Mechanical contractor looking at measurements on tablet while tuning industrial boiler with the PCA 400 Combustion & Emissions Analyzer.

Top 10 Features Your New Combustion Analyzer Should Have

In Articlesby Carey HollmanLeave a Comment

Are you considering purchasing a new combustion analyzer? Here’s what to look for and how to get the most out of it.

Your Guide to Buying a New Combustion Analyzer

Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or a relative newcomer to the industry, there are several important factors that you take into account when buying a combustion analyzer:

  • Accuracy
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Ease of Use
  • Maintenance
  • Safety

And if you’re considering a new combustion analyzer, you are probably wondering, how can you make your job more efficient without compromising on any of the above factors. Even more, how can you reduce the possibility of human error from the beginning to the end of the service process?

The answer? New technological advancements in combustion analyzers make it possible. Advances such as documentation and reporting directly from the analyzer and mobile app, along with the ability to perform firmware upgrades at no cost, help in greatly reducing error and cost of ownership.

With this in mind, here’s a list of the top 10 features your new combustion analyzer should have.

What to Look For in a New Combustion Analyzer

1) Intuitive User Interface

Gone are the days of having to fumble around with a manual or an instrument that made no sense… Now you can simply pick up a combustion analyzer and begin using it, much like how you use your phone or computer.

Tailor-made combustion analyzers, designed using technology to work the way you think, will result in you spending much less time deciphering a lengthy instruction manual.

2) Interchangeable Batteries

You may be used to a combustion analyzer that uses either lithium-ion or disposable batteries. One or the other, or so it was. But, have you ever considered an analyzer that uses both?

Now, a design out of America—namely, our PCA 400—indeed uses both.

In fact, “Now you don’t have to worry about batteries dying in the field, because you can simply swap out one or the other,” says Rudy Leatherman, training manager for HBB Pro Sales group.

“A lithium-ion battery will provide about 12 hours of operation. If the battery runs-out and you don’t have time to charge it, you can swap the battery out promptly with 4 × AA batteries. This is a nice feature to have,” he adds.

3) Ability to add NO, NO2 and SO2 Sensors

In addition to an intuitive interface and interchangeable batteries, your new instrument should be able to grow with you. That is, when changes arise in the industry, the versatility of your new combustion analyzer should allow you to adjust and add features (e.g., NOX and SO2 sensors) instead of having to replace your instrument.

For example, the new combustion analyzers today are expandable so that you can start with the basics, such as oxygen and carbon monoxide sensors, but then also have the ability to add other sensors in the field when necessary.

4) Bluetooth® Communications

Coming in at number four on the list is Bluetooth communications. You’ll certainly want a new combustion analyzer with Bluetooth.

Just picture how HVAC life is without this technology: You tune boilers by pulling a flue gas sample from the stack. And in the case of a rear breach boiler, hose extensions are available, but it takes a long time to pull the flue gas sample from the breach of the boiler to where the burner is being set-up.

However, with a combustion analyzer with Bluetooth, this no longer has to be the case. To illustrate, now, with the standard hose length, you transmit test results to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device via Bluetooth and get continuous read outs live. Not to mention, because your Bluetooth-enabled analyzer is connected to an app, you get results fast, and you can analyze and document your report from a smart phone.

5) Sensor Advancements

Additionally, you should consider sensor advancements. For instance, to prevent cross-sensitivity and provide more accurate test results with the CO sensor, a filter removes NOx and the sensors are hydrogen compensated to provide flue gas samples with more accurate CO readings. Oxygen sensor technology has also advanced to where sensor life is expected to be up to 5-7 years.

6) Integrated Hose and Probe Connections

Did you also know, with the latest technology in combustion analyzers, the hose and probe connection is now a one-click connection?

Kevin Jackson, a lead boiler mechanic for the United States Marine Corp at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, mentions that, “Newer analyzers have integrated the hose and the probe and the actual analyzer. The cord is now integrated and acts as one big modular plug. The fact that they design them this way is great, because it makes my life a lot simpler.”

7) Integrated Magnetic Boot

Furthermore, new analyzer designs come with integrated magnets, eliminating the need to buy optional magnetic boots or cover accessories for the analyzers. This way, you can attach the analyzers to the back of the boiler, while being hands free to conduct the test.

8) Touch Screen

Let’s not forget the luxury of the touch screen on a new combustion analyzer, especially the fact that this touch screen can be large enough for you to read distances of at least 4 feet. Such industrial touch screens also allow for easily tailored preferences for viewing customer data. This feature is a convenient extension of the analyzer’s intuitive characteristics.

9) Data-logging

Subsequently, you can capture data and view the results more quickly now, thanks to today’s modern combustion analyzers that feature more intuitive data logging features. Not to mention, you can view such results in a variety of ways and save it for future planned maintenance work for the customer.

Jackson stands behind the latest data-logging features as a professional stroke of genius. While taking samples, he states that the analyzer logs the information electronically.

“When I get back to the shop later, I can actually download this data. And once I put it into my computer, I can manipulate it as a graph for a customer. Once these logs are created, they can then be stored in a file for future reference, so I will know the maintenance history of every boiler and can schedule for the type of maintenance needed.”

With easy-to-interpret data at your disposal, you can better inform your customer of the work you are doing for them.

10) Calibrations Performed within Analyzer

And last but not least, the newest combustion analyzers virtually do your calibrations for you. By transferring all sensor information using Near Field Communication (NFC), you are ensured delivery of accurate results.

With NFC, you simply tap the new sensor to the combustion analyzer, and the analyzer provides the calibration code and type of sensor. It also identifies which position you should be placing the sensor within the analyzer, all while giving the user a calibration confirmation message.

That concludes the top 10 features your new combustion analyzer should have.

Consider a New Combustion Analyzer Now to Provide Best Quality Service

At the end of the day, remember: The quality of your work says so much about you and your business. Just as much as you stand behind the work you do, the instruments you use should stand behind you. The analyzer you use should be fast, accurate, reliable, and durable.

If you think that your current combustion analyzer falls short in these areas, it’s time to consider a newer instrument that will provide you the advancements necessary to maintain a business in these changing times.

Most importantly, if you’re looking for a new combustion analyzer that incorporates these 10 best features and more, we recommend our PCA 400 handheld combustion and emissions analyzer, which offers everything you and your team need to commission, tune, maintain, and certify any boiler.

The PCA 400 made the list for the Top 100 New Products of 2018 by Construction Equipment Magazine. This award program is considered the “longest-running awards program of its kind in the industry,” and the magazine’s editors make their award selections based on four criteria.

So, not only does the PCA 400 have the top 10 features for a new combustion analyzer, it also has been listed as one of the best products in the equipment market. When you choose the PCA 400, you’ll see the measurable difference.

For further help in making your final selection for a new combustion analyzer, check out our handy Combustion Product Reference Guide

Get Fast, Easy & Accurate Emissions Testing With the PCA 400

Whether it's boiler combustion or emissions testing of your natural gas, stationary genset or mobile fleet vehicles, Bacharach’s PCA® 400 Combustion & Emissions Analyzer makes monitoring your emissions fast, easy and accurate.

Learn more about the PCA 400

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