LaMotte ColorQ Water Tester

donaldm823

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2007
148
Cape Coral, FL
Does anyone have experience with LaMotte's new ColorQ water test system. It is a colorimeter system vice test strips and uses liquid regents, and then tests 6 different pool chemistry values based on a measured color through this electronic device. (Free CL, Total Chlorine, pH, TA, CH, CYA. ) I am particulary interested in the hardness (CH) accuracy
 
G

Guest

LaMotte does have experience with colorimeter based testing systems. I can't answer how well this inexpensive one will work but it will probably be similar to their more expensive ones in terms of the chemistries invilved. I use a LaMotte Waterlink Express at work, wiich uses powdered reagents but works basically the same way.The Chlorine test is DPD so it will produce accurate results but will bleach out at high sanitizer levels. pH test is sentitive to high sanitizer levels. Calcium hardness test is usually right on the money but can give low readings if metals are present in the water. TA test is problematic, at least with the powdered reagents in the 'unit dose vials'. It will read low (bleach out) if sanitizer levels are high and often reads 0 TA when TA levels are fine. Don't know if the liquid reagents supplied with the ColorQ have the same problem. CYA test works great if you give it enough time to develop and the waer temp is between 70-80 degrees, otherwise it reads low.

My main concern is that most units like this will need factory calibration from time to time. With their professional units LaMotte does this. I do not know if they wil offer it with this inexpensive one or if it will be considered a 'throw away' unit if it stops functioning properly.

I am looking forward to getting my hands on one. I think it will be a very valuable aid to home water testing if it's limitations are understood. LaMotte chemistries are sound and they have many years experience with water testing.
 
G

Guest

Just got an email back from LAMotte tech support about the ColorQ. This is what they had to say:
The ColorQ has accuracy of ± 0.1ppm on chlorine and pH, ± 15ppm on alk,
and ± 20ppm on hardness and cya. The cyanuric acid test is a difficult
one with a meter like the ColorQ, since it is a turbidity style reaction.
(it gets you in the ballpark on cya). The chlorine and pH tests are great.
The alkalinity test has been performing very well, my ColorQ has given me
readings within ± 5 to 10ppm on alk. Hardness is another tough one, but
the ±20ppm isn't so bad when you consider the wide range of hardness from
200 - 400ppm. So all in all, it is actually a great meter for that price.


I feel this is a very honest answer and based on it and knowing LaMotte's reputation I would say this is a worthwhile unit for the home pool owner! A drop counting test for calcium hardness is +/- 10 ppm for the Taylor reagents so this is not that bad and the standard disapprearing dot test for CYA is extremely subjective. My original question to LaMotte was concerning how well the ColorQ compares to more expensive colorimeters that usually cost in the neighborhood of $1000!
 

DavidD

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
91
Wow, those variables seem to suggest it is very accurate. Did you ask them about the calibration?

Dave
 
G

Guest

The unit is calibrated on each run with a 'blank' which is a vial of pool water. This is exactly how their other colorimeters are calibrated. This will take into account any cloudiness of the water or any slight color casts it might have.
 

deenamccauley

LifeTime Supporter
May 29, 2007
184
Alberta, Canada
Color Q

I recently purchased the Color Q and have found it to be quite accurate for Free Chlorine/Total chlorine and PH. Alkalinity has been generally pretty close but I have very irratic readings on Cyanuric acid. Also the calcium hardness is way off.
I actually took a water sample into the pool store as well just because I was sure some of the readings were just not right.
I talked to Lamotte and they think it is because of copper in my water so I'm just waiting on further testing to see if that is the problem.
The test could not be easier to use and I love that it's digital and not me trying to determine what shade of pink that is.
I've gone back to the drops for the hardness and the tablets for the cyanuric acid though for now.
 

deenamccauley

LifeTime Supporter
May 29, 2007
184
Alberta, Canada
Response from LaMotte

Just received a reply from LaMotte regarding the Color Q

Deena



It has recently come to our attention that there was a stability problem with the hardness reagent. The formula has been changed and replacement reagents are being sent to our customers at no charge. The instability has caused lower readings than the actual amount in the pools.



I don’t have any information on the low readings for the Cyanuric acid. I suggest using the tablet system if the problem persists.



Please forward your address and point of contact to get your replacement hardness reagents.



I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.



Thank you for using LaMotte products.
 

donaldm823

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2007
148
Cape Coral, FL
LaMotte ColorQ Water Tester REVIEW

Well here goes my full review-had the new LaMotte ColorQ water tester now for 3 weeks. Love the tester. Initially had a problem with Hardness accuracy, but LaMotte tech support replaced the unit quickly. The unit cost $129 plus shipping and comes with 140 tests (liquid reagents) except CYA (uses pills which) there are 50. A refill package is in the $45 range, but you get enough chemicals for a pool season

The unit comes in a handy test kit plastic bag (zippered) which hold the 4 test tubes that come with the unit, all of the reagents, and of course the electronic device (colorimeter)(size of your hand) which measures the color intensity of each test which is correlated to a ppm reading that reads out on a digital meter. Unit is powered by 2 AA batteries and is guaranteed for 6 months.

You basically add 5 drops of a specific liquid reagent based on the test performing (one test tube per test), and they put the 5ml tube into the unit and read the tests in sequence, replacing the test tubes for each tests. You read a blank at the start (pool water) which calibrates the colorimeter. Have tests for free and total Cl up to 10ppm, pH, TA, CH hardness, and CYA.

I am very please with the unit and its accuracy. Have compared all of the tests results against by Ben Pool Solution kit, and all the results were within the accuracy accept for Hardness. Since they just replaced the unit for the hardness issue, I do not have a lot of run time, but the hardness result was 220ppm and my Taylor reports a 260-280ppm-close enough for my use

Highly recommend if you are tired of all of the titrant kits. At $129 not a bad buy. Checkout LaMotte.com website under pool/spa water/new products. They also see the refill kits as well as spare test tubes
 

peterl1365

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
242
Murrieta, CA
Thanks for the review. I'm interested in getting one of these. I currently have the Aquachek TruTest meter, but I'm not all that confident in its accuracy.

One question: When you perform your testing, do you have to perform all 7 tests in sequence. The pdf manual on LaMotte's website does not say.

The reason I ask is that I primarily need to test for pH. I keep my FC a little high (4-7 ppm) with a SWCG, so I'm not too concerned about testing for FC every day. However, I need an accurate reading of pH because it's constantly rising. As for TA, CH and CYA, I'm certainly interested in what those numbers are, but I don't think I need to test those more than once or twice a week. The pH is something I need to check just about everyday.

I don't want to use a pH electrode meter because of the difficulty and expense of keeping it calibrated.
 

MikeInMo

Member
Jun 2, 2007
6
SW Missouri
Yes, you do have to do the tests in the set order BUT you don't have to do any of the tests you don't want to do. Just hit the button to skip to the next test. [You might get a 0.0 readidng for the test you skipped but who cares.)
 

donaldm823

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2007
148
Cape Coral, FL
ColorQ Test Sequence

peterl1365 said:
Thanks for the review. I'm interested in getting one of these. I currently have the Aquachek TruTest meter, but I'm not all that confident in its accuracy.

One question: When you perform your testing, do you have to perform all 7 tests in sequence. The pdf manual on LaMotte's website does not say.

The reason I ask is that I primarily need to test for pH. I keep my FC a little high (4-7 ppm) with a SWCG, so I'm not too concerned about testing for FC every day. However, I need an accurate reading of pH because it's constantly rising. As for TA, CH and CYA, I'm certainly interested in what those numbers are, but I don't think I need to test those more than once or twice a week. The pH is something I need to check just about everyday.

I don't want to use a pH electrode meter because of the difficulty and expense of keeping it calibrated.
You have to do the tests in order, but you can turn off the meter after the last test you want to perform. If you want to skip say TA and do CH next you just push the button and skip ahead. I frequently just test for Cl and pH and then turn the meter off. Its easy because you have a test tube for each test and you have to insert the proper test tube between each test. The order of the tests is a blank, TC, FC, pH, TA, CH, and last CYA.
 

donaldm823

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2007
148
Cape Coral, FL
Sabot said:
Just wanted to check in and see how the meter is working for all who owns one. Any issues? Pros/Cons...
Still love the ColorQ although the accuracy of the calcium hardness is not enough to make CaCl adds. All of the other analysis are very accurate as I check them 2x per month with a Taylor titrant kit. But I get 190ppm CH (hardness) when the Taylor says 330ppm. So, I have resolved to use the CH reading as a trend and make adds only when my Taylor says it is less than 250ppm

LaMotte sent me a new tester and also a 250ppm standard. The new tester read 230ppm and my Taylor read 300ppm, now with my present pool water, it reads 190ppm colorQ and 330ppm Taylor. It is much more convenient for trending. Others have also had the problem. LaMotte thinks I have some interference in my pool water-but copper tests indicate less than detectable for my Taylor test kit. Their tech support is super and they stick with you.

All of the other anaylsis are very accurate and the tester is very convenient. Others have reported CYA test issues-but mine have come out very close to the Taylor black dot method (you need water in the 80sF range and also wait more than 3 min and mix well). Would recommend to others despite the hardness test issues
 

TripleB4me

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
224
Maryland
I also have the ColorQ Pro-7, just got it a few days ago and am very happy with it. I have compared the results with my Taylor K-2006 test kit and they compare very well, except for the CYA test that the ColorQ reads a very low level where as the K-2006 shows a value more in line with what CYA I have added.

Is there a fix for the CYA test from LaMotte?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Making sure the test water is in the low 80s and waiting a few extra minutes after adding the CYA tablet to be sure it all disolves seem to improve the accuracy of the CYA test. From what I have read it is a little tricky, but possible, to get it working.
 

Sabot

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
343
Austin, TX
Ordered one a few days ago... My pool just was drawn on the grass on Monday. The tester will be here before the hole is dug! :) I wanted to start learning (ok..playing with) it...

I also have the TF test kit so I have two differant methods to compair against...

Now I just need a pool to test... <Idea> I will go down to the local pool and test their water. Should I charge? ;)
 

robl45

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2007
793
Parkland, FL
has the CYA and hardness tests been resolved with this unit? I like the idea of this thing, but the main draw for me is the CH and CYA tests, and if they don't work, its a bit of a waste.

also, are the liquids or tablets better? The tablet version seems more expensive to refill.