Since hand tools have been around in one form or another for thousands of years, you might think new developments are fairly rare.

But, you would be wrong. Many companies continue to refine their

tools, whether complex instruments like infrared thermometers and CO detectors

or such seemingly simple tools as notchers, seamers and even good old tin snips.

Here then are some of the latest in tools and test instruments. Also be sure to check out this month’s New Products department for even more new tools.


Bacharach Inc., a manufacturer of measuring and testing devices, has released the Fyrite® Pro Residential Combustion Analyzer. It allows hvacr technicians to test the operating efficiency of residential furnaces and appliances quickly and easily, with greater precision possible than with visual or mechanical tests. The analyzers evaluate combustion efficiency electronically. A seven model platform allows techs to upgrade and customize the instrument to fit budgets and changing needs. The Fyrite Pro offers testing of CO, stack temperature, air temperature and much more.

For more information, write to Bacharach Inc., 625 Alpha Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15238 or call 800/736-4666; see on the Internet.


Skil Power Tools recently redesigned its line of cordless tools. New to the line is a 14.4-volt circular saw and hammer drill driver. The 14.4-volt circular saw comes with a powerful 4,000 rpm motor for fast and smooth cuts. Skil officials say the saw will cut dimensional 2X lumber and has 50˚ bevel capacity. The blade is positioned on the left side for improved visibility and straighter, more accurate cuts. The Skil cordless hammer action drill driver delivers 24,800 hits per minute. It comes with variable speed, reversing capacity, and two speed ranges (0-350 and 0-1,550 rpm). A 3/8-in. ratchet action chuck clicks as it tightens to reduce slipping and stay locked.

Contact Skil Power Tools, 4300 W. Petersen Ave., Chicago, IL 60646; 773/286-7330; fax 773/794-7570;


Alnor Instrument Co. has released two new thermo-hygrometers. The CompuFlow 8612 and 8652 measure temperatures from 32˚F to 140˚F, humidity from 5% to 95% and dew point from 5˚F to 120˚F. The 8652 also measures wet bulb from 40˚F to 140˚F. An RTD probe can be plugged into the top of the CompuFlow 8652 meter to take additional temperature measurements, including air temperature, surface temperature or true wet bulb readings. It can datalog and store more than 10,000 sample points, and help determine the ventilation levels of offices, conference rooms, shopping malls and more. The 8612 is a lower-cost alternative, only measuring room conditions.

Write to Alnor Instrument Co., 7555 N. Linder Ave., Skokie, IL 60077; call 800/424-7427; fax 847/677-3539.


Meterman Test Tools’ new IR610 infrared thermometer was made for contractors, maintenance personnel and others who need to make precise temperature measurements in hard to reach places or measure rotating devices or substances than cannot or should not be touched. It features a laser pointer for precise targeting, a narrow 10:1 field of view, allowing it to measure one inch at a 10-in. distance. Field emissivity is 0.95 and the unit measures up to 500˚F. The IR610 also has data hold, a low battery indicator and auto power off.

Contact Meterman Tool Co., P.O. Box 9090, Everett, WA 98206-9090; 877/596-2680; fax 425/446-4882;


Electronic instrument manufacturer Setra Systems Inc. has added a low cost, three valve manifold for the company’s Model 230 differential pressure transducer. The manifold is light, rugged and compact, weighing less than three pounds. It has an all brass body, brass pipe fittings, copper tubing and plastic valves. The transducer is ideal for process control, energy management systems in hvac applications, flow management and much more.

For details, contact Setra Systems Inc., 159 Swanson Road, Mail Stop 14-16, Boxborough, MA 01719; call 800/257-3872; fax 508/264-0292;


C.K. Tool Co. has introduced its patented “New Concept XXXL Utility Pliers No. 3657.” The pliers feature extra large gripping capacity 2 resp. 2.5-in. A press button allows the pliers to adjust to one of 11 positions quickly and easily. A slim head and jaw configuration, extra hard teeth makes accessing difficult places easy and ensures long life. A finger stop prevents finger nipping while the box joint makes sure the pliers maintain their strength. Anti-slip, coated long handles make the pliers comfortable and provide extra leverage.

For more information, write to Carl Kammerling & Co., P.O. Box 10 02 40, D-42002, Wuppertal, Germany;