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Robinair 17400 Recovery/Recycle R134 Conv. Pages: 12

Michael on Mon June 07, 2004 9:49 PM User is offlineView users profile

I just acquired a used Robinair 17400 R12 Recovery/Recycling machine. I would like to permanently retrofit it for R134a use. I know that I need a new filter, I think that a combo R12/R134 manifold gauge set should handle the fitting issues, the existing tank is empty (so I assume I can use it if the contents are properly marked, and of course a vacuum is used to remove any moisture prior to use). My big question surrounds replacing the oil in the compressor. Since this is an older unit and the manual shows a compressor oil separator, I assume this is not one of the new oil-free compressors. The manual makes no mention of servicing the compressor oil (no doubt, they would like you to take it to an authorized service center). Seeing how voiding the warranty is definitely not an issue here, and taking it to a service center will probably cost several times more than I spent for the entire machine. Does anyone know how I would go about changing the compressor oil? The compressor has 3 screw-on tube fittings (one from the filter, one to the oil separator, and one to the accumulator pressurizing valve). Do I just remove the compressor and drain it over a measuring cup and then pour the same amount of 134 compatible oil (recommendations on oil type would be welcome, PAG vs. Ester and viscosity 46/100/150?) back in whichever tube(s) the old oil drained out of? Is it that simple, or am I missing something? How does the oil separator fit into the equation? Do I need to do anything with it? Do I even need to worry about measuring the oil, will the separator just send the excess to recovery bottle? Any help or insights would be greatly appreciated.

-------------------------
Thanks,
Michael

marvin-miller on Mon June 07, 2004 10:14 PM User is offline

I have a 17200 and there is a kit to convert it to 134a available. I don't know what is in that kit. Maybe a different filter? I kind of doubt it. With my machine though the compressor is a round black thing just like one in a fridge. My manual has a procedure for installing oil in it. I take off the large black line from the accumulator (I think) and then turn on the compressor and stick the other end of the hose into a small amount of oil. It then sucks oil into the compressor. I used BVA 100 oil in it :-)

The oil separation feature of these machines seems pretty archaic to me. I moved refrigerant back and forth between tanks several times and always found more and more oil in the accumulator. It's also a slow beast for recovering refrigerant but it's better then having to change lines around on my 134a recovery machine (it has a condenser so it's way faster).

Maybe yours is not supposed to need oil? I don't know but I know mine does require it. I hope this helps somewhat :-)



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Best & Thanks;
Marvin

Michael on Mon June 07, 2004 11:31 PM User is offlineView users profile

Yes, my compressor is similar to a fridge also. I would assume that the 17200 would be fairly similar, just the previous model. I'll have to see if I can get that manual off of Robinair's site. Thanks Marvin, you given me some more things to check. And thanks for the lightning quick response.

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Thanks,
Michael

marvin-miller on Tue June 08, 2004 1:36 AM User is offline

I think Robinair does have the manual for that one on their site - if not just call them and they can fax or email it to you. If you want mine I can send it to you provided I have your email address.

Definately check your manual though - maybe yours is different?

-------------------------
Best & Thanks;
Marvin

Michael on Wed June 09, 2004 12:21 AM User is offlineView users profile

I checked the website, the posted manuals don't go back that far. I called Robinair today to ask whether they offered any sort of conversion kit for my machine. They pretty much said no they don't offer any sort of conversion kits because EPA regs. would require them to manufacture and install the kits themselves. And that would be more expensive then buying a new system. I have the manual for the 17400, and as I said it makes no mention about any sort of service or regular maintenance to the unit's compressor like you described. And the unit definitely does not have an oil-free compressor, otherwise there would not be the need for the unit to have a separate compressor oil separator unit (with return line to the compressor via the accumulator pressurizing valve) in addition to the main heat exchanger oil separator unit (which sends the excess oil to the measured catch bottle). Plus they have a warning in the manual stating "If the valve is never opened, compressor oils is never returned to the compressor and will damage the compressor." I would be definitely interested in comparing the flow diagram and parts list of the 17200 to see just how similar it is to the 17400. Marvin, if the offer still stands, I'd love for you to email me a copy of your manual you can send it to [email protected] I'm seriously considering just removing the compressor and dumping out what oil I can and replacing it with BVA100 like you suggested. Probably cycle the compressor and repeat the procedure a couple times to flush as much of the old oil from the compressor oil separator as possible. Probably not a whole lot of risk with that course of action, the new oil should still adequately lubricate compressor and yet be compatible with the R134. I have no use for a R-12 machine, I've got to make it work with R134a somehow. Anymore thoughts? I sure appreciate your help.


-------------------------
Thanks,
Michael

UK Tech on Wed June 09, 2004 1:48 PM User is offline

If it's the same compressor as fitted to robinair machines from about '94 on, it says 'americold' or something on top, has the electric box on the LH end (looking from the front of the m/c) and the start cap next to it. 3 ports on RH end, 2 1/4 mfl pointing up, and a larger one pointing down? If so, then it's filled with ester so can be used for 134, and to check the level, disconnect the suction port, and tilt the compressor at 30* on the RH end, oil should start to run out. If not, you can fill slowly thro' the suction port, leave a while then recheck at 30*.

The conversion kit is basically fittings to convert the 1/4 mfl fittings on the back of the m/c for the charge and tank hoses to 1/2acme, therefore complying with your regulations.

Michael on Wed June 09, 2004 10:42 PM User is offlineView users profile

Hey, thanks for the additional info. My unit was made in '91, and while it doesn't say "americold" anywhere on it, is just as you described. So to make the retrofit "legal" I need to fit the tank with acme connectors as well (also what about the tank purge valve)?

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Thanks,
Michael

UK Tech on Thu June 10, 2004 10:59 AM User is offline

I'm not sure what your laws are, as over here we can use any size fittings we like. But in theory, yes, the tank will need different fittings, as well as new pipes that go from the tank to the m/c. I would think that for private use it doesn't matter, unless you have the SAE police looking over your shoulder and checking how the pipes are attached.

marvin-miller on Mon June 14, 2004 6:44 PM User is offline

Hi Michael;

I sent it to the address you provided - the info on adding oil to mine is in there so I hope it helps :-)

-------------------------
Best & Thanks;
Marvin

Michael on Sat June 19, 2004 5:20 PM User is offlineView users profile

Marvin, thanks for the manual, I finally got a chance to look at it. Our units are more different than I expected. While they do share several common parts, the compressor is not one of them. However, from the pictures it appears to have the same shape and connections as mine. The 17400 has several more parts than the 17200. Some of them are for the air purge capability, an accumulator/condenser and another compressor oil separator which may address some of the concerns you expressed about always being able to extract more oil. The 400 lacks the refrigerant pump that your 200 has (possibly because of the addition of an accumulator?). Looks like the compressor oil maintenance procedure outlined in you manual would work for my system. But if it is filled with ester like UK Tech says, maybe I'm worrying about something that isn't really an issue and I should just focus on converting the connectors? I'll have to think about it a little more. It seems like there would be oil in the compressor oil separator that I would have to deal with as well. But since I don't really know how it operates I'm just speculating. Maybe I just open the Accumulator Pressurizing valve and all the oil in the separator gets sucked into the compressor and there's none left in the separator to worry about? Anyway, thanks for additional info, you guys have been a tremendous help.



-------------------------
Thanks,
Michael

UK Tech on Sun June 20, 2004 2:54 PM User is offline

Micheal, you should be OK with the compressor oil. The accumulator that you talk about is the compressor oil seperator, and when pressurized (when the compressor shuts down) drives the ester oil back into the compressor. I doubt the oil will hold any R12, but just in case you can connect a vac pump to one of the compressor fittings and vac it down, it should then be degassed.

I don't know how your laws work, but the connectors are only different to stop cross contamination of the gases. So if you're not a business as such, then it may be down to you not to screw it up and mix gasses.

Most of the failed compressors I see are where the user never drains the main oil seperator, then it overflows and gets back into the compressor and hydraulics it.

Michael on Sun June 20, 2004 11:37 PM User is offlineView users profile

UK Tech, thanks for the additional info. I've pretty much decided to leave the compressor oil issue alone (don't fix it if it ain't broken). I originally thought the unit would have mineral oil and hence be a problem with the R-134a. Since my manifold gauge set is for R-134a, at the very least I'm going to have to put a 1/2" male adapter on the recycler input. While I'm at it, I'll probably put adapters on the tank fittings and hoses (might as well spend a couple bucks more and do it right and completely eliminate any possibility of future cross-contamination. Plus now that I think about it, since I'm going to have to recharge from that tank I'm going to need 1/2" males on it anyway). Thanks for the great advice, I'll stop worrying about the compressor oil.

-------------------------
Thanks,
Michael

2old4this on Mon July 02, 2007 1:48 PM User is offline

Is there a possibility of getting a copy of the Robinair 17200 Manual sent to me?
[email protected]

marvin-miller on Mon July 02, 2007 2:08 PM User is offline

Hi 2old4this;

I don't seem to have it anymore. Hopefully Michael still has a copy that he can dig up and send? It was a few years ago...

-------------------------
Best & Thanks;
Marvin

ryanderson34 on Mon November 02, 2009 11:36 PM User is offline

Michael,

Did you ever get your Robinair 17400 working with R134a? I'm hoping you will reply. I see it has been many years since this post was created.

What exactly can it be used for? Can I pull down refrigerant out of the car and then "recycle" it and then put it back in the car (with my gauge set)? I have been told that this just pulls it down so it can be sent to a recycling service. Is this true? If so, what is the recycle function?

Thanks for any

Edited: Mon November 02, 2009 at 11:37 PM by ryanderson34

ryans01z28 on Wed June 30, 2010 10:30 AM User is offlineView users profile

i also would like to know this. i ran across a 17400 machine & would like to use it on 134a

keego140 on Fri August 13, 2010 5:07 PM User is offline

I just got a 17400 and am also trying to convert to 134a.I hope there is someone who knows how to do it and if you have been successfull on converting yours..Please help...

marinermcv on Fri September 17, 2010 7:45 AM User is offline



Hello,

Would you be able to E-mail me a copy of that manual for the Robinaire 17400 also. would be great if you could,


Thank you,

Mike McV

[email protected]

WeAreNotAlone on Fri October 15, 2010 11:32 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: ryanderson34
Michael,



Did you ever get your Robinair 17400 working with R134a? I'm hoping you will reply. I see it has been many years since this post was created.



Thanks for any




I too would like to know if Michael successfully converted his 17400.

Since it's been several years I doubt he will post back.


I ask I have a Robinair 17400, that I purchased several years ago and I'm now needing to convert it from R-12, to R-134.


My concerns are:

1: The residual R-12 oil left in the system, and how it could be FLUSHED from the machine.

(Manual of course, and other sources warn of dangers (cost wise) of running non-approved substances thru the machine. EG: will void warranty/cause system failure... the repair cost being around $300 on average. (see notes below -$300 figure it appears is replacing the dryer, maybe flushing the machines internals) No mention is made of damage to the A/C system of the car itself (PAG oil reacting with residual R-12 oil)


2: If the RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator =(17400 R-12) is functionally the SAME as the RA19067=Return Oil Separator used on the 17400A & it's R-134 version the 34400

(I'm thinking that they are- the deference being maybe "piping differences". EG: How the piping connects)



From my research:

As sold:
Robinair
17400 =R-12 only
17400A=R-12 only
34400 = R134 only

17400A & 34400 are "sister" units. (Have same major internals)
RA17434=Compressor
RA18760=Accumulator Oil Separator
RA19067=Return Oil Separator


17400 has the SAME major internals as the 17400A (R-12), and 34400(R-134)..., all except the RA19067=Return Oil Separator that is. The 17400 return oil separator part number is RA17422, listed as "Return Oil Separator Valve"?(lol), pg 7 owners manual, Pg8 lists it as "Compressor Oil Separator.

17400 =
RA17434=Compressor
RA18760=Accumulator Oil Separator
RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator,
(Listed as "Return Oil Separator Valve"?(lol), pg 7 owners manual, Pg8 lists it as "Compressor Oil Separator. Regardless the the 17400A & 34400 the major parts are the SAME, beyond the RA19067=Return Oil Separator)


Description:
RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator
Compressor Return Oil Separator Traps the compressor oil and stores it in the separator until it is returned by the normally open solenoid mounted on the top of the separator.

RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator
Compressor Return Oil Separator Traps the compressor oil and stores it in the separator until it is returned by the normally open solenoid mounted on the top of the separator.

Product Features
Traps the compressor oil and stores it in the separator until it is returned by the normally open solenoid mounted on the top of the separator.

I am wondering how much different the RA17422 is from the later R134 compatible RA19067 is. I plan on changing the filter to the 34430, as used on the 17400A/34400, changing the compressor oil, and maybe "flushing" the Oil separator, and RA18760=Accumulator Oil Separator.

I'm concerned about "flushing" the component parts- and concerned of course about the differences or the RA17422>RA19067. If I don't flush- the problem I see is the leftover R-12 mineral oil , reacting with the R-134 PAG oil.

(The car I need to service came with PAG oil, I guess one work around would to be to use Ester?????)

******

Common parts: 17400 >17400A >34400

RA17434=Compressor
RA18760=Accumulator Oil Separator (AKA="Heat Exchanger Oil Separator" in 17400 owners manual-and/or Evaporator /Condensor)


Parts differences, Robinair 17400> (17400A & 34400)

RA19067=Return Oil Separator (17400A, and 34400)
RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator =(17400)

********

RE: $300 average repair cost:
Item description below mentions the average repair cost of running contaminated refrigerant thru a R-134 machine is $300.
I wonder "what" exactly is done for $300- to restore a machine that has had the wrong /contaminated refrigerant run thru it?

Replace dryer, flush internal piping? Flush Oil separator, Accumulator?
For $300 - I doubt it is replacing anything beyond the dryer- and flushing as the cost of oil separator, accumulator alone- without the dryer being replaced would exceed $300.

Robinair (ROB16009) DiscovR R-134a Refrigerant Identifier # 16009 Also known as: ROB-16009, ROB16009

Excerpt: Contaminated refrigerant can wreak havoc on any R134a recovery, recycle and recharge machine. The average repair cost is $300, and in many cases contaminated refrigerant will void the products warranty.



PS: If anyone needs a 17400 owners manual- you can call Robinair and they will fax /e-mail you a very sloppily scanned manual.
If anyone wants a professionally scanned, full color copy of the 17400 manual, here is the link:


Robinair 17400 owners manual

Edited: Sun October 17, 2010 at 7:04 PM by WeAreNotAlone

WeAreNotAlone on Sun October 17, 2010 7:11 PM User is offline

.

Q: What is the difference between a R-134 RA19067=Return Oil Separator, vs R-12 RA17422 Robinair Compressor Return Oil Separator?



.

WeAreNotAlone on Sun October 17, 2010 7:28 PM User is offline


Q: A common problem I see on the net is contamination of recovery /reclaim machines from blends /improperly labeled systems, etc.


What is the procedure, what is done to "repair" a contaminated machine?... Say a machine designed to process R-134, has been exposed to R-12?... and Vs versa.


Average cost according to Robinair, to "repair" a contaminated machine is $300.

For $300 I can't imagine ANY components are replaced beyond the dryer /filter, and some flush being run thru the oil separator /accumulator.



Anyone?

.

Edited: Sun October 17, 2010 at 7:31 PM by WeAreNotAlone

TRB on Sun October 17, 2010 7:33 PM User is offlineView users profile

Never had a contaminated R & R machine as we always check the refrigerant for purity with a Neutronics Refrigerant identifier.

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WeAreNotAlone on Mon January 31, 2011 8:13 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: TRB
Never had a contaminated R & R machine as we always check the refrigerant for purity with a Neutronics Refrigerant identifier.



Q: What is the procedure, what is done to "repair" a contaminated machine?... Say Robinair 17400 designed to process R-12, has been exposed to R-134a?... and Vs versa. For $300 for a service call- I don't think major parts are going to be replaced.


Q: What is the process to *convert a r-12 unit to process R-134a?


*Assume:
A: Usage will be in countries not governed by the EPA.
B: Not all parts of the world can afford to purchase new machines.
C: Venting will occur if machines cannot be converted.
(To put it another way for those persons hung up on legal aspects- would you rather have persons converting old equipment, or venting refrigerant?)





.



Edited: Mon January 31, 2011 at 8:46 PM by WeAreNotAlone

ray93-s10 on Thu July 18, 2013 5:11 PM User is offline

Did anybody ever get there machine converted over to R134a?

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reynaldo leal III

lebrlm1 on Mon July 20, 2015 9:16 AM User is offline

i know this is a old thread but dose anyone still have the Robinair 17400 owners manual

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