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From: (George Goble)
Subject: Re: R134a vs R12
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Purdue University Engineering Computer Network
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 22:39:39 GMT
Lines: 155

In article <> (Mark Shaw) writes:

>In article, writes:
>|> I just received this message from someone I don't know.  Please verify this
>|> news if you could.
>|> >Subject: Freon replacements
>|> >
>|> >The following is information regarding a drop-in replacement for Freon,
>|> >as well as it's successor HC-134a.
>|> >
>|> >..............lengthy hype for HC-12a from OZ Technology deleted.................
>|> Do you know it's true or not?
>Whether the claims for HC-12a are true or not, the caution that must be
>applied to such products was clearly highlighted here in Phoenix about
>a month ago.  Someone had topped off their A/C system with one of these
>substitutes (OZ-12, as I recall) and then had a serious compressor 
>problem.  Whether the compressor problem was the fault of the drop-in
>substitute was not the issue; but what this person found out was that
>nobody wanted to work on the system.  The reason was quite simple (and

Hydrocarbon refrigerants lubricate/carry oil very well.. so one should
expect good compressor life from them.. unless it was overcharged
or something else happened..

HC-12a is more or less just OZ-12 (all hydrocarbons) with a little oil
thrown in .. so they can claim to be a substitute to OZ-12 instead
of R-12 try to thwart the EPA "ban".  It will be interestering to
see what happens.

All the blends I know of, will work fine in (R-12) cars.. and will
intermix fine.  They must be kept dry (unless it is pure hydrocarbons)
or the refrigerant will break down into acids.. Also, they (unless pure
hydrocarbons) must be kept out of R-134a systems since the PAG oil
will be destroyed..

>In order to work on any A/C system its contents must be drawn out into
>tanks for processing by freon recycling firms.  These firms will reject
>tanks containing mixtures contaminanted by substances which they cannot
>separate out.  Otherwise they cannot resell the reclaimed freon back to
>the industry.
>Since tanks turned in for reclaim may be rejected, some A/C shops here
>are even buying gas analysis equipment to test your system for unwanted
>gases, BOTH they work on it.  If your system is contaminated, you're
>basically on your own to find someone who will have the bad mixture
>properly disposed of and then cleanse out your system.  Some quotes
>for this were close to $1000 for repairs.  Some savings, huh? 

This is hype from the auto-industry.. to increase service costs
and new car sales when you need A/C work... Just like recent Popular
Mechanics' articles of "50,000 grenades on wheels" (refering to OZ-12)
in cars..  There have been no reported safety problems from that..
What about the tire-inflator kits?. They may have propane/butane and
mix with AIR in the tire (== a bomb).. but nobody bitches about
those.. since they don't impact the pocketbook of Detroit like 
an R-12 substitute does.. Having an R-12 subsititute would allow
150 million vehicles to remain in use until they wear out naturally
instead of being "forced" out early by making people sweat.

Also, those magazines like Popular Mechanics, Car and Driver, etc
HAVE to print what the auto industry wants.. which means trying
to get rid of R-12 substitutes, and promote new car sales.. Look
where their advertizing money comes from?  If any one of those magazines
ran anything favorable about any R-12 substitute, you can bet
that ALL of the automakers, would pull all their ads out.. for
months or more..which would mean economic suicide for the publication.
Those with the gold make the rules.

Almost no auto Air Shops "send it back" to reclaim centers... I personally
know several EPA approved "reclaim" centers (they check purity with
gas chromatographs).. and they seem to get almost nothing back...
People just use it or vent it illegally it seems.. Almost all auto
air shops "recycle" R-12 (suck it into a tank), and circulate it
through a drier/filter.. and stick it in the next guy's car.. They
do not send it to a reclaimer.. and other than the simple "dry-eye"
moisture indicator on their recycler, they have no means of checking
purity.. Most service techs (about 12 out of 12 in Indiana when I did
a survey), had "wet" dry eyes in their recyclers... many of them did
not even know what the "driers" were on their recyclers.. and never
changed them...

Dytel (red leak indicator) fouls the dry-eyes.. so does dirty they end up with NO indication of moisture
levels.  So they put wet/dirty  R-12 back in your car.. Works
fine for a few months.. then the R-12 hydrolyzes and breaks down
into acids (HCl & HF) which eat out your system.. causing leaks
and "sludge" plug ups..  This usually takes a few months.. so
the guy who did it is long off his 3mo warranty..  Now he gets
you back again in 6mo to year for "more service".. makes him
more money and trashes systems out faster over the long haug..
leading to... "its time to trade to a new car!"

There is now a moisture/acid analyzer "kit" on the market
called "Checkmate" which will test for moisture/acid
(10ppm by wt and 1ppm by weight) to ARI 700 specs in the field.. 
like taking a "blood" test.. I can't imagine very many auto
mechanics would want to "blow" $10 or more of testing supplies
on a car with a few oz of R-12 left in it..A reclaimer "lab"
test for ARI-700 purity now runs about $150, which check moisture,
acids, noncondensables (air), other refrigerants, oils, boiling/
bubble point, chlorides, etc..

One reclaimer I know, can separate out about any mix of refrigerants
and purify them.. National Refrigerants...

If the air shops returned their used R-12 to reclaim centers
(where it is returned to ARI standard 700 purity), cars would
be in far better shape.... but the air shops would have to 
"buy back" the reclaimed R-12..(now about 80% the price of virgin
R-12) instead of getting it "free".  They sometimes bill the car the
remove it from as well..(hazardous waste disposal)..then just
stick the dirty R-12 into the next car (charge them new R-12 prices).. situation for everybody but the consumer..

>One misconception that is common is that after 1994 there will be no
>freon available forever.  After the end of 1994 there is supposed to
>be no more MANUFACTURE of new freon sources.  The existing supply
>can continue to circulate through the recycle chain until it is
>either exhausted or too costly to reclaim.  The figures I remember
>from Dupont seemed to show that the majority of CFC products were
>used in the solvent/cleaning processes and not in auto A/C.  The numbers
>I recall for annual production were several times what could be held 
>by ALL the cars in the world.  Stopping CFC's for solvent/cleaning
>use was the major effect.

Those were "easy" to switch.. foam blowing was a major source also.
Those are all "gone".. Most of the ODU's from R-11 and R-113 have
been "converted" into R-12 production.. When that goes, there
is nothing left (CFCs).

In refrigeration/Aircond sector... leaking R-12 from cars is the
major source of CFC loss.. when most cars come in for service,
the R-12 is mostly or already gone.. the average car loses 1/2
lb or more of R-12/year (over 4 years old).. not much to recycle.

>My advice to anyone thinking about any substitute for R-12 or R134a
>is to avoid them unless you plan to do ALL the maintenance on your
>A/C system and never plan to sell the car with the system installed.
>Otherwise you may be in for some expensive repairs or buyer claims
>down the road.  And when the supply of R-12 is gone, then consider your
>options, which current data seems to indicate can be a simple R134a
>retro-fit.  Information on this from SAE papers was posted earlier.

Get an R-134a "retrofit".. have that fail in a few months.. and then
"trade up" to a new R-134a car... along with 100 million others..
It will stimulate the economy and provide lots of jobs in Detroit.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: R-12 Contamination
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 94 06:19:36 GMT
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.
Lines: 82 (Mark Shaw) writes:

>Interesting commentary in July issue of "Ward's Auto World" by Simon
>Oulouhojian, president of MACS (Mobile Air Conditioning Society).  The
>thrust of it was the growing concern in the A/C repair industry about
>R-12 being contaminated by the wrong refrigerant by some form of

Hmm, my informal survey of the shops around this part of atlanta
awhile back showed an amazing correlation between the level of
concern and the level of exposure to MACS propaganda.  Hmm.

>A low cost chemical analysis equipment is in the works to identify
>contaminated systems, which will then not be serviced by anyone
>who intends to recycle R-12.  Reports indicate a lot of substances
>from ammonia, alcohol, R-22 and hydrocarbon mixtures are being found.

Could it be that they're finding stuff just because they're just
now starting to look?  Could it be just like looking down one day
and actually seeing dirt?  Considering that the same tanker trucks
were used pretty much interchangeably for propane, ammonia, other
light hydrocarbons and refrigerants until about 1987 or thereabouts,
it is no surprise that such things are showing up in freon.  It is
even less surprising when one considers that many technicians used
the same service tank (used to transfer freon from bulk cylinders
to the work site) for all sorts of refrigerants.  What MACS doesn't
do, because they can't, is demonstrate any harm beyond a vague 
scare statement such as:

>The MACS concern is that this cross-contaminations will deplete the
>supply of available R-12 at a faster rate than would normally occur
>via leakage alone.   

Rubbish.  Most contamination other than water is of no consequence 
and in any event, can and is removed by the remanufacturing stations.
A mix of R-12 and OZ-12 is functionally indistinguishable from 
R-12.  Ditto a mixture of R-12 and R-406a (ex ghg-12).  By functionally
indistinguishable I mean that it provides the same cooling capacity,
it is identically compatable with the oils and materials involved and
it has no effect on component life.  Refrigeration is NOT a chemical
process and does NOT require a chemically pure refrigerant.

>A similar story has been reported in local papers, but many people
>still insist on using a cheap substitute to recharge a leaking system
>and then find that nobody will repair it when a system failure occurs.

Wrongo!  Assuming the driver had a shop install the substitute, 
that shop will obviously continue servicing it.  And if that shop
goes out of business, the owner can simply contact the mfr of the
refrigerant (from the tag attached to the system by the previous
tech) and find out what other shops use it.  Or he can simply 
vent the stuff in the privacy of his own home and then have it
refilled at any shop.

>And for those who believe that the whole R-12 to R-134a is a secret
>conspiracy to soak the public for money with changeovers -- using a
>substitute that may end up contaminating the R-12 supply base just
>plays right into their hands!

Save it, Mark.  Shilling for MACS is very unbecomming.  What is happening
here is that MACS has lost in its campaign to gain a practical
monopoly for its member service shops via prostitution of the political
system, realizes that, and is now trying to accomplish their goals 
through FUD.  Fair enough.  While I hold them in contempt for trying
to use the EPA to gain their monopoly, anyone is free to say what they
want and to a great extent, anyone who believes them will pay an
appropriate financial penalty for being stupid and/or gullible.  But
what I can't figure out is this.  Why are you, Mark, shilling for them?
Do you think you're doing anyone a service by propagating MACS' FUD?
By making it harder to get cheap substitutes accepted?  Or are you
just trying to look important here on the net?  I'm really 
interested in knowing.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: R-406a availability
Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 94 22:15:50 GMT
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.
Lines: 46

ucistdg@st.unocal.COM (Tom Graham) writes:

>YESSS !!!  Don't let this thread die - where and when will/is R-406a
>available ???

R-406a is available now from Monroe Airtech in Indianapolis, IA
800 424 3836.  I'm not sure what the current price is but I know
it is competative with R-12.  It should get cheaper as they advance
from pilot plant production.

Anyone can buy the stuff right now.  I'm not sure but I believe
the impending rules changes in November will affect R-406a along
with all other refrigerants.  I suggest you place your orders now.
Monroe ships UPS.

Folks, We had a major role in turning this situation around.  To be 
sure, the work by George and the folks at Monroe Airtech did the 
bulk of the work, as did getting the industry lackys from the Bush
admin out of EPA (if there is even a single flicker of light in this
current administration, this is it) but Usenetters played a critical
role.  I KNOW that copies of the sample edition of my PE magazine
were handed out to all members of congress.  And I know that 
articles from this and other* groups were printed out
and distributed both within EPA and to congress.  My sources confirm
that our arguments were carefully read and considered in the process
of reversing the Bush administration (ne, MACS') 's ban on alternatives.
Ours was the most pervasive information not produced by one of the 
interested parties avaliable to them.  Everyone involved reach around
and pat yourselves on the back for a job well done.  And the couple
of MACS shills who occasionally slither out of the ooze to regurgigate
the party line, well, I certainly hope you have a hot and expensive

I think this is a perfect example of how to use the net to effect
political change.  There were no mail bombings that I know of, no
activists screaming at the top of their lungs.  Just a number of
people relentlessly presenting the facts and countering the 
propaganda.  Grassroots politics at its finest.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: R-406a availability
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 94 02:40:11 GMT
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.
Lines: 50 (Wes Fujii) writes:

>John De Armond ( wrote:

>: I'm not sure but I believe
>: the impending rules changes in November will affect R-406a along
>: with all other refrigerants.  

>You mean that they are going to allow R-406a as an acceptable mobile
>air conditioning substitute?  (Great!  Now that I've stockpiled 60 
>pounds of R-12)  That's wonderful news, especially if they approve the
>leak-stopping type, too!

Uh, no.  The rules change that puts ALL refrigerants under the green
card rules.  See, this little charade with banning blowoff cans while
permitting larger quantity sales, and exempting the lower ODP class
refrigerants from controls was just a diversion, a tactic designed to
get people used to having the camel's nose under the tent.  The whole
camel's fixing to stroll in.  The real goal of the industry, to create a
legal monopoly enforced by licensing like Drs and morticians and barbers
have, is about to happen.  In the fall, ALL refrigerants will require a
green card to buy.  Can't have any DYIers fixing their own home ACs, now
can we?  Not when some licensed shop will do it for hundreds or
thousands more.  Wholesalers have been trying to enforce the 
monopoly for years by requiring business license numbers, sales tax
numbers and other obstructions as a condition of sale.  The free
market guaranteed that this monopoly would have holes in it so 
the trade groups turned to the oldest monopoly of all - the 

This brings up some interesting questions.  Is propane a refrigerant
or a fuel?  Butane?  Isobutane?  All have assigned R- numbers
are all are good refrigerants.  Are we gonna have to have a green
card to fill up our grill tanks?

It gets worse.  It will become illegal to discharge ANY refrigerant
to the atmosphere regardless of its ODP.  That means that once
you pass some propane through your AC, it must be captured and
recycled.  If the rules as written are enforced, one must inventory
and be prepared to account for every pound of said "refrigerant".

That aching in your ass is your wallet throbbing.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: R-12 Contamination
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 94 21:56:24 GMT
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.
Lines: 210 (Mark Shaw) writes:

Rearranging things a bit.

>1) I don't work for the A/C industry.
>2) I don't work for MACS.
>3) I don't sell A/C products.
>4) I don't receive money from special interests.
>5) I don't work for the government.

Which means you have no first-hand knowledge or experience in this topic
and therefore are ignorant of the issues beyond what you read.  As
I rather rapidly tire of arguing with textbook experts, I'll make this
one short.  


>You, on the other hand....

>1) Operate your own magazine that you promote on the net.
>2) Claim to have a hand in developing a substitute for R12.
>3) Claim to have a hand in getting the substitute approved.
>4) Claim to be an automotive consultant/expert on A/C.

In other words, I'm an expert on the subject AND I have a few decades of
experience in the field.  Yours is the oldest fraud in the book - 
trying to dismiss the experts because you claim they have some unidentified
ax to grind and/or are being so evil as to actually earn money.

I simply present the facts and my opinions and let everyone choose
for themselves.  But I'll give you a little hint.  You and your
buddies at MACS are losing.

My friend called me on the phone last night to alert me to an article
in the Wall Street Journal which describes yet ANOTHER substitute 
for AUTOMOTIVE use which has gotten preliminary EPA approval, with
official approval pending in a few weeks.

>> Rubbish.  Most contamination other than water is of no consequence 
>> and in any event, can and is removed by the remanufacturing stations.
>> A mix of R-12 and OZ-12 is functionally indistinguishable from 
>> R-12.  Ditto a mixture of R-12 and R-406a (ex ghg-12).  By functionally
>> indistinguishable I mean that it provides the same cooling capacity,
>> it is identically compatable with the oils and materials involved and
>> it has no effect on component life.  Refrigeration is NOT a chemical
>> process and does NOT require a chemically pure refrigerant.

>Refrigeration is not be a chemical process, but the standard to which
>the R-12 must be recycled locally at the repair shops; or reclaimed by
>processing houses must meet SAE 1991 (you do have a 1994 copy of the SAE
>Handbook ?).  In that standard the level of purity is:

>"The contaminants in this recycled refrigerant 12 shall be limited to
>moisture, refrigerant oil, and noncondensable gases, which shall not
>exceed the following level:
>    3.1 Moisture - 15 ppm by weight
>    3.2 Refrigerant Oil - 4000 ppm by weight
>    3.3 Noncondensable Gases (Air) - 330 ppm by weight. "

>Maybe my math is a little rusty, but 1 lb of any other component in
>a 30 lb recycle tank is a far cry higher than 330 ppm.   

Hate to tell you this but other refrigerants are NOT noncondensables.
Noncondensables are air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon and other
(nearly) permanent gases that can find their way into the refrigerant.
Overwhelmingly either air (from systems that have leaked) or nitrogen
(used for leak checking systems).  Noncondensables are the EASIEST
of the contaminants to remove; indeed they can be removed right in the
recycling rig BECAUSE they will not condense.  I've posted a procedure
for doing just that in this forum in the past.  The process of distillation,
which removes the moisture and oil also removes noncondensables.

>Of course you could always just sell the reclaimed freon without
>warranting that it meets SAE 1991, which means you might as well
>leave in 4000 ppm moisture, fingernail clippings or whatever.

I see.  So recycled freon must either be pristine or else it contains
fingernail clippings, eh?  Must be nice living a life that is that 
black and white.

The reality is that "virgin" freon has never been particularly pure
for the simple reason that there is no need.  One can determine this
several ways.  One way is to carefully measure the pressure and temperature
of a tank of freon.  Yes, sportsfans, you need something more precise
than the gauges on a service manifold.  The variation in pressure 
between what the enthalpy chart calls for and what you measure is an
indication of contamination, typically from other refrigerants.  Another
method is to cut open a refrigerant can from which the refrigerant has
been withdrawn in the gaseous phase.  The residue left in the bottom of
the can is the non-volatile contamination.  Try it sometime.  There
is almost always some residue.  

Beyond that, the reality is almost none of the shops are following the
SAE/EPA standard because they regard it as silly.  This is the problem
with standards written by special interests (the SAE committee is almost
100% populated by MACS members as you would have known had you read my
post listing the names and affiliations.) to achieve political rather
than technical goals is they are ignored.  More reputable shops will
pump the recovered refrigerant through the recycling rig's dryer and
will remove non-condensables; others simply store the stuff and charge
it back into the next car that needs it.  Don't believe me?  Check
"Radiator World" magazine for the last couple of years.  Despite the
name, "Radiator World" is a major trade magazine dealing with mobile air
conditioning and is probably the largest non-MACS-aligned publication in
the market.  They've been a bit more formal in surveying service shops.
They find the same thing I have.

>Also, granted the reclaim houses could somehow extract the non-allowed
>components (known as contaminants to the industry) at an elevated cost
>to the end consumer.  The local repair shops cannot afford to do this
>at all.

Local repair shops are not ALLOWED to reprocess their own refrigerant
if they obey the law.   And the fractional distillation used by 
licensed reprocessing houses DOES separate out anything that matters.
That means noncondensables, R-22 and other high pressure refrigerants,
CO2, ammonia and such.  There have been some good papers in the 
ASHRAE journal over the past few years on the topic.  You really should
check them out if you plan on being a credible textbook/armchair

>Unlike you, I believe there are risks in any plan of action
>regarding auto A/C at this time.  Regardless of your vision of
>how the world looks in Atlanta or elsewhere, if some A/C shop
>thinks it is not going to accept work on cross-pollinated
>systems, then that's the way it is.   I think it is a great
>disservice to suggest to people that they can use/do whatever
>you think will work and then claim that there are no other
>financial consequences.

The financial consequences are the same as if they use a sleazy HVAC
contractor or roofing contractor or mechanic or whatever.  
Automotive repair shops have used a wide variety scams to extract
money from uneducated motorists.  The MACS hysteria is just another
tool, in the same catagory of the propaganda from the oil change
shops to change oil every 2000 miles and brake fluid every 5000.
MACS claim to the contrary, there is currently NO inexpensive 
sensor technology capable of reliably analyzing refrigerant composition.
I know; I did a rather extensive research project a year or so ago
on that very topic for George when he was looking for some method of
measuring the composition of R-406a refrigerant that may have 
suffered fractionation.  

Not that MACS won't work with some company, probably Sun Test (heheh),
to make a box that will flash a huge red light and sound a klaxton 
horn, probably in response to a random number generator.  When the
tech shakes his head and says that it will cost $1000 or more to 
"decontaminate" the system, the motorist may do one of two things.
He may fall for this sucker play or he may drive away and go to the shop
down the road who IS honest and who DOES work on all systems.  No
different than used car salesmen and house siding contractors.

>Should you inspire an new A/C DIY'er to try the simple task of
>recharging their system with your sacred substitute and then
>leave any major repairs that might occur to the mercy of the
>whims and costs of the rest of the marketplace?  I think not.

This is really a sad picture you paint, of a monolithic marketplace,
100% aligned behind MACS that leaves the hapless driver no alternative
but to submit.  Fortunately the free market, particularly a market
slowly shedding the shackles of MACS-inspired EPA restrictions, 
invariably penetrates such barriers.

Let's take a look at your hypothetical DIYer.  This guy is sharp enough
to know enough to be able to charge his system and to find an alternative
refrigerant or even better, blend his own.  Yet according to you, he is
incapable of doing other repairs?  Rubbish.  But let's suppose he doesn't
WANT to change his own compressor and his evil empire local shop won't
work on his system if it contains a substitute.  What to do?  Oh, I don't
know.  Let's think real hard.  What could he do?  What COULD he do?
Hey, I bet he could simply drain the refrigerant and THEN take the 
empty system to the shop to be fixed, with the instructions NOT to 
charge it afterwards.  Then he can bring his bright, shiny newly
repaird car home and replace the refrigerant and then take the wife out
on the town with the $998 he saved.  And even if he believes the Ozone
hole myth, he can in good concience just discharge the alternative 
refrigerant to the atmosphere because they all have a low to zero ODP
rating.  Sure it is illegal but so is speeding.

Let's cut to the chase, Mark.  You really don't know anything about air
conditioning and even less about the marketplace.  You're one of those
guys who feels left out and who tries to attract attention by waving
your arms and preaching doomsday scenarios.  Your effort at screaming "I
AM somebody" sounds no better than it did coming from Jessie Jackson.

As for special interests or net validation or any of that other mumbo-jumbo,
I've always been extremely upfront about my interests in this arena because
I know that if I'm not scrupulously honest, I'd gain the lack of 
credibility you have.  As I've stated before, my total financial 
compensation from being involved in the R-406a project has been:

1	$600 ad from George in one issue of my magazine
2	30 lb tanks of R-406a.
*	The sales of perhaps a couple hundred back-issues of my magazine.

Hate to tell you something, Mark.  If you want to buy me, it's going
to cost a hell of a lot more than that.


From: (George Goble)
Subject: Re: Question about Freon
Message-ID: <3qeqtf$>
Date: 30 May 1995 10:09:51 GMT
Organization: Purdue University Engineering Computer Network
Lines: 30

In article <> (Michael Alexander) writes:
>A refrigeration technician  is offering freon recycled form old 
>refrigerators for automotive use at a very good price. He claims that the 
>freon is clean and will work in an automotive system provided the hoses 
>and compressor are in good condition. He installs it at a higher pressure 
>tthan the automotive freon and claims that it works better than the 
>automotive freon

I dont think this is legal at the moment.. R-12 from anything but other cars
must be sent to a "reclaim" center, to be "cleaned"/purified, and
verified to pass ARI-700 purity specifications..  What he has is
probably contaminated by R-22, that would make higher pressures 
(and performance).  R-22/R-12 form an azeotrope which cannot be 
separated by practical means.  Ask this guy to see the lab
report proving ARI-700 purity..depending on how much R-22
is present, you could get anywhere from a little performance
boost to busted hosts..  He also might have R-12 from
compressor "burnouts" (full of acids) if not properly cleaned up.

With the general sad state of automotive R-12 recycling equipment,
in the field, I would not want any recycled (where some guy
sucks it out of a car, and cleans it himself w/o sending it to
a reclaimer) R-12 in my car.. Most of them don't change the driers
and give you "wet" R-12, which causes acid formation and can
"eat" out a system from the inside out.  We checked the moisture
indicators at about a dozen airshops in Indiana in 1992, and every 
single one of them was wet.

From: (George Goble)
Message-ID: <3qes5j$>
Subject: Re: Question about Freon
Date: 30 May 1995 10:31:15 GMT
Organization: Purdue University Engineering Computer Network
Lines: 25

In article <>
"\\\\\\Slant-6 Daniel///" <> writes:
>Careful.  Sounds like a backyard type deal.  "Recycled" freon is NOT just 
>pulled out of refrigerators and pumped into a tank.  It is sent to a 
>recycling center where it is "cleaned" and checked to ensure it meets 
>specs for noncompressible contaminant gases,  moisture content, etc.  

Minor corrections... EPA definitions recycle, recover, reclaim.

"recover" means to suck it out and put it in a tank, but do not
clean or process it.

"recycle" means to locally "clean"/filter it.. not much verification
on quality

"reclaim" means to take recovered/recycled refrigerant, and ship it
out to a "reclaimer" for cleanup to ARI-700 specs (new refrigerant)
so "recycling center" should be called a "reclaiming center"

In reality I have heard, is that almost no refrigerant is sent in
for "reclaiming", and that the big boys just get out the water/acid,
and just dump it in the new production stream, at below the 1%
or whatever "contanimate" level, so it just "vanishes".. Wondder
what they do now that new production has ended?  Drive it to Mexico
and vent it?


From: (George Goble)
Message-ID: <3riq6e$>
Subject: Re: Refrigerant recovery from a/c systems
Date: 13 Jun 1995 01:38:22 GMT
Organization: Purdue University Engineering Computer Network
Lines: 111

In article <3ri1tl$> writes:
>In article <>,
> (I could be... Elvis?) writes:
>|> u4775@duke.NoSubdomain.NoDomain (Greg Marciniak) wrote:
>|> >In article <>,
>|> >writes:  [snip]
>|> >|> --Pat.
>|> >     Recovery units can be locally manufactured from materials obtained
>|> >     locally. A friend took a class at a community college where that was
>|> >     the class project. These laws have been changing lately but I believe
>|> >     it may still be legal. The class used an old refrigerator compressor 
>|> >     I think to make one. 
>|> Are you sure about this?  Section 609 states that only certifed equipment
>|> may be used for recovery/recycling/reclaiming.  In addition, owners of
>|> certified equipment have to be registered w/the EPA, and keep detailed
>|> records on where freon is sent for recycling.  In addition, recyclers have
>|> to keep records of where freon came from for recycling.

No more "homebuilt" equipent allowed for last couple of years (under 608)..
Equipment built before that date (Aug 93?) was considered "grandfathered"
If it performed to specs at the time of mfgr.  THis equip had to be
registered with the EPA..  I registered a "recovery machine", "GHG-1",
which is nothing but a Rubbermaid 5 gal water cooler. Pour in about
1/2 gallon of liquid nitrogen (-312F), and set a recovery cylinder in it...
Has an almost instant 29.5 or better vac (refrigerant freezes).  Safe for
"Burnout" and other badly contaminated refrigerant you wouldn't want to
ruin your recovery/recyclying equipment on. Just hook up your gauges to
the cylinder and the system.. sucked out wham!

>|> On the other hand, section 609 has the "service for consideration" clause
>|> that exempts do-it-yourselfers from regulation under section 609, so maybe a
>|> do-it-yourselfer doesn't need certified equipment.  I'm not sure, do you
>|> have any additional information?
>       He did take a class and the unit was for freon recovery. It may be that 
>       the units were submitted for certification, I don't know. 
>       The book I have states, that "home-made" recovery systems constructed
>       after Nov 14,93 must be certified thru an EPA approved certification
>       program. Basically they have to pull down to 10 inches of vacuum, 
>       have low loss fittings etc. EPA maintains a list of approved equipment.
>       small systems. In non-MVAC(Motor Vehicle) equipment, only systems with
>       more than 50 lbs are affected.

for leak rates only.. all systems must have the refrigerant captured no matter
what the size.

>       In large systems the regulations require repairs in systems containing
>       over 50 pounds and if it leaks more than 15% per year. On commercial
>       refrigeration(supermarkets) it has to leak more than 35% per year
>       before the leak is required to be fixed. 

wonder how many service shops, just charge the recovered refrigerant
into that "leaky" system in back of the shop which holds 49lbs of
refrigerant?. Come back on mon morn, and it needs recharging again..
I guess the "sunset" clause takes care of that for now (Can only sell
ARI-700 spec [i.e. reclaimed] refrigerant to another owner).  I can
see it now a "condo" (multiple ownership) "leaky" 49lb system, owned
by "all" the customers of the shop. Certainly not in the spirit of
the Clean Air act or "good faith".

I know reclaimers, who took & tested new virgin R-22, and it failed
about 1/2 the ARI-700 purity specs.!  How much dirty R-12 are the
reclaimers getting back?  probably not much what I have heard.
too valuable to "sell back" and "buy back again".. it probably just
goes into the cars owned by the shop & employees??

As long as the public doesn't see refrigerant charges being vented,
they probably won't even know an EPA violation has taken place
(like selling non-reclaimed R-12 to another owner under 608).
Even knew of a refrigerator repairman, whom used the "bag" to
capture the R-12 charge from a fridge, then took it back to the
shop and let it all out! 

>       Are you sure that a propane cylinder fulfills the requirements as
>       a freon recovery cylinder?

They dont meet the ARI guidlines (gray with yellow top).  Early recovery
machines just used propane tanks ($15 at Sam's Club).  Propane tanks are
DOT legal though, for everything below R-22 / R-502 pressures.
Typical BBQ grill tanks are rated for 240 PSI..R-22 (same pressure
as propane ), and R-502 would be around 10% too high @
125F (maybe it is 130F?)

At first, the "real" recovery cylinders were rated at 260 PSI, then
upped to 350-400 PSI, since they get hot during recovery if the
recovery unit/recycler has a wimpy condenser.. and a large charge
of R-22 could pop the safety on a 240-260 cylinder.  R-12 is 
lower pressure than R-22. 

But for R-12 out of a car, 3 lbs max, the cylinder would not heat up
that much and a 240 (propane) would be DOT legal..  Check with 
your reclaimer if see if they will take them.  Also, every 5
years, a refrigerant recovery cylinder must be hydro-tested..
cheaper to throw it away, and get another at Sam's Club for $15.

Propane tanks are typically dirty inside.. also..

you must also have a means to ensure you wont go over 80% liquid full
(bathroom scales).


Comments from ghg on DIY recovery equipment.

Some easy ways to recover refrigerant are to take a recovery
cylinder (or even a propane BBQ grill tank - it is DOT legal)
and pull a vacuum on it just before the first use..

A "50lb" recovery cyl is the same size as the 20lb propane
BBQ grill tank.  For these purposes, a 30lb recovery cylinder
would work better (dont use a DOT39 "throw away" refrigerant
cylinder).  Get a Rubbermaid 5 gallon water cooler, and stick
the 30lb cylinder in it, and add dry ice around the edges..
This cools the cylinder so both R-12 and R-22 can be
removed, and it will draw a vacuum on the system if left
on long enough. If you can get it, liquid nitrogen works
nicely also (-312F).  Both dry ice and liquid nitrogen
are very cold and can cause frostbite burns.. be careful.

Precooling a cylinder in a freezer is usually not sufficient,
it has to be colder than -21F to extract a charge
from an R-12 system down to 0 PSIG.  THe cylinder will
warm up as the charge is removed...

Wrapping a recovery cylinder with slightly flattened 3/8"
copper tubing (on the outside), slowly venting liquid CO2
through the tubing would also be cold enough.

Although an extreme fire danger would result, venting 
liquid propane in the same setup to cool a recovery
cylinder would cool it enough for R-12 recovery
but not R-22 recovery (about -40F).  Care must be
taken to remove the vented propane from the area with
a very long hose and/or burn it off (flare it) safely
at the release point to prevent a buildup of a "cloud"
of gas which would cause an explosion if ignited.
Don't try this one, unless you are already setup for
handling explosive gasses.
There are probably a zillion regulations with this option.

Be very careful not of "overfill" the cylinder, use scales
and dont exceed 70% of the "water capacity" (marked as WC),
typically a BBQ grill tank will be WC 47.7, subtract out
the tare weight (listed as TW), typically 12-13 lbs on
a BBQ grill tank.  JC Whitney sells propane level gauges
which are temp strips which stick on the side of the tank,
pour hot water on it, and the liquid level becomes visible.

If the cylinder is overfilled, thermal expansion may result
in 100% liquid full, when the cylinder warms up, causing 
the safety (popoff) to vent or the cylinder to explode.

From: (George Goble)
Subject: R-12 in 1lb cans may have air, moisture in it
Date: 6 Mar 1996 10:09:01 GMT
Keywords: R-12 1lb blowoff can air contamination

Many A/C service shops still seem to buy their R-12 in 1lb
"blowoff" cans instead of 30lb cylinders.  What used to be
a full 16oz of R-12 in a small can, was reduced to 14oz then to
12oz as the price on R-12 went up.  I attended a talk by Allied
Signal back in 1989 when the CFC crisis was looming and the speaker
kept commenting on the inept public attempting to recharge their
own cars from 1lb cans and ending up venting (blowing off) most
of the R-12 into the atmosphere instead of getting it inside
their system, hence the term "blowoff can".

Last year, I was making up a specialized refrigerant mixture sample, which
needed only a couple of oz of isobutane, which needed to be accurate.
I took an R-12 "blowoff can", tapped it, recovered the charge, and
tried to pull a vacuum on it.  The can collapsed at about 15 inches
of vacuum to my horror!  In the refrigeration industry, good service
practice means pulling a GOOD vacuum (down to below 1000 microns),
which is better than 29.9 inches (28 inch vac  = 25,400 microns, perfect
vac is 0 microns), water boils at about 1500 microns at room temp, so
evacuating below that will get the system "bone dry".

We have heard that the refrigerant "big boys" (Allied, Dupont, etc)
only evacuate downto about 3000-5000 microns for filling their 30lb
cylinders.. This will get most of the air and moisture out, but
not leave the cylinder "bone dry".  I measured about 3% air in
the headspace of a cylinder of Genetron-124 on a gas chromatograph.
We evacuate cylinders down to 200-300 microns before filling with R-406A.

The R-12 blowoff can collapsing at 15 inches of vacuum is horrendous, 
only 1/2 the air is removed at that point!  How do they fill them
without a good vacuum?  Answer: with lots of air and moisture, which has
led to many, many early A/C failures, without folks realizing what
is going on.  Even MACS wants 29.5 inches of vacuum (about 12000 microns)

GHG-X4 (aka Autofrost & Chill-it) refrigerant will be filled into R-22
(thicker - higher pressure) rated cans which do not collapse, even under micron
vacuums, so they can be properly filled without air/moisture contamination.

--ghg, inventor of R-406A & GHG-X4, drop-in substitutes for R-12

From: (George Goble)
Subject: Re: R-12 in 1lb cans may have air, moisture in it
Date: 8 Mar 1996 11:22:29 GMT
Keywords: R-12 1lb blowoff can air contamination

In article <4hn0jv$> (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:

>In article <4hjo7t$>,
>George Goble <> wrote:
>>The R-12 blowoff can collapsing at 15 inches of vacuum is horrendous, 
>>vacuums, so they can be properly filled without air/moisture contamination.
>Did you ever condsider that the big companies evacuate there cans in an
>enviorment that is in a vacuum?  If they did then the cans could really be
>sucked dry using a thinner can.  

 From all info we have to date, the "big companies" either use "no vacuum"
 and just "purge" (vent to the atmosphere) the can a bit or do a weak

A machine to production line fill blowoff cans costs over $250,000,
and does 150 cans/min.. How good of a vacuum can you get in that time,
even on an R-22 rated can?  Answer: we will know in a couple of weeks.
The logistics of trying to pull a deep vacuum on the area holding
the cans is almost unthinkable, air locks, and all that.. If anybody
has info, let me know.  Also, the DOT requires "blowoff" cans, just filled
to set in a hot water bath, at 130 F for a few mins (a $40,000
"attachment" to the filling machine), so that if anything is wrong
with the can (e.g. overfilled) it will blow up in the bath instead
of on the customer.

--ghg, inventor of R-406A and GHG-X4

From: (George Goble)
Message-ID: <4pkip1$>
Date: 11 Jun 1996 19:52:01 GMT

In article <4pjnou$d0e@News.IDT.NET> (Jerry Pulice)

>I went to the trouble of taking out a freon license, and renting a vacuum pump
>to replace my acrs accumulator. My friend says i'm crazy because 
>1) he gets bootleg r-12 for less than I paid for it legally, and 
>2) He says its sufficient to purge a rebuilt system with refrigerant a couple 
>times, and then top it off.I know about the 25000 fine, but thats if your 
>If any moisture is left in the system it could cause the capillary expansion 
>device to freeze, and the system could burst. Is there any way what he's 
>telling me could be true?

Getting caught could make your wallet burst.
If you  have 1000ppm or more moisture, it may freeze in the expansion
device.. A/C works for awhile (20 mins).. then quits.. you turn off
and on a few mins later it works again..prob wont burst.

Any refrigerant you use (except the highly illegal propane/butane blends)
(Anything with CFC, HCFC, HFC e.g. R-12, R-134a, R-406A, Autofrost,
Frigc, Freezone, etc) is going to slowly break down from the moisture
and form acids, which eat away the system from the inside, which cause
the aluminum chlorides (grey paste) to clog the expansion dev and/or
leaks form due to eaten away material.  R-134a with POE or PAG oil
is MUCH more affected by moisture, since the oil contributes to the
breakdown reactions along with the refrigerant, and sometimes much
more so.  1992 cars (factory R-134a) are now coming off dealer
3 yr warranties.. and are showing up in airshops with evaporators and
condensers eaten out, some with as many as 8 holes in condensers.

Moisture in A/C and refrigeration systems is the #1 cause of failures.

Subject: Re: An Alternative to Retrofitting to R-134a
Message-ID: <>
Date: Jun 25 1997

In article <01bc7f40$62b38d20$309993cf@chita>,
  "chita" <> wrote:

> Jared Nedzel <> wrote in article
> > That's essentially what my mechanic told me when I had him
> > working on my A/C system on my '87 Integra.  I asked him
> > about the R12 replacements and he said that he did not
> > use them because 1) he would need an evacuation system
> > for each refrigerant (he already has one for R12 and
> > R134a) and 2) because of the "fractionation" issue
> > described above.  He felt that the R12 replacements
> > might work, but there was too much uncertainty at the
> > moment and was not willing to try it until they have
> > more of a track record.

One can use a simple (about $300) "recover only" system for "all of
the others", and just put them all in one cylinder of "junk" refrigerant
and send it off to a reclaimer.. Reclaimers can now separate out
mixtures ok.. Besides reclaimed refrigerant will be as good as
virgin refrigerant when the reclaimer is done with it.  On site recyling
cant even come close to getting purity, moisture, etc back to
ARI-700 specs for new/reclaimed refrigerant in almost all cases.

I would not want my car recharged with anybody's recycled (on site)
R-12, R-134a or anything else.  Our airshop visits showed that nearly
100% of their recycling machines were "wet" (due to driers not being
changed).  This "wet" refrigerant (R-12, 134a, blends, etc) will all
"work" for awhile, then the mositure will slowly react with the
refrigerant, forming hydrochloric/hydrofluoric acids, which then eat
away the system from the inside, generating more repair business
the next season.  Always insist on virgin or reclaimed refrigerant,
not recycled onsite.

> 	Well, I think it's smart to look at the various factors involved in
> setting any new standard. I really don't know anything about refrigerants -
> except that *I* am picking up the bills. I wish I could just trust the
> dealer/shop to do the right thing. But I'm afraid 20 years of owning cars
> tells me that might be the Express Route to the Poorhouse.  Every time
> somebody says they're only doing something expensive cuz it's GOOD for me
> -- I grab hold of my wallet before listening further... <G>

Good logic.  Lots of scammers out there.. Hard to find honest people in
this industry.

> 	I'd like to know more about the phenomenon of "fractionation." I gather
> it's a process whereby gases/solutions settle out into layers, the way
> butter floats on cream, which floats on milk. A safety issue arises if the
> A/C refrigerant settles out - and one or another ingredient is highly
> flammable. Flammable enough to be touched off by the momentary high
> pressures of an A/C compressor starting up. I got a warning email on a
> Volvo mailing list about this issue. I don't really understand it, but it's
> something to think about, ask questions about. Does this "fractionation"
> process have safety implications? How does it function in normal use? How
> does it act if there's an accident and the stuff spills?

We have fractionated blends until blue in the face for 7 years.
With Autofrost/R-406A/CHillit/R-414A there is no "cream floating on
milk" separation going on. Refrigerants which have poor miscibility with
oil, the oil floats to the top of the liquid refrigerant when the system
is off (e.g. R-22 in mineral oil)

If a blend leaks (as a liquid or rapid blowout such as a hose busting),
no significant composition changes occur.  Vapor leaks do result in
composition changes though.  From a performance standpoint, with R-406A/
Autofrost, even vapor leaking, you are still ahead of R-12 or R-134a,
since one has much more initial performance to begin with.

From a safety standpoint, the "worst case" fractionation of R-406A has
undergone much safety testing, in safety labs, by the EPA, and field
conditions.  A 5 minute safety tape is available free from Monroe Air
Tech (1-800-424-3836) if you are interested.  Many of the safety related
reports, and frames from the safety tape are on the Autofrost homepage, then click "tech info".  It will take
you days to read it all.  EPA acceptance requires a risk assesment to be
done (also on that page).

IN a nutshell, the worst case possible for R-406A is only a very "weak",
almost non existant flammability.  In this state (after worst case
leakage), one cannot ignite vapor or liquid escaping from a cylinder or
bad leak with a propane torch.	If one somehow manages to "collect" pure
liquid refrigerant (after leaking 90% of it off as vapor first), and put
it in a cup, it still has no "flash point". It can be ignited in a cup
with a torch, and burns with 1-2 inch high flames for about 1-2 seconds
and then self extinguishes from decomposition products (similar to the
way halon puts out a fire).  R-414A (Chillit) has no "slight"
flammability after worst case leakage.	It is classified by UL as
"practically nonflammable" (same as R-22) under standard 2182 and is
pending as safety classif A1/A1 by ASHRAE committee 34 (non flammable as
formulated / non flammable after worst case fractionation).  The 4%
isobutane (in both refrigerants) does not contribute to any flammability,
as it leaves with the R-22, slowly and evenly.

For comparison purposes only, this safety video, also demonstrated
what happens with R-290 (pure propane), vapor leaks (on fire), and
liquid spills (fireball the size of a small car from 8oz).  The EPA
has used this video to show what could happen with pure hydrocarbon

MACS, and others with vested interests to stop substitutes, have
concocted up all sorts of stories of cars blowing up, etc.  MACS even
passed out photos of a GM accumulator "all puffed out", suggesting that a
"blend" which contained butane had leaked, leaving the butane in the
system, which then "exploded" to scare the public.  This "should work" in
the minds of most of the public since they watch movies where a cigarette
gets dropped in a gas tank, and it "blows up", followed by the entire
filling station a few seconds later..Filling a A/C system with flamambles
should make it "blow up".. right?  wrong.

Hydrocarbons (propane, butane, gasoline, etc), need to have about 92 -
98% air present to be flammable.. Dropping a match into a gas tank will
probably only cause a small flame at the neck that can be snuffed out
easily and not result in the whole tank blowing up. Reason:  No air
inside the tank.  If the above "puffed out" A/C was filled with 100%
flammables, and leaked, it would not burn "inside" and puff out.  It
might leak out and start fires other places though, but it would not
burn/explode inside and puff out.

Most HCFCs/HFCs, including R-134a become flammable when mixed with large
amounts of air at greater than atmospheric pressure.  R-134a becomes
flammable at only 5 PSIG when mixed with air.  That is the reason for
warnings to not mix new refrigerants with air under pressure for
leak testing (dry nitrogen/CO2 is ok).  If some dummy charged the above
A/C system with R-134a and didnt evacuate the air, and a wreck caused
a battery cable to short and burn through a refrigerant line, then
the R-134a/air could have exploded internally and "puffed out" the

Oils are flammable also. In 1991, we demonstrated that venting R-12
(with 10% 525 mineral oil), at 115F (typical liquid line temp),
ignited and sustained a "flame thrower" when vented out of a 3lb
dial-a-charge.  The refrigerant doesnt burn, but creates a fine
"fog" of oil mist which can be as flammable as gasoline in some

> > So, when he replaced my compressor, he converted the
> > system to R134a.  So far, the system seems to be about
> > as effective as when I bought the car new.  Unfortunately,
> > that's not saying a whole lot, as Honda a/c systems of
> > that era seemed to be pretty wimpy.  But so far it
> > seems to work ok.  We'll see how it holds up.
> 	Well, that's the deal - does 134a work well in retrofit situations?  I'm
> assuming that new car designs have accommodated the relative (134a to R-12)
> inferiority, though I'm not 100% sure of this either. I'm not in the market
> for a new car, so I haven't been reading reviews. I do know I've ridden in
> several retrofits now and frankly, two out of four 134a cars has been
> unsatisfactory. I'm used to almost instantaneous COLD air coming outta the
> vents when I turn it on. It seems to me the larger cars have warm air
> coming out for a LONGish time before finally chilling - and even then, it
> didn't feel as cold as my R-12 system.
> At the moment, the only car I am thinking of converting is a ten year old
> Nissan truck. It has an EXCELLENT air conditioner. I'd hate to lose that
> AND pay a big bunch of money for hotter air. I live and travel in a desert
> area. Who needs warm air coming out of a $400-650 retrofit? Actually, the
> dealer wanted $2,000 for a complete new system, but I'd never do that so I
> don't even include it in my calculations of cost. If it came to that, I'd
> get a new system put in by a local A/C shop that can install aftermarket
> parts ($650). But then you're still faced with what refrigerant to use IN
> the new system... <sigh> It's unexpectedly complicated.

Autofrost produces almost instant cold air, most likely colder than R12
and MUCH colder than 134a, and no oil change.

--ghg, inventor R-406A/R-414A (Autofrost/Chillit), GHG-HP, GHG-X5 and

Subject: Re: Freon Debate Continues
From: (George Goble)
Message-ID: <5pjpn9$>
Date: Jul 04 1997

In article <01bc8870$f8ee1b00$>,
Rexford T. Hound <> wrote:

>> private party that has some for sale and buy it from them. The are no
>> legal constraints on the possession and use of R-12 as long as applicable
>> EPA and/or state regs are followed, i.e. don't go around venting the
>> stuff off and collect your old R-12 in containers and have it properly
>> disposed of.  (new propane tanks like they use for gas barbeques are fine
>> for this,  don't use a tank that had propane in it as the mercaptan will
>> put a stink in the freon and this makes the recyclers VERY upset)
>>  ...............Fred
>Come on Fred, if you have your certification you know damn well a
>shouldn't be telling you this since you passed your certification class????

Fred is correct.. The "yellow/gray" is just a "guideline".
BBQ propane cylinders are DOT approved 240 PSI rating.
They are legal for R-12, 134a and the R12 replacements.
Refrigerant must be 240 PSIG or less at 125 F
R22 is "iffy", and R-502 is too high for sure.

80% fill is about 40lb for R12, etc, on a BBQ cylinder.. WC
(water capacity) is usually 47.7 pounds. You have to
stay 80% fill or less to allow for liquid expansion if
it gets hot and doesn't liquid lock the cylinder, causing
it to vent.

Propane cylinders in refrigerant service must be tested every
5 years instead of 10.

As Fred said, be sure to use a new one or it will stink "forever"
and check with your reclaimer first.

Sam's club has had BBQ cylinders for $15 or so new..
Just ship out and toss or let the reclaimer keep and sell or scrap..
cheaper to buy a new one than to pay freight.

Yellow/gray cyls used to cost $150 each.. but may have come down

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