MISSION: WATER 46 XYLEM SPOTLIGHT Getting Ready for the Sampling Season 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 your trip to the field. 1. INSPECTTHE SENSORS It’s important to inspect the condition of your sensors before you start your maintenance and calibration procedures. Sometimes a quick visual will clue you in on 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 prior to use could also provide clues as to why there is a problem. 2. CHECK THE CONNECTIONS 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 these connections to be clean and dry to ensure optimum performance. Water, dirt, corrosion, or any other foreign material found in these 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 aid in the drying process. Allow ample time for the connectors to dry once rinsed before reinstalling the probes or connecting the cables. 3. BATTERIES & POWER SUPPLIES 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 the 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 from debris and are not being blocked from the sun. 4. FIRMWARE & SOFTWARE 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. CALIBRATE SENSORS 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 which if ignored could compromise your data. Perform post deployment calibration checks to determine if your probes experienced any drift during use. Technical Tips TOM MOEGGENBERG YSI Technical Support, Manager FIELD SURVIVAL KIT Consider issues you may encounter in the field and plan accordingly. Common items to take on a field visit: • Special Instrument Tools • Screwdriver & Wrench • Flashlight • Extra Batteries • Calibration Solutions • Spare Parts & Sensors TECHNICAL QUESTIONS: info@ysi.com For more tips, visit the blog: bit.ly/readysonde