Preparing for NATE CHP-5 Exams: A CEO’s Perspective
by Chris Compton, CEO and Founder of HVACRedu.net
February 14, 2022: Notes on the Electrical & Controls CHP-5 Exam:
I took the first online proctored CHP-5 exam on the evening of the 12th of February.
My interest is to determine the rigor of the CHP-5 Certification
exam process. With that, we can make sure that we are providing adequate study materials to technicians that are willing to go for it. I took the CHP-5 Electrical & Controls exam first because that is where most technicians fall over.
I found it to be a reasonable exam for residential certification. It is survivable for someone that has extensive residential service experience plus some training or has recently completed at least a year long HVAC/R technical program. You can be successful with that type of background.
I would not recommend wasting your money without doing some study prep on the electrical side of HVAC/R. The online proctored exam is very convenient because you can take it at your convenience at home, in the office and on your day and time. I missed one question out of 30. I believe it was related to ECM motors. I’ve been working and teaching this trade for 43 years. The only thing I did to prepare for the CHP-5 Electrical & Controls exam is go through our four TCA (Technical Core Assessment) exams prior to taking the CHP-5 exam. Did it so I could relate what we are doing to prepare a technician for a Certification success. The TCA was helpful for me, got my head back in the electrical side of HVAC/R. My takeaway is that we are doing a darn good job of teaching the technology and with that, technicians should be successful on Certification exams.
Here is my input related to the Electrical & Controls Domain knowledge areas that stood out for me during the exam.
• Electrical Science Fundamentals
o Need to know how to use Ohm’s Law. Our 111 DC Electrical, and the stand-alone tutorial: Terminology and Units of Measurement will get you through this.
• Basic Electricity
o Need to know the measurement units of electricity. Our 111, 112, and the stand-alone tutorials: Terminology and Units of Measurement, Series Circuits & Parallel Circuits will prepare you well beyond the target of this domain of the CHP-5 Electrical & Controls exam.
• Wiring Layouts
o Need to know how to read residential equipment schematics o Need to know the different styles of schematics
o Need to know schematic symbols
It often seems that schematics are the great mystery of life, and they are until you get your head around them. To bone up on schematics turn your attention to our course, 113 Electrical Common Components, and the tutorial: Intro to Understanding Electrical Schematics.
• Overview of Electrical Troubleshooting
o Need to know voltage readings for open or closed switches
o Need to know how to ohm out a single-phase compressor
o Need to know about capacitors as applied to motors
o Need to know the gamut of how single-phase motor starting relays work
o Need to know gas furnace sequence of operation
If electrical troubleshooting residential systems is something that you do regularly then you shouldn’t have much trouble. For those with no or limited experience this domain area could be a real challenge for you. There is much involved in electrical troubleshooting HVAC/R systems. You need to know sequence of operation for various residential systems, how to use a meter, all types of single phase electric motors, etc. Our offerings cover all of this in detail and more, but I can’t honestly recommend any specific course other than to study all the electrical courses and tutorials we offer. That will get you there plus some!
o Need to know some things about ECM’s
o Common controls electrical-mechanical and electronic.
Again, the exam is focused on residential systems, AC, HP, Gas Heat systems. If you are employed as a technician and doing that work regularly you should have the experience to deal with this domain. If not, I recommend a study across the board of our Electrical and Service categories. Stay tuned, I am scheduled to take the CHP-5 Fundamentals exam section Tuesday afternoon and will continue my reporting on the process and will report on each one as I take it. I will have all 5 completed by next week.
Chris Compton, Founder, CEO, CMHE, CMS
February 15, 2022: Notes on the Fundamentals CHP-5 Exam:
Well now I’m two exams down with three more to go. The Electrical & Controls exam was what I expected it to be. I have to say that the Fundamentals was more of the same. I wasn’t as well prepared for it but passed it with a scores ranging from 100% to 83% across the 5 topic areas. If I did the math right, I missed four. I’ve broken it down as before with some pointers as to where you head needs to be if you are going for it.
o If you have been through an OSHA 10 or 30 in the past few years you should be good to go. Mostly related to safety closely related to the normal HVACR workplace, service, or construction. The good news is our US students typically test high in Safety when they take our entrance exam, the TCA (Technical Core Assessment). Our campus is online, so we have technicians in our campus from all over the country. We do have HVACR safety courses, OSHA 10 & 30 and our own 102 Safety.
o My tool exam section was more related to refrigeration cycle tools, you need to know them. I actually missed one of these. Don’t have a clue of what it is. I would make sure you know your hand tools and how to use them and be aware of what is available to technicians today in the line of the more common digital instruments. We have 109 Hand and Power Tools that covers this section of the CHP-5 Fundamentals.
• Basic Construction
o My section was all related to HVAC installs and what normally happens on an install. I would say if you have installed some residential HVAC systems and were paying attention to how a building is put together you should survive this section. Our 106 Building Systems is a quick course that covers this well.
• Basic Science and Heat Transfer
o Maybe these were so easy to me that I didn’t twitch. The best thing to do for this section is review the basic physics if it’s been awhile, and definitely if you have never had them. Our Fundamentals 101 is a good study for this and be expected to know some common HVAC formulas related to basic Psychrometrics. We have that covered with our 121 Air Systems and Properties course.
• Codes and Regulations
o I missed one of these. The focus was on building and electrical codes. It seems that the focus in on the more common and noteworthy codes related to the installation of Residential HVAC systems and the Electrical related to the same. If you have worked residential installs and paid attention this should be okay. If you haven’t too bad. We don’t have a course that focuses specifically on this general knowledge area. Our courses address code issues as it applies to the course topic. Example: 135 Heat Pumps. 133 Gas Furnace, 241 R-410A, etc.
Yes, some shameless plugs for our courses but whether you come see us or not, or if you are already enrolled in one of our programs somewhere, this is my honest assessment of what you will run into taking the CHP-5 Fundamentals exam. So far, after taking two of the series, I find the CHP-5 series as an acceptable measure of a technicians knowledge base and therefore be “Certified”. Three more to go, I’ll keep you posted.
Chris Compton, Founder, CEO, CMHE, CMS