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How to use a conductivity meter?

How to use a EC-meter
Written by Nanne Bentvelzen | Last update: 07-11-2020

Through electrical conductivity, abbreviated EC, you can map the variability of potential yield and detect soil compaction. Electrical conductivity in a substance occurs when it contains sodium. For example, when you add nutrients (consisting of sodium) to water during the production of a fertiliser tank, a certain amount of electrical conductivity is created in the water. The more sodium you add, the higher the EC will be. The EC also increases at a higher temperature. With the help of an EC-meter you can measure this.

Guidelines for using conductivity meter:

An EC meter consists of two parts: a measuring cup and the meter itself. Performing an EC measurement is as follows:
  1. For a correct measurement, it is important that the cup is clean. Therefore, first rinse it with demineralised water;
  2. Add the liquid which you want to measure the EC to the measuring cup. Fill the cup to the edge;
  3. Turn on the EC meter;
  4. Leave the meter in the measuring jug for a few minutes. The electronics in the meter process the data and apply temperature correction to it.
  5. If you have an EC-meter that does not perform a temperature correction, make sure that you first calibrate the EC-meter in calibration liquid at the same temperature as the sample from which you want to measure the EC. Rear our article about calibrating your EC meter;
  6. Read the values;
  7. Turn off the meter and rinse the measuring jug with demineralised water.


Take a look at the video below to get more information about how to check an Elmeco pH meter.

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EC values

When preparing the fertilizer tank, you should consider the EC values of the water you use. Tap water, for example, has a much higher EC than osmosis water. Below you will find the EC values for several water types:
  • Pure water: 0 μS/cm
  • Distilled water: 1 μS/cm
  • Osmosis water: 20 - 60 μS/cm
  • Rainwater - industry: 30 - 60 μS/cm
  • Drinking water: 300 to 700 μS/cm
  • Seawater: 54 mS/cm = 54000 μS/cm

The best way to achieve EC values depends on the crop and the type of substrate or soil type on which you grow. To give a guideline, you can use the following values:

Irrigation water
EC Judgement 
< 0,75 Good 
0,75 - 1,50 Useful
1,50 - 2,25 High 
>2,25 Extremely high 

Nutritional solution
EC Judgement 
< 0,80 Low 
0,80 - 1,50 Moderate 
1,50 - 2,50 Normal 
2,50 - 3,50 High 
> 3,50Extremely high 

Greenhouse soil
EC Judgement 
< 1,0 Low 
1,00 - 2,00 Moderate 
2,00 - 3,00 Normal 
3,00 - 4,00 High 
> 4,00 Extremely high 

Questions about an EC meter

Do you have questions about how to use an EC meter, or would you like to receive personal advice? Please contact our product specialist Nanne Bentvelzen, or ask your question via the form below. We will contact you as soon as possible, on working days even within 24 hours.

Nanne BentvelzenAbout Nanne Bentvelzen

Nanne Bentvelzen has been working with Royal Brinkman since 2004, as a product specialist mechanisation and disinfection. His job title allows him to travel around the world to advise growers with regard to automation and solutions for operational hygiene. "Every day new surprises emerge, because you never know what to expect, which is the great thing about this profession!"

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