Top critical review
33 people found this helpful
Purchase with caution and only if experienced!
on June 11, 2013
This meter has a few problems that I'm going to pint out, but that being said, I've been able to make very good use of the unit I purchased here. First thing I want to point out is that, in spite of what other reviewers have said, this unit does NOT have batteries. The reason folks have gotten that impression is that the maker has installed some back up capacitors to maintain readings and calibration when moving the meter from it's operational location to a place where it can be calibrated. Capacitors act somewhat like batteries, but hold their charge for a much shorter time. Some reviewers have said that it loses accuracy as the batteries go dead. This is because the voltage falls off much faster near the end of a charge on a capacitor than on a battery.
Issue #2: I've never seen a ph probe that didn't require that it be stored in a solution of some type, the most common, and the best, being Potassium Chloride, and this is what every meter's ph tip I've ever purchased came packed in. The solution is placed in the protective tip cover and keeps the tip wet. This meter had no solution in the tip cover, at all. There did appear to be a bit of crystallization around the glass bulb, indicating that solution may have been present and had dried up. But, if a probe is dry for very long, it becomes totally inaccurate, yet this probe seems to be working properly. If these probes do not require being stored in solution, that would be a huge plus, but I can't be certain of this, as I've never heard of such a probe when consulting experts at the manufacturer's tech support, and here is where another problem arises--lack of support.
Issue #3: The manufacturer of the unit isn't identified, other than to say that it's made in China, and the company that is selling it won't tell me if they have designed the meter and commissioned its build in China, or if they are buying a generic meter offered by some unidentified Chinese distributor. so, if yo have problems with it, expect NO support, other than the offer of an exchange under warranty by the seller. And when the probe dies, as all ph probes do, getting another one from the seller, or the maker, will likely be impossible. However, as the probe connects via a BNC connector to the meter, any other brand of probe can be substituted when the need arises, which it will.
Issue # 3: In spite of the fact that the instructions say to calibrate this meter using the 6.8 calibration screw and the 4.0 calibration screw, the meter has only the 6.8 screw. Every other meter I've ever seen calls this the 7.0 calibration screw, and the instructions that come with this meter even call for a 6.8 calibration solution. However, the 7.0 works just fine with the meter. You won't need to search the planet for 6.8 solution. How does it work with only a single calibration point? Not that well, as when I get it calibrated at 7.0 and then ask it to read the 4.0 calibration solution, it's off by about 2 tenths. However, this isn't a huge error, and the ph of soil or hydro solutions isn't written in stone and can vary over quite a wide range without harming your plants, and when I put this meter's probe in my nutrient tank alongside of the probe from my more costly NutraDip Trimeter ( http://www.amazon.com/ND1100042-Nutra-Dip-continuous-meter-Temperature/dp/B0001XGQ2C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1370978825&sr=8-3&keywords=trimeter , WHICH IS NOW ALSO BEING MADE BY HANNA IN EXACTLY THE SAME FORM ( http://www.amazon.com/Hanna-Instruments-Tri-Meter-PPM-TEMP/dp/B0012BMEVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370978953&sr=8-2&keywords=trimeter ), I get an identical reading, though this meter reads to 2 decimals instead of the Trimeters single decimal point, which is nice. It's also worth noting that there is a rubber slip cover on the unit that appears not to come off, but it will slide over the temp/EC probe if you stretch it. This cover has a second set of 2 holes below the one for the 7.0 adjusting screw, which would indicate that there is a more advanced version of the meter out there with as many as 3 calibration points and screws for ph. There is also a hole for a 2nd calibration screw in the EC area of the meter. I've asked the seller to ask the maker about this and to tell me if there is a higher grade of the meter being made. They offered no answer, at all!
So, if you are experienced with ph meters, have a bit of technical knowledge and possess a good green thumb, this meter can work for you, and even save you a few bucks over the other trimeters out there. However, it's only a few bucks saved, and it just may not be worth messing with for that little savings, when the guys at NutriDip make a great meter and will give you excellent support, even via phone, if you can deal with the time difference to Australia, where the meter is made. I own 2 NutriDip Trimeters and have never had a complaint about either. I even had one that was in use outdoors get it's plastic case melted a bit by the intense central California sun. It still worked fine, and they replaced the case for me--no charge! And Hanna now make an identical meter here in the states, or at least the company's offices & support are in the states. But, personally, I like the support at NutriDip better. Happy farming!