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Colorimeter Troubleshooting and FAQs

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  • Created Jan 21, 2005
  • Updated Mar 7, 2014
  • Article #1367

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Colorimeter, order code COL-BTA, $115
Specifications and User Guide

TROUBLESHOOTING
-Primary Test: Connect the Colorimeter to a Vernier Interface. Allow the Colorimeter to warm up for 5 minutes. Place a cuvette, about 3/4 full of distilled water, in the Colorimeter and close the lid. Select a wavelength. Press and hold the CAL button on the Colorimeter. When the red LED begins to flash, release the CAL button. When the red LED stops flashing, the Colorimeter is calibrated. Check the absorbance readings, which should be very nearly zero.
-Secondary test: Prepare a solution with a color (a simple test solution for the 635 nm wavelength setting can be made by adding 2 drops of green food coloring to 100 mL of tap water). After calibrating the Colorimeter, fill a cuvette about 3/4 full with the test solution. Place the cuvette in the Colorimeter and close the lid. The absorbance readings should change. You may dilute the test solution and place a cuvette of the dilute solution in the Colorimeter to check the change in absorbance.
-The normal, most useful absorbance range is 0.05 - 1.0, or 10% - 90% transmittance.

Please keep in mind the following when using your colorimeter:
1) When you press the CAL button, make sure the red LED lights flash several times. You may still have to wait a few seconds after they stop flashing before the absorbance goes to 0.0 or the % transmittance goes to 100.0%.
2) If you calibrated with a cuvette of water and then remove this cuvette of water, it is expected that the absorbance value will no longer be 0.0 or the % transmittance may be much lower than 100.0% (even as low as 70%). If you put the water cuvette back in, the absorbance will return to 0.0 or the % transmittance will return to 100.0%.
3) If you switch to a new wavelength, you need to recalibrate.
4) If your solution is very dark and you are getting irregular or erratic readings, dilute your solution. If you hold your solution up to a light and you can't see through it, neither can a spectrometer/colorimeter. Solutions should typically be fairly translucent to get accurate readings with the colorimeter.

RELATED TIL ENTRIES
-TIL 784: My Colorimeter is not working properly. What should I do?
-TIL 3039: Liquid has spilled inside my Colorimeter. What should I do?
-TIL 1226: Why won't my new Colorimeter calibrate correctly in Logger Pro 2.x?
-TIL 1451: What sensors work with EasyLink and EasyData?
-TIL 1665: How do I calibrate my older Colorimeter?
-TIL 1921: Do you sell replacement lids for my plastic cuvettes?
-TIL 1234: Can I Collect Percent Transmittance Data in Data Pro (on a Palm handheld)
-TIL 2271: How do I replace the plastic insert that holds the cuvettes in my Colorimeter?
-TIL 2297: Can my Colorimeter report in percent Transmittance using a LabQuest?
-TIL 2539: Why don't the absorbance readings for the Colorimeter or the spectrometers have units?
-TIL 2569: Why don't all of my spectrometers and/or Colorimeters read the same absorbance value for the same sample?
-TIL 2915: How do I calibrate a COL-DIN Colorimeter using a stand alone LabQuest 2?
-TIL 2949: Do you have any experiments written for the LabQuest and the older model Colorimeter?
-TIL 3148: How do I run the AP Chemistry food dye lab with a Colorimeter instead of a Spectrometer?

SPECIFICATIONS
-order code: COL-BTA
-Range: 0 to 3 (absorbance)
-Useful Range 0.05 to 1.0 (absorbance) and 90% to 10% transmittance (%T)
-Wavelengths: 430 nm, 470 nm, 565 nm, 635 nm
-Supply voltage: 5VDC +/- 25 mV
-Supply current (typical): 40 mA
-Power up time: 700 ms (maximum)
-Output voltage range: 0 - 4 V
-Transfer function: Vout = 0.035 x (%T) + 0
-Stored calibration values: Slope = 28.571; Intercept = 0

CALIBRATION
-Calibration? Yes, each time before use. After powering up the Colorimeter and waiting for a 5 minute warm up, press the < or > button on the Colorimeter to select a wavelength. Open the lid, insert a cuvette filled about 3/4 full of distilled water, and close the lid. Make sure that one clear side of the cuvette is lined up with the arrow at the top of the cuvette slot. Press the CAL button and hold it until the red LED begins to flash and then release the CAL button. When the LED stops flashing, the calibration is complete.

RELATED VERNIER PRODUCTS
- for extra cuvettes, Plastic Cuvettes (visible range), order code CUV, $15 (pkg. of 100)

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