printer
Seitron Novo 3 Combustion Analyzer - O2, CO, CO2, NO/NOx sensors
Seitron Novo 4N Combustion Analyzer - O2, CO, CO2, NO/NOx, NO2, Total NOx sensors
Seitron Novo 4N-P Combustion Analyzer- O2, CO, CO2, NO/NOx, NO2, Total NOx sensors, plus printer
Seitron Novo 4S Combustion Analyzer - O2. CO, NO, and SO2 sensors
Seitron Novo 4S-P Combustion Analyzer - O2. CO, NO, and SO2 sensors, plus printer
I think you’ve probably picked this up by now, but I really think Seitron Americas knocked it out of the park with this analyzer. If you are in the commercial field for combustion I honestly think you can’t do much better than the Novo on the current market. It’s my primary recommendation for a combustion analyzer in this class.