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Old 03/02/2018, 03:43 PM   #1
Kentech5
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IceCap Digital Pocket Tester Review

IceCap Test

Well I got my new Icecap digital pocket tester and so far Iíve got to say Iím pretty impressed. I couldnít find my manual refractometer to compare so I was only able to compare my Milwaukee Digital Refractometer with the IceCap Digital Pocket Tester . I was however, able to test the two on three different tanks.

First a picture of the device itself.:



Test 1: my newly rebooted and cycling display tank:





Matching results on this one. Hereís the rest of the results from the IceCap:







The temperature reading on the IceCap is a bit concerning. Apex and a cheap thermometer are showing my tank at 77.6 right now but the IceCap is reading 76.1. I had just brought it inside and itís about 32 degrees outside so maybe thatís related? I test temperature again later.


Test 2: Holding Tank





The IceCap is reading a little bit higher on this one. The reading is still well within the stated accuracy of both devices.

Test 3: Neglected tank about to be rebooted. No fish in it anymore. I already knew the salinity of this tank was high and figured it would be a good test of some less normal levels for one of our tanks.





A match once again.

After the three rounds of testing I tested the first tank again and got a temperature of 76.4 which is 1.3 degrees off the other values Iím seeing but within the stated 1.5 degree accuracy range.

I also tested the IceCap by inserting he probe directly into tank water instead of using the probe cup. The results were about 0.003 higher so the cup is definitely important.

Summary:
OK, letís break things down.

Accuracy: Results are within 0.001 SG of the Milwaukee. Temperature results appear to be off a bit more than a degree. I donít know how this could potentially affect salinity results if at all.

Size: The IceCap itself is much smaller than the Milwaukee and even the case is much smaller. For portability and storage I think this is great plus but itís still big enough to be hard to lose.

Durability: TBD. Only time will tell how long the device will continue to function.

Ease of Use: I bought the Milwaukee in part because of its ease of use however it still needs to be zeroed out for each use (manufacturer recommendation) and there is a lot of cleaning the glass before, between, and after testing. The IceCap turns on and is ready almost instantly. There doesnít seem to be a way to zero or calibrate the device which could be taken either way. A quick scoop of water and you have a result. Cleaning consists of a wipe down with some fresh water. I keep a spray bottle of RODI so this is a cinch.


Overall Iím pretty excited about this product. Iím not going to stop using the Milwaukee yet as I will need to use both for a while before Iím confident in the IceCap. Would I recommend buying it? Based on what Iíve seen so far, yes.



Disclaimer: I purchased both these products for personal use and have no relation to their manufacturers or distributors.


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Old 03/02/2018, 03:45 PM   #2
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Some more pictures of the packaging and device.














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Old 03/02/2018, 04:04 PM   #3
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Awesome

Glad your happy as I did order it from Premium Aquatics and got a notice of a back order, but they were going to try to drop ship from supplier and I havent heard back in a few days. Where did you order yours?

From CoralVue:
The probe does not need calibration. Since the probe tests conductivity, the probe zeros itself out when you turn it off. You can always test the accuracy by testing RODI water which should have a SG of 1.
Now I really cant wait to get my excepically since I believe something is off on my refractometer. I did order the 35ppt solution but that isn't hear yet either.
Also from CoralVue:
In terms of the Milwaukee tester you are comparing two different technologies here. The Milwaukee tester is a refractometer while the IceCap tester is a conductivity probe. The IceCap test the conductivity in the water to find out what the SG, PPT, PSU and Temp of the water is. The IceCap is accurate to 0.0001 SG while the Milwaukee one is accurate to 0.0002 SG.


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Old 03/02/2018, 04:23 PM   #4
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Really tempted but don't need at all... this [email protected]!


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Old 03/02/2018, 04:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarksReef View Post
Glad your happy as I did order it from Premium Aquatics and got a notice of a back order, but they were going to try to drop ship from supplier and I havent heard back in a few days. Where did you order yours?



From CoralVue:

The probe does not need calibration. Since the probe tests conductivity, the probe zeros itself out when you turn it off. You can always test the accuracy by testing RODI water which should have a SG of 1.

Now I really cant wait to get my excepically since I believe something is off on my refractometer. I did order the 35ppt solution but that isn't hear yet either.

Also from CoralVue:

In terms of the Milwaukee tester you are comparing two different technologies here. The Milwaukee tester is a refractometer while the IceCap tester is a conductivity probe. The IceCap test the conductivity in the water to find out what the SG, PPT, PSU and Temp of the water is. The IceCap is accurate to 0.0001 SG while the Milwaukee one is accurate to 0.0002 SG.


I did read before that the probe zeroes itself when turned off but I figured I would mention that thereís no way to do so manually. I know they are two different technologies and in some ways itís like comparing a hydrometer to a refractometer. It was the best thing I had on hand for comparison.

I also ordered from Premium Aquatics so I must have got one of the last ones?


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Old 03/02/2018, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentech5 View Post
I did read before that the probe zeroes itself when turned off but I figured I would mention that thereís no way to do so manually. I know they are two different technologies and in some ways itís like comparing a hydrometer to a refractometer. It was the best thing I had on hand for comparison.

I also ordered from Premium Aquatics so I must have got one of the last ones?
Yep, most likely did get the last one. Ya beat me to it.
Can you put some rodi water on it and post a read ? Should, according to CoralVue be 1 but there is a +- 1 tolerance


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Old 03/02/2018, 05:08 PM   #7
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This is nice. I can’t see the stupid refract anymore.


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Old 03/02/2018, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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This is nice. I canít see the stupid refract anymore.
X2, I have 53 year old eyes


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Old 03/02/2018, 05:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarksReef View Post
Yep, most likely did get the last one. Ya beat me to it.

Can you put some rodi water on it and post a read ? Should, according to CoralVue be 1 but there is a +- 1 tolerance


With RODI



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Old 03/02/2018, 06:01 PM   #10
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Very nice. spot on...
Thank you.


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Old 03/02/2018, 06:05 PM   #11
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This thing is just so easy to use and seems quite accurate. Looks like Iíll be selling a Milwaukee refractometer soon.


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Old 03/02/2018, 07:29 PM   #12
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I just bit the bullet and ordered one from saltwateraquarium.com. I know nothing about them, but they had stock and premium aquatics did not. You can also get $5 off with the coupon code SALT5 and add a small freebie to your cart. Ironically I literally just bought the Milwaukee digital refractometer last week, but Iím still within my return period on that one, so I may return it after this one arrives.


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Old 03/02/2018, 07:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettDS View Post
I just bit the bullet and ordered one from saltwateraquarium.com. I know nothing about them, but they had stock and premium aquatics did not. You can also get $5 off with the coupon code SALT5 and add a small freebie to your cart. Ironically I literally just bought the Milwaukee digital refractometer last week, but Iím still within my return period on that one, so I may return it after this one arrives.


Iíd say theyíre both good products so keep the one you like more. I know the first site I checked was sold out so I guess theyíre selling fast.


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Old 03/03/2018, 06:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by HBtank View Post
Really tempted but don't need at all... this [email protected]!


This applies to almost Every. Single. Thing. I purchase for my setup! @hobby, indeed. Ha!


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Old 03/03/2018, 06:37 AM   #15
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Thank you for the review. I am thinking about ordering one too mainly for salinity.


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Old 03/03/2018, 08:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by roberthu526 View Post
Thank you for the review. I am thinking about ordering one too mainly for salinity.


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Isnít that the reason that everyone orders one? Iíd be really concerned if you were ordering it mainly to have something else to put on your shelf.


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Old 03/03/2018, 05:08 PM   #17
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with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 on temperature and 0.001 for sg I think it's practically useless. I can get way better accuracy with a cheap refractometer that is calibrated immediately before every use....


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Old 03/03/2018, 05:19 PM   #18
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with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 on temperature and 0.001 for sg I think it's practically useless. I can get way better accuracy with a cheap refractometer that is calibrated immediately before every use....


Iím not sure anyone would use it for temp... there are much easier ways to take the temperature of your tank, so Iím not worried about temp accuracy at all. And .001 for SG seems pretty good to me. Frankly even on my cheap refractometer Iím not sure I can get much better accuracy than that. The line isnít defined enough to get closer than about .001 anyway.

Itís a luxury for sure, but itís certainly accurate enough for my needs and much easier than reading a standard refractometer.


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Old 03/03/2018, 06:00 PM   #19
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Iím not sure anyone would use it for temp... there are much easier ways to take the temperature of your tank, so Iím not worried about temp accuracy at all. And .001 for SG seems pretty good to me. Frankly even on my cheap refractometer Iím not sure I can get much better accuracy than that. The line isnít defined enough to get closer than about .001 anyway.

Itís a luxury for sure, but itís certainly accurate enough for my needs and much easier than reading a standard refractometer.


Itís definitely a luxury but if something is easy and quick to test I am more likely to do it more often. Iíve had tank issues before from not keeping a close enough eye on salinity.


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Old 03/08/2018, 02:01 PM   #20
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Well, I got my unit today and Iíve gotta say that so far Iím really not impressed.

First, it seems to read way low. Testing my DT and QT water the icecap is reading about 32ppt while my Milwaukee digital refractometer, my cheap regular refractometer and my apex salinity probe all put the tanks around 35-36ppt.

Second, and this is a minor one, but there are too many button presses. It has only one button, which you push to turn it on, then take a sample of water and it will give you the reading in SG. If you want to see PPT, as I do, you need to push the button again. There is no way to get it to default to anything but SG. Then to turn it off you need to push the button three more times. Once to show the useless PSU reading, again to show the temp, then finally once more to turn it off.

The last issue I had is that it takes a pretty large sample of water, at least compared to a refractometer. You can just dip the scoop into the water, but I get nervous sharing anything between my QT and DT, so I donít want to be dipping the same scoop into both tanks. But it takes more water than you can get out with a single pipette.

The second two issues I could live with and I suspect that eventually they wouldnít bother me much, but the low reading that isnít even close to any of the three other instruments I have and no way to calibrate it is probably enough to get me to return it and stick with the Milwaukee.


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Old 03/08/2018, 03:00 PM   #21
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Do you have any 35 PPT calibration solution to test it with ?
Does reading in SG make it any closer?


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Old 03/08/2018, 05:09 PM   #22
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IceCap Digital Pocket Tester Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarksReef View Post
Do you have any 35 PPT calibration solution to test it with ?
Does reading in SG make it any closer?

Calibration solution is a tricky animal because you need solution designed for the instrument you are calibrating. Solution that reads 35ppt on a refractometer may not read 35ppt on a conductivity probe like the icecap. A calibration solution for a refractometer may use something other than sea salt that has a refractive index of 35ppt, but doesnít have the same conductivity as seawater. Likewise, a solution designed for a conductivity probe may not have a refractive index of 35ppt. So when you are looking at calibration solutions you need to make sure the solution is designed for the instrument you are testing.

Now, that said, I do have an old bottle of pinpoint 53ms calibration solution, which is designed for the pinpoint conductivity probe. Pinpoint has stated that this solution is very close to seawater and it should read 35ppt on a standard refractometer as well.

Unfortunately, like I said, the solution is very old, so Iím not sure it can be trusted. When I tested with that solution I got a reading of 34.5ppt on the icecap probe and 40ppt on my Milwaukee refractometer. Again, Iím inclined to trust the Milwaukee refractometer here as the solution is several years old and may have evaporated, which would cause high readings. The reading on the Milwaukee refractometer also is much closer to my standard refractometer and my apex conductivity probe. I have a hard time believing that the three devices which produce very similar measurements are all off.

Reading in SG doesnít make a difference. Like all conductivity probes, the icecap probe actually reads in ms (millisiemens) and just uses a mathematical calculation to convert to SG and PPT. If one is low they are both low.


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Old 03/08/2018, 05:49 PM   #23
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Interesting that yours is showing so much more deviation than mine. Howís the temp reading?


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Old 03/08/2018, 05:52 PM   #24
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Interesting that yours is showing so much more deviation than mine. Howís the temp reading?


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Temp seems pretty good on mine. My apex is reading 79.3 and the icecap said 79.7


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Old 03/08/2018, 06:29 PM   #25
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Really tempted but don't need at all... this [email protected]!
yip yip!


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