Author Topic: PH meter  (Read 1829 times)

Offline Pi

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PH meter
« on: December 08, 2011, 06:14:02 AM »
Can anyone recomend a decent PH meter for the homebrewer? I've seen them for around 100 bucks. Would make a nice xmas present.
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 06:49:34 AM »
I will let others give the recommendations, but don't forget some buffer solutions for calibration, cleaning solution, storage solution.  So add those to the total, or subtract from your $100 and see what is in that range.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 06:56:06 AM »
Milwaukee MW-101 is a decent meter with just enough features and precision for brewing usage.  You do want a meter that reads down to the hundreth of a pH unit, even though you will only need to know down to about the tenth of a unit.  It does incorporate a manual temperature compensation feature, but its not really needed.  Automatic temperature compensation is not needed.

The meter is under $80, but do get some small bottles of pH 4, pH 7, and storage solution to help protect and verify your investment.
Martin B
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Offline richardt

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 07:00:37 AM »
Jeff's advice is not to be ignored.  If you do, expect the pH meter to "fail" to work properly after a few uses.
If you're interested, Martin Brungard has some great information about how pH meters and storage solutions work spread out among various posts on this forum--check them out.  [Suggestion for Martin--perhaps a summary section on using and maintaining a pH meter could be added to your bru'nwater calculator spreadsheet--water knowledge tab to make it more easily accessible?]

Offline Kirk

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 10:58:08 AM »
I just bought the Milwaukee PH600 for 22 bucks and am tickled with it.  It has all the accuracy I need (.1), is stable (meaning no long wait for it to show an accurate reading), simple manual calibration (using only 7.0 solution), and no PH storage solution needed (you store it in water). 

The probe went bad on my old meter and it costs 70 bucks to replace, no thanks, and honestly, I don't know why a homebrewer would need a meter to read two decimal (.01) accuracy.
Kirk Howell

Offline euge

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 12:18:51 PM »
I just bought a cheap Hannah "Champ" for around $30 to replace my 2yo meter that cost 3 times as much. So far it has worked flawlessly and is easy to callibrate without much if any drift.

You'll need solution, though probably not the 4. The General Hydroponics 7 also doubles as storage solution and I calibrate my meter with this.
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Offline bo

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 12:52:39 PM »
I just bought the Milwaukee PH600 for 22 bucks and am tickled with it.  It has all the accuracy I need (.1), is stable (meaning no long wait for it to show an accurate reading), simple manual calibration (using only 7.0 solution), and no PH storage solution needed (you store it in water). 

The probe went bad on my old meter and it costs 70 bucks to replace, no thanks, and honestly, I don't know why a homebrewer would need a meter to read two decimal (.01) accuracy.

Nice find!

Offline Pi

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 06:38:14 AM »

The probe went bad on my old meter and it costs 70 bucks to replace, no thanks, and honestly, I don't know why a homebrewer would need a meter to read two decimal (.01) accuracy.
How'd you know the probe went bad?
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 07:00:17 AM »
I concur that homebrewers have little need in worrying about mash pH to the hundreths, but there is merit in having a meter that reports that finely.  Having the meter report to the hundreths allows the user to assess how the pH reading is trending and if the reading is relatively stable. 

Most brewers should now know that mash pH reading is dependent upon the temperature of the wort and that they should not stick their pH probe into hot wort.  The wort needs to be cooled to room temperature to protect the probe and stabilize the wort pH variation.  The good thing about having the capability to observe the hundreths of a pH unit is that the user can see how much the pH is jumping around and if its settling into a relatively stable range or if its still moving upward or downward.  (I note that pH meter readings typically jump around a couple of hundreths)  With a meter that only reports to the tenths of a unit, the user will have little indication as to the pH stabilizing.  And since the meter is rounding the result to the nearest tenth, the user won't really know if the pH was 5.35 or 5.44.  That means that the result might be up to 0.05 units off.  The good thing is that there isn't really much concern that their reading is 0.05 units off.

So I suggest that using a meter that reads to the hundreths is useful, but a brewer should only concern themselves with the pH reading to the tenths level. 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Offline Kirk

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 08:40:07 AM »

The probe went bad on my old meter and it costs 70 bucks to replace, no thanks, and honestly, I don't know why a homebrewer would need a meter to read two decimal (.01) accuracy.
How'd you know the probe went bad?

It quit calibrating with the 4.0 juice, just wouldn't accept it.  And, the readings were drifting all over the place.
Kirk Howell

Offline jeffy

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 08:53:15 AM »

The probe went bad on my old meter and it costs 70 bucks to replace, no thanks, and honestly, I don't know why a homebrewer would need a meter to read two decimal (.01) accuracy.
How'd you know the probe went bad?

It quit calibrating with the 4.0 juice, just wouldn't accept it.  And, the readings were drifting all over the place.
Mine is getting very slow at 4.0 calibration.  Isn't there some sort of acid that cleans the probe?  I may remember reading somewhere that a citric acid soak helps.  Or was that for a clogged aeration stone?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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BJCP judge since 1995

Offline Kirk

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 08:55:06 AM »
Let me explain a little further on how I knew it was bad.  When you calibrate, you poor the 4.0 and 7.0 calibration liquids into separate containers, just enough for the meter probe to immerse.  The meter has an electronic calibration system in that first it calls for 7.0 juice, you put it in, wait, then it calls for 4.0 juice, you transfer it over, wait, and then it's done.  My meter began displaying "error" when inserted into the 4.0.  I tried new solutions, cleaning, soaking, but nothing worked.  And, my readings would drift upward.  The longer I let it sit, the higher it would drift,  I don't know if it was drifting "toward" or "away" from a true reading, but it was unusable.
Kirk Howell

Offline euge

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Re: PH meter
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 11:03:02 AM »
Let me explain a little further on how I knew it was bad.  When you calibrate, you poor the 4.0 and 7.0 calibration liquids into separate containers, just enough for the meter probe to immerse.  The meter has an electronic calibration system in that first it calls for 7.0 juice, you put it in, wait, then it calls for 4.0 juice, you transfer it over, wait, and then it's done.  My meter began displaying "error" when inserted into the 4.0.  I tried new solutions, cleaning, soaking, but nothing worked.  And, my readings would drift upward.  The longer I let it sit, the higher it would drift,  I don't know if it was drifting "toward" or "away" from a true reading, but it was unusable.

That's pretty much what happened with my Ecotester. The end was quick and I knew it was time for a different one.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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