A gas detector probe is a device used to enable gas testers to take samples from specific locations when using electronically pumped or hand aspirated instruments. Gas detector probes are designed to work in a number of situations, including; leak tracing, barhole testing and confined space entry. Many contain water and dust filters to protect entry of these materials into the gas detector.
What Makes A Good Gas Detector Probe?
As already mentioned there are many styles of gas detector probes on the market. Some are designed for leak tracing, others for applications such as: road surveys, confined space entry, hot work testing and purging. But all have the same basic design criteria and careful examination of their basic components is needed to properly understand what makes for a good probe and which ones to avoid.
- The Probe Part – Fundamentally a gas detector probe is used to collect gas samples from a specific location. So the actual “probee bit” can be as simple as a rigid piece of tube made from what ever material you can lay your hands on. So in theory, anyone could make their own probe – and often do!
- The Handle – Purpose made gas detector probes include a handle for comfort and dexterity. The handle can also provide a housing for pre-filters and a suitable connection to the sample tubing linking the probe to the gas detector pump.
- Pre-Filters – These filter out any unwanted materials such as liquids and dust. Why are they needed? Because Ingress of dust and liquids are the most likely cause of damage to any pumped or hand aspirated gas detector and often result in large repair bills. Most modern gas detectors are IP rated to a reasonably high level to ensure protection from liquids and dusts. However, once you turn the pump on, the IP rating disappears as the pump and its accessories are easily damaged by the various contaminants sucked into them.
- Sample Tube – The sample tube is a flexible tube which connects the probe and probe handle to the gas detector’s pump let. It can be as basic as some clean rubber tubing and is usually about 1 meter long (or the length of your arm.)
- Chemically Inert – All the probe’s individual components have to be chemically and physically inert to the gases you intend to sample. A probe which filters out the gases you are looking for, is obviously one to avoid. But how do you know? That’s a good question and one we answer in some detail in our training courses. But basically, you either need to check with someone who knows for sure, or test your probe out using a known calibration gas.
What Separates the Good From the Bad?
Ask anyone who uses a gas detector probe everyday this question and you will quick find out what makes a good probe and conversely what results in a bad one. Good and bad can be summed up using the following test:
- Does it feel well made?
- How long did it last?
- Are the individual parts suitable for your work conditions?
- How expensive was the probe and its replacement parts?
- Can you check it for leaks easily?
- Can you unblock it when required?
- What happens when you suck liquids into it?
- Can you use it without the filters being present – (resulting in you sucking foreign materials into your gas detectors)?
Where to Find the Best Gas Detector Probe for You?
To provide a simple solution to this old problem, we decided to manufacture our own probe for our readers and introduce a new range of gas sampling consumables.
The @probe uses a universal handle containing high efficiency, low cost filters. Into which a large range of probes can be inserted and removed using a simple quick connector. It even allows users to make their own site specific probes for retro insertion without the need of any specialist skills or knowledge.
To find our more about these devices – read our series of articles on the subject.
Don’t make the same mistakes again and again – choose to do something different with your gas detectors. Keep reading and you’ll see how.
The Editor: @gt