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Easypet-tick, pH meter X
on 15 August 2015
Rick and the others at easypet are brilliant! Absolutely first class customer service from a friendly and approachable staff who showed knowledge and understanding during the following.
Over the years I've tried a few brands of pH meter for use about the home and garden. In terms of ease of operation this has to have been one of the best, with simple push button calibration, comfortable feel in the hand and general performance (I often check against a wet method using a range of indicators at different pH).
That is right up until it goes whacky. (I should add as a lapsed chemist I do have some idea of the importance of storage, calibration etc).
The first failure was a reduction in range. The auto buffer recognition would not recognise the buffer strength above pH 4, eventually it only gave readings between 2-5 and would not calibrate, nor measure anything outside this range. Still under guarantee Easypet inspected and replaced within days-top marks.
This second unit functioned well, as described above, until it started giving dodgy readings-on immersion it would tick up to a value in seconds then would simply start showing variations of +/- 2pH units (replaced batteries with brand new, inspected probe etc). At this point I noticed the initial reading was quite accurate, for a few seconds before varying. When under test and review this fault became even odder in that the meter would read correctly, then start counting down 0.1ph point at a time. Again, Easypet were contacted and the unit replaced under guarantee-take another team point.
Finally, the third unit, which served well for about 6 months, was noted as 'not performing as previously'. Initially readings were 'snappy' and decisive, ie it would quickly settle and hold, but then started to take longer to attain a reading and this would vary by anything from 0.2-1pH point( Issues with mixing were assessed and deemed to play no part in this variation.). The weird thing is that it hold when under calibration at 4.0, 6.9, 9.0 but varies when testing a solution between 5-8pH. Inspection of the probe revealed no damage to the bulb, but a black deposit was noted at the bottom of the bulb's 'well' where the seal met the white plastic housing. The seal appeared to have previously been attached to the side by some 'overspill' from the construction ie the seal must've been put in in a molten state and the mould overfilled causing some to overflow and attach to the side casing. The seal was gently cleaned but a trace of the black remained between the seal and case. The unit was checked and while wasn't perfect had seemed to improve. Last week saw me with time to mess with a hobby and the pH meter was required-I inspected the sponge which was still damp with tap water ,the bulb was ok, but the black which was previously restricted to a small arc of the seal appeared to occupy a much larger part of it's circumference-it was calibrated using freshly made up buffers using de-ionised water and seemed to recognise the buffers ok but would not give stable readings in a test solution of between 5-8ph. I gave up on it.
I'd guess it's out of guarantee now so I won't be hassling Easypet again, they have done more than expected(even though in line with the consumer legislation I felt their response went beyond).
So, now i'm trying a different model, one with a replaceable probe . Sadly Easypet do not stock it-I would happily put any trade their way.
These are still very much 'entry level instruments' even if in the upper range and as such expectation should perhaps not be so high. It's a shame the reliability is so poor.