Tool Review: Redline Detection Smoke Pro Air Complete

Redline Detection introduces the SmokePro Air Complete diagnostic leak detector. The Air Complete comes with its own onboard micro air compressor, eliminating the need for shop air or gas tanks. Air Complete also gives technicians the ability to utilize an air/gas-only cycle, mandated and recommended by OEMs for many applications, and by all hybrid/ EV manufacturers for testing battery compartments. For technicians who prefer to use nitrogen, Air Complete automatically senses that the compressed air has been connected and suspends the micro-compressor. 

The review

Lou Fort, lead technician at K.A.R.S. Inc. in Huntingburg, IN, found the Air Complete offered "a huge time savings." 

He found setup to use the tool was simple and quick, including the ability to switch between "air only" and "smoke" with ease. 

"It is off-the-chart easy in both setup and use for a variety of different tests you may want to perform." 

With a variety of accessories available, Lou found some accessories in particular that he used more. 

"The most useful (accessory) is there adapter, used to hook up to a vehicles fuel fill port, be it the new 'capless' or old threaded 'click-three-times' type."

Other accessories included "The new 'XL' size exhaust 'cone' and the original exhaust 'cone' adapter. Then you have the 'EVAP' port adapter and core removal tool. A large assortment of plastic caps for plugging most any size hose or hole you may find," says Lou. "If that isn't enough there is also a very bright halogen lamp that I used when looking for escaping smoke, or just to bring a ton of light to most any situation, and two bottles of smoke producing fluid."

Lou appreciated that the unit was a "100-percent stand alone, fully portable machine." 

Other features Lou really liked included a very accurate flow gauge, "to let you know just what size leak you are dealing with," and the option of using nitrogen as a pressure source. 

For improvements on the unit, Lou suggested lengthening the power leads on the hose. 

"It has fifteen feet of both but I would like to have an extra five feet on at least one or the other."

Lou would have also liked to have been able to use the unit while the vehicle was hooked up to a battery charger, and to have a higher "in-use" voltage range.

"I would also like to have them expand the usable voltage range of the unit," says Lou. "We see a lot of vehicles with weak batteries and hang a charger on most of them while there in the bay.

"The unit has an ‘in-use’ voltage range of approximately 10 to 14 volts. How that translates into use is it cannot be used on most vehicles with them running -- not that you should have the vehicle running while testing the EVAP system."

On a different note, Lou commented that some may think dye is necessary when using a smoke machine. 

"Personally, in the thousands of tests I have done I can only recall two were dye may have proven beneficial in actually pinpointing the leak. That, along with my being unaware of any OEM that approves the use of any kind of 'dye' accompanied with the unknown health risks just don't make it seem worth it."

Lou also thought it might be beneficial to offer a rechargeable cordless light with the unit.

"I have used the 'Knucklehead' by Streamlight and find it has plenty of output for spotting the smoke 98 percent of the time. I am sure if they were to get with some light gurus they could find a perfect match in terms of lumens and wavelength."

Overall, Lou was pleased with the unit.

"I give the 'Air Complete' a rock solid 10+. Having owned several Redline products for many years. I know they build quality in every tool they offer. They are easy to deal with on the phone or by e-mail, should a problem arise, they will make it as small a problem as they can."