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System Fluid Testing Equipment- Looking for Recommendations

Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,517
Looking for recommendations on a reliable meter capable of testing for pH, salinity, TDS, and conductivity.

We have used different brands of portable pens, but have found them to be unreliable, and in need of more frequent calibration than claimed by the manufacturers. At this point, we are leaning more towards lab-quality equipment. Obviously, equipment like this will come at a higher cost, so we want to make sure we are not wasting our money.

I have been considering the Hach Mp-6p, seen here: https://www.hach.com/mp-6p-portable-meter-essentials-package/product?id=7640518335&callback=pf

Does anyone have experience with this meter, or have another reliable meter to recommend?


  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 996
    We use a HannaHI 98129
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,517
    Thanks for the feed back.. In the Past we used this pen ..We had two Pens with new probes that were calibrated as per manufacture's specifications and found that they had given us mixed results...We then moved on to Extech pens that measure PH,EC.SAL and TDS. These pens also give us mixed results even after calibration with the calibration fluids. Very frustrating and unreliable.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,878
    You certainly get what soupy for with most any tool. There is, as you are finding a wide price range and quality levels of test instruments. You can pay thousands for lab quality instruments, thousands of dollars for just a single sample meter.

    When it comes to on the job instruments and getting a number "in the ballpark" Meters in the hundreds of dollars range should be sufficient.

    Once you get a handle on typical conditions in your area, there should not be wide swings unless the public water providers start modifying treatment for specific conditions.

    At some point, as you have done, sending a sample to a certified lab gets the best info and covers your liability. An expert can tell you how the various numbers relate to one another also.

    Even the best $$ instruments will need calibration, depending on how often they are used, how they are stored, and the quality or lack of of the samples you test.

    I contacted a manufacturer to assemble a special kit with 5 testers specific to hydronic fluid testing. With middle of the road quality it would hit the streets over 1 grand, and test fluids need to be replenished regularly for some tests.

    I didn't think it would be a "sellable" kit at those numbers. Most of the hydronic treatment manufacturers will test samples for $100- 150, and offer suggestions for the treatment, and point out problem levels, their expertise is worth the admission price.

    Then the question becomes what to do with water that doesn't meet the manufacturers or VDI standard quality.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,517
    Thanks Bob,
    Yes VDI 2035 is the standard that we are always trying to maintain by using a resin bed filtering system. System fluid and Domestic water samples are something that we test first to "see" what we are up against. We also have to deal with Well water here at 10 000 feet. As you Know Mag Chloride is also throwing a wrench into the Equation up here in the Rockies.
    As for the Pens: The $200 Pens seems to work OK for a little while, We are well aware that they need to be calibrated and have six different Fluids that have also a limited shelf life. We also are aware that the Probes need to be replaced and accept that. But even after adhering to all of these calibration requirements we are not satisfied with the "Mixed" results.
    We understand that we may have to invest some serious Money on lab type Testing equipment but do want to make a educated decision on the testing equipment and are looking for feed back,
    Maybe the folks from Rhomar have suggestions on the equipment.
    As much as I respect the laboratories that help with these services
    I just have too many samples and must also be able to test on site and make a decision based on the result at the time that they are sampled.
    Bob, Thanks for helping to make this industry Better and Better every day.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,878
    My go to guru is Geoffrey at Rhomar. He has a Phd in chemistry and understands more about water that just the typical hydronic challenges. But be warned, the terms, lingo, and science can get over your head quickly if you don't have some chemistry background, water and treatments can be a complex topic, both potable and hydronic/ steam.

    My goal has been trying to boil it down to an understandable level for plumbers and installers. What are the few key numbers to look for and watch. How to affordably fix bad water.

    But with water constantly evolving from road deicers and more robust chemicals added at treatment plants, you need to be able to test, confirm, and adapt to the water that you get. there can be some weird things going on in water. The water utilities generally don't involve the hydronic guys as the change or modify their treatment chemicals. We know for a fact some of the chemicals they add cause problems when heated in a closed system at potential boiler temperatures of 180F or more.

    I don't think the learning ever ends, as with most trades. Water analysis is a trade into itself, depends how deep into it you want to get :)

    All the hydronic component manufacturers have skin in the game, bad water or glycol destroys components. I'd like to see the industry, maybe the RPA develop a water standard like VDI 2035 or the other European countries. It's part of boiler inspections now in Germany from what I'm told. Bad water in the boiler, no sign off by the inspector.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • boilerman12
    boilerman12 Member Posts: 3
    Hach make top o the line stuff we use it and it works great