To those following our blog series "Getting Your Water Quality Sonde Field Ready" you will remember that our first expert tip was to "Always inspect the condition of your probe." If you want a refresher or are just now jumping into this conversation please feel free to check out the first tip of seven in much more detail here.
So, you have inspected the condition of your sensors and everything looks good there. Now what? That brings us to Expert Tip #2.
Tip #2 Properly Maintain Your Instrument Sensor Connections
The connections where your probes/sensors are installed are as important as the sensor itself. Many of our instruments require these connections to be clean and dry in order for the sensor to optimize its 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 out 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. Make sure you allow ample time for the port to dry once it has been rinsed before reinstalling the probes - 4 to 6 hours is ample. Be careful during this process that you do not bend or break the connection pins or damage the threads where the probe is installed. This may result in costly repairs and unwanted instrument down-time.
In addition, be sure to inspect the o-rings on your probes and replace any that are damaged or missing to help prevent future water or dirt intrusion. Don’t add more o-rings in an attempt to make the seal better. This doesn’t help and will actually promote leakage into the port. Add a little o-ring grease to the o-rings as well. This will keep the o-rings in good shape and help them keep the water out. Only a little grease is necessary here. Just enough so the o-ring looks shiny. Again, more grease is not better! Feel free to use the Krytox grease YSI provides or Silicone grease as a suitable substitute.
Now, we did mention above that “Some instruments require clean, dry connections.” There is an exception to this rule. The exception is YSI’s new EXO instrumentation. These have wet mate connections that will work just fine if water gets into them. The key with these probes and ports is to grease the rubber around the connections so it doesn’t dry out and crack. Feel free to flush out these ports with water if needed but you don’t necessarily need to wait for them to dry before you reinstall your probes. See the video of the wet mate connections.
Look for Tip #3 coming in the next couple days, or feel free to watch the full webinar "Gearing Up For The Sampling Season."
Additional Blog Posts of Interest:
YSI Expert Tip #1: Always Inspect the Condition of Your Sensors.
YSI Expert Tip #3: Always Check Your Batteries and Power Supply.
YSI Expert Tip #4: Always Keep Firmware and Software Updated.
YSI Expert Tip #5: Properly Calibrate all Your Sensors Prior to Collecting Data.
YSI Expert Tip #6: Finalize Your Sonde Settings Prior to Leaving for the Field.
YSI Expert Tip #7: When Going Into the Field, Always Bring a Survival Kit.