Well, in my search for results I can rely on, I went ahead and bought a TF100 kit and decided to do a side-by-side with the ColorQ. I'm spending a lot of money on this testing stuff, but it's obviously important. Once I get settled in, I'm good.
Fascinating results and let me share them - all of this taken from the same sample, which was from about a foot below the surface and all the results gathered over maybe 45 minutes, tops.
I ran through the ColorQ first and got this:
CC -> .19
I then went over and the FAS-DPD test with the TF100
pH 7.8 (SO tough to read for me!)
I tried the DPD test then and got
FC 3 (maybe a little under)
TC 3 (maybe a little over)
That seems to back up the FAS-DPD...
So let me try the ColorQ again...
Now I get
CC -> .18
Okay - let's give the FAS-DPD test another shot...
Identical to the first FAS-DPD results
On a whim, I figure I'll try the ColorQ for pH again - this time I get 7.5.
I also have another pH test (the Leslies one, with the bigger scale) and I got maybe 7.7 on this one.
So, what did I find from all this?
The consistency of the TF100 results are reassuring to me. The ColorQ results are, to say the least, frightening! That the chlorine would change reading in that short of the time (I had seen this before but it was after a sample sat closed, out of the sunlight between samples), just makes me thing I'd be better off guessing. The pH was inconsistent (although that fluctuation doesn't bug me as much) and the TA was almost 50% higher!
The irony of all this is that the ColorQ is supposedly known for CYA being the least accurate, yet that was almost spot on with what the TF100 gave me. Even taking into account the tolerances of the ColorQ (per LaMotte, posted below for reference).
My conclusion from all of this, for what it's worth, is that the ColorQ is essentially worthless to me. I'm obviously tremendously disappointed and of course there may yet be some learning curve for me on the TF100 (although I've been taking other taylor measurements via some Leslie's stuff). I had hoped the ColorQ would serve the purpose of it *not* being necessary to squint and tell which color it's closest to. But as long as I can convince myself that the colors are close enough to work to, I think I'm better off putting the ColorQ away and chalking this up to a learning experience. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but anyone else considering the ColorQ, please keep all this in mind.
These are the ColorQ tolerances, per LaMotte. Each value is a 'plus or minus', so if you get 7.5 on your pH, it could be anywhere from 7.3 to 7.7.
Chlorine is graded, with it being less accurate at higher concentrations
from 0-1ppm 0.1
from 1-4ppm 0.2
from 4-6ppm 0.5
from 6+ppm 1.0