YSI improves EcoSense handhelds

By on September 14, 2012

YSI recently released updated versions of the economical EcoSense handheld environmental testing devices that edge the EcoSense line closer to high-end handhelds.

The update resulted from an aging product and feedback from the people who used the original versions every day, said YSI Product Manager Laura St. Pierre. “We were just trying the make it a better field tool,” she said.

The new EcoSense pH100A, D0200A and EC300A replace products with the same names sans the “A.”

While there wasn’t a drastic name change, the two model versions look completely different. Updated EcoSense models have an ergonomic design that better fits the palm. The curvaceous, gray case looks much cleaner than the previous version’s angular blue features.

The change isn’t just about the appearance. The new case is also waterproof. It was a feature common on almost every YSI product except the previous EcoSense models, St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre said part of the initiative for a redesign was bringing the low cost product up to par with rest of YSI’s field equipment.

She said that, with the newly designed case, the difference between the EcoSense line and YSI’s Pro-series is “less and less.” Both the EcoSense and the Pro-series handhelds use the same sensor technology, with the same accuracy.

Both are also rugged, St. Pierre said, though the Pro-series has more features, capabilities and a longer warranty.

YSI testers put the EcoSense handhelds through rigorous quality tests including temperature cycles and fully submerse them to make sure they live up to a waterproof rating.

Besides the rugged exterior, updated electronic features make the new “A” models more user-friendly than the originals.

New EcoSense handhelds now have a low battery indicator. The addition may seem trivial, but when batteries last 500 hours, or 1000 hours in the redesigned pH100A, it’s easy to forget about them. “You might not change your batteries for a year,” St. Pierre said. The battery warning ensures that the user doesn’t run out of juice in the middle of an expensive and logistical sampling outing.”

The new versions also automatically shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity, to save power.

One feature field scientists may appreciate about the new EcoSense line is the data set memory. The original EcoSense models only took readings, but new “A” versions can also record those readings. This may prove invaluable if a notebook goes overboard.

The biggest advantage the new EcoSense handhelds have is price. They may have fewer features than higher end models, but the cost reflects that.

St. Pierre said she recently had a customer interested in monitoring pH, dissolved oxygen and conductivity. He couldn’t afford a Pro-series handheld that would monitor all those parameters at once. But he could afford all three EcoSense handhelds, which did the job in a different way.

The EcoSense product line has been around for nine years getting the job done in a simple economic way. The new EcoSense pH100A, DO200A and EC300A maintain the simplicity and add user-friendliness to the mix.

The handhelds start around $230. Full field kits start at $340.

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