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Thread: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

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    LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I've grown tired of trying to eyeball-estimate color matches using standard drop-test kits, so I've decided to stump for a LaMotte colorimeter set. A couple hundred bucks is worth it to me so I can stop trying to get the right light to view the comps in, and to be able to read CL levels above the 4ppm that my cheap drop kit stops at.

    Question ..... has anyone had experience with their TesTab kits, such that they'd recommend these over the all-drop kits, or vice versa? Before I drop almost $200 on a kit, I'd like to hear feedback.

    Thanks for experienced comments!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Where are you located?

    Check how high FC it will test for.

    I think I've read that they have problems with CYA.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    The Taylor based drop kits are significantly better than the ColorQ or other similar models. The drop tests have extra precision on some of the tests where it matters and a much better range on the chlorine test. There is only one color comparison, for the PH test. Most of the others are done by adding drops until the color changes.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Just to add, the only color match test needed in the recommended kits (tf-100 or k-2006) is the ph test.linen edit: I must have a comprehension problem...JL just mentioned this in his post
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I'm in central Texas.

    It will read chlorine up to 10ppm, and I can't imagine why I'd want to read above that all that often.

    I've seen some people say the ColorQ is/isn't accurate in this/that/the other thing. Comments are all over the map. That's why I invited comments from people who've actually owned it, and both the TesTab and bottle variants.

    Most people who have it are very happy with it, apparently. I note some of the negative comments were from 5 years ago, which is when the ColorQ came out.

    Professional, municipal pool inspectors seem to use it, so it can't be all that bad.

    If there is some bias in CYA, that's something that I could keep in mind. CYA isn't supposed to be all that volatile, so if I'm reasonably confident I have more or less an idea what it is I'm hardly going to want to measure it every day.

    And nothing's stopping me from measuring CYA once a week or once a month with a Taylor kit, but using the LaMotte on a daily basis for what I'm far more interested in, namely chlorine, pH and alklalinity.

    And if in drop-based kits "pH is the only one that still uses color comp......", etc, well, that's exactly one that I DO want to test for daily, and get rid of the color charts!!!!

    I'm hardly color blind, quite the contrary, I'm a professional photographer and graphic designer with extreme sensitivity to color. I can tell the color is NOT exactly what the chart says since one is a liquid, one is a color slide, one is slightly redder than what the next increment expects it to be, the temperature of the light it's all being viewed in is having an effect, etc., etc...

    I like the idea of being able to tell the difference between 2.2 and 2.3 or 2.4ppm chlorine, for instance. I can't find anything that discusses the sensitivity of Taylor titration, and since it "uses 5 drops", I can't figure out how a drop-based system could possibly have this kind of resolution.

    Plus, I'm a computer guy and naturally prefer digital systems. Cost is not an object in the least. I've paid tens of thousands on new equipment to get an old pool back in service, it's silly for me to even *think* about a couple hundred bucks if it will help me fine-tune my SWG setup.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Plus, note how the LaMotte measures TA, from their manual:

    http://www.lamotte.com/images/pdfs/inst ... s/2064.pdf

    And if this YouTube video is an accurate depiction of the way the TF-100 does it, I'd say no thanks. Seems like a ridiculous, total PITA in comparison:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... FGmZI2yXcQ

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    The ColorQ can be easier to use for some people, but it doesn't help you do anything better, and it is worse in several ways. If your goal is to have a nice toy and avoid color comparison test, then I highly recommend it. If your goal is to fine tune your SWG then you will be better off with the Taylor chemistry drop based tests.

    The FAS-DPD chlorine test measures FC and CC levels in steps of 0.2 or 0.5 ppm from 0 to 50. PH to the nearest tenth. TA and CH are measured in steps of 10 or 25 ppm. CYA in steps of 10. The ColorQ measures CYA in steps of 1, but it actually has twice the error radius that the Taylor test has, so that extra "precision" is an illusion that is at best distracting.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I just bought the colorq pro 11 last week and have been done around 150 test so far. I love it for fc, tc, ph, alk, and ch. The cya test is horrible, but that is because the water temps here are about 85 degrees, so ill be trying the cya out when cooler temps come. As far as accuracy goes, there were a few times that the fc reading wasn't what i was anticipating, so i checked it with the fas-dpd taylor test and got the same reading.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    The TF-100 is so much easier to use with a SpeedStir. That YouTube video does make it look like a PITA, but with the SpeedStir it's really quick and easy.

    From what I know from chemists, there is no other way of testing that has the accuracy of titration tests.
    chiefwej
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Thank you, keene3b07, that is the kind of information I was looking for. Some others here, while I appreciate them trying to be helpful, seem to be anti-Colorq biased and want to "sell" me into not using it. Yet they don't say if they've actually ever *owned* one.

    Maybe they're just passing on acquired folklore, like the myth that pouring muriatic acid in one single column is going to change pH/alkalinity in an incredibly vastly different manner than sprinkling it around the pool (it doesn't). Or that toilet flushing causes water to swirl in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere (it doesn't).

    Of course my goal is not to have a "toy". My goal is to have sufficiently-accurate readings to achieve my goal of a properly-balanced pool in the most efficient amount of time. If a Taylor kit gives me a 100% accurate reading of TA but you have to go through the idiocy in the video, while the Colorq would give me a 95% accurate reading with the much more straightforward way of getting there, I'll do the LaMotte, thank you.

    And to just make a sweeping generalization that I'd be "better off with a Taylor test kit", with no A-B comparisons to back it up, is not really helpful. What IS helpful is keene3b07's actual real world test, that for those tests he *did* scientifically compare, where both methods gave identical results, shows definitively that there is no basis for such a comment.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I have no experience with the ColorQ, but above it was mentioned that it reads FC only up to 10ppm, if so that is a MAJOR limitation if you ever have to follow the shock process to clear an algae bloom as your shock level for your given CYA level is almost certainly going to be well over 10ppm.


    Ike
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I purchased a ColorQ because that's what my pool guy used and I wanted to have agreement with his readings and it seemed pretty cool too. I used it probably 50 times but got disgusted with the fact that every 5th or so time I'd test with it, all my readings would be way off of what I expected. I'd repeat the tests immediately and everything would be normal again. I was meticulous about keeping the tubes clean and making sure the outsides of the tubes were dry before inserting them into the machine. In other words I had to frequently double test to be sure of my results. With all the tube cleaning and drying it turned into far more work than drop tests.

    Another anecdote was when a week after my pool was acid washed (5 months after the pool guy stained the pool with a careless chemical addition) and I had spent the morning making sure everything was spot on, my pool builder comes into my back yard while I was in my basement, used his ColorQ to measure my water, and later said the reading he got on his ColorQ put my Ph at an acidic 6.8 (I had just measured it several times that morning at 7.6) and he threw in a load of Ph up just as I was coming up the back stairs from my basement. I immediately asked him what he added and why. I quickly went to the shallow end of the pool before anything had a chance to mix and grabbed a water sample and proved to him it was really 7.6. He did the same and repeated the test and also came up with 7.6. All of the Ph up was still sitting undissolved at the bottom of the deep end. I informed him that anytime a ColorQ calls for a chemical addition, you must retest because you can never trust its results. After kicking him out and telling him to never add chemicals to my pool again, I ended up adding a bunch of MA to counteract his stupidity.

    I've gone back to drop testing, which I consider much more accurate and repeatable, especially when you use a high quality drop test kit. I use a TF-100 for most tests but I prefer the Ph color standard provided in an old Taylor K-2005 kit I have. It has better color "steps" for my eye than the little set provided with the TF-100.

    Just forewarning you that the ColorQ may not be the panacea it seems to be.

    Gregg
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Now that is a useful real world post
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    ...oh, and one more thing...my ColorQ is for sale, less than 1 year old and in perfect condition. PM me if your interested.

    Gregg
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I like the idea of being able to tell the difference between 2.2 and 2.3 or 2.4 ppm chlorine
    You do not have a good grasp of what precision is required........What do you plan on using that information for? increments that small are neither dependable or useful in any way.

    It will read chlorine up to 10ppm, and I can't imagine why I'd want to read above that all that often.
    Again, with a total of four posts, all virtually selling the ColorQ, you do not have a good grasp of what this forum teaches. Virtually everyone who follow our practices has a need to test in excess of 10 ppm.
    Cost is not an object in the least.
    Sorry, but that sounds like bragging or are you just being silly? Braggarts never carry much credibility here.

    The opinions on the ColorQ are based upon hundreds and hundreds of anecdotal information others have shared on this forum. Your pre-prejudice has apparently not allowed you to read or understand any of them. I thought you asked a legitimate question but you apparently didn't want to hear legitimate answers.

    YOur hope for the ColorQ being the "magic bullet" of testing simply will not pan out. I suggest you read and learn more about the subject.

    It would be easy to assume you work for LaMotte from your posts. (A fine company, by the way) If you do, you should reveal that and if you don't, you should modify your rhetoric.
    Dave S.
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    I have a ColorQ Pro 7. Used it a couple of years along with the TF-100. Stopped using it before the start of last year because it is just easier to use to the TF-100. I have a BS in Comp Sci and an MBA in Tech Mgmt so I too am a geek. I wanted a digital readout that just told me what the number was without counting drops or reading color. Heck I would've even preferred a binary, octal, or hex readout just for fun. Sounds like just like you doesn't it?

    As previously stated some times the readings are just bs. Take a second reading and you get a different value. Seems to defeat the purpose and wastes test chemicals. And agree completely about the CYA reading... total ****. I never even bothered with that test after using up the initial CYA tablets that came with the kit.

    So my ColorQ is available for sale as well if you'd like it. Just make me an offer and you too can experience the ColorQ at a reduced price. Order today and I'll throw in a link to TF Testkits.com at no charge.

    If you opt for the TF-100 get the Speed Stir too. Totally speeds up the whole process. With a SWG and an Aquabot I probably spend about 5-15 minutes a week on pool maintenance.
    Gary
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    [quote:2mra4lt2]I like the idea of being able to tell the difference between 2.2 and 2.3 or 2.4 ppm chlorine
    You do not have a good grasp of what precision is required........What do you plan on using that information for? increments that small are neither dependable or useful in any way.
    On the contrary, i think it would be quite useful to know, for instance, that when I turned my SWG up from 10% to 15% this morning, has my chlorine gone from 2.3 to 2.4? Or has it still continued to drop, now reading 2.2? That would tell me that I need to crank it up to 20%, etc. I prefer to keep chlorine levels as low as possible while still preventing any algae or bacterial problems

    [quote:2mra4lt2]It will read chlorine up to 10ppm, and I can't imagine why I'd want to read above that all that often.
    Again, with a total of four posts, all virtually selling the ColorQ, you do not have a good grasp of what this forum teaches. Virtually everyone who follow our practices has a need to test in excess of 10 ppm.[/quote:2mra4lt2]
    Well, that's fine, and I think I can solve this intractible dilemma of needing to occasionally test above 10ppm by *also* having a Taylor kit as backup. I'd use this to have better testing for CYA as well. But it seems like the ColorQ might be a better choice *for me* to use on a daily basis for chlorine, alkalinity and pH, the main things I'm interested in.

    And if I'm "selling" a ColorQ solution, that's because I believe in the technology. It should be basically simply a digital scanner, and these have proven themselves extremely powerful, capable, and are relied on daily in any number of industries. Properly built with quality components, a good scanner can read minute gradations in color, saturation and value very, very well.

    Now, if LaMotte has implemented their particular solution not all that well, using a cheap scanner or optics, that's one thing. But as a professional who understands digital scanning very well, all other things being equal, I would of course look to that over an analog solution.

    [quote:2mra4lt2] Cost is not an object in the least.
    Sorry, but that sounds like bragging or are you just being silly? Braggarts never carry much credibility here.[/quote:2mra4lt2]
    I mentioned this because I've seen others elsewhere say that one reason they prefer a test kit is because it's cheaper. I made the point that for me it's "silly" to worry about a hundred bucks when I've just spent $30,000 restoring a 40-year old pool. And I've never been one to make a product choice based on the fact that it might be a bit cheaper than the alternative. I tend to buy quality, whereas some others do in fact seem to look more at the price.

    With respect to bragging, if I really wanted to brag, I would have responded to the "do you want a toy" comment with something like, "No, that's what my BMW 650i convertible is for." But I won't do that, since that would be gauche.

    The opinions on the ColorQ are based upon hundreds and hundreds of anecdotal information others have shared on this forum.
    Sorry if I don't immediately and automatically believe something just because somebody says so. Particularly when something is extremely highly rated elsewhere on other reputable, reliable forums. Or would you say all these owners on Amazon are mistaken? Or stupid? It's very rare to find a product with an almost-perfect 5-star rating like this, some 18 out of 21 reviewers really, really like it ... search on Amazon for:
    "LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit"

    Your pre-prejudice has apparently not allowed you to read or understand any of them.
    "Pre-prejudice", yes. If you'll notice, I originally asked for advice on whether I should get the tablets or the liquid variant. So, yes, I had already decided to buy it. I didn't ask whether I should buy a digital product or should I buy test kits, but that's the question some others decided to answer for me.

    But whether I can "read" or "understand" any of them, I can assure you I can, and I'm considering the input. Whether it changes my mind or not may be something else, but that's again, because of *my* particular needs and preferences. If pH is something I'd want to test daily, I'm pretty sure I'd much rather do it with the ColorQ, than the clunky drop-kit way, due to the comparison shown in the links I earlier quoted.

    And again, if have some inkling maybe a reading is not right, nothing is preventing me from double-checking it with a Taylor backup kit. I don't understand why it's such an either-or thing for some.

    I thought you asked a legitimate question but you apparently didn't want to hear legitimate answers.
    The question is perfectly legitimate, it's just that the answers weren't answering the original question. And it seems to upset you that I don't abandon that question a whole lot more readily than I tend to do when I see other evidence (such as rave reviews from most reviewers who've actually bought it on Amazon and owned it.)

    YOur hope for the ColorQ being the "magic bullet" of testing simply will not pan out. I suggest you read and learn more about the subject.
    That may be true, and I may have to live with the fact that it has limitations and occasional inaccuracies. And maybe there are some individual units out there that are lemons. And reading and learning more is in fact what I tend to do, and will do, on the subject.
    I do in fact appreciate the comments, but I'm not completely convinced that risking $150 to try a ColorQ will somehow bring my life to an immediate and tragic end. I spend that much on propane to bring my pool up to swimming temperature on a chilly Texas spring day.

    It would be easy to assume you work for LaMotte from your posts. (A fine company, by the way) If you do, you should reveal that and if you don't, you should modify your rhetoric.
    Paranoid much? Nope, I don't work for LaMotte, I'm just one of those guys who thinks these fanatics who go nuts over vinyl records because of their supposed "warmer" sound over CD's, ignoring all the pops, ticks and skips, are kind of quaint and amusing. And are to be coddled rather like a doddering grandpa, who also hasn't heard of these things called digital equalizers, which could have "warmed up" the sound to their heart's content.

    [/quote:2mra4lt2]

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Just spotted this rather unnecessarily bad tempered thread... I've used a color Q 7 for the last year, can't get Taylor or TFT test kits here in Europe. Used it to get my filthy swamp under control and use it every day for routine testing. I can't comment on accuracy, I have nothing to compare it with but it seems to be consistent and the results tie up with pool calculator.
    Major limitation is only reading up to 10ppm on FCL, a PITA during shocking as mentioned, but easily overcome by diluting the sample, I put another 10ml of distilled water in and double the result, it takes seconds. Major plus is the clear, unambiguous digital readout, can be misleading, also as noted, but just simplifies the process, makes keeping a nice tidy log of results easy and impresses the **** out of guests! ( this is not as trivial as it sounds, parents with young children, moaning on about 'too much chlorine' and ear infections etc. love to see a bit of technology proving the water is 'safe'!)
    I don't fully understand the debate about the CYA test, only that it is supposed to be somewhat temperature sensitive and turbidity testing is difficult without really expensive and sensitive equipment, not really needed with pools. I expect the problem lies with the results jumping around a bit from day to day, easily within 10%, when we know the actual value probably hasn't changed, doesn't really affect dosing, so doesn't matter. If anybody thinks/knows different and can explain, or even better provide a temperature weighting table, that would be great.
    I use the tab version, no manual dexterity or judgement required, just a bit of tablet crushing and shaking, a friend uses the liquid reagent version and is equally happy, I probably drink more beer while testing than him...
    So, not a bad product, probably not as accurate as others but nevertheless fit for purpose has been my experience, although quite why everybody is getting so excited about this and 'gone to the barricades' is beyond me.
    160,000 litres (42,000 U.S. galls) 15 x 7 metres (53 x 23 feet) hybrid. Concrete floor, glass fibre walls. 1.5 HP Tifon pump, 150 kg (330lb) sand filter. Free form shape (not a straight edge in sight) 30 years old.

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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Quote Originally Posted by pacificoast
    On the contrary, i think it would be quite useful to know, for instance, that when I turned my SWG up from 10% to 15% this morning, has my chlorine gone from 2.3 to 2.4? Or has it still continued to drop, now reading 2.2? That would tell me that I need to crank it up to 20%, etc. I prefer to keep chlorine levels as low as possible while still preventing any algae or bacterial problems

    In theory this may be a good point, but I think in reality your going to see something on the order of .5 ppm of FC variation (maybe a little less) in samples depending on pool circulation, location where the sample was taken, etc. As it is generally smart to take your chlorine samples from an area of relatively poor circulation as this will tend to have the lowest FC levels in the pool, since your main concern should be keeping FC above minimums everywhere in the pool. I use a chlorine injection pump and also fight these sorts of fine tuning issues, even doing this I use the 10ml sample for the FAS-DPD test with .5ppm resolution instead of the 25ml sample with .2 ppm resolution and still question fine tuning at this relatively course adjustment range.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: LaMotte Colorimeter - TesTabs vs Liquid Drops

    Alright, I think everyone has had a chance to state and re-state their position. The thread is being locked as I can't see anyone adding anything that hasn't been already said.
    Dave S.
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