Before we dive into expert tip 3, recall that tips 1 and 2 dealt with inspecting the condition of your sensors and maintain the sensor connections. Tip 3 deals with your sonde's batteries and the power supply.
Tip #3: Always Check Your Batteries and Power Supply
Believe it or not, our YSI Technical Support team gets more calls that relate to batteries than almost anything else. We’ve officially decided the new golden rule of technical support is – always check your batteries. It's akin to your IT department always asking if you've rebooted your PC first before calling them!
There are a variety of potential issues that come from battery related problems, like leaks for example. You always want to make sure when you’re preparing a sonde for the field that you check the battery compartment. There’s always a chance that someone left some batteries inside – which is a big no-no for long term storage.
Just like in other electronic devices, alkaline batteries can leak fluid that is harmful to the internal compartments of a sonde.
Sondes that have been exposed to these types of fluids for longer periods of time will most likely have corroded battery contacts and need to be sent to a service center for repairs. But, if you catch this problem early enough, you can clean out the compartment using a mixture of DI water and baking soda to neutralize any acid, and so long as the spring is shiny and intact, the sonde should still function. If the spring is a greenish/blackish color, then it will likely fail eventually - if it works at all.
Another battery related issue that comes up often is the use of lithium or nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries in sondes. In concept, sounds great – longer lasting batteries, what could be bad about that? Well it turns out that the voltage of these batteries is much higher than traditional alkalines and can fry some of the sonde’s electronics. Stick with traditional D-batteries or rechargeable nickel-metal hydrides where the voltage per battery is 1.6 v.
Finally, before you step into the field to do any serious data collection, swap in fresh batteries to your sonde. It’s common to hear about customers who deployed their sonde for long term monitoring, only to realize once they’ve retrieved it that they only have data for the first few days. If you’re spot sampling, it’s important to have an extra set of batteries with you just in case you run into any issues.
Look for Tip #4 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 #2: Properly Maintain Your Instrument Sensor Connections.
YSI Expert Tip #4: Always Keep Firmware & 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 Field Survival Kit.