Quick a/c recharge

Have any of you fellows used the quick a/c recharge that has the quick connect and gauge made onto the bottle?
Heard anything good, bad or indifferent about them?

I’ve used them a few times in a pinch and I’m personally not fond of them. My preference is for a full gauge set so I know what the system static pressure is and what both high and low side pressures are when the system is in operation.

A local farm and ranch store I deal with has R-134 today for 4 dollars a can. With a decent set of gauges and if one messes around with A/C now and then this can be more cost effective than those 30-40 dollar single can recharges and the full gauge set also lets you know what’s going on with the high side.

If you decide to wade in and buy a full set of gauges I will strongly urge that you avoid like the Bubonic Plague the gauge brand sold in some parts houses under the Interdynamics name.
I cannot stress enough (from experience) what utter and total junk those things are; and horribly dangerous to boot. There oughta be a law… :frowning:

I have used them a few times but they can be dangerous to use if you are not familiar with AC systems. I once saw a guy blow the end out the can because he hooked it up and let it remain in the “fill” position. It made a big bang and I told the guy to take his vehicle to an AC shop. I just hope he did.

@ok4450 you are absolutely right about the Interdynamics brand. Not only are they crap, AZ will not stand behind them because they know they are crap. A “real” set is not that much more expensive.

Yes, I recently used the cheap charge bottle devices. It worked to recharge a slightly down system. Got the AC working again, for a while.

The problem that cropped up later took gauges to diagnose. Oddly enough, the AC relay that drives the compressor clutch from the climate control computer was failing. Under high load, hot conditions, the relay would drop out, cool and re-engage. The high-side gauge showed the compressor disengaging before the sensor was supposed to command it. Swapping relays fixed it.

No quickie-refill low pressure gauge would have caught that.

I’ve paid a competent shop with all the instruments $40 or so for a recharge. They’ll give you a checkup at the same time.

I’ve found the gauge on the can to be worthless for indicating full charge. With the AC blower on HIGH, I fill until the suction line to the compressor goes cold. Not great technique, but it’s worked for me a few times.

I tend to think those little cans are good in a pinch to get temporary A/C until you can get it fixed for real. I just replaced the accumulator in my '05 Grand Marquis and, with a buddy’s help (who is a certified HVAC tech), I helped with and observed the proper method of recharging an A/C system. With the right equipment it’s really not that difficult, and assures that it gets done right the first time.

If the accumulator gets cold and sweats a bit you know that you’re in the somewhat acceptable range anyway. How long it stays that way depends upon the severity of any leaks.

A can of refrigerant on a short charging hose is far safer than a set of inferior gauges. Full gauge set or can on a charge hose; wear gloves and glasses.

I’ve seen a few refrigerant cans explode due to mistakes by the person servicing the system and those people were long time A/C pros. Sometimes the mind wanders a bit and that’s when the accidents happen. Luckily, no one suffered any injuries although they did disappear in a huge cloud of steam after a loud boom.
That’s the reason for the glasses and gloves; to prevent frostbite and permanent blindness.

If the accumulator gets cold and sweats a bit you know that you're in the somewhat acceptable range anyway.

I’d add that many cars don’t have an accumulator on the low-pressure side, but rather a receiver/drier on the high-pressure side which doesn’t get cold.

Sans accumulator, the suction hose at the firewall should feel cold and sweat just like an accumulator would.

If this is a newer model, be very careful not to over-charge the system. Newer cars are very sensitive to this, and overcharging can result in the owner having to replace most of the AC system to ever get it working reliably again. The recommended method is usually to evacuate the entire system, then fill with the right amount of fresh refrigerant.

@GeorgeSanJose: Agreed. Some of the newer cars take so little refrigerant that just a few extra seconds with a can attached can overcharge them significantly. And the el-cheapo ‘gauge’ on the quick charge cans are useless to tell you this.

not a good thing said about the quick charge.
Never used one so I thought I would ask.

I’m not saying those things are not feasible and won’t work; only that my preference would be a gauge set so that I’d know what’s going on with the high side.

It might be worth a shot if you’re reasonably sure there are no major leaks and to reiterate; gloves and glasses.

I’m proficient with A/C and not many years ago while looking at a home central unit for someone I got careless for a few seconds. It was 100+ degrees, humid as a sauna, and I was sweating like a pig so the hurry up and get this misery over thing took over.

An inadvertent blast of refrigerant (1-2 seconds) caught the index finger on my right hand and it throbbed for several days afterwards. It also apparently killed some nerve endings as the end of that finger has never felt right since.