Thermoworks 8689 pH meter?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
In the comments section of a Brulosophy article, I noticed the author and a couple of his compadres recommend using the Thermoworks 8689 pH meter, which is on sale right now at $69 US. Can anyone here on HBT speak to how well this product performs? At $69, and with a free replacement electrode, it seems like a heck of a deal to me.

http://www.thermoworks.com/High-Accuracy-pH-Meter-8689
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
In the comments section of a Brulosophy article, I noticed the author and a couple of his compadres recommend using the Thermoworks 8689 pH meter, which is on sale right now at $69 US. Can anyone here on HBT speak to how well this product performs? At $69, and with a free replacement electrode, it seems like a heck of a deal to me.

http://www.thermoworks.com/High-Accuracy-pH-Meter-8689
I am going to follow your thread as I am a big Thermoworks fan. I use Thermapens in brewing and cooking, Chef's Alarm when brewing and the Smoke remote probe when BBQing. They have superior customer service and are helpful if an unusual problem should arise.

I use a Hach Pocket Pro +, but if this unit can come close in performance, you are talking one half the price! Based on their other superior products, I would gamble on this one.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
I am going to follow your thread as I am a big Thermoworks fan. I use Thermapens in brewing and cooking, Chef's Alarm when brewing and the Smoke remote probe when BBQing. They have superior customer service and are helpful if an unusual problem should arise.

I use a Hach Pocket Pro +, but if this unit can come close in performance, you are talking one half the price! Based on their other superior products, I would gamble on this one.
I second your remarks on customer service. Just called them and they were knowledgeable and very helpful. Recommended the 4.0 and 7.0 solution, but suggested I not bother with the storage solution and just used distilled water instead. At this price point and knowing there's really good product support, I think I'm going to make the purchase.
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
I second your remarks on customer service. Just called them and they were super knowledgeable and very helpful. Recommended the 4.0 and 7.0 solution, but suggested I not bother with the storage solution and just used distilled water instead. At this price point and knowing there's really good product support, I think I'm going to make the purchase.
I would be very surprised if you were not very pleased with this meter. The probe on my Hach has a small cap that also serves as a cup to hold the liquid being tested. When I finish and rinse everything off with distilled water, Hach suggests to leave a few droplets of water in the cap and close it tightly as this serves to keep the probe in a humid environment. But not submerged in any liquid, water, solution...etc.

The Thermoworks meter may function differently, and I'd love to hear your thoughts and review after you try it out.
 

MaltMaker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
62
Reaction score
18
It is a good meter, however, the accuracy of +/- 0.05 pH is rather loose if you can live with that.

Don't have the specs handy but I believe the Hach, Omega and Milwaukee meters have accuracies of +/- 0.02 pH (not sure if one of them is +/- 0.01 pH which normally costs a lot more).
 

JonM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
9,318
Reaction score
4,150
Location
Milwaukee
I've had one for a couple years (only on my second electrode, which is pretty good.) It seems to work well enough.

Based on some of the reviews I've seen about the Hach and Milwaukee meters, I think if I were doing it over again I'd probably go with one of those models. (I love my Thermapen, though!)
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
Thanks for the help everyone. Just completing the online order now. Looks like the 500ml bottles of 4.0 and 7.0 are the way to go. The 20ml pouches have to be purchased as an assortment with other solutions I don't need.

Just wondering, do I need to purchase electrode cleaning solution, or can distilled be used for this task as well?
 

Drk93TT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
272
Reaction score
25
I do love my thermapen mk4 ! Interested to hear about others experience with this pH meter.
I have the Milwaukee m102 and love it so far. Though I brew once a month so most the time its in storage solution :)
 

Drk93TT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
272
Reaction score
25
Thanks for the help everyone. Just completing the online order now. Looks like the 500ml bottles of 4.0 and 7.0 are the way to go. The 20ml pouches have to be purchased as an assortment with other solutions I don't need.

Just wondering, do I need to purchase electrode cleaning solution, or can distilled be used for this task as well?
Rinsing it off with distilled/ro/neutral water and using storage solution when not in use is ideal.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
No, apparently no one here can comment on the performance of this meter and therefore you have to accept the possibility of disappointment as meters under $100 are likely to disappoint. It is much safer to go with one of the three meters which have been vetted here but if everyone did that and someone did come up with a good meter under $100 we'd never know about it. It is easy enough to find out whether you have a good meter or not. Just do the stability test sketched out in the Sticky. You will have to accept 0.05 accuracy. The Hach meters specify, and stability tests confirm, accuracy of around 0.01. You should understand what the implications of 0.05 accuracy. It means that just after calibrating your meter 68% of your meter's readings will be in the band ±0.1 pH centered at the correct value while 32% of them will be in error by more than that (this is all relative to the buffer which has its own accuracy of ±0.02 relative to the pH printed on the label.) If this is acceptable to you then you might want to consider this meter. But if are the sort that upon hitting 5.40 in a mash or test mash wants to tweak it up to 5.45 this isn't the meter for you.

It is a near miracle that one can buy a pH meter that delivers 0.01 - 0.02 accuracy (implication - 68% of your readings are within a band of width 0.02 to 0.04 of the true pH relative to the buffer) for only a little over $100. I know what I'd do.
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
AJ, not meaning to hijack the thread, but the OP was asking something along these lines anyway. For my Hach meter I had bought Hanna electrode cleaning solution (protein specific) which requires a sachet of catalyst to be mixed with an amount of the bottled solution. It only makes enough for (I think) 8 or 12 uses since each batch gets dumped after use.

Anyway, you mentioned an alternate solution for cleaning brewing proteins from electrodes. May I ask you the name of this product and where you suggest we can find it to order?

Thanks!
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
I've always used Zymit. A little goes a long way (you use a 1 - 2% v/v solution. I have always gotten it frm Cole Palmer but I am sure there are other sources. That said, I don't think I have ever cleaned a pH electrode with it. I use it to clean my densitometer almost every time I use it though.
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
Do you see any reason it wouldn't work or be potentially harmful to use on a Ph meter's electrode?
 

CraigH78

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
49
Reaction score
2
Location
Nazareth, PA
I just ordered one and will try it out. Admittedly I don't have any other pH meters to compare it to, I typically use the test strips, but I'll take some pictures and videos when I give it a try. I'll play guinea pig :D
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
I just ordered one and will try it out. Admittedly I don't have any other pH meters to compare it to, I typically use the test strips, but I'll take some pictures and videos when I give it a try. I'll play guinea pig :D
That's the nice thing about a pH meter. All you need to check it out is the buffer you calibrate it with. The answer lies in the stability test described in the calibration sticky. All we care about (and all you should care about) is how it performs in that test.

It's interesting to note that the precision of this guy is 0.01 but the accuracy is stated as 0.05. This implies strongly that stability test measurements are going to wander around (they should all be the same if you hold the temp. constant) such that the rmse over half an hour or so is going to be 0.05.
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
AJ, your advice and some additional research led me to International Products who makes Zymit cleaner. I wanted to share this info with you and other HBT members who have an interest in our conversation.

I spoke with a very informative gentleman in the research department who ironically also happens to be a home brewer. He knew very well what I was facing with proteins on the electrodes and the need to clean them regularly. He advises me to use a dilution ratio of 50:1 instead of the typical 100:1 ratio listed. He also advised to submerge the electrode for an hour so the Zymit has time to break down the proteins, then the surfactant sheds the residual from the electrode.

I was very encouraged by this feedback and wanted to share this info (and suggested ratio) for future use. Thank you for the lead.

**you had said 1-2% in your original message which was on target with the mfg.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
Just picked up an 8689 plus buffer solution. $109 (or $145 CAD) after shipping. Thanks all.
:mug:
 

JDL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
133
Reaction score
9
Location
Honesdale, PA
I also grabbed one during the sale. Sadly cannot use it until around the first week of may though due to work travel. I will do the stability test in the sticky and post it when I get back.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
It's brew day today and I'm using my new 8689 for the first time. I may be doing something wrong, but I followed the product instructions and calibration has failed. I went to test the 7.0 solution and the CAL display won't stop flashing. According to the instructions, this means there's a problem with the probe. Either that or I'm a dumbass. Sigh.
 

mongoose33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
8,054
Reaction score
7,758
Location
Platteville, WI
It's brew day today and I'm using my new 8689 for the first time. I may be doing something wrong, but I followed the product instructions and calibration has failed. I went to test the 7.0 solution and the CAL display won't stop flashing. According to the instructions, this means there's a problem with the probe. Either that or I'm a dumbass. Sigh.
Reboot?

Turn off and turn back on? Remove the battery, reinsert and try again? It's kind of a shot in the dark, but it's all I've got.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
Reboot?

Turn off and turn back on? Remove the battery, reinsert and try again? It's kind of a shot in the dark, but it's all I've got.
Yep, tried that. Still flashes in CAL mode.

I went ahead and tested my wort anyway since the 7.0 buffer estimate was bang on 6.88, where it should be at the recorded temp. The wort pH jumped around from about 5.37 to 5.44. 5.35 predicted with Bru'n. Probably meaningless considering.

I put a call into Thermoworks.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
Lamentably this is all too often the outcome when one goes under $100.

That said your first use of the meter should not be on brewday but several days before so you are familiar with how it works, or if it doesn't have some time to see if you can fix things.

Put it aside, do your brew without it and then return to it at leisure. You may find a simple fix.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
That's what I've done.

It's most likely down to me. I'll find out tomorrow when they call back. If not human error, then I'll be asking for a new probe and we'll go from there. On the upside, the wort tasted frickin awesome.

Thanks for the feedback guys.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
UPDATE: I performed a full reset, soaked the probe in distilled and the 8689 appears to be working fine. Still fumbling my way through the calibration settings (could be more intuitive) but I think its going to work out. Will be another week or two until I can test it on a mash.
 

Hophappy

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
UPDATE: I performed a full reset, soaked the probe in distilled and the 8689 appears to be working fine. Still fumbling my way through the calibration settings (could be more intuitive) but I think its going to work out. Will be another week or two until I can test it on a mash.
I just got my ThermoWorks 8689. Unsure how to properly calibrate as well. I have 4.01 and 7.01 buffers; did you just use the default auto calibration values (4.01 and 6.86) or did you change meter to buffer value, or did you adjust values to compensate for buffer temp? You're right, the instructions are not very intuitive.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
I just got my ThermoWorks 8689. Unsure how to properly calibrate as well. I have 4.01 and 7.01 buffers; did you just use the default auto calibration values (4.01 and 6.86) or did you change meter to buffer value, or did you adjust values to compensate for buffer temp? You're right, the instructions are not very intuitive.
I tried to adjust the meter values to compensate for temperature. I haven't managed to sort out the correct sequence of up/down/hold button presses to make that happen yet though. Did you figure it out?
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
You don't have to do that as, I assume, the meter hs ATC. It adjusts for buffer and sample temperature automatically. See the Sticky on pH meter calibration for tips.
 

Hophappy

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
ajdelange:
Yes, the meter does auto calibrate and has ATC as well. I tried that but it seemed when I went back after calibration it didn't read the buffer accurately, so I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. You said, "See the Sticky on pH meter calibration for tips." I don't see anything like that; is this posted somewhere else?

rhys333:
I was able to adjust the calibration setting. When you enter into Cal mode, while CAL is blinking, hold down either the Up or Down arrow for a sec or two. You can then adjust the value up and down with the respective button.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
BREW DAY UPDATE:
I'm pleased to report all went well today. Auto-calibration worked perfectly for both the 7.0 and 4.0 solutions. Took about 15 seconds to provide a stable temp-adjusted reading. Same for the wort sample. Bru'n predicted 5.33 at RT and the sample was 5.31 at 26C (78F).

Happy customer!
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
So it looks like a couple of us here asked a question on the Thermoworks website about auto-calibration on 8689 and if we need to manually adjust the pH readout to match the buffer value at a particular temperature. Someone from Thermoworks answered that YES, we need to manually adjust.

I followed up with a phone call and it seems this answer is likely incorrect. With ATC, the 8689 should display the correct pH for a given temperature without you needing to make manual adjustments. The only time you would need to adjust the pH readout is if it does not match what the buffer pH is supposed to be at a certain temp. Those temp-corrected values are shown in a table on the solution bottle.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,725
Location
McLean/Ogden
Of course that answer was wrong. Fire that man or send him back to pH U. The table on the bottle should be in the meter. If it is then it should do autocal and autocorrect without any intervention from you. If it isn't that is a very compelling reason for looking for another meter.

If the pH of a buffer differs over temperature from what is on the bottle lable that's an indication that the pHi (isoelectric pH) of the meter is not 7. In that case you cannot calibrate the meter effectively unless both buffers are at the same temperature and all samples are at that temperature too.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
QUESTION ABOUT MANUALLY CALIBRATING pH READOUT:

So last brew day the the pH readout on both 7.0 and 4.0 buffers were 0.01 below where they should have been for the temperature. According to the instructions, I'm supposed to manually correct this with the up/down buttons. Pushing these buttons doesn't change the pH readout though.

8689 owners, how do get the up/down calibration buttons to respond when I need to adjust readout values?
 

JonM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
9,318
Reaction score
4,150
Location
Milwaukee
In my experience (and it took a while for me to figure this out) is that calibration takes a long time with this meter. I put it in the buffer, move it around a bit then let it sit until it recognizes the buffer. It takes a minute or two for each one.
 
OP
rhys333

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,036
Location
Edmonton
In my experience (and it took a while for me to figure this out) is that calibration takes a long time with this meter. I put it in the buffer, move it around a bit then let it sit until it recognizes the buffer. It takes a minute or two for each one.
Similar results here... maybe 30-45 seconds. I didn't need to manually calibrate today as it was spot on. Tried holding the buttons though just to attempt a recalibtation. Did not work.
 
Top