Care and use guide
Contents
page
Features
2
Quick guide
2
Before first use begins
3
IMPORTANT - Soil pH Pen probe care
3
To operate
5
Information about measuring the
pH of soils/media
6
Measuring soil pH value
8
Measuring pH value of a soil solution
9
Cleaning
10
Battery replacement
10
Calibration
11
Error messages
11
Troubleshooting guide
12
Technical specifications
12
Product guarantee
13
Bluelab Probe Care Kits
14
Contact details
14
a handy solution made easy
WEEE-Reg.-Nr. DE 33009570
www.getbluelab.com
English
Features
Direct pH measurement into soils/media
Low battery warning
Backlit LCD display
Fully waterproof
Hold reading function
Auto off function
Fully guaranteed for 1 year
Selectable units for °C and °F
Integrated storage cap/dibber
Automatic Temperature
Compensation (ATC)
Successful pH calibration indicator
Quick guide
Check mark/tick to
indicate successful
pH calibration
Disappears 30 days after
last successful calibration
as a reminder calibration
is due.
Low battery warning
Appears when batteries are low.
Power button / hold
Short press to turn on. Short press to hold and
unhold reading. Long press to turn off.
Calibrate button
See calibration section.
Units button
Press and hold until units flash then short press to
change units. Screen will change back to main display
when no buttons have been pressed for 4 seconds.
Storage cap/dibber
The probe must not be allowed to dry out. Always loosen
the storage cap/dibber by twisting the dibber before
removing or placing back onto probe tip after each use
and ensure it contains either Bluelab pH Probe Storage
Solution or tap water.
ATTENTION:
FRAGILE Glassware
The pH probe contains a glass tube and a glass bulb.
DO NOT drop, knock or bend.
Refer to section 2.0 - Soil pH Pen probe care.
If it dries, it dies!
2
Keep your probe tip wet at all times to
avoid permanent damage.
1.0 Before first use begins
English
ATTENTION: Salt-crust forming on the pH probe is normal. A small amount of
KCl solution from the storage cap/dibber may leak out leaving a salt-crust.
This does not affect the probe and is normal.
The following tasks must be performed before the Bluelab Soil pH Pen is used for
the first time.
1
2
Hydrate Soil pH Pen probe
IMPORTANT: Always loosen the cap before
removing or replacing the storage cap/dibber.
a) Loosen the Soil pH Pen storage cap/dibber by
gripping the top of the storage cap/dibber and
gently twisting the bottom of the dibber to loosen
slightly. Gently slide the storage cap/dibber off
the probe.
b) Soak the probe tip in Bluelab pH Storage
Solution or fresh tap water for 24 hours.
Soaking the probe tip for 24 hours will improve
the soil pH probe’s activity and is recommended
if the probe tip has been allowed to dry.
c) Ensure there is always liquid in the storage cap/
dibber. Place the loosened storage cap/dibber
over the pH probe until seated at pen base,
then tighten.
CAUTION: DO NOT hydrate or store the pH probe in
Reverse Osmosis (RO), de-ionized or distilled water.
When the Soil pH Pen is not in use, place a small
amount of Bluelab pH Probe Storage Solution or
fresh tap water into the storage cap/dibber.
Removing the Soil pH Pen
storage cap/dibber
twist
to loosen
Hydrating the
Bluelab Soil pH Pen
fresh
water
Replacing the
Soil pH Pen storage cap/dibber
Calibrate the Soil pH Pen before the first use to
ensure accurate readings.
Go to section 9.0 for calibration steps.
2.0
remove
gently
twist
to tighten
IMPORTANT - Soil pH Pen probe care
To ensure you receive a long life from your Soil pH Pen, please ensure you follow
the guide below.
The Soil pH Pen probe is fragile
• DO NOT drop, knock or exert a sideways force on the probe.
• Avoid sudden temperature changes.
The soil pH probe does not last forever
• Probes do not last forever. They age through normal use and will eventually fail.
The lifetime of a probe depends on the environment it is used in and the way it
is treated.
• Always loosen the cap before removing or replacing the storage cap/dibber.
• This probe is suitable to use in temperatures between 0 - 50 °C / 32 - 122 °F only.
• Chemically aggressive, abrasive or oily samples will reduce the life of the probe.
3
Note: this section continues on next page...
2.0
IMPORTANT - Soil pH Pen probe care cont.
English
The Soil pH Pen probe requires cleaning at least once a
month and prior to calibrating
Cleaning the glassware is critical to obtaining accurate measurements.
Storing the Soil pH Pen
The probe tip must be kept wet - if it dries, it dies!
To prepare the probe for storage, place a small amount of Bluelab pH Probe Storage
Solution or tap water (never use RO, distilled or deionized water) into the storage cap/
dibber. Place the loosened cap over the probe tip and tighten (see section 1.0).
Long term storage
For long term storage, sit Soil pH Pen upright and ensure the storage cap/dibber
contains plenty of Bluelab pH Probe Storage Solution or tap water. Check each
month to ensure the liquid has not evaporated.
If the probe has been accidentally allowed to dry out:
The probe must be ‘hydrated’ for 24 hours in Bluelab pH Probe Storage Solution or
fresh clean water (never distilled, RO or deionized water). Following this, carry out a
calibration to check if the probe has already suffered permanent damage.
Cap
Pen body
Temperature
probe and internal
glass tube - fragile
Glass bulb
fragile
Soil pH Pen body & probe
Seal
Dibber
Soil level
indicator
Bluelab pH Probe
Storage Solution
or fresh water
Storage cap/dibber
DO NOT let the probe tip dry. IF IT DRIES IT DIES!
DO NOT exert sideways force, drop or knock the pen. This will break its
external glass bulb or internal glass tube.
DO NOT touch the glass bulb with your fingers as this will contaminate
the glass.
DO NOT plunge a cold probe into a hot liquid (or vice versa). Sudden
temperature changes can crack the glass and permanently damage the pen.
DO NOT immerse in oils, proteins or suspended solids that will leave a
coating on the glass bulb.
4
DO NOT remove or place the storage cap/dibber back onto the probe
without loosening the cap, as you could reduce the life of the probe.
3.0 To operate
English
1
Turn Soil pH Pen on
Press power button. The last measurement is recalled
for 3 seconds.
To turn Soil pH Pen off
Press and hold the power button until OFF is displayed.
NOTE: The Soil pH Pen will automatically turn off after
4 minutes to conserve battery power.
2
Power button
Measure pH
a) With the storage cap/dibber on the pen, press the
Soil pH Pen into the sample area until it reaches the
word ‘soil’ at the top of the dibber. Remove gently from
soil or substrate, leaving a small hole.
b) Remove storage cap/dibber (refer to section 1.1a for
instructions). Turn the Soil pH Pen on, then place pH
probe into the newly made hole in the soil or substrate.
Do not exert sideways pressure. Wait for the reading to
reach a constant value.
NOTE: Never make a hole in the soil or substrate with the
pH probe. Always use the storage cap/dibber.
3
To hold reading
If you want to “hold” the reading on the screen, short
press the power button. To exit the hold function, short
press the power button again.
1 second alternating displays
4
To change temperature units
Hold down the units button for 3 seconds until the
temperature units start flashing. Release. Short press
the units button again to cycle between °F and °C. To
exit this mode don’t press anything for 3 seconds.
NOTE: You can change units while in hold mode.
5
5
Rinse and place on the storage cap/dibber
To ensure accurate pH readings always rinse the probe
in clean fresh tap water before placing on the storage
cap/dibber. Ensure there is Bluelab pH Probe Storage
Solution or a little tap water in the storage cap/dibber.
Place on the storage cap/dibber, see section 1.1a.
twist
to tighten
4.0 Information about measuring the pH of soils/media
English
pH is the measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration (H+) - acidity and its
opposite, alkalinity. Neutral pH is 7.0 pH. Acidity measures below seven pH (7.0 pH)
with alkalinity measuring above it (7.0 pH). See chart below.
6
In soils or growing media, pH strongly influences the availability of nutrients and
the presence of microorganisms in the soil.
Certain plants require a particular pH range to enable the required nutrients to be consistently
available to the plant. If the solution is too acidic or too alkaline it can cause “lock up” – a situation
which restricts certain elements essential for growth from being absorbed by the root structure.
This in turn reduces plant health and performance. Deficiencies in the required elements become
apparent in plant growth and can lead to crop failure.
Low soil pH causes aluminium and manganese toxicity in plants and reduces the availability
of soil phosphorus. High soil pH also reduces soil phosphorus availability and reduces micro
nutrients such as zinc and boron to plants.
The chart below shows how nutrient pH levels influence the uptake of certain elements.
4.0 Information about measuring the pH of soils/media cont.
English
Taking pH measurements of soils with an electronic meter is indicative rather
than absolute.
The following factors are outside the control of any soil pH meter, so to minimise
their effect on the accuracy of the pH measurement you should consider the
following precautions:
Moisture level/raw water
If the sample you are wishing to measure is dry, add RO water or distilled water to moisten. Ideally
wait 24 hours before you take a measurement.
NOTE: If you add tap water, you will influence the soil pH reading based on the pH of the tap water.
Calibration of the Soil pH Pen and cleanliness of the soil probe tip
Calibrating the Soil pH Pen at least monthly will ensure accurate readings. Cleaning the soil residue
from the probe tip and storing the Soil pH Pen in a clean moist state will provide reliable readings as
well as prolonging the pens life.
Sample selection
For field testing, remove the top 5 - 10 cm / 2 - 4” of the top of the soil. Samples are taken
approximately 15 - 20 cm / 6 - 8” down into the substrate and from various areas, then an average
of the readings is used.
For container grown plants, it is recommended to check the pH level of the substrate prior to planting.
Factors affecting pH in the soil or media:
Soil type
Soils formed under high rainfall conditions (e.g. Eastern USA) are more acidic than those formed
under dry conditions (e.g. Western USA).
Growth stage of the plant
Uptake and requirements of particular elements change as the plant progresses through it’s
growing cycle. Recording pH level data to create a history is valuable.
Applications and types of fertilizers
Applications and types of fertilizers can alter the pH level significantly. The time at which you
take the reading is important. Evaluate the brand of fertilizer to see if it is altering the pH in the
wrong direction.
Applications of sprays
As sprays can soak into the soil/media, a change to the pH level could result.
Soil/media temperature
High temperature soils may have a high concentration of CO2. The higher the concentration of
carbon dioxide pressure results in more carbonic acid which lowers pH.
7
pH range for soil crops
The recommended pH range for soil crops is 6.2 - 7.2, but this is plant specific.
5.0 Measuring soil pH value
English
Follow the steps below to take pH measurements of soil and media.
1
Remove the top layer of soil/media
from the surface of the sample area.
2
Insert the storage cap/dibber into
the sample up to the ‘soil’ indicator
as shown on the storage cap/
dibber, then remove.
up to ‘soil’ on the
storage cap/dibber
TIP: The dibber creates a safe
pathway for the Soil Probe, reducing
the likelihood of probe breakage.
It should be used at all times.
3
Remove the storage cap/dibber
from the pen and turn the Soil pH
Pen on.
TIP: to keep the solution or tap
water in the storage cap/dibber
while taking measurements with
the Soil pH Pen, simply place the
storage cap/dibber upright into
the soil.
4
5
Insert the probe into the hole
made by the dibber, ensuring the
probe end makes gentle contact
with the soil.
Wait for the reading displayed
to stabilize to a constant value.
Record the reading.
TIP: If the Soil pH Pen turns off
while taking a measurement,
simply press the power button to
turn the Soil pH Pen back on and
continue with your measurement.
6
Remove the probe gently from the
soil/media and rinse the probe tip
under fresh running water
(not RO or distilled) to remove any
soil residue.
IMPORTANT: Always rinse the probe
tip in between each measurement
and shake to remove excess water.
7
8
For field testing, repeat the
procedure in different locations
and take the average of the
measured data as the pH level is
representative of the sample area.
Ensure you rinse the probe
tip between each use
6.0 Measuring the pH value of a soil solution
English
The greatest source of error in soil analysis comes during sample
collection. An effort should be made to ensure each sample properly
represents the area being sampled.
Collection of sample
1
Sample in a zig-zag pattern across the required area.
2
Take samples of soil at approximately 20 cm / 8” deep.
3
Mix all collected samples together thoroughly.
4
Ideally, allow to dry in the air or in an oven at 40 °C / 104 °F.
5
Weigh out 20 g / 0.7 oz of the collected soil into a 150 ml / 5 fl oz plastic sample jar.
Sample preparation
1
Add 100 ml / 3 fl oz of distilled or deionized water, screw lid on tightly.
2
Shake continuously for 5 minutes. Leave overnight and shake again the next morning.
3
Allow to settle for 15 minutes after shaking and strain sample into clean measuring cup.
Take pH readings as follows:
1
Remove the storage cap/dibber and insert the probe tip into the soil solution sample.
2
Turn the Soil pH Pen on.
3
Wait for the reading displayed to stabilize to a constant value. Record the reading.
If the Soil pH Pen turns off while taking a measurement, simply press the power
button to turn the Soil pH Pen back on and continue with your measurement.
9
4
Remove the probe from the soil solution and rinse the probe tip under fresh running
water (not RO or distilled) to remove soil residue.
5
Place the storage cap/dibber back onto the probe after use, ensuring it contains
Bluelab pH Probe Storage Solution or plenty of tap water.
“IF IT DRIES - IT DIES!”. See section 2.0 - Soil pH Probe Care.
7.0
Cleaning
English
To ensure accurate readings the probe tip needs to be kept clean at all times.
Cleaning prior to calibration is necessary for successful calibration.
1
Remove storage cap/dibber.
Rinse probe tip under fresh tap water.
2
Fill small plastic container with clean water.
Add a small amount of Bluelab pH Probe Cleaner or
mild detergent (dishwashing liquid).
3
Gently stir the probe tip in the mixture.
Ensure that you do not ‘knock’ the probe on the side of
the container as this may cause damage to the probe.
Rinse well under fresh running water to remove all
traces of the detergent mixture.
4
If the probe requires removal of heavy
contamination:
Gently brush around the glassware with a few drops
of Bluelab pH Probe Cleaner or mild detergent
(dishwashing liquid) and a soft toothbrush.
5
Rinse well under fresh running water to remove all
traces of the detergent mixture.
6
Calibration of the probe is required after every clean.
See the pH calibration in section 9.0. Place storage
cap/dibber back onto the probe tip.
8.0
Detergent
Battery replacement
The pH pen is powered with 1 x AAA alkaline battery. Do not use rechargeable
batteries. A low battery warning is indicated by a battery symbol appearing on
the screen. Only remove the battery cap when the batteries require changing.
Battery life is expected to be approx. 350 hours.
1
To remove old battery
Undo battery cap fasteners. Remove battery cap and tip out the
old battery.
2
Fit new battery
Insert the new battery positive (+) end down into the body.
3
Ensure waterproof battery cap seal is clean, and free from
any debris.
Seal will fail if any dirt or debris is present.
4
10
Replace battery cap
Tighten fasteners on battery cap. Do not over tighten.
Ensure silicone seal on battery cap is fully enclosed in pen
body. This ensures the unit remains 100% waterproof.
Waterproof seal
9.0
Calibration
English
pH calibration is required before first use to ensure that the first reading is
accurate. Calibration is also required when:
•The check mark/tick has disappeared from the LCD screen
(30 days after last successful calibration)
•The reading is different from what you expected
•After cleaning
•After changing the battery
pH 7.0 and pH 4.0 solutions are required for calibration and should be decantered into
small, clean plastic containers. You may also calibrate using pH 7.0 and pH 10.0 solutions if
your readings will normally be higher than 7.0 pH.
1
Excluding first use, YOU MUST CLEAN the probe tip
before calibrating.
See section 7.0 Cleaning.
2
Remove storage cap/dibber.
Refer to section 1.0, step 1.
3
Rinse probe tip in fresh water and place in pH 7.0 solution.
Wait for reading to stabilize to a constant value.
4
Press the cal button until CAL is displayed.
Release button. When CAL 7 is displayed, 1 point calibration
is achieved.
5
Rinse probe in fresh water and place it in either pH 4.0
or pH 10.0 solution (use pH 10.0 solution if you expect to
measure above 7.0 pH).
Wait for reading to stabilize to a constant value.
6
Press the cal button until CAL 4 or CAL 10 is displayed.
CAL 4 or CAL 10 should be displayed (depending on what
solution you are calibrating in). The check mark/tick is
displayed when a 2 point (or 3) calibration is completed.
NOTE: For a three point calibration repeat steps 2, 3 & 4
using pH 7.0, 4.0 then 10.0 solution.
10.0
pH 7.0
pH 4.0
or
pH 10.0
Error messages
The following error messages appear for the following reasons.
11
Temperature
under range
pH over range
Temperature
over range
pH under range
pH calibration
failed
Hardware error
11.0 Troubleshooting guide
English
Trouble
Drift - readings
slowly varying
Reason
Correction
Glassware not clean Clean glassware and calibrate
Wick contaminated, Soak probe in Bluelab pH Probe Storage
blocked or dry
Solution or tap water only for 24 hours and
retest. Do not measure proteins or oils with this
unit. Replacement of unit may be required
Glassware aged
Displays similar pH Glassware cracked
reading in all buffers or broken
no matter what the
buffer value is
Buffers inaccurate
Replace unit
Replace unit
Replace buffers
Glassware not clean Clean glassware
Unsuccessful pH
calibration
Noisy - readings
jumping
Glassware aged
(glassware will not
clean)
Probe not hydrated
Replace unit
Soak probe in Bluelab pH Probe Storage
Solution or tap water only for 24 hours and
retest. Do not measure proteins or oils with this
unit. Replacement of unit may be required
Contact zone not
Ensure soil/substrate is damp
immersed
Probe not
Soak probe in Bluelab pH Probe Storage
adequately hydrated Solution or tap water only for 24 hours and
retest. Do not measure proteins or oils with this
unit. Replacement of unit may be required
Displays pH 7
for all buffers
Glassware broken
Replace unit
Incorrect sample
reading following
successful pH
calibration
Wick blocked
Soak probe in Bluelab pH Probe Storage
Solution or tap water only for 24 hours and
retest. Do not measure proteins or oils with
this unit. Replacement of unit may be required
12.0 Technical specifications
12
Measurement range
0.0 - 14.0 pH, 0 - 50 °C, 32 - 122 °F
Resolution
0.1 pH, 1 °C / 1 °F
Accuracy at 25 °C / 77 °F
± 0.1 pH, ± 1 °C / ± 2 °F
Temperature compensation
Automatic
Operating temperature
0 - 50 °C, 32 - 122 °F
Calibration
Two point, pH 7.0 and pH 4.0 or pH 10.0
Units
pH, °F and °C
Power source
1 x AAA alkaline battery
English
Bluelab Soil pH Pen product guarantee
Bluelab Corporation Limited guarantees this product for a period of 1 year
(12 months) from the date of sale to the original purchaser. The product
will be repaired or replaced, should it be found faulty due to component
failure, or faulty workmanship. The faulty product should be returned to
the point of purchase.
The guarantee is null and void should any internal parts or fixed external parts
be tampered with or altered in any way, or should the unit have been incorrectly
operated, or in any way be maltreated. This guarantee does not cover reported faults which are shown
to be caused by any or all of the following: contaminated measuring tip (see instruction manual
for cleaning instructions), broken glassware or drying of the pH probe glassware, flat or damaged
batteries or batteries that have been incorrectly inserted, or damaged battery contacts or connections
caused by incorrect battery replacement or ingress of moisture from incorrect positioning of the
battery cap and waterproof seal.
NO RESPONSIBILITY will be accepted by Bluelab or any of its agents or resellers should any
damage or unfavourable conditions result from the use of this product, should it be faulty or
incorrectly operated.
Register your guarantee online at: www.getbluelab.com
Or fill out the form below and post, email or fax to:
Bluelab Corporation Limited 8 Whiore Ave, Tauriko Industrial Park, Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
Fax: +64 7 578 0847
Email: support@getbluelab.com
Product details
Product name
Serial number
Date purchased
Purchaser details
Purchaser’s name
Address
City
Country
Email (optional)
Purchased from (Dealers details)
Purchased from
Address
City
Country
Phone number
(optional)
Limitation of Liability
13
Under no circumstances shall Bluelab Corporation Limited be liable for any claims,
losses, costs and damages of any nature whatsoever (including any consequential loss)
that result from the use of, or the inability to use, these instructions.
Bluelab Probe Care Kits
English
The instrument is only as accurate as the probe is clean!
Probe cleaning is one of the most important parts of owning and operating any
Bluelab meter, monitor or controller. If the probe is contaminated (dirty) it affects
the accuracy of the reading displayed.
The probe surface is where the instrument takes the reading of the solution. The information is sent back
from the probe to the electronic brain of the instrument. A calculation is then done in the instrument’s
brain or micro computer and a reading is displayed. If the information sent back from the probe is
inaccurate due to probe surface contamination then the reading will be inaccurate. Cleaning the probes is
a very easy task and will prolong the life of the probes.
Bluelab Probe Care Kit - pH
contents:
Bluelab Probe Care Kit Conductivity contents:
› Cleaning instructions inside box lid
› Cleaning instructions inside box lid
› 500ml pH4 and pH7 Calibration solutions
› 500ml 2.77EC conductivity standard solution
› Decanter vessels
› Decanter vessel
› Bluelab pH Probe Cleaner
› Bluelab Conductivity Probe Cleaner
› Toothbrush (probe cleaning instrument)
› Bluelab Chamois (probe cleaning instrument)
If you need assistance or advice - we’re here to help you.
Phone: +64 7 578 0849
Fax: +64 7 578 0847
Email: support@getbluelab.com
Looking for specifications or technical advice?
Visit us online @ www.getbluelab.com
Bluelab Corporation Limited
8 Whiore Avenue, Tauriko Industrial Park
Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
14
Instruction Manual English PENSOILPH_V01_071112
© Copyright 2012, all rights reserved, Bluelab Corporation Limited
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