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How to become a pH measuring guru and enjoy many years of reliable sensor performance

The popular wireless pH sensor is a great sensor with many applications for Chemistry, Biology, Environment Science and General Science.  However, to experience the many benefits of this sensor, it is recommended that time is set aside to understand the sensor’s proper operation and care.  Fortunately there are a number of fantastic resources available to minimize the learning curve. The purpose of the following information is to emphasize key points and highlight the most helpful resources.

Important information before getting started

The pH sensor is comprised of two components: 1) The Amplifier (aka the white Bluetooth box, and 2) The Electrode.  Please note that many of the support calls for this sensor relate to improper connection of the Electrode to the Amplifier. (How to properly connect the pH electrode).  The white PASCO Amplifier is backed by PASCO’s 5 year warranty.   The Electrode, which is manufactured by a 3rd party, features a 6 month warranty against defects (but not improper use).  Despite this shorter warranty period, with proper care and attention the electrodes can be maintained in good working order for many years.

Manual

A comprehensive user manual exists for all PASCO’s wireless sensors (as well as other products).  But printed manuals are not supplied with the sensors – PDF files of the manuals can be downloaded from the Find Product Manuals and Resources search engine.  For your convenience the pH manual can be directly viewed by clicking on the following link:

Wireless pH Reference Guide

This comprehensive guide is an excellent resource to learn how to care for and operate your pH sensor. 

Key points from the reference guide not to be overlooked when getting started

It’s recommend to read the entire manual thoroughly, including the insightful section on the theory of calibration.  The better you understand how the pH sensor records calibrated measurements, the less of a black box it becomes, and the greater likelihood you’ll achieve accurate results.  However, if time is limited, be certain to pay attention to the following:

  1. Proper technique for connecting sensor (page 2)
  2. Proper technique for removing storage cap (2)
  3. pH Probe storage (page 4)

‘How Do I’ Videos

PASCO continues to expand its very helpful collection of task specific videos.  These videos are developed by their teacher support department and address common software and sensor concerns.  The best place to view these videos is on PASCO’s YouTube channel as it features an effective search tool.   For pH, there are a number of very useful videos on this channel with the most important ones linked below:

Properly Connect and Disconnect Electrode to pH Amplifier

Make a pH Storage Solution

Calibrate a pH Sensor (SPARKvue)

Calibrate a pH Sensor (CAPSTONE)

Preparing pH Electrodes for Storage

Managing the pH Probe Cap

When to replace a pH Electrode

Additional safe operation tips

  1. How to safely measure soil pH – follow the sample preparation instructions from the Determine Soil Quality PDF experiment
  2. How to prevent a stir bar from damaging the glass bulb of the electrode – use PASCO’s Electrode Support

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    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

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    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    What we find important to a successful implementation and adoption by teachers is showing that the probes are not a ‘standalone technology’. The datalogging activities are very cross-curricular and can incorporate math, english, science, and geography outcomes.

    We are excited to learn more about PASCO’s new weather sensor because our students enjoy projects where they can share and compare their data with weather stations from around the world and be part of a global community.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

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