• Alfano Digital Pressure & Temperature Gauge

    Kart Review Score: 8.5

    Heyhoe
    Brand: Alfano
    Price: £350 Inc VAT
    Retailer: Demon Tweeks

    *****IMAGES COMING SOON*****

    Introduction

    Tyre pressures and tyre temperatures are one of the most important aspects of karting and circuit racing in general.

    Getting them right can mean the difference between being at the front or plummeting to the back of the field in the first few laps.

    Today we look at a device which can measure and record both tyre pressure and tyre temperature.

    The Alfano Digital Air Pressure Gauge with integrated temperature measurement is a premium bit of kit which comes in at roughly £350. It’s available without the temp functionality for a more reasonable £240.

    The cheaper unit offers all the functionality and accuracy of the more expensive unit. If you are only bothered about pressures, this is the unit to go for.

    images of two units

    First impressions

    For £340 you get:

    • Alfano A-188 PT Unit
    • Alfano A-1890 Temp sensor
    • Carry case

    The carry case is OK. The handle is on the top but the zip is on the bottom, which could cause some embarrassment on the dummy grid when you drop your very expensive pressure gauge. No doubt you will have had comments along the lines of “How much?!? For a pressure gauge?? You’re mad”. So when it smashes into pieces you may get a few sniggers!

    carry case images

    Carry case aside, the actual unit is very well built. It feels solid and could probably take quite a few knocks. Having said that, you will probably want to keep it in its case given its value.

    unit images

    The unit feels good in the hand and is best suited to right-handed users considering the location of the pressure release valve.

    unit images

    The unit has a sleeve attached to the right-hand side which would be an ideal place to store the flexible interface tube. Unfortunately, Alfano thought differently and decided this can only be used to store the detachable temperature sensor. It’s a shame as when you just want to use the unit as a pressure gauge you will detach the sensor anyway.

    sleeve images

    We can see why Alfano has provided somewhere to keep the pressure sensor because of its fragile nature. The pressure interface tube is much more robust.

    When you turn on the unit, it’s not as straightforward as some other digital gauges so this is a little intimidating at first.

    initial screen images

    Once you have used this for a few sessions, it soon becomes second nature!

    General Use and Observations

    Here is a quick look at some of the features and specs:

    • Records date & time for each set of data
    • Records track temperature
    • Release valve to reduce tyre pressure
    • Temperature is recorded in 3 areas for each tyre (inner, middle and outer)
    • Record pressures and temperature before and after each session with difference displayed
    • Records up to 495 'sets' of data and up to 5 different vehicles.
    • One 'set of data includes 34 units of data including time, date, pressures for each tyre before race, pressure for each tyre after race, track temp, tyre temps before race, tyre temps after race.
    • Visualtyre software provides screen configuration and data analysis once downloaded to a PC, laptop or tablet.
    • Configurable for ºC or ºF and Bar or Psi
    • Backlight
    • Powered by 2 x AA batteries
    • Display 59mm x 69mm
    • Weight 506g
    • Accuracy /- 0.01 bar (0.15psi) / /- 1 ºC (2 ºF)

     

    There are a few things you will need to set up before you are ready to go testing but these are well documented in the instruction manual so we won’t go too deep into the details. Briefly, they consist of (from the instruction manual):

    1.  Assignment of the numbers of the vehicles
    2.  Regulating of the clock and the calendar
    3.  Choice of the unit Bar/PSI
    4.  Choice of the unit C°/F°
    5.  Choice of the vehicle
    6.  Configuration of the sequence of the captures
    7.  Calibration of the Pressure sensor
    8.  Calibration of the Temperature sensor

    We like the ability to set your own order of measurement, whether that includes tyre temperatures or just tyre pressures. Being able to select which tyre we take the measurement from first is also handy.

    We suspect that most users will not require more than one vehicle (up to 99 slots available) but larger teams may find a use for this.  It’s in areas like this that you realise that this unit is a serious piece of kit and is aimed at all levels of motorsport. 

    The ability to transfer the captured data into the VisualTyre software using the optional data transfer is pretty trick and this is what classifies this unit as a “Data Logger”, opposed to just a "Tool".

    Quote

    Why do we need this gauge? What's wrong with my £30 analogue pressure gauge?

    Fundamentally, this gauge will not give you any more detailed information than your average gauge. What it does however, is provide you with a method to quickly take measurements and store them. It gives you a clear understanding of what the tyres are doing when you get back to the awning, instead of trying to remember things when you are flying around after a race etc.

    If you store your cold pressures before a session and then take the hot temperatures immediately after a session, the gauge clearly displays the Delta between the two measurements. You can then adjust your cold temperatures to suit.

    For temperatures, the same principle applies. Before the session, you will be asked to take cold tyre temperatures and tarmac temperature and after a session you will be prompted to take the same readings.

    Down to business

    By now you should have a good idea of what to expect from this unit, so now we are going to demonstrate how it actually works!

    The main thing to get right with this gauge is the "Sequence of Capture". Once this is set it is simply a case of placing either sensors in the correct position and pressing one button. This is aided on the display by various indicators.

    Images of display going through stages of taking cold temps (timeline)

    then hot temps (timeline)

    May include temps??

    We have made a few videos of the gauge in use to give you a good idea of how it all falls into place.

    Video of whole sequence, annotated with on-screen captions.

     

    Summary

    We have uploaded the manual in PDF format below.

    Alfano PT Tyre Control Manual.pdf

    Pros:

    • Calibrated
    • Accuracy
    • Large storage capacity
    • Pressure & Temp combined
    • Great quality
    • Backlight
    • Auto-off

    Cons:

    • Accuracy 0.15  (More of an annoyance, would rather it be 0.2)
    • Zip position on case
    • No pressure interface hose storage.

    Scoring

    Value: 7
    Quality: 9
    Performance: 10
    Ease of Use: 8

    Kart Review Score: 8.5

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