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How often do you clean and calibrate your pH probes? Poll is created on Sep 13, 2023

  
  
  
  
  
  

pH meters/pens - how much do you take care of your kit ?

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Sevans
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pH Meters, such a crucial piece of kit, especially for non-soil growers. However, dabbling with soil grows on the side, I learned firsthand that incorrectly pH’ed water will catch up with you in time!

Earlier this year I upgraded some of my testing equipment, specifically my pH & EC Pen (to a HANNA HI9814). Then 6 months later (last few weeks) I decided to add a pH doser to my hydro system. I decided to go with the HANNA Groline doser. Same specs as my HI9814.

Initially I was surprised when I got two different reading between units, especially when it was significantly beyond the margin of error!

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Before I continue, in my line of work, I should have known better, but part of my error is/was my lack of understanding when it comes to pH meters. Because “pH control” is so important to us, I thought it benificial to share my recent experience. 

Nice thing having two pieces of kit from the same manufacturer, less finger pointing and more problem solving 😎. I thought the issue would be the handheld, being 6 months older! I calibrated both meters and got a approx. 0.2 difference! I contacted tech support. They told me to soak the probes in cleaning solution for 30 mins, rinse with distilled water, then soak probes in storage solution for 2 hrs to rehydrate probe (if you don’t have storage solution, soak in pH7 calibration fluid).

yesterday, I followed the above mentioned process with my handheld. Then checked pH reading of the calibration fluid after calibration. Since then, used the meter a few times. Tonight I followed the above mentioned process with my NEW probe (that was reading 0.2 different compared to my HI9814). 

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The comparison is almost within the margin of error between the units, I still had the calibration fluid from doing the doser a few mins ago, the handheld drifted (not uncommon with measuring equipment, we have to calibrate our $1/4 mil spectrographs daily for “drift”. 
so that begs the question, how often do you clean, and calibrate grow pH meters?
Doing some additional investigation, since the probe for my doser is submerged, it requires more frequent cleaning and calibration! My cleaning and calibration practices are changing forth with, but I’ll embarrass myself and start the poll with my past practice. 

Don’t assume your new piece of kit was packaged and handled properly before you spent your hard earned cash on it  Do yourself a favour, and assume it wasn’t. Clean it, rehydrate it, calibrate it…….   Now you can use it 😉😎

 

 

 

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

 
Posted : September 13, 2023 4:35 am
Bangswitch2A, twisted1, monkeydo and 2 people reacted
Butters
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I was actually thinking about this, this morning. You've inspired me. I might even go do it now

 
Posted : September 13, 2023 11:17 am
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Sevans
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@butters doing some reading on the subject, commercial operations will calibrate anywhere from hourly to daily! The probe is a porous glass as I upstanding it, so I can see where cleanliness is next to godliness. I was thinking of cleaning and calibrating monthly. In the coming weeks, I think I’ll sacrifice some pH7 calibration standard and test the probes every few days, and track the results. Once they drift beyond my comfort level, that will define my cleaning and calibration schedule. I’ll post results in this thread.
Good info to share.

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

 
Posted : September 13, 2023 1:01 pm
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monkeydo
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One thing I do is run 2 Ph meters (identical) at the same time. Some days I check with both and sometimes I just switch up one for the other. If any reading seems out it usually means it’s time to calibrate so I calibrate both and go from there. Also, because my base nutrients are Advanced Nutrients Ph perfect formula, when first mixed the Ph is always between 5.8 and 5.9 so that’s a great way for me to check calibration every few days.

Oddly enough, the frostiest run I’ve ever had was done with the least Ph control. I usually try to keep the Ph range tight between 5.8 - 5.9, maybe drifting to 6.0 on a rare day. I generally mix a 3-4 day res for coco grows so one run I didn’t adjust anything unless it was below 5.5 or above 6.4. Now it’s not certain if the frost was due to Ph but I need to do a side by side comparison with clones for verification.

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Posted : September 14, 2023 2:34 pm
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GrowDad
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You need an option “I don’t check and calibrate my ph meter” “lol. I use the old school liquid set to check my PH.  

Be a good person!

 
Posted : September 14, 2023 6:44 pm
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The Dreaded One
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I check my pen  by placing in the ph 7 liquid  and if its out I would then calibrate. I do this every other time I use my ph pen. I clean the probe with distilled  water  before and after every use.  

 
Posted : September 17, 2023 11:17 am
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Sevans
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@monkeydo got me thinking, I have two meters with the same specs. So I added a couple of fields to my log. Depending on the pH delta between my two units I’ll get a green light or red light. Red indicating cleaning and calibration is recommended. It turned red if I only enter one reading, that’s ok, I want it to get my attention. Since pH readings are dependent on temp, I need to add some formatting to alert me if the temp delta is too much, another indicator to clean and calibrate. 

currently I have my pH delta set at +/- 0.05, so this mornings reading is saying I need to PM my kit, or I need to open up my threshold a little, which I might do. +/- 0.05 is probably a little tighter than I need  I entered a good reading below just to demonstrate the formatting  

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Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

 
Posted : September 18, 2023 3:14 pm
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@sevans1965 I love that you use excel for your logging.   In my grow room I log on paper, but monthly ill sit down and put it all into my xlsx.  Once that's done, I use a pivot table to drive charts for temp, RH, and VPD.

What I've learned to-date is the latest my VPD swings are waaay more than I'd like.  Improvements coming soon!!

 
Posted : September 22, 2023 12:46 pm
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Sevans
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@stashnugsmor I enter real-time via my phone or tablet, saving the spreadsheet on the cloud makes accessibility very easy. I track VPD and try and control within the means of my setup. If temps go higher than I can control, I opt to put a max limit on RH, since I fear humidity related issues more than VPD drift.

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

 
Posted : September 22, 2023 3:58 pm

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