Ph meter vs Taylor color indicator

Ted2019

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May 10, 2019
26
Lido Beach, NY
Calibrated my Pen Type PH meter (PH -009)to 6.86 and 4.0 solutions BUT Meter gets a 7.3 with pool water vs Taylor K-2006C 7.5 to 7.6 = a diff of -.2 to -.3 Seems OK as I can keep the .2-.3 diff in mind —- I tend to have more confidence in the Taylor testing.
Anyone have experience with Meter vs. drop test?
Thanks
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
No experience with meters, but I never understood their use. You're testing FC each time, right? Is it really that much more trouble to test the pH at the same time, it takes seconds. Otherwise, what? You collect water for the FC test, and test the pH out at the pool fumbling with the meter, then test FC elsewhere. Three steps. Or test both with the Taylor. Three steps. With Taylor, no calibration needed. Just don't see the advantage of yet another electronic gizmo in my life. (Don't mind me, I'm old!!)

Regarding the color match up: not sanctioned by Taylor (I called them about this), but learned here at TFP: use four drops instead of five. With five, I can't match the colors, with four I can easily. @dschlic1, are you a male? Men have more trouble with distinguishing reds than women do (something to do with our respective hunter/gatherer genes). Some here have their female SOs help them with pH.
 
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Ted2019

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May 10, 2019
26
Lido Beach, NY
No experience with meters, but I never understood their use. You're testing FC each time, right? Is it really that much more trouble to test the pH at the same time, it takes seconds. Otherwise, what? You collect water for the FC test, and test the pH out at the pool fumbling with the meter, then test FC elsewhere. Three steps. Or test both with the Taylor. Three steps. With Taylor, no calibration needed. Just don't see the advantage of yet another electronic gizmo in my life. (Don't mind me, I'm old!!)

Regarding the color match up: not sanctioned by Taylor (I called them about this), but learned here at TFP: use four drops instead of five. With five, I can't match the colors, with four I can easily. @dschlic1, are you a male? Men have more trouble with distinguishing reds than women do (something to do with are respective hunter/gatherer genes). Some here have their female SOs help them with pH.
Thanks for the quick responses—- for me it’s not the time to do the PH test (whether meter or Taylor, I use the same sample bottle that I use for all testing); it’s more the color matching that gives me problems as I’m old also and my eyes are not what they use to be. With Taylor test, I always ask my wife for an opinion and go with her answer.
Never knew about the 4 drops vs 5 — I’ll have to try that —- is that endorses by TFP?
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,281
Hernando, Ms
Really the only point to them in my opinion is for individuals with color blindness as they are really just another hassle to deal with.
With the ph test I always pull up a blank white page on my phone for a background to be sure I’m getting true colors.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
I am male but do not have red/green color blindness.
Difficulty reading color-comparing pH drop tests is an excellent reason to use a meter. That said, I wasn't referring to the red/green thing. Women can distinguish more shades of red than we can, even when we can clearly see that something is red. (Though that and the red/green blindness might very well be related somehow physiologically. I wouldn't know, I'm just regurgitating the men/women thing.)
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
Really the only point to them in my opinion is for individuals with color blindness as they are really just another hassle to deal with.
With the ph test I always pull up a blank white page on my phone for a background to be sure I’m getting true colors.
I test indoors, under a strip of under-counter LED lights that are fairly color-neutral. That gives me very consistent, repeatable conditions (as opposed to testing outside). I hold a white card behind my pH test and angle it such that it reflects light through vial and color bars. Same same. Phone is a good idea, too, though if you alter your brightness regularly that is a tiny bit less "consistent, repeatable."

Remember, we're not trying to develop the COVID virus vaccine here. Close enough is close enough. Not saying you shouldn't strive for best practice, I do. But also not to stress about it too much. It's more important to fine tune your MO for what works for you, so that you're less likely to skip a test here and there. Regular testing is more important than perfect testing. So make it easy on yourself.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Regular testing is more important than perfect testing.
Dirk gets a big, shiny TFP Gold Star for that statement. Consistency and seeing trends are far more important than being obsessively accurate. I hope all of us bring that statement into our TFP vocabulary.
 
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BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
343
Katy, Texas
I agree it's not rocket science or brain surgery. However, as a photography enthusiast I have checked light color many times with an 18% gray card, a digital camera, and Adobe Camera RAW. LED lights--other than dedicated LED photo lights--are all over the place in color temp. I have in my house LEDs that range from 2700 degrees K to 5200 degrees (higher the temp, the bluer the light. "Daylight" can vary according to time of day from 3200 degrees at sunrise/sunset (so called "golden light") to 5500 degrees at noon to 7500 degrees when fairly densely overcast. As a general rule I try to find a cloud as my background. In no clouds I just settle for cheap under counter LED light. Mine is about 4000 degrees.
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
I agree it's not rocket science or brain surgery. However, as a photography enthusiast I have checked light color many times with an 18% gray card, a digital camera, and Adobe Camera RAW. LED lights--other than dedicated LED photo lights--are all over the place in color temp. I have in my house LEDs that range from 2700 degrees K to 5200 degrees (higher the temp, the bluer the light. "Daylight" can vary according to time of day from 3200 degrees at sunrise/sunset (so called "golden light") to 5500 degrees at noon to 7500 degrees when fairly densely overcast. As a general rule I try to find a cloud as my background. In no clouds I just settle for cheap under counter LED light. Mine is about 4000 degrees.
You've missed my point, I think. My MO assures me of consistent, repeatable results. My LEDs are in the middle of spectrum, but that doesn't really matter. We are comparing a red test result color to shades of red on a chart. The type of color of the chart's colors closely resemble the type of color of the test sample, because we're looking through both, with the same background behind. It doesn't matter if the reflected and/or ambient light is tweaking the two colors we're comparing slightly blue or slightly yellow, whatever, the colors can still be accurately compared relative to each other. It's not like we're comparing a clear vial of colored water to a chart of colors printed on opaque paper, which would indeed be much more affected by reflected and ambient light. And because I'm using the same exact light source, indoors, every time I test, I can trust any trends I might see because I've eliminated most all of the variables.

You're admitting that with your MO, you "try" and get a grey background (implying you're not always successful), but depending on cloud cover and/or time of day (and season), you are actually varying the test conditions each time you test. And then you vary even more by sometimes testing inside? Granted, the principle I site applies, that you are comparing two like color models side by side, so the reflected/ambient light only plays a small part. But I will pit my test results against yours, any day, because every day my testing environment is exactly the same, day after day. Yours is different (even if slightly) every time you test.
 
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pb4uswim

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2020
72
Michigan
I have a meter. I am also lucky enough to have a son in law who works at a plating company in the lab. PH is a critical aspect of their operations so I asked him to verify that my meter was reading correctly. It is. It was under $20. I trust that the most. However, I always like to confirm my readings so I gain comfort with the drop test. Of course it doesn’t have the precision that my meter has, but my PH is generally around 7.6. The drop test has 7.8 as one of the points of color. I feel comfortable that the PH is clearly under that level, which confirms my meter. Pointless, but that’s how I do it. If my meter were to act up, I’d trust the drop test to tell me that something’s wrong.

This is very similar to when I learned to BBQ. I used to have a couple thermometers, one I trusted, but another one just to be sure. However, in time, I became more comfortable with the process and almost didn’t even need a thermometer. I find the same thing happening with pool balancing. Now that things are pretty well dialed in, the thing I’m looking for is indicators to tell me something’s wrong. That just doesn’t require the precision that we tend to instinctively desire. If something’s wrong, I won’t need to ask my wife to tell me if it‘s color 1 or color 2 on the drop test. It will be clear that I’m outside of the range and that I need to do something. I’m very thankful to this site for getting me to this point relatively quickly.
 
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DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
265
Chandler, AZ
I picked up a digital tester for the same reasons as most men...had trouble color matching. But @pb4uswim makes some good points above. As it relates to pH, most of the guidance here goes something like "when it gets to 8, add MA till it's in the 7s". You don't need 2 decimal places of accuracy for that. :cool:
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
I have a meter, because I worked in a lab for years and using a stick meter is second nature to me. I've taught the hubster how to use it, and he loves it -- no more guessing at the shade of red. So we're a meter family. I calibrate every two weeks, which may be excessive -- it seems pretty consistent in its readings.
 
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homegameroom

Bronze Supporter
Sep 23, 2015
269
Sunrise,FL
This is a great thread for us old guys -or maybe guys in general! I have difficulty reading the red colors but was not aware of the gender bias of women reading red better than men.

I can usually see that the color is under the highest red color and above the lower red color but occasionally I’ll use the electronic meter to get the “real” number just to be sure.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
3,388
Stuart/FL
Ted,

Interesting thread for me since I have the color-blind trait. Seems to be worse in the upper end of the range at pH 7.8+. I ended up using meters a couple years ago after trying all the tricks on the drop test. The cheap digital pen style meters need good care. They also do wear out after a while. When you calibrate does it have a repeatable result? In other words if you test multiple times on the same sample is the result the same or does it creep up each time? This indicates it's time for a new one. I finally switched to a slightly more expensive on that has a replaceable reference anode. It's actually made from a roll of fiber that's inside the pen and you can pull out a little at a time to renew it. Sometimes the reference anode gets messed up from drying out or contamination and this helps. The glass anode is filled with liquid that is consumed each time you test. When it's depleted you have to get a new meter (or replace the tip if you have that capability). There are several brands that are in the $30-$40 range. I use the Hanna PHEP model. So far it's working very reliably and it's over a year old. The inexpensive under $20 type never lasted more than 6 months reliably for me. Probably somewhat due to my lack of care. With the PHEP I calibrate weekly. It seems like the calibration solution reading only changes once per month or so. I got the model that's accurate to .1 pH units on purpose. I think the one that's .01 is way overkill and can lead to obsessing over small fluctuations that don't have anything to do with practical pool care.

I hope this helps.

Chris