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As the title states, I'm looking to buy a decent A/C recovery system. Mainly for R134, but if it could do R12 as well, that would be great. Currently I just make the refrigerant go away when I have to work on a system (if it hasn't leaked out) but I am starting to do a little A/C work on the side so I figure I should probably break down and get a recovery system.

What brands/models are a good, simple, reasonably portable unit? I know enough about A/C systems to get by quite well, but I have never actually seen, let alone used, a recovery system.
 

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Get a small portable one. You work on ag equipment a small one is almost needed. I used mine a lot when I was making a living fixing equipment. I still use it often. See if I can find a link to give you an idea. Then just buy a fairly high volume vacum pump if don't have one already. My pump from harbor freight. Been as good as any robinair or anything else I have used. You will need a couple recovery tanks also. They can cost as much as the recovery unit.
The link below would be the type of system I would suggest.

https://www.amazon.com/Mastercool-69110-Automotive-Recovery-System/dp/B005UZ2B2A

The big automated ones are nice but not very portable and very expensive. They will do very little to nothing more for you in the long run. Just have more things to break down. Carry my setup in my service truck year around. The bouncing around has never hurt it and it all fits in one side compartment. I would get an inline filter also.
 

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Recovery is just that. It allows you to recover the refrigerant. Recycle allows the refrigerant to be passed thru filters and used again for MVAC only in any vehicle. If You can not reuse refrigerant on a HVAC sysstem due to the chance that the refrigerant was damaged by the electrical motor in a compressor. Reclaimation means the refrigerant is processed and certified to be "like new" and reused anywhere.

In a HVAC system, you may recover refrigerant and reuse it if you put it in the system owned by the smae owner. IE: if my home's refrigerant is recovered, I can use the same refrigerant in my rental house.
 

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I have a large Snap On system, more of a wheeled box, with a large tank for the refrigerant underneath, and a built in vacumn system ...I use it once in a while, but the cost of the refrigerant lost is still quite a bit less than the system itself.. it has a dryer and condenser built in as well, and as far as I know it only has ends to do 134
 

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I have used small compressors from fridges to reclaim refrigerant using the older Freon bottles ( 30 lb ) . I put the tank in a five gallon pail of really cold water and then just hook a hose up to the suction side of the compressor and let a small amount of refrig out to purge the pump and then hook up a proper charging hose up to the tank and make shure the tap is open and plug in the pump and vacuum out the Freon watching that the tank doesn't get too full . A gauge in the high pressure side would probably be a good idea but have never needed it . You have to use the same pump for the refrigerant as what it was made for ( ie use a r-12 or 22 pump for this Freon and a 134a pump for that as the oils are not compatible ) . I had made a recycling rig years ago for freon12 using an old fridge pump and a small cooling coil and a 30lb propane tank which worked well but not much call for that one now and it was built on a cart so was kind of hard to use on a combine .
 

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I don't know if it is really worth it?
134a is a thing of the past in autos.
Ya know for all the fear mongering about these non cfc replacements they work pretty darn well.
And that's all it is, fear mongering.
I have one old IH tractor running on redtek for a dozen years with no compressor failure.
 

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Propane or redtek(70/30)(propane/butane) will carry any reefer oil and should be safe. Just don't put r134a in an old r12 system or true r12(hard to find anyways) without an oil change as they won't carry the oil hence blown compressors. Hydrocarbons are pretty safe and they cool better generally. Whole thing was a scam anyways and if someone is worry about fire ask firefighters how any refrigerant with atomized oil mixed with it burns whether it is flammable or not. Besides propane has an odor if the evaporator leaks.
 

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Not to mention hydrocarbons are way less fussy about moisture and way cheaper. In canada anyway it is legal.



Might not be in the states though, also should have a good scale if you are going to be selling actual r134.
 

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If you have some empty bottles you can vac them out and use them to recover...but for reuse you would have to make yourself a makeshift system with a good changeblel drier to run it through to dry it out and make sure it is evaporated and clean and not to mix oils.
 

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Redteck has this nice pine smell - kind of like the little pine tree air freshners . So if you smoke and have trd teck in the system and you start smelling pine DON'T light up .
 

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Most refrigerants if they meet a flame make phosgene gas...which is a nerve gas. Therefore not a good idea to smoke around any refrigeration anyways...


I still keep a bottle of r134a around and havent studied up on the latest yf123 or whatever the **** it is...but years ago I got ticked off when a bottle of redtek was just as much or more than r134a. I knew propane would carry all the oils and started using it in my old systems and adapted a 20 pounder to play around with. In most systems it cools nice, and the pressures are lower than 134. However some systems it is a bit too cold and will freeze up due to not quite evaporating in the right place in the system. Im pretty sure thats why they blend butane in to make the hydrocarbons more compatible with a wide variety of system designs.


The number one problem with putting r134a into old r12 systems was blown compressors as r134 wont carry the r12 oil. The hydrocarbon refrigerants got rid of all those problems and the nice thing is it doesn't make acid when combined with water vapour like r12 and r134. However that being said I still think r12 was a much superior refrigerant to anything invented since.


One other thing is the hydrocarbons are less likely to leak out of an old r12 system as the molecules are larger than r134 or the newer refrigerants. After r12 they started putting special lining in the lines for 134 as it has a small molecule and much more likely to leak out then r12 or hydrocarbon. Redtek was a good solution to alot of the shortcomings of r134a.


I don't know whats next...we are paying carbon tax and I have also heard of carbon dioxide systems with astronomicaly high pressures and therefore even more horsepower robbery, and leak potential...efficiency went out the window years ago.
 

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On a side note the ozone hole fluctuates naturally as the solar cycles...the politicains are just as easily misled by scientific garble as anyone else...(how many are refrigerant experts). You guys should have heard the crap the instructors were trying to peddle back in the 90s about cfcs and hcfcs. Even they were shaking their heads.



It does bear a resemblance to the climate change thing...probly some scientific group needed some money and it sounded good and here we are...


I mean i am no expert either however try to be informed enough to be a sceptic...
 

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Now that I got curious again, I guess it looks like r11 got phazed out along with r12 back in the early 90's, possibly brazil and one place in china still possibly make one or the other. The last r22 system was supposedly sold in 2011. yf123 is currently 70.00 a pound, 700.00 for a ten pound with new plants in louisiana and texas, and one more but I don't know where. It has similar pressures at similar temperatures to 134 and is only slightly flammable. (Ill have to get a chart)


r134 is officially over in 2020 in automotive but I think 2025 for medium and heavy, its been over in the eu since 2017.


It carries pag same as 134 to my understanding, I would imagine you can buy fittings and hoses and stuff but probly won't check on any of that till towards spring.


I forgot the GWP number already but thats why r134a is being phased out...(GWP=global warming potential.)
 
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