Programs that put power in your pocket

Aug. 1, 2009
Heads up for the early adopters among you. Want to travel light when doing your duct sizing and other calculations in the field? Now it's possible thanks to some new iPhone applications that put a lot of power in your pocket.

Heads up for the early adopters among you. Want to travel light when doing your duct sizing and other calculations in the field? Now it's possible thanks to some new iPhone applications that put a lot of power in your pocket.

The three new iPhone applications noted below are likely just the beginning of an onslaught of applications for the phone in your pocket or on your visor. The mobile marketplace stands at the ready for new applications that can take a lot of the load off of the office or laptop computer. With more than 40 million iPhones and iPod Touches sold in the past few years and more than one billion downloads of applications, developers are aware of the potential and will be delivering applications by the droves. Here are three early entries targeted directly at HVAC and plumbing contractors.

HVAC Duct Sizer is new duct sizing software for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The solution by Carmelsoft, www.carmelsoft.com/iPhone, enables anyone carrying either mobile device to quickly size one or more runs of duct using the constant friction method. The application allows technicians or designers to size new duct systems by inputting air flow and velocity, or friction loss. You can specify total airflow in CFM (or L/s) and the total velocity and friction loss.

It also allows sizing existing systems by inputting duct dimensions and air velocity. It is possible to specify additional parameters such as the aspect ratio, duct shape, air temperature and pressure. The solution utilizes slider controls that enable the designer to quickly increment or decrement the input values and observe the calculated results.

Carmelsoft plans to expand iPhone applications with solutions for pipe sizing, load calculations, duct fitting analysis and other tasks on the horizon.

Another program for the same tote-able tools is the HVAC Formulator by Multieducator, which is available for purchase and download at www.multieducator.net/formulator. It contains close to 200 formulas that can expedite calculations with sections addressing air change, airside, boilers, Btu conversions, ductwork, energy values, heating design, heating requirements, humidity, loads, pumps, steam, temperature, waterside systems, conversions and area calculations. Heating designs calculations include electric heating calculations, electric baseboard, heat tracing cable, gas fired radiant ceiling formulas and other formulas. Program users can speed calculations even further by marking various formulas as favorites or directly accessing recently used formulas.

Another available program is the Plumbing Formulator, www.multieducator.net/formulator/PBFormulator.html, containing more than 60 formulas useful for plumbers and HVAC installers. The solution calculates areas of pipe walls and the weights of cast-iron, steel and copper pipe. It also calculates the final temperature when two bodies of water are mixed. Other calculating abilities include expansion of pipes and radiant heat and heat. The application has various formulas to calculate area and volume of shapes, pipe length changes, pipe gate valves, pipe chase width, depth and conversions. There's a full complement of conversions dealing with dimensions, volume, weight, quantities, etc. There's also a formula to calculate supply rate from a well. It includes dozens of conversions. All results can be saved and, as with Formulator, users can select from favorites or recent formulas.

Microsoft's digital notebook

Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 is a digital notebook that provides users with a single place to gather, store and search for and retrieve notes, email, Web research, images, digital handwriting, and even audio and video files. The program synchronizes with Microsoft Windows Mobile-powered devices, so the data is all tote-able and viewable in the field.

Essentially each topic or input is a page that can be stored in one or more “notebooks.” The solution, which shares the Microsoft Office interface for easy, intuitive use and integrates right into it, can reduce time squandered searching across e-mail messages, word documents, paper notebooks, and piles of file folders and churned out printouts to find tasks, schedules, to-dos and other critical project information. Search capabilities enable users to store and later locate relevant e-mails without having to read through long e-mail threads from numerous sources, meeting notes, scanned in documents and photos, punchlists created on the job, or other details sent from the field via Microsoft Windows Mobile powered devices (including photos).

Notebooks can be password protected and shared. Information in shared notebooks can be accessed by project members, online or offline, regardless of location, helping ensure everyone is literally and figuratively on the same page.

The solution includes an export application for easy transfer of information gathered in OneNote 2007 to your firm's business systems, reducing need for rekeying of data, saving time and eliminating risk of errors.

Users can view all open notebooks at once, use drag-and-drop functionality to easily arrange and rearrange notes, and add hyperlinks to other pages in a notebook to quickly find relevant content. It is also possible to view hyperlinked search results in a summary task pane. Office OneNote 2007 automatically backs up your notebooks, whether stored locally or on a network.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

William and Patti Feldman

Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products.

About the Author

Patti Feldman

Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products.

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