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WATERLINE - March, 2018

Getting ready for the sampling season

 from YSI, Gold Sponsor of 2017 WALPA Conference

The sampling season is quickly approaching and it’s time to dust off your water quality instrumentation and get it ready for the field. Here are some of our top tips to make sure you collect the best possible data and maximize the value of your trip to the field.


1. Always inspect the condition of your sensors

It’s important to inspect the condition of your sensors before you start your maintenance and calibration procedures. Sometimes a quick visual check will clue you in to a possible problem like a broken pH bulb, a dried out DO sensor, or a damaged connector. Taking note of how the sensors were stored before use could also provide clues as to why there is a problem.


2. Keep instrument connectors clean of debris

The connections where the probes are installed and the cables connect are an important part of your system to ensure proper instrument function. Many of our instruments require that these connections be clean and dry for optimum performance. Water, dirt, corrosion, or any other foreign material in the connections will likely cause interrupted signals and the collection of erroneous data.

Flush the ports with deionized or distilled water if necessary and then follow up with a rinse of isopropyl alcohol and a blast of compressed air to help the drying process. Allow ample time for the connectors to dry once rinsed before reinstalling the probes or connecting the cables.


3. Make sure you install fresh batteries

Batteries should be removed from the instrumentation after the field season, so make sure you install fresh batteries before you go out to the field to collect data. It’s also a good idea to take extras with you in case there is a problem. Some long term monitoring stations have large batteries that are charged with solar panels. Be sure to test those batteries for their ability to hold a charge and inspect the terminals to ensure proper contact is being made and effective charging is taking place.

In addition, make sure any solar panels are clean and free of debris and are not being blocked from the sun.


4. Update your firmware and software regularly

Many instruments need periodic updates to the firmware or software. It’s a good idea to check for these updates before you do any calibrations or start collecting data. The updates often require a computer to complete the process and possibly some accessories to make the connection between instrument and PC. Be sure to take the supplies with you to perform these updates to the instrumentation mounted in the field. Updates often add new features or help with performance of the instrumentation and should be checked periodically by visiting the manufacturer’s website.


5. Quality calibrations lead to quality data

Proper calibration of your sensors is essential to collecting the highest quality data. Follow the procedures outlined by the manufacturer when calibrating and use the recommended calibration standards. Allow for stabilization before accepting calibrations and investigate warnings that pop up that could compromise your data if ignored. Perform post-deployment calibration checks to determine  whether your probes experienced any drift during use.


Lastly, consider issues you may encounter in the field and plan accordingly. It’s always a good idea to prepare for any situation.

Common items to take on a field visit include:

  • • Spare calibration solution
  • • Spare instrument parts and sensors
  • • An extra set of alkaline batteries
  • • Any special tools required for your instrument
  • • A screwdriver and wrench
  • • A flashlight

Need more information? Check out the full blog post at YSI.com!

Why choose YSI?

Partnering with YSI is more than instrumentation; it’s our commitment to provide best-in-class customer service and after-sales support.

The number one advantage in working with YSI is direct access to our employees: knowledgeable, customer-focused technical and applications advisors committed to helping you find new and better ways to manage your lakes.

Have questions about your equipment?  Contact us at Info@ysi.com or give us a call at +1 (937) 767-2762!