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Old 01-03-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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Default pH meter questions

I got a Milwaukee ph56 for Christmas. It seems simple enough, so I feel funny asking questions, but I can't find the answer on the Milwaukee website.

When I calibrate, the first three or four times I try, I get "wrng" as a message when I move to the 4.01 buffer solution. It does seem to calibrate, though. After a few times of attempting, it does work. This just doesn't seem right to me at all.

The next thing is it takes a really long time to "lock in" to a pH. I mean, a really long time. The instructions say to gently stir, and that seems to speed it up. But it takes several minutes, moving very slowly to go to a pH and settle.

When I left it sitting in the 4.01 buffer, (the instructions say you can), the pH reading eventually dropped to 3.89. That's a big difference! Is that supposed to happen- it seems like if the 4.01 buffer is 4.01, that the meter wouldn't read differently!



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Old 01-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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I believe the buffers are going to change as they sit out in the atmosphere. Don't know how long that takes. Also temperature correction plays a part - not sure if your meter corrects or not. The packet of solution I have has a temp correction chart on it. I have a super cheap PH meter and it doesn't take very long for it to settle on a number, not sure if it is a correct number but it makes me feel better.



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Old 01-03-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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I believe the buffers are going to change as they sit out in the atmosphere. Don't know how long that takes. Also temperature correction plays a part - not sure if your meter corrects or not. The packet of solution I have has a temp correction chart on it. I have a super cheap PH meter and it doesn't take very long for it to settle on a number, not sure if it is a correct number but it makes me feel better.
I emailed the company, and heard back once and answered their questions.

I'm inclined to believe the probe is defective, as I calibrated and checked the pH of my wort (all at 68 degrees, even though the meter supposedly has ATC). The pH took FOREVER but finally stabilized at 5.40. Then I dipped it in water just to rinse a bit and stuck it back in the 4.01 buffer. (I just took it OUT of there before checking the wort pH). It read 3.81. I put fresh solution in both containers, recalibrated, and checked my wort. It read 5.2.

So, which IS the pH of my wort? 5.2? 5.4? None of the above?

I calibrated this thing about 5 times today and never got the same reading twice.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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I've never used Milwaukee PH meter for brewing but I used to have one for a Calcium reactor for reef tank and I went through 2 probes when meter was brand new before the 3rd one was good. Maybe it is a defective probe.


Here is contact info:

Milwaukee Instruments, Inc.
2950 Business Park Drive
Rocky Mount, NC 27804 - U.S.A.
Tel.: +1.252.443.3630
Fax: +1.252.443.1937
Primary: milwaukee@vol.com
Sales Dept: sales@milwaukeeinstruments.com
Technical Dept: support@milwaukeeinstruments.com

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Old 01-03-2012, 05:51 PM   #5
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They've already emailed me back and are sending out a new replacement probe. It must be defective.

That's great, except I can't brew again until the end of March so I won't even know if it's working properly. Well, I can take the pH of my finished beers, I guess.

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Old 01-08-2012, 03:58 AM   #6
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I use a Hanna pH meter at work several times a day, every day. It is usually pretty fast and accurate in spite of being a few years old. I calibrate it every couple of weeks. It gets a little stubborn sometimes when calibrating so I "re-boot" it by taking the batteries out. They probably don't really need it but I clean the batteries when I take them out. After returning the batteries, I clean the probe with a cotton swab and water. The meter is stored in a glass of tap water every day, all day.

If your meter acts up again, even with the new probe, try the re-boot trick. It may help, it may not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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Old 01-08-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by skipper1953 View Post
I use a Hanna pH meter at work several times a day, every day. It is usually pretty fast and accurate in spite of being a few years old. I calibrate it every couple of weeks. It gets a little stubborn sometimes when calibrating so I "re-boot" it by taking the batteries out. They probably don't really need it but I clean the batteries when I take them out. After returning the batteries, I clean the probe with a cotton swab and water. The meter is stored in a glass of tap water every day, all day.

If your meter acts up again, even with the new probe, try the re-boot trick. It may help, it may not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Thanks! I have the new probe soaking in storage solution now, and I'll calibrate it tonight. I'm not brewing for a while, but I can check pH of several wines I guess, for practice!

I have another question, then- what is the "instability indicator"? I see no mention of it in the manual.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:49 PM   #8
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I have another question, then- what is the "instability indicator"? I see no mention of it in the manual.
You can safely ignore that for now as I have no plans on visiting the UP anytime soon.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipper1953 View Post
I use a Hanna pH meter at work several times a day, every day. It is usually pretty fast and accurate in spite of being a few years old. I calibrate it every couple of weeks. It gets a little stubborn sometimes when calibrating so I "re-boot" it by taking the batteries out. They probably don't really need it but I clean the batteries when I take them out. After returning the batteries, I clean the probe with a cotton swab and water. The meter is stored in a glass of tap water every day, all day.

If your meter acts up again, even with the new probe, try the re-boot trick. It may help, it may not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Hey Skipper,

Just curious on you storing the probe in tap water - is that just as effective as that storage solution they sell? Curious as I'm looking at purchasing the Hanna pHep 5 from MoreBeer!

Thanks
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:34 AM   #10
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Hey Skipper,

Just curious on you storing the probe in tap water - is that just as effective as that storage solution they sell? Curious as I'm looking at purchasing the Hanna pHep 5 from MoreBeer!

Thanks
I don't require a high degree of accuracy from my meter. The way I handle and store my meter probably reflects that fact. I honestly don't know if my system is as effective as following the manufacturers instructions. It works for me.

I use the Hanna meter for testing the pH of industrial waste water while batch processing. After testing the pH of a water sample, I rinse the probe with a garden hose and stick it in a plastic beaker half full of clean tap water. I have not changed the replaceable glass portion of the meter for a couple of years but I think I'm about due. Before calibrating, I usually check the pH of the 7.0 buffer solution just for the sake of curiosity. The meter is not usually off by much and when it is it is usually a bit high (7.5ish at most).

My own meter (the one I use for brewing and wine making) is stored with a bit of wet (tap water) cotton in the cap. I wrap electrical tape around the cap to seal in the moisture. When I use the meter, I soak it in water while I'm getting things ready. I do a two step calibration using 7.0 and 4.0 buffer solutions before use to insure accuracy. I've had my Hanna meter for several years and I am still using the original glass probe.

I'm satisfied that I don't need to buy a special storage solution. Your mileage may vary.


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