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Question:data loggers for PH ?

MadTinker is asking a question about water-quality: Subscribe to answer questions on this topic

MadTinker asked on June 24, 2017 04:09
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I'm looking for data loggers where a PH sensor is an option.

I'm just starting out and, being a naturally lazy sod, was hoping someone could nudge me toward the data loggers where PH measurements might be available.

I've been lurking on/off for a bit, but had small push to get serious. My interest is in monitoring mine tailings in the Rocky Mountain region. My wife and I were recently offered the 'opportunity' to rebuild the habitat (vegetation, etc.) in a portion of a reclamation area (2-3 acres). I'd like to monitor the water quality of the creek that flows through our oxbow section. PH seems to be the easiest thing to start with. (right?). Obviously, I'd like to measure heavy metals, but that's a bit far off.

FWIW - the mountain creek would be considered a small river back east.

Any pointers would be appreciated.

Cheers, Dave Robinson



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2 Answers

That sounds like a wonderful "opportunity." It is also a revealing test case for the suitability of DIY environmental loggers to serve their masters.

There are pH meters designed to work with Arduinos. There are also turbidity sensors and conductivity sensors which might also be good for monitoring water quality. DFRobot has all of them for $10 to $70 apiece. These can all be connected to an Arduino based data logger. Unfortunately, none of these sensors is waterproof and rugged, so making a more or less permanent installation with the sensor in the water and the logger protected from the elements will be a serious engineering project. I think these are intended to be "laboratory" sensors and not field sensors. I don't know if there are inexpensive sensors for pH, conductivity, or turbidity which can be installed under water for long periods. This type of sensor probably requires regular maintenance and calibration in order for the results to be reliable.

Also, it is hard to know how much power these sensors require and how easy it is to "sleep" them to conserve power. So operating the logger on batteries for multiple weeks will require some research. Another obstacle to deploying any data logger in your creek is the engineering required to allow it to survive floods or even surges after local rain events. You might need a permanent structure like a bridge to attach everything to.

Although installing a device which continually logs useful water data in such an environment is tricky, it is really straightforward to carry the sensor device down to the creek every few days and collect data. The DFRobot sensors could be connected to any of the loggers here and inserted into the creek or a bucket full of creek water. You can devote as much effort as you see fit to keep the sensors calibrated.

And you'll be down at the creek all the time anyway planting willow and cottonwood.

Chris


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Thanks for the info Chris. I also ran across the KnowFlow that has a lot of pretty good info. They also rely heavily on the DFRobot sensors. Until I get different info, I'm going to plan on using the KnowFlow as a foundation, likely with a reduced number of sensors until I get things going. I was hoping to be able to collect continuously along the full stretch of the creek, but that might not be feasible right now (financially as well as technically).

I've already been asked to apply for a grant, being sent to a class/conference on water sampling (Estes Park), and invited to present at some mining conference next year. Guess I need to get my midden organized into a smaller pile.

For what its worth, it seems to be difficult to search for info across the website and wiki's . I have a few other questions about specific sensors and I'll just start a separate thread.

Yep, going to be a long year. My wife is a Master Gardner, but the cap on the flood plain really isn't soil.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Dave Robinson IronRain.us


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