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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: a10t2 on May 14, 2019, 08:00:07 PM

Title: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: a10t2 on May 14, 2019, 08:00:07 PM
After a not-so-good experience with a really cheap pH meter years ago, I went back to the ColorpHast strips and have to say I haven't had any regrets, but I'm starting to do some kettle sours and the 4-7 range doesn't cut it for that. Looking through some old threads it seems like the recommended models run about $120, which is hard to justify for home use.

Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778

At $50 for ±0.01 readout and a replaceable electrode, it seems like a bargain.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: BrewBama on May 14, 2019, 09:16:28 PM
I did not have good luck with the pen style pH meter though it was a different brand. Even on the hit-and-miss chance it worked I was suspicious.

I went with a $96 MW101 that I have been very pleased with and recommend to anyone in the pH meter market. https://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-MW101-PH-Meter/dp/B0009YH06Y


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 14, 2019, 09:17:06 PM
OTOH I might find it hard to justify not having a meter for home use.  I've always been extremely pleased with the Hanna pHep5, a pocket type meter at ~$100.  With proper use and maintenance,  the electrode can last well over 2 years, at which point it's another ~$50.  Annually, I probably spend around $50 on maintenance solutions, not sure exactly.  Anyway, given the number of samples I  check (probably >200/year,) and assuming I'd pay around $38 plus tax and shipping for 100  ColorpHast strips, I figure I come out ahead.  And the precision is much greater, which matters to me, though not to everyone.  It all depends on what your requirements for precision are and how often you use it, but a reasonably priced meter -- not a cheap one, mind you -- may be a prudent choice, once you get past the initial investment.  If your use is infrequent and casual, strips may be ok.  I'll believe Sean's experience suggesting that a cheap meter is just throwing away money.


EDIT here's a link, I really do recommend this

https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: narcout on May 14, 2019, 10:45:55 PM
I have an MW101 that I am not using if you want it (free of charge).  It doesn't have a probe, so you'd have to get a new one.  I think they run about $35.

Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

Here's a picture:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32945.0
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: KellerBrauer on May 15, 2019, 12:25:27 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778


I began my all-grain brewing experience with a pH meter from Hanna Instruments.  I like it, seemed to work fine.  But then, after about two years, it began giving me erroneous readings.  So I bought an Extech; it was cheap!  Never heard if it?  Probably because they really suck!  The first one they sent was way off right out of the box.  So, I called and they sent me another...no questions asked. (That tells you how cheap the meter was). The second meter came and it too was way off.  Why am I telling this story?  Because the Extech is exactly the same meter you linked to at MoreBeer, however, with a different name.

My solution was to simply replace the sensing element for about $50 and my Hanna was working again.  In fact, that’s been well over 2 years ago.  So, from my perspective, I’ll repeat a saying I have seen many times on this forum: “buy once, cry once”.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 15, 2019, 01:04:36 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778


I began my all-grain brewing experience with a pH meter from Hanna Instruments.  I like it, seemed to work fine.  But then, after about two years, it began giving me erroneous readings.  So I bought an Extech; it was cheap!  Never heard if it?  Probably because they really suck!  The first one they sent was way off right out of the box.  So, I called and they sent me another...no questions asked. (That tells you how cheap the meter was). The second meter came and it too was way off.  Why am I telling this story?  Because the Extech is exactly the same meter you linked to at MoreBeer, however, with a different name.

My solution was to simply replace the sensing element for about $50 and my Hanna was working again.  In fact, that’s been well over 2 years ago.  So, from my perspective, I’ll repeat a saying I have seen many times on this forum: “buy once, cry once”.
Yep, they guarantee the replaceable electrode on the Hanna for 6 months, but if you're good to it you'll easily get two years.   And the cherry on top with Hanna electrodes is the renewable junction. When the meter starts to get a little slower in reading or calibrating, despite regular cleaning, it's because the junction is getting clogged.  You can just pull it out a little bit to expose a fresh section.  This will even further extend the service life of the electrode. 
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: narcout on May 15, 2019, 02:08:24 PM
The Extechs aren't all bad.  I have the version with the refillable electrode (I think it was around $90 on Amazon), and I've been very happy with it.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: a10t2 on May 19, 2019, 03:39:01 AM
Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I should ask: what don't you like about it?
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Silver_Is_Money on May 19, 2019, 12:36:39 PM
I have an Apera pH60 and I find it to be a decent pH meter for the price.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Visor on May 19, 2019, 04:20:32 PM
   I also have a less than positive opinion of the MW 101, I bought one about 3 years ago and it gave me problems from the very start. For one thing it took at least 5 minutes to lock in on a reading, which is unacceptable. It also would sometimes give wildly different readings of the same sample. I eventually found out that it probably had a faulty probe, but by then the warranty had expired and I was stuck with a worthless $120 POS. In the end I took DM Taylor's advice and got an inexpensive pen type meter from Amazon which has proven to be surprisingly accurate and reliable, probably paid $20-$30.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: narcout on May 19, 2019, 06:44:55 PM
Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I should ask: what don't you like about it?

I found the manual calibration to be virtually impossible due to the inevitable drift.  It also takes forever.

Compare that to a meter with automatic calibration where all you have to do is press a button and wait 15 seconds.  I much prefer the latter.

My advice to anyone in the market for a pH meter is that manual calibration sucks.

There are, however, a number of people that are happy with the MW101.  Maybe I'm just an idiot.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Megary on May 21, 2019, 04:35:20 PM
Same pH meter on-line at 2 places.
It has an Oatey/Hercules name (a plumbing/heating/chemical equipment company), but if you zoom in you can see that the meter is made by Hanna.  Unfortunately, I know very little about pH meters so I can't say if this one is any good.  But maybe someone has experience with either Hanna or this pH meter in particular to say whether or not it would be worth the $25. That price from Amazon seems like a mistake.

On Amazon for either $25 or $181 (??)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new)

Being sold at AFR Supply for $195.00
https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html (https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html)
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Megary on May 21, 2019, 04:50:08 PM
Upon further investigation, this seems to be the same meter as the Hanna pHep5:

On Hanna's website for $99
https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html (https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html)

So if this unit is any good (even if its decent) the $25.00 price on Amazon seems to be quite a deal. 
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 21, 2019, 04:54:24 PM
Upon further investigation, this seems to be the same meter as the Hanna pHep5:

On Hanna's website for $99
https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html (https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html)

So if this unit is any good (even if its decent) the $25.00 price on Amazon seems to be quite a deal.
As per my posts above, I highly recommend that Hanna meter.  If there's no catch to the $25 price (how can they do that?!) snap it up.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Megary on May 21, 2019, 05:17:54 PM
I'll definitely pick one up and hope its legit.  My only fear is that, just like at the big box home improvement centers, anything that seems to be a great bargain has only been cheapened to get it there.

To get the free shipping, I'll have to add a bag of bottle caps!
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 21, 2019, 05:31:34 PM
I'll definitely pick one up and hope its legit.  My only fear is that, just like at the big box home improvement centers, anything that seems to be a great bargain has only been cheapened to get it there.

To get the free shipping, I'll have to add a bag of bottle caps!
Don't for get cleaning, storage, and calibration solutions.   If they sell those from the same vendor, that'll get your free shipping for sure.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Megary on May 21, 2019, 06:26:46 PM
Stupid question:  The temp range for this meter says 23-140F.  Assuming a mash around 150, do you take a mash sample and allow it to cool before taking a reading?
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: denny on May 21, 2019, 06:44:48 PM
Stupid question:  The temp range for this meter says 23-140F.  Assuming a mash around 150, do you take a mash sample and allow it to cool before taking a reading?

Yes.  Readings should always be taken at room temp, both to pro,not the ligge of the meter and to get a more accurate reading.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 21, 2019, 07:57:25 PM


Stupid question:  The temp range for this meter says 23-140F.  Assuming a mash around 150, do you take a mash sample and allow it to cool before taking a reading?

Yes.  Readings should always be taken at room temp, both to pro,not the ligge of the meter and to get a more accurate reading.

Pro,not the ligge means prolong the life.  I'm learning to speak Dennyese.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: denny on May 21, 2019, 08:39:22 PM


Stupid question:  The temp range for this meter says 23-140F.  Assuming a mash around 150, do you take a mash sample and allow it to cool before taking a reading?

Yes.  Readings should always be taken at room temp, both to pro,not the ligge of the meter and to get a more accurate reading.

One of these days I'll learn to read what I type...or maybe not.

Pro,not the ligge means prolong the life.  I'm learning to speak Dennyese.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: a10t2 on May 22, 2019, 03:50:29 AM
So, after doing some more research, I decided that a meter is more money and effort than I want to deal with at home, and just ordered a pack of the 2.5-4.5 ColorpHast strips.

Thanks for all the suggestions and insights!
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: KellerBrauer on May 22, 2019, 11:19:04 AM
Same pH meter on-line at 2 places.
It has an Oatey/Hercules name (a plumbing/heating/chemical equipment company), but if you zoom in you can see that the meter is made by Hanna.  Unfortunately, I know very little about pH meters so I can't say if this one is any good.  But maybe someone has experience with either Hanna or this pH meter in particular to say whether or not it would be worth the $25. That price from Amazon seems like a mistake.

On Amazon for either $25 or $181 (??)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new)

Being sold at AFR Supply for $195.00
https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html (https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html)

This looks like the same meter I bought in 2014 for $125.  I would be highly skeptical of this meter being sold for $25.  But, I’m a skeptic by nature.  ;)
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 22, 2019, 11:28:10 AM
Same pH meter on-line at 2 places.
It has an Oatey/Hercules name (a plumbing/heating/chemical equipment company), but if you zoom in you can see that the meter is made by Hanna.  Unfortunately, I know very little about pH meters so I can't say if this one is any good.  But maybe someone has experience with either Hanna or this pH meter in particular to say whether or not it would be worth the $25. That price from Amazon seems like a mistake.

On Amazon for either $25 or $181 (??)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new)

Being sold at AFR Supply for $195.00
https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html (https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html)

This looks like the same meter I bought in 2014 for $125.  I would be highly skeptical of this meter being sold for $25.  But, I’m a skeptic by nature.  ;)
The question is, will you get what's pictured or described, or is a different item coming for the price?  My LHBS has fulfilled for Amazon, with some frustration, and explained to me that the vendor who fulfills orders has no direct control over the pictures and descriptions.   So if they change the product lines they carry, they can't just automatically update the postings to reflect this.  They may once have offered the Hanna meter, but now offer a cheaper one, and only the price has been updated, no fault of their own.  Yes, I too am a skeptic (cynic?) by nature.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: KellerBrauer on May 22, 2019, 11:38:05 AM
+1 to that ^^^^^^^
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: tommymorris on May 22, 2019, 12:02:46 PM
Is this the topic for pH meter therapy?

I too hate my meter. It’s a Thermworks pen style.

The last 10 or so batches I have just trusted Brunwater. So much less stress. I look at the Ph meter hanging on the wall and don’t miss the extra work and especially the doubt and frustration.

I just bought some fresh batteries to try it again. The last time I used it  the batteries died. I guess I am a glutton for punishment.

Did we cover pH meters in college chemistry? Jeez I took two chemistry classes you would think this would be easy.

PS. Is it pH or PH or Ph?

Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Megary on May 22, 2019, 01:22:08 PM
For those taking pH readings:
How long does it take you to mash in, draw a mash sample, wait for it to cool, get your pH, make the necessary adjustments?
If I understand mashing, the first 20-30 minutes are the most important.  Maybe the whole pH adjustment takes a matter of only a few minutes, but I'd be concerned about wasting too much time fumbling with cooling and worrying about whether or not the meter is giving an accurate reading.  By the time I got comfortable with knowing how much lactic acid to add, it would all be academic.

Maybe that's why Tommy says he just trusts Bru'nwater.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: goose on May 22, 2019, 01:53:00 PM
For those taking pH readings:
How long does it take you to mash in, draw a mash sample, wait for it to cool, get your pH, make the necessary adjustments?
If I understand mashing, the first 20-30 minutes are the most important.  Maybe the whole pH adjustment takes a matter of only a few minutes, but I'd be concerned about wasting too much time fumbling with cooling and worrying about whether or not the meter is giving an accurate reading.  By the time I got comfortable with knowing how much lactic acid to add, it would all be academic.

Maybe that's why Tommy says he just trusts Bru'nwater.

I put a small sample of the mash liquid into a shot glass (just enough to cover the electrodes) and cool it in a cold water bath.  I can get the temp down to room temperature in a few minutes.  if you swirl the sample in the water bath you can cool it a bit more quickly.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Robert on May 22, 2019, 02:05:17 PM
I don't make adjustments after mashing in.  I plan a water treatment that should get me close, take a pH sample to check it, and make adjustments the next time. Taking good notes and building on experience is a key part of good brewing.  I take the sample at about 15 minutes into the mash, when pH should be well settled in.  At this point the buffer systems that have set up will make it keep pulling back to where it is, so as long as it's in the ballpark it's a little futile IME to try to make adjustments at that point. But you surely could.  Anyway,  I just use a little tea strainer to scoop enough liquid into a small glass to immerse the probe, then set it in the freezer for a few minutes until cool enough.   But that puts you at around 25 minutes in, when most of the conversion has taken place.  So again, it's as much about improving in the future as confirming the present.   And I don't bkindly trust Bru'n Water.   It, or other calculators, will give you a guide to getting in the ballpark.  It will put you probably +/- 0.02 pH units from the predicted value most of the time.  But they estimate based on a lot of assumptions, and cannot know all the real world conditions involved.  So checking actual pH  against the prediction, and learning how it varies, will allow you to dial in the application of the guidance you get from the software to fit your actual situation.  (My longstanding practice didn't involve software at all.  Just a mini test mash in a saucepan to plan treatment for the full scale batch.  More realistic,  but messier.  I still sometimes do this, and sometimes do all my own calculations by hand... but I'm probably nuts.)
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: blatz on May 22, 2019, 05:46:09 PM
Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I should ask: what don't you like about it?

I found the manual calibration to be virtually impossible due to the inevitable drift.  It also takes forever.

Compare that to a meter with automatic calibration where all you have to do is press a button and wait 15 seconds.  I much prefer the latter.

My advice to anyone in the market for a pH meter is that manual calibration sucks.

There are, however, a number of people that are happy with the MW101.  Maybe I'm just an idiot.

100% agree.  I bought a Hanna and enjoy keeping track of pH again.  my MW101 is collecting dust.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: pfabsits on May 28, 2019, 11:01:45 PM
After a not-so-good experience with a really cheap pH meter years ago, I went back to the ColorpHast strips and have to say I haven't had any regrets, but I'm starting to do some kettle sours and the 4-7 range doesn't cut it for that. Looking through some old threads it seems like the recommended models run about $120, which is hard to justify for home use.

Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778

At $50 for ±0.01 readout and a replaceable electrode, it seems like a bargain.

There are many options available from Hanna Instruments. I would recommend getting a meter with ATC since the influence of temperature on pH increases as the pH goes down or up from 7. That is pH 7 is the isopotential point with regards to temp (changing temp does not change value).  If you are using for mash then I would still recommend some cooling. There are probes rated for high temperature but I would still stay under 170 oF.

https://hannainst.com/hi98107-phep-ph-tester.html

$39.95
Has ATC
Automatic 1 or 2 point calibration
pH/Temp readout
Waterproof

Cons:
ATC to 122 oF. It looks like the temperature reading will only read and compensate to 122 oF. I will have to confirm since we use 122 oF for meter environment which is nto the same as what a probe can be used for.

The HI98107 would be equivalent to our HI98127 with 0.1 resolution and replaceable probe. The meters with 0.01 resolution would include HI98108 and HI98128 (with replaceable probe). I like 0.01 pH resolution but realize most people are looking at 0.2- 0.3 pH unit accuracy since best practices are not used.

Our meters are made in our factory. We do not contract manufacture. That means design, electronics, injection molding, glass blowing, chemicals, etc are all done in house. The main factory is in Romania with our most expensive products (titrators, spectrophotmeters) made in Woonsocket, RI.

The testers that you see on Amazon are typically Chinese knock offs. Ours and our competitors designs have been copied and sold through various channels. In India someone would import then pad print our name with instruction manual. The testers that I have purchased from the local market did not work.

Bottom line: If you buy from us we are here for warranty and service support. If you have questions tyou can talk to an Applications Engineer. Most problems that we find are on the user error side. It is important to keep probe hydrated by using storage solution. It is important to periodically clean the electrode. It is important to calibrate with fresh buffer (Use sachets for the infrequent user).

I have posted a lot of information on pH. If you have any questions I am more than happy to help.
Title: Re: pH Meter on a Budget
Post by: Buckeye Hydro on June 19, 2019, 09:37:59 AM
MW102 is what we've solid into the brewing world for years. https://www.buckeyehydro.com/mw102-ph-meter/