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Thread: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

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    pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Since the pH color test is somewhat variable based on user, light conditions etc., I started to look for a piece of test equipment that would do the job. I don't want to spend a few grand on the 'real-deal' so I'm curious if anyone has success with the handheld pen-style units, or something similar?

    Thanks
    16,000 gallons in-ground, raised spa with spill-way, PebbleTec finish. Cartridge Filter M/N CV460, Main Pump; Jandy VSSHP270AUT variable speed ePump, Polaris PB4-60 cleaner pump, Jandy PLC1400 SWG

    I still prefer our boat over the pool

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    You can have some success from a pen meter but you really need to calibrate it to two points every time it's used, otherwise your just getting a number that may not be a true indication of the actual value. I've used some of the pen meters over the years but now just use the Taylor R-0004 regagent in a BlueDevil comparator, simple, easy and accurate enough. My pool doesn't change much, I target 7.6, it slowly creeps up to 7.8 and I adjust it back - easy.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, Salt meter + K1766, BlueDevil pH |
    Town water, pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by 300winmag View Post
    Since the pH color test is somewhat variable based on user, light conditions etc., I started to look for a piece of test equipment that would do the job. I don't want to spend a few grand on the 'real-deal' so I'm curious if anyone has success with the handheld pen-style units, or something similar?

    Thanks
    I have tried several of the so-called pen style and they are more trouble, time & money and they will keep you guessing. The care needed for storage solution, calibration solution, calibration itself...I keep going back to the Taylor testing and find if you test in the proper lighting as should be done gives you a far more accurate test, my 2 cents worth.
    Valley of the Sun, Arizona.....10k gunite/pebble (Re-surface March 2015) w/in floor Caretaker 99 cleaning heads -- Pentair FNS 60 DE filter -- Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed for pool -- Pentair Wisperflo 1 HP for boulder waterfall...Taylor K-2006 & Taylor K-2006C kits

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    ^Agreed, any pH meter, pen or bench, is only as good as its last calibration.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, Salt meter + K1766, BlueDevil pH |
    Town water, pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by AUSpool View Post
    a BlueDevil comparator
    What's this?
    16,000 gallons in-ground, raised spa with spill-way, PebbleTec finish. Cartridge Filter M/N CV460, Main Pump; Jandy VSSHP270AUT variable speed ePump, Polaris PB4-60 cleaner pump, Jandy PLC1400 SWG

    I still prefer our boat over the pool

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    A Blue Devil comparator is one that is in a non recommended test kit.

    The Taylor one has larger comparison windows.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me) Goldline SWG Intermec 104 TImer Test kit K-2006-C

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Sorry Bob but I'll have to disagree there in that I believe that the BlueDevil has larger comparing windows but for me there is a greater colour differentiation in that the BlueDevil is more of a coloured fluid compared to a printed slide. I can see the difference easier. The Taylor pH test has better reagents. I use the Taylor reagent in the BlueDevil comparator which renders the acid/base demand test a bit useless.

    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, Salt meter + K1766, BlueDevil pH |
    Town water, pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    In another thread, I had asked about the interchangeability of the taylor reagent and the alternate comparator. I was told that it could not be done, as the water volumes were different, as was the strength of the reagents within each kit.
    How are you using R0004 in the other comparator?
    16,000 gallons in-ground, raised spa with spill-way, PebbleTec finish. Cartridge Filter M/N CV460, Main Pump; Jandy VSSHP270AUT variable speed ePump, Polaris PB4-60 cleaner pump, Jandy PLC1400 SWG

    I still prefer our boat over the pool

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    The Taylor comparator uses 44ml while the BlueDevil uses ~34ml so for colour comparisom 4 drops of Taylor R0004 reagent in the BlueDevil comparator works well. The colour change with pH will be the same, its just the shade that varies.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, Salt meter + K1766, BlueDevil pH |
    Town water, pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by AUSpool View Post
    The Taylor comparator uses 44ml while the BlueDevil uses ~34ml so for colour comparisom 4 drops of Taylor R0004 reagent in the BlueDevil comparator works well. The colour change with pH will be the same, its just the shade that varies.
    Excellent. Thanks for the info!
    16,000 gallons in-ground, raised spa with spill-way, PebbleTec finish. Cartridge Filter M/N CV460, Main Pump; Jandy VSSHP270AUT variable speed ePump, Polaris PB4-60 cleaner pump, Jandy PLC1400 SWG

    I still prefer our boat over the pool

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Interesting. In the end it comes down to whatever works for the individual. For me, the pH test is no problem to tell the difference, so I can't be objective.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me) Goldline SWG Intermec 104 TImer Test kit K-2006-C

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    I've been playing with a pen, and have been storing it in distilled water. That seems to have made a difference in repeatability. It has been agreeing with the Taylor test.

    Having said that, as many have said here, I don't trust it, so it is actually more work to run both tests. My best outcome will be to use the pen during the week, and the reagent test once a week. I think I can get there, since I also have been dialing in automated PH management.

    I have started documenting both tests and if I stick with it, I'll publish my results.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    @AusPool

    I see you are from Australia, but have managed to source Taylors stuff from somewhere. Can you tell me where. I'm currently using Clear Choice Labs, but would like to move to what everyone on here uses. I also like the look of your pH comparator. Is it widely available? The printed opaque colours on the outside of my CCL pH test are very difficult to use.
    ​GeoQuack
    Melbourne, Australia. Plaster pool 44,000 Litre (11,625 US gallons), 2 HP 1 speed pump, Zodiac LM3-40 SWG, Zodiac CX20 robotic cleaner, PoolSkim, solar heating, sand filter, clearchoicelabs.com.au test kit (TF100 or taylors not available in Australia), big eucalypt that drops infinate leaves, gum nuts, pollen and sticks into pool

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Oh, and to answer the original question, maybe look into ColorQ.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by xyz View Post
    Oh, and to answer the original question, maybe look into ColorQ.
    Not something I would recomend-

    Please do not confuse the specificity of the results the ColorQ gives with accuracy. We have had members attempt to use the ColorQ to follow our methods and almost all have abandoned its use due to inaccuracies and inconsistencies. We even had one member test the same sample of water three times in a row and ended up with three different sets of results. Here is an example of a ColorQ post: ColorQ vs TF100
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    Not something I would recomend-

    Please do not confuse the specificity of the results the ColorQ gives with accuracy. We have had members attempt to use the ColorQ to follow our methods and almost all have abandoned its use due to inaccuracies and inconsistencies. We even had one member test the same sample of water three times in a row and ended up with three different sets of results. Here is an example of a ColorQ post: ColorQ vs TF100
    The one guy seems to be happy with it and while he admits its accuracy is not as good, he is getting good CSI results. That thread also seems to indicate that the company has improved accuracy over time too.

    Having said that, With the TF-100, SpeedStir, and the Sample Sizer, it is pretty darn easy, fast, accurate, and doesn't cost much. So that is what I'm sticking with. Someone mentioned that they were color blind, so this might be the reason for this option.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    I use Aquachek Trutest test strip reader. It has digital readout of Cl, pH and Alk. The result is good and consistent most of the time if I do it indoor where it is dark. I measure twice for confirmation of results. I know some of you don't trust test strips, but it works for me for years and is easy to use and get results fast .

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    As long as you never need to SLAM you might be okay. I would have to see a long term comparison between the strip info and a good kit based on Taylor reagents. If you use the same water and do multiple tests, do you get the same answer?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me) Goldline SWG Intermec 104 TImer Test kit K-2006-C

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoQuack View Post
    @AusPool

    I see you are from Australia, but have managed to source Taylors stuff from somewhere. Can you tell me where. I'm currently using Clear Choice Labs, but would like to move to what everyone on here uses. I also like the look of your pH comparator. Is it widely available? The printed opaque colours on the outside of my CCL pH test are very difficult to use.
    Geday GeoQuack, I was looking at Taylor from poolvacparts (Buy Automatic Pool Cleaners and Parts. Fast Shipping!) but in the end I got the K-2006 and salt test, K1766, from eBay. I wanted the complete kit, box and all, to keep everything in one place and make it easily transportable. I wish I'd bought the K2006C that has the bigger bottles. Clear Choice Labs (CCL) are awesome and a good option for us Aussies, they use Taylor reagents in their kits. With the exception of the chlorine and alkalinity titrating reagents the other reagents are the same. Having said that you can use the Taylor chlorine detection reagent and the CCL chlorine titrating reagent but you can't put CCL chlorine or alkalinity reagent in Taylor bottles as the concentrations have been adjusted to compensate for different drop sizes.

    Back to the pH, BlueDevil is the brand commonly available in most Aussie pool shops. Mine was with the pool when I bought the house. The Taylor pH reagents are better than the two part BlueDevil reagents but the concentration are different. CCL use the Taylor reagent but I'm not sure of their camparators volume or if they have adjusted the concentration. I use 4 drops of R0004 in the BlueDevil comparator. The acid demand reads about double but I have PoolMath for that. I guess I could have gotten used to the Taylor pH comparator, it would have made things a hole lot easier as I've cut both the BlueDevil and Taylot comparators in half as I use the Taylor CYA view tube and the BlueDevil pH comparator.

    ----

    On to the ColorQ. I used one for about two years and it was OK. The main problem with these is that they are a cheep photometer (compared to expensive lab versions) that rely on the photo optics, light output and transference through the cuvettes both of which change or deminish over time. The neat thing about these when they work is that they are a combination of chemical analysis with a photo-optical reading. Taking the human factor out of the colour guessing. I always felt more confident with the ColourQ pH reading than from my calibrated Milwaulkee pH pen. I'm happy I've moved on to the Taylor R0004 in a comparator, simple, accurate and repeatable results every time.

    I still think that the ColourQ CYA if done carefully is better than the dissapearing dot, it had a constant light source and removed the human factor. If I could find a cheap CYA photometer test I would probably use it.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, Salt meter + K1766, BlueDevil pH |
    Town water, pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: pH measurement via non-visual inspection?

    There has been, and always will be, resistence on this site to use of anything other than the taylor test kit or a color block to test ph.

    And I remain as puzzled as ever at responses to the ppl who are reaching out for help because they have trouble with the very subjective interpretation of reading color variations from a ph color block. The response to those with problems with these color issues is too often, "don't try anything else except the testing method you are having difficulty with."

    We''ve been down this road before...the contention that PH meters are too much of a hassle, or time consuming. Can't be trusted,etc. Typically, this is accompanied by the misplaced belief as to the necessity of dual calibration...this notwithstanding that dual calibration is unnecessary for testing pool ph (dual calibration being required for things requiring far more narrow and precise ph measurements such as aquariums and ppl who do home brewing - hardly the case with the relatively wide range of safe and acceptable pool ph levels.

    I have had excellent experience with ph meters. I use it because I suffer from a mild case of color blindness. Others have had equally good experiences. For a myriad of reasons which have been raised in countless threads before, use of a ph meter is an acceptable and reliable means of testing your ph for those of you who, like many here, lack the ability and/or the confidence of relying on ph readings from a color block.

    If you want to pm me, I can give you the make/model number of a reliable and inexpensive ph meter that I have used successfuly for years. I can also provide you with a simple and brief tutorial as to ise ofbthe ph meter that, contrary to many views expressed here, is not the protracted exercise it is made out to be. Or you can simply do a search on this site using "ph meters" as the search term and you will come across posts about ph testing that contain useful information (tho you will have to filter out a good deal of well intentioned but misguided efforts intended to keep you far away from what evidently is perceived as an instrument of the devil).
    Pool: 13k gal. in-ground; Stonescape Mini Pebble - Tropics Blue; Connected Spa - dual spill-over; Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG; AquaLogic PS-4 Automation; Sta-Rite DE Filter; Sta-Rite Max-e-Therm 400k BTU pool heater; Intellifo 2-VST Pump; Stenner 45mp2(25psi/10gpd) acid injection; Bulbwizard color LED pool lights; Poolvergnuegen 2 wheel side suction cleaner; FAFCO rooftop solar. TF-100 w/ speed stir.

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