Smartphones have revolutionised the way we work and live in a very short space of time; “there's an app for that” may have been the slogan that launched a thousand apps but it's definitely true, whatever you need help with there is an app designed specifically for that purpose. Some apps are designed to fulfil a particular function that can be applied over several uses, such as torch apps, compasses and even scales (which use the ability to sense pressure to weigh items on the phone screen).
Big Magnify is a free app that magnifies objects captured through the camera up to five times the size. Some phone cameras may let you do this with the phone already, but many do not go to this scale, so this app would be useful for anyone who works with small components, some of which may be hard to see if they are out of the way. Using this app in a tight space will allow you to see a detailed zoomed in picture of the potential problem, without having to access the part or disassemble is speculatively.
Hydraulic equipment does generate noise, and excess noise may be the first indicator of a problem. Using Decibel Meter Pro when you start using equipment for the first time allows you to record and store the normal operating levels of a particular piece so there is a baseline record. If the equipment makes more or less noise than it should the same app can be used to record the change, which may help diagnose the problem. Whilst this app is not free to download, at around 99p it’s a bargain for anyone who regularly works with loud equipment.
For those who use and repair hydraulic machinery outside, the free Metal Detector app is a lifesaver if you drop a small part in the grass. It may seem like a strange app to develop, but it works well enough to locate missing parts and is a lot quicker than finding a magnet and then dragging it around the area, hoping it will pick up that tiny part. It's also incredibly useful for locating any lost metal object at home and whilst out and about; and if you still put a coin in your Christmas pudding you can use this app to ensure you're the one that gets the lucky piece!
Convert Free is a great app for anyone working with formulae and numbers, as it can convert a huge range of measurements accurately. It takes away the need to remember conversion formulae and does the work at the touch of a button much more easily than using the calculator on a smart phone. Although this app is not specifically aimed at hydraulic engineers, the Hydraulic Engineer app is. It contains some of the same features as the conversion app, but has 300 conversion formulae for hydraulic power engineering as well as 60 area formulae. There are also actuator, hydraulic tubing, pump and induction motor selection tools, making it a worthwhile investment.
Another app designed specifically for hydraulic engineers is the Hydraulic Troubleshooting app, which is a free download. This app contains a technical bulletin library explaining some of the common problems, as well as a video library giving detailed visual explanations of these issues. The troubleshooting section of the app is a ten step program that guides you through the quickest process for diagnosing and solving most hydraulic problems. The idea is that by the end of the process the problem should be resolved, and if not it gives the user an action plan to follow in order to get the issue fixed.
Are there any apps, hydraulics specific or not, that you have used to help fix a problem or that make your job easier in any way? Please share them in the comments below.