Oakton ECOtestr pH2+

We all know just how important it is to maintain a proper PH when growing plants. Much like humans, if a plants PH is off or out of range, they will begin to show deficiencies due to the plant not being able to uptake the nutrients you are feeding it, so maintaining a PH range sufficient for your grow medium is vital.

GROW TIP:

Cannabis Hydroponics – keep your PH in the 5.7 – 6.0 range, with 5.8 being the sweet spot.

Cannabis Soil – keep your PH in the 6.3 – 6.8 range, with 6.5 being the sweet spot.

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I received the new Oakton ECOtestr pH2+ meter in the mail today, so I immediately unpacked the unit. I noticed the cap got quite an upgrade from the previous model, its thicker, now has a fill line, and the meter is also equipped with a rubber gasket for a better water tight seal while testing or storing. I removed the cap to add a little probe storage solution in order to hydrate the sensor, and let that sit overnight. 20170402_13441620170402_134325
20170402_135038 The new meter has a much larger main screen to display more information. I do like the battery monitor addition, I don’t know how many times the meter would shut off, and while I spend 20 minutes trying to figure out what I did wrong, all that really needed to be done, was to replace the batteries, so we now have a low battery indicator, and if you accidentally leave the meter on, it will shut itself off after 8 minutes of non use. The larger display also gives a temperature reading. You don’t want to shock the roots with cold water so this is good information to have, but when running in a controlled environment, not really necessary. The new meter also offers a few settings that can be changed such as:

• Change measurement mode

• Reset to factory calibration

• Change temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit

• Adjusting the temperature readings.

Moving through the settings is pretty straight forward and easy to maneuver.

Its now time to calibrate and while the new meter allows for 3 point calibration, 2 point works just fine for our needs and any ole calibration solution will do. I happen to have a couple sample bottles of PH 7.0 and PH 4.0, so those are what we will use today. I pulled out my current Oakton ECOtestr which hasn’t been calibrated in weeks, and dipped it into the 7.0 solution. It went right to 7.0 without so much as a hiccup, its a great meter and always has been. Calibration of the new meter was easy, you press the calibration button, dip the sensor into your calibration solution and the meter does the rest. There is a CALC icon that flashes when the meter is finding its value, and then a CHECK MARK when its found. After a few seconds, the meter hit its calibration and was done. All I needed to do was repeat the process for both of my calibration solutions to achieve a 2 point calibration, and now I am ready to test my feed. 20170404_045927
20170404_050112 I already know where my PH lands given the PPM’s I am using, but we check daily and confirm before ever feeding our plants. After a few drops of PH up or PH down depending on your waters buffer, I stir vigorously and dip the meter into my reservoir or container for a couple seconds before actually turning it on. This will prep the sensor and tends to start the meter out closer to what you have mixed and ready to test, rather than starting out at Neutral 7.0 and having to drop from there. Either way, the number found its target pretty quickly compared to other meters on the market that can take forever to hit a number, then can drift all over the place for what might seem like hours before getting where it needs to be. There is a new CLOCK icon that flashes, and within a few seconds we had a CHECK MARK and I was done. Simply adjust with PH up or down as needed from there until you reach your desired PH, and since we run passive hydroponics, we want to be in the area of 5.8 PH.
Once I have completed my work with the meter, it gets rinsed with RO water, blown dry and capped with storage solution to keep the sensor wet. After a week of use, I dipped the meter into a small shot glass of 7.0 calibration solution in order to see how its holding, and it seemed to stop at 6.9 for a couple seconds, but then found 7.0, showing that it had indeed held calibration so far.

Overall, the meter works very well. It gets right to a number quickly so you can get things done in a timely manner. The main PH reading does tend to jump around a little when not sitting in a solution, so once you do dip it, it needs to find itself again. Its a slight annoyance, but nothing tragic. Our plants are happy and healthy and great quality equipment is what keeps them that way. I will continue to suggest all serious growers add an Oakton ECOtestr pH2+ meter to your arsenal, its easy to use, holds calibration, and doesn’t drift, giving you peace of mind that your next harvest will be a successful one.

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