[NAFEX] pH meters
Jwlehman at aol.com
Jwlehman at aol.com
Fri Dec 9 09:17:43 EST 2005
In a message dated 12/8/2005 6:26:11 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
list at ginda.us writes:>
> I had one of those cheap pH meters, too. I scrubbed it with steel wool
> and stuck it in my soil. It read 7.0. I scrubbed it some more and wet
> down the soil more. It read 7.0. I brought it inside and filled a
> glass with one part vinegar and four parts water. It read 7.0. So I
> threw it away.
Some different metals will generate an electric current when in an acid
environment. Clean a penny and nickel, then place them together on one side and
lightly pinch the tip of your tongue between the other side. The strange taste
you experience is actually a very small current passing through the tongue tip.
The acid in your saliva between the two metals generates the current. (Grade
My meter is made of two dissimilar metals. The shank one and the tip another
which I believe is silver or a silver alloy. There is an insulator between
them. The meter is actually reading the voltage generated between these two
metals with the meter calibrated to pH rather than micro-volts. The higher the soil
acid the higher the generated voltage. The instructions with mine says to
keep the tip polished with a clean cloth and not use an abrasive such as steel
wool to clean it. I believe some of the iron will coat the metal tip alloy
throwing the calibration off, and if both the tip and shank get contaninated with
iron may even render it totally useless. Also the instructions with mine says
they will not work properly if the soil is too wet nor in a solution and mine
doesn't. And if too dry will not work either.
Theoretically a cheap one should work as well as the expensive models,
especially if the bimetal tips are made of the same metals and they likely are. The
main difference may be the quality of the meters. An expensive meter may have
jeweled meter mounts. A cheap one spring taunt. The spring taunt model will
not take much physical shock abuse as it might experience in field use. In other
words, DON'T DROP IT. Either meter type should read just as accurately.
My background is electronics and meter calibration for 6 years of it at
My pH meter seems to work just fine. It is maybe 8 years old and cost about
$15.00. I dry and polish it between every reading as some of the acid will
remain on the tip and contaminate (influence) the following reading.
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