ProStaff Reviews

It’s been two months since I took delivery of the Dewalt DCE200 press tool and I’ve had the opportunity to put it to work on a handful of jobs now. This is a feature-packed tool unlike many on the market today. With capabilities of handling any and all press systems common in North America and Read More

DewaltPress4It’s been two months since I took delivery of the Dewalt DCE200 press tool and I’ve had the opportunity to put it to work on a handful of jobs now. This is a feature-packed tool unlike many on the market today. With capabilities of handling any and all press systems common in North America and Europe team Black & Yellow pulled out all the stops in engineering their first at what I’m guessing will be a team of press tools to come.

First off I’d like to cover the important specs.

  • Capable of pressing ½”-2” copper & stainless steel V-groove fittings
  • Compatible with competitor jaw sets for Iron Pipe [Mega-Press]
  • Compatible with competitor jaw sets for PEX press [Viega/Nibco]
  • 4-ton pressing force
  • Current online pricing searches average $1999.00

I first learned of this tool back in July/August of 2016 at the annual new tool event hosted by Dewalt. When I first put my hands on it I admit I was a little surprised of the physical size overall but after using it for both boiler and tankless water heater installations now I can honestly say the size of the tool has not proved to be an issue at all. Weighing in at 7.16lbs without a jaw it is lighter than other comparable tools common on the job today. Ergonomics may be a slightly different story and I do carry a bias toward in-line design press tools. This tool is front-end heavy, loaded with anything over 1″ jaws and it will not stand on it’s own. That may be partially due to the small footprint of the 20V battery or the handle angle and placement. Either way its a strain on the wrist and requires two hands to steady the tool most of the time.

Features

This pistol-grip press tool is packed with some new innovation to the market that should prove useful to many contractors working on commercial & residential projects alike. Notably, Dewalt’s proprietary software system Crimp Connect. This free software download allows the owner/user to connect the press tool via the onboard mini USB port providing ability to print detailed reports of the date, time, force, and successfully completed cycles of the presses completed by the tool as well as the tools calibration and service history.

DewaltPress2Located on the top rear of the tool you’ll find a somewhat familiar interactive panel where the tool’s power is controlled along with LED light indicators showing the successful completion of a single press, battery indicator, low & high temperature warnings. There’s even a “service required” indicator light telling the user that the tool has reached the cycle limitations.

While the power panel is not unique to press tools of this caliber, the Crimp connect feature is. An added feature I found interesting is the double trigger.

DewaltPress3The bottom trigger controls the start and completion of the press cycle. Dewalt went with a “manual” cycle operation here. You’ll need to depress the trigger completely for the duration to complete the press cycle. Cycle time is anywhere between 4-6 seconds depending on the diameter and type of material being pressed. The unique second trigger, the top trigger can be used to release the press cycle at any point. This is useful when a cycle has started but the operator decides [far various reasons] to stop the press. When pressed fully, the top trigger will release the pressure in the hydraulic cylinder and allow the ram to retract quickly. This would allow for repositioning of the tool or fitting when needed, potentially saving a fitting from incorrect attachment to the piping.

A shoulder strap and ring attachment point are included with the tool. Dewalt states in the manual that it should be used for transporting the tool on the jobsite. Some feedback I have received from other plumbers is the strap may be useful when working on a ladder, a situation that often lends to the possibility of dropping a tool like this….I’ve done that and it wasn’t pretty.

The tool is made in France but the jaw set is delivered to Dewalt from Germany. Dewalt is offering a 3 year limited warranty, 1 year service and 90 day money back guarantee. You’ll most likely have to order this tool from specialty tool suppliers offering the whole Dewalt lineup. You can also look to plumbing and mechanical supply houses for stock as well.

Innovation takes on many forms, but in the world of plumbing and HVAC piping systems, change and or progress has been somewhat slow to take place. Copper press fitting systems have been on the scene for nearly 20 years in the U.S., even longer in Europe, but industry-wide adoption is a work in progress. If Read More

Innovation takes on many forms, but in the world of plumbing and HVAC piping systems, change and or progress has been somewhat slow to take place. Copper press fitting systems have been on the scene for nearly 20 years in the U.S., even longer in Europe, but industry-wide adoption is a work in progress. If you’ve been following us here on The Hub you already know my opinion that pressing copper or iron pipe for nearly every application is not only efficient but also profitable for any size contracting firm. But I’m not here to debate the merits of press versus soldering or threading; instead, I’d like to talk about a couple new tools we’ve had in the shop for review.

The new Gorilla™ pressing tool line features two unique tools: the inline battery pressing tool (INLNPRESS-KIT19kN) and the pistol grip battery powered pressing tool (PSTLPRESS-KIT32KN). I’ve personally put both tools to work on a handful of plumbing and heating projects over the last month, and I’m impressed.

Not unlike other press tools in the market the Gorilla press tools will complete a watertight connection, whether pressing copper, steel or PEX, with a 3-5 second cycle time. Here are the features of each tool kit broken down separately:

gorillapresspistolPistol Press (PSTL-KIT32kN)

The larger of the two Gorilla press tools is capable of pressing up to 2″ copper or steel fittings with the included tongs/jaws. When equipped with compatible jaws such as the RIDGID XL-C or Milwaukee M18 ring sets the pistol tool is capable of joining 2-1/2″ thru 4″ copper and steel. Greenlee offers additional factory supplied jaw sets for PEX Press systems (NIBCO) as well.

The key here is jaw compatibility. For contractors who already own other press tools or for those looking at a new press tool as a first purchase knowing what tool is right for you based on its capabilities should be the focus. The PSTL tool is compatible with all of the Viega PROPRESS copper, stainless and iron pipe (MEGAPRESS) fitting systems when either using the Greenlee jaw sets for 2″ and smaller copper or the RIDGID or Milwaukee M18 jaws for XC copper fittings or MEGAPRESS. A list of compatible jaw sets is included at the bottom of this review.

The PSTL-KIT32kN kit includes six V-profile copper/steel press jaws in sizes from 1/2″ to 2″, two 3.0Ah 18V Makita battery packs, rapid battery charger and heavy duty case with foam tool organizer insert. The 7,200 lb (32kN) force is delivered to the jaw set at the end of the swivel shaft. The unique pistol-grip offers an ergonomic design, placing the majority of the weight directly over the users hand and wrist for more balanced control when using the large diameter jaws. A single trigger deploys the hydraulic piston for a 3-5 second press cycle but is not automatic, requiring the user to fully depress the trigger for the entire cycle. However, once the press is complete, the tool retracts automatically, which does not require the operator to hold the trigger. In addition, the tools have the ability to retract the jaws at any point in time. An indicator light illuminates if the tool senses insufficient force during a press cycle and AUTOSTOPP technology stops the piston once optimal force is reached to complete the press of a fitting. The tool carries a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer and boasts the ability to go 40K press cycles before factory authorized service is required.

Inline Press (INLNPRESS-KIT19kN)

This is the more compact tool of the Gorilla lineup. Measuring in at just over 17″ when geared up with the 3/4″ copper jaws this swivel shaft tool is sleek and capable of sitting in tight spaces where only one hand may be appropriate for tool operation. The 4,275 lb (19kN) force tool features a single trigger, swivel head and 18V Makita 2.0Ah 18V battery.

The inline tool is capable of pressing both PEX press [up to 1-1/2″, see video]  and v-profile copper/steel fittings (Viega type) up to 1-1/4″ diameter making it prime for all residential applications. As with the pistol tool the inline tool carries a 5-year manufacturer warranty and is capable of pressing 40K times in between service intervals. Press cycle time is 3-5 seconds depending on fitting type and diameter. The user is required to depress the trigger for the entire press cycle until the AOTOSTOP technology feature senses sufficient force, the piston retracts automatically the same as the pistol tool. The kit includes two Makita 18V batteries, rapid charger and heavy duty case with rigid foam organizer insert.

Recap

Overall the build quality of the Greenlee Gorilla press tools is high. Having been manufactured in Germany by the Greenlee owned Klauke tool company they’re developed from years of pressing experience and thousands of tools having been in use for many years. The 5-year warranty is impressive and compatibility with other manufacturer jaw sets makes both models very attractive in my opinion. Current jaw offerings open these tools up to the popular Sporlan Zoomlock refrigeration press fitting system as well even further expanding the capabilities and usefulness of these tools to HVAC contractors as well as plumbers. The Inline tool kit should be expected to price out between $2,100-$2,300, the more capable pistol tool will cost a contractor $3,300-$3,500 for the kit making both tools competitive in the press tool market.

The new FLEXVOLT system from Dewalt has opened up a whole new line of tools and possibilities for the pro contractor looking to get more done in less time. We’ve had a few of the FLEXVOLT tools at work in our shop and in the hands of the ProStaff team for a couple months now Read More

The new FLEXVOLT system from Dewalt has opened up a whole new line of tools and possibilities for the pro contractor looking to get more done in less time. We’ve had a few of the FLEXVOLT tools at work in our shop and in the hands of the ProStaff team for a couple months now and continue to be impressed. The latest is the DCB1800 Portable Power Station.

The power station is a combination 4-bank parallel battery charger and DC power inverter capable of providing 1800 watts continuous power at 15A with a peak power rating of 3600 watts 120v. That’s some serious power, this thing is sick.

There are a still a lot of tools on the job that haven’t lent well to cordless technology yet. Core drills, large demo hammers, compressors and various saws. Add to that the many contractors still using corded tools where upgrades either haven’t been in the budget or replacement of a perfectly good tool is unwarranted and you’ve got the need for portable power.

The DCB1800 power station is a portable generator running off (4) 20v MAX batteries, not a gas engine so indoor use is not a problem. The inverter is silent in comparison to any other portable power solution as well making it a non-factor where noise is a obstacle to getting the job done. This is a gamechanger for those looking to knock out some punch list items at the end of the job or quickly get in and out to complete a task with a corded tool when cordless isn’t available.

I wanted to get an idea of how much power this thing has so I loaded it up with (1) FLEXVOLT 20/60v MAX pack and (3) 20v MAX batteries, all new and fully charged and plugged my DW734 thickness planer in to it. I ran (14) 2×8 Fir boards thru the planer before losing power supply. The low power indicator lights started flashing after 10 boards, giving me four more complete before shutting down. That’s 112 feet of planing 2×8’s! I’d imagine ripping some plywood for backing or chipping with a rotary hammer for 20-30 minutes is within reach with a power supply like that. I’ll be putting this to the test on the job soon so stay tuned, for now check out video proof of my test:

 

 

Walnut with the Powerstation from @dewalttough

A video posted by Mechanical-Hub (@mechanicalhub) on

Job Scope: Remote lake home with hydronics ceilings & panel radiators Dual-fuel system (Electric boiler w/ High efficiency back-up) Septic waste system for onsite waste removal The majority of new or replacement heating system installations include high efficiency condensing appliances. The condensate is produced as a product of the appliance operation; in this case the Read More

Job Scope:

  • Remote lake home with hydronics ceilings & panel radiators
  • Dual-fuel system (Electric boiler w/ High efficiency back-up)
  • Septic waste system for onsite waste removal

The majority of new or replacement heating system installations include high efficiency condensing appliances. The condensate is produced as a product of the appliance operation; in this case the boiler extracts additional btu’s contained in the water vapor of the flue gasses. When the flue gas temperatures drop below the approximate dew point of 135°F the water vapor condenses and the resulting liquid is acidic. This acidic condensate liquid requires treatment to avoid damage to piping systems, septic systems, treatment facilities and other items it may come in contact with. Many municipalities now require condensate treatment with all new installs and permitted replacements.

Read more about condensate neutralizing here:

The importance of neutralizing condensate produced by high efficiency gas fired appliances

 A recent family lake home project gave me the opportunity to install the Neutra-Safe clear tube style neutralizer model CN-220V. You may be familiar already with neutralizers but I assure you this one is different than others I have installed in the past. The expected wholesale cost of the kit should be approximately $50-60.

Product Specs:

  • Capacity – 220,000 BTU/hr
  • Connection/fitting size – ½” MPT / ¾” PVC Female Solvent Weld
  • Tube body size – 2”
  • Integral unions w/ O-ring seal (for servicing)
  • Stainless Steel screen on inlet to prevent plugging of unit
  • Media (included) – Calcite & magnesium oxide pellets (bagged/contained)

The CN2-220V is an “up-flow” or vertical neutralizer. This means the condensate enters the neutralizer at the bottom of the 2” clear plastic body, as the condensate passes thru the filter media it exits out the top center where piping is routed to a nearby drain or pump. This design assures all condensate passes thru the media where other designs do not require the entire media area to be flooded; thus allowing for small flow rates to pass thru a neutralizer without fully filtering and neutralizing above the typical PH of 2-4. The photo below shows a typical installation with the [included] mounting hardware and drain tubing routing.

neutra-safe-cn2-220

Body & Media pictured here. Media shipped and installed bagged to prevent media materials clogging drain tubing.

I’ve installed multiple brands of neutralizers in the past, the CN2-220V is the first to include all the necessary mounting hardware, fittings for initial tubing connections and bagged media for ease of installation, this being all in one package negating the need to source additional parts to finish the install. Of course drain tubing is field supplied, along with the needed fittings for full installation.

NEUTRA-SAFE CN2-220V MECHANICAL HUB The Neutra-Safe tube style neutralizers feature integral unions with O-ring seals that greatly simplify removal for service and recharging. Un-threading a lock ring on either end of the unit allows the main body to be removed without disturbing the drain line. Replacement O-rings are included with tube style recharge kits and all tube style neutralizers are available with a snap-in mounting clamp option.

The media replacement schedule is one year, they’ve even included a model number sticker on the tube where you can write the date of installation/replacement for reference. You should expect the wholesale cost of media replacement, which includes the o-rings and bagged media, to be approximately $25-30.

neutra-safe-cn2-220v-mechanical-hub-2

Being that this installation was the first time I had held the product in my hands I can say it did take me a few minutes to figure out how the included fittings and tube were to be assembled but the included instructions made for a simple install.

I’ve seen many times the effects of acidic condensate can have on piping systems, floor drains and concrete surfaces and that is why I include a neutralizer with all my high efficiency installs. Furthermore, many of the municipalities in my area are requiring them for both new installs and replacements.