Got myself a pH meter (Apera PH60)

jseyfert3

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I’ve thought about getting a pH meter for a while, I sometimes struggle to differentiate colors, especially on the high end of the pH scale. But it never really was that important, and meters need care, cleaning, and calibration. Certainly a lot more involved than rinsing a comparator block and adding 5 drops of reagent.

As some know I started making cider and beer last year, and to allow me to be more consistent, especially as I move to all grain I decided to get a pH meter. The pro is that I can also use it for my pool and spa since I have it. Over on HomeBrewTalk the Apera PH60 seemed like a well liked sub-$100 model. Currently sells for $80 on Amazon, and has replaceable pH probes for $40. I decided this all seemed good and ordered one.
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It comes with some water drops in the probe cap to keep it from drying completely, but ideally you store it in storage solution at all times. I put it in the storage solution and let it sit overnight, then ran a calibration cycle. That was a bit annoying the first time, it was behaving odd, with the reading bouncing all over the place. Eventually I discovered a bubble tends to get trapped by the probe when sticking it in the small calibration cups, which throws off the reading. Need to tilt the probe and cup to release the air bubble. I ran through calibration, then noticed there was an air bubble IN the probe, which the manual notes may happen and if so just shake the unit a few times and it should go away. It did, but this changed the readings just slightly and I ran through the calibration again. This was a three point calibration using the three included buffer solutions.

The case does have a handy spot to put the calibration cups which holds the meter upright while the readings stabilize.
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I have a video if people are curious but after call I went to the hot tub, turned on the meter and stuck it in. In 11 seconds I got the smiley face that indicates things are fairly stable, with a reading of 7.56. Note the temp was 75, this does have temp compensation but after about a minute it was up to only 85 (spa is 100) and the reading had only dropped to 7.55 (it had gone up to 7.57 shortly after this picture was taken, then slowly started dropping as the measured temp increased). In any case letting it sit until fully warm doesn’t appear it’s worth the time, with a close enough for pool usage reading in under 15 seconds.
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I then compared to my drop based kit. I had a bottle that was almost used up, with a reading of 7.7
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And I had a brand new bottle of R-0004, which got me a reading of 7.5. Not sure why the difference, I didn’t think the old bottle was that old. I’ll have to check my purchase history and see now.
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Conclusions from initial testing: Calibration is fairly easy, readings are quick for pool usage. Probably not something I’d like to have to maintain though if all I was using it for was pool testing.

I’ll post an update once I’ve got more time using and maintaining it.
 

revitup

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I’ve found that mine rarely if ever needs cal. I’ll do it once every couple of months anyway or just put in the 7.0 solution to check. It’s always pretty much dead on.
 
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AUSpool

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Very fancy looking piece of kit for ~$80. I hate colometric tests, I think their all 7.6 and all within the accepted variance for error. Cant wait to see where a tub at slam level ends up :).
 
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jseyfert3

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I’ve found that mine rarely if ever needs cal. I’ll do it once every couple of months anyway or just put in the 7.0 solution to check. It’s always pretty much dead on.
I see in your sig you have the same pH meter. How often do you use it, and do you store it soaking in storage solution?

I think the factory cal was actually spot on. My first cal it read 6.97 in the pH 7.00 solution. Then I saw there was a bubble in the probe. I redid the call after shaking the bubble out of the probe, and on the the redo (pictured), it read 7.03! So I think that bubble shifted it 0.03 down, and had I checked for it it would have been 7.00 right out of the box.

Bubble or not, that’s still plenty more accurate than needed for pool usage.
 

PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
307
The Villages, Florida
I have had one for about 8 months. Works great (far better than the one sold on TF Testkits). According to the instructions, you clean it with distilled water, but you don't store it in distilled water. I use mine at the start of my pool testing process, then let it soak in distilled water in the cap while I test everything else.

When I'm done testing and adding whatever I need, I empty the cap and put it back on. Instructions say not to leave it soaking, but not to let it dry out. By replacing the cap, I maintain a few drops in the cap, and have never seen it completely dry. I have had zero issues with this procedure.
 

revitup

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I see in your sig you have the same pH meter. How often do you use it, and do you store it soaking in storage solution?

I think the factory cal was actually spot on. My first cal it read 6.97 in the pH 7.00 solution. Then I saw there was a bubble in the probe. I redid the call after shaking the bubble out of the probe, and on the the redo (pictured), it read 7.03! So I think that bubble shifted it 0.03 down, and had I checked for it it would have been 7.00 right out of the box.

Bubble or not, that’s still plenty more accurate than needed for pool usage.
I check PH (with the meter of course) when I do a full chem check. That frequency depends on the time of year and what I observe to be going on with my levels at the time. My PH varies very little normally so I tend to check it infrequently. I keep it soaking in the storage solution as that is what the manufacturer recommends. I'll change the storage solution usually whenever I do a cal or check with the 7.0 standard. Before and after each use I swish the probe in distilled water and then blot off the excess. You can avoid the bubble issue by just putting the probe in your water sample at an angle. I use a 2oz straight sided glass jar.
 

PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
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The manufacturer only recommends always storing in solution for the PH60S - that is the pH tester with the spear probe. For the PH60 bulb probe, you can either store it in the solution or no solution.
 

jseyfert3

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Really they recommended storing all probes in solution. They require storing the PH60S in solution. Should I always keep my pH electrode soaked in storage solution?

I did pick up an 8 oz bottle of storage solution with the probe and plan to store it soaking all the time. I also got a set of pH 7 & 4 calibration solutions.

I’m planning to use RO water to rinse the probe once I get my RO system plumbed up to a faucet in the kitchen, much easier than having to buy and store DI water. May not be perfect but I figure it’s close enough.
 

jseyfert3

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Just used it to check my hot tub pH. Have to admit it was nice being able to hop out there and dunk it in the spa and get a pH reading without having to aim the pH block at a light in the dark. Could be the new toy syndrome still I suppose. Time will tell.
 

revitup

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Really they recommended storing all probes in solution. They require storing the PH60S in solution. Should I always keep my pH electrode soaked in storage solution?

I did pick up an 8 oz bottle of storage solution with the probe and plan to store it soaking all the time. I also got a set of pH 7 & 4 calibration solutions.

I’m planning to use RO water to rinse the probe once I get my RO system plumbed up to a faucet in the kitchen, much easier than having to buy and store DI water. May not be perfect but I figure it’s close enough.
I always keep the PH60 probe stored in the manufacturer provided soaking solution as Apera recommends on their website. I have had no issues following that practice.
"For Apera's other regular glass bulb pH electrodes (like the ones for PH700, PH60 and PH20), users can store the probe in the storage solution to keep its sensitivity, which is a highly recommended good practice."
 
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brendio

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May 18, 2020
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I have a cheapy sub-$20-from-eBay pH unit. Like you, I noticed erratic readings early on due to the bubble in the probe. I store it upright all the time now and the readings are heaps more stable. I rinse with DI water or some sample water prior to taking a reading. I don't bother rinsing afterwards; just recap. The bit of pool water left on the tip keeps the probe moist until next use. Calibration tends to hold for a couple of months when treated with care. I would guess precision is good within +/- 0.2 pH units, maybe 0.1 even. I'm looking into maybe getting an Apera 60 when I need more precision.
 

Stoopalini

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I'm colorblind, so it didn't take me very long to start looking for solutions to the color tests (pH and FC).

I initially bough the meter from tftestkit to go along with my TF-100, and after calibration, it seemed to be all over the place. It's readings did not align with the comparator block (with my wife matching the colors), but also seemed erratic. Any movement in the meter caused the reading to jump wildly. We tested it on her 100ga fishtank as well, and the readings didn't align there either. I noticed the LCD on the meter was cracked when it arrived, so I contacted tftestkits, and they sent me a new one. The new one also didn't align to the comparator block, nor did it align to the original meter.

So I now had two digital pH meters, and the Taylor comparator block ... and all 3 give different readings when measuring the same water (tested on both the pool and the fishtank).

Out of frustration, I bought the Apera PH60 .. and it's been great! Like you, I calibrated it, and went to testing. According to my (non colorblind wife), it's readings are spot on to the comparator.

I recalibrate it when my gut tells me the reading isn't right, which seems to be about a 2-3 month period. Last time it was reading about 0.2 higher than it should. A quick calibration brought it back into line. I will admit I don't have DI or RO water, and have just been rinsing it with tap water. Maybe that's why it was off by 0.2 after ~10 weeks?

For storage, I fill the cap up to the "Fill" line with Atlantas Scientific pH/ORP Storage Solution, and that works well for me. The storage solution evaporates over time, so I refill it when there's only a residue left inside the cap.
 

superuser

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Nov 16, 2020
80
Spring, TX
I got an Amazon cheapy too, and for a while compared it to the regular Taylor reagent test. Pretty accurate, certainly close enough for pool test work. I'll of course spot check against the reagent test but this is a nice little time saver when you're just quick checking to make sure your pH didn't drift up too far.
 
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