I Bought A pH Meter

I’ve used pH papers for a while, but in making red wine from cherries I’ve gone beyond their limits. I can’t read the color very well when I’m measuring dark colored wine, and for the same reason, its tough to do acid titration with an indicator. Since I didn’t have a good way to measure it, I didn’t adjust the acidity of my cherry wine. Well it’s been fermenting away, but I didn’t solve that problem I just bought a little time. During that time, I ordered a cheap pH meter and I expect it to arrive today.

There’s an old saying that if you buy cheap, you buy twice. That probably applies here, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing. Buying cheap can be a good way to learn just what you need in a tool, and help you buy intelligently later on. I understand that replacement tips for high end pH meters cost about what my meter cost, so it might be smart to just buy a new cheap meter every time the old one breaks. I don’t know yet, but right now I can measure acidity a lot more accurately than in the past. That should mean better wine, and I’m excited about that!

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2 thoughts on “I Bought A pH Meter

  1. Tarisa Peterson

    So, what kind and where did you get the PH meter. I am doing jalapeno salsa’s and Relishes and need one. Can you help?


  2. Erroll Post author

    Hello Tarisa,

    I bought the Hand Held (ATC) pH meter from Valley Vintner. I find it useful, it’s a big improvement over pH papers, and the price is great. I’ve discovered two drawbacks, however.

    The instruction manual is very sparse; there is no discussion at all of how to store the pH meter, for example.

    Also the “two point calibration” is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is only one calibration screw that you can turn. The instructions tell you to first use a pH 7 buffer solution, and turn the screw until the meter reads properly. Then you’re supposed to use a pH 4 buffer and turn the same screw again. This means that the first adjustment is meaningless, and you are really doing a one-point calibration at the last buffer solution that you use. What I’ve been doing is calibrate to a buffer closest to the pH I expect to read. I then test in the second buffer and note how far off it is so that I know how much of an error to expect for pH values far away from the calibration point.

    My experience is that there is an error of about 0.25 at pH values close to 4 when I calibrate to pH 7. If you need higher accuracy than this, you should buy a more expensive meter. Otherwise, you can save some money and buy this one.

    I hope this helps. Let me know what you buy and how it works out.


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