This weekend I have received the first edition of the Fluid Power Reference Handbook from Fluid Power Society and in this article I would like to share my first impression about (my potential) ref-book for $75 USD.
Yes, I have paid $74.95 USD + 27.75 USD for delivery to Canada. If you are not a member of IFPS, the price for this handbook to be $99.95 USD. But if be honest, even $75 is pretty expensive for me. But I was assumed this book will be my table book for everyday usage and decided to spend so much money.
The book was delivered in a simple soft paper envelope and was damaged in its way, thanks to USPS and Canada Post. Actually, IFPS could send this book in a safe envelope with bubbles, but they didn’t do that, unfortunately. So, pages were crumpled and the back cover is with a scratch (the book has a softcover binding).
Anyways, it is what it is. Let’s take a look at what is inside of the book. And I’m going to compare this issue with my existing “Lightning Reference Handbook” (Eight Edition, 2001) that I was gotten from the vendor for FREE 6 years ago.
Fluid Power Reference Handbook consists of 20 chapters, 360 pages. Each chapter has own color with bookmarks at the side and it is really comfortable to search a targeted chapter. The paper is of pretty good quality and thickness what is good for everyday usage:
But what I was really disappointed is the quality of the images! The minor of them are good because they probably were in a vector format. But it looks like most of the images were in raster format (like JPEG or BMP) and look really poor and unprofessional! And because the resolution of these images was low, some text is missed and some text is hard to read! Here are a couple of examples:
Handbook starts with a short safety chapter and the next chapter is a Fluid Power Symbology, and it is so short, I even do not see the reason to put it in the book! In addition, the editor’s choice of symbols looks at least strange for me… At the old “Lightning Reference Handbook”, there are much more symbols and I often check some of them. I do not say all ISO 1219 symbols I wish to see here (for that you can always take a look Standard), but the provided set is at least not useful.
The next chapter “Fluid power data” is one of the strongest parts of this book. It contains formulas, unit conversions and additional info for system calculations that, as I found, was copied from “Fluid Power Math for Certification” – the book which provided for everybody who is applied for IFPS Certification. This is an extremely useful part even now in my practice. If you read my blog, you remember I found pretty a lot of mistakes in equations of “Fluid Power Math for Certification”, but in the new handbook all these mistakes are fixed, what is nice.
The next chapters give me an answer why the Handbook is so thick. I found a lot of text which transfers a reference book to kind of a study manual. I’m not sure if it is a good idea to describe how compressor or pump works or a definition of filter mechanism. My opinion is a reference book has to be a reference, not a reading for a night. I suspect, guys from IFPS just put a study material from the book what they sell for Certifications and decided to share it in this Handbook. I think the professionals who need this reference are not required in study materials and pictures “how gear pump looks like”, but this is my opinion only. I’m sure, somebody will like this idea.
My opinion, It will be much better if instead study manual editors added more useful info like tables with ports dimensions, temperature-viscosity charts, tables with fluid density and specific gravity, etc., what can make the handbook a real “reference book”.
But I really like chapters “Connectors & Conductors” and “Valves” that contains a lot of info missed in “Lightning Reference Handbook”.
“Buying Fluid Power Reference Handbook” I thought it will be the one hydraulic reference book only on my table, but instead I need to keep three of them: “Lightning Reference Handbook” and “Fluid Power Reference Handbook” complement each other, “Fluid Power Math for Certification” is comfortable to use when you need to find a formula quickly. I do not say “Fluid Power Reference Handbook” is bad or unuseful, and my impression, of course, can be different from yours, because it mostly based on everyday usage of reference books in my practice and I exactly know what I would like to see.