Energy & Sustainability Science
Build your own water quality tester

In response to our item about the commercial TDS (total dissolved solids) water testing tool, somebody sent us a link to this homemade meter, which tests for TDS, EC (electrical conductivity), PPM (parts per million).

EC/TDS/PPM Meter On Limited Budget – Link


  • Testing your own drinking water – Link

12 thoughts on “Build your own water quality tester

  1. Just to clarify;

    PPM (parts per million)

    Is a unit of measurement not a water quality characteristic (hardness, turbidity, …) that is measured.

    The DIY conductivity meter will also do pH too (that’s how lab pH meters work), it looks like a cool project.

  2. ppm is a measurement of quality as 0 ppm is pure H20. It doesn’t really matter what is causing the ppm values as the water company puts things in the water like fluorine and chlorine. in general any ppm values in tap water are considered impurities. You would need a mass spectrometer for example to find out exactly what and how much impurities are in the water. These are only at universities or big companies.

  3. ppm is the parts per million (or mg/L milligrams per litre) of total salt. The TDS can be calculated from the measured Electrical Conductivity. Commonly Electrical Conductivity in uS/cm (microsiemens per centimetre) multiplied by a factor of 0.65 (this factor can vary depending on the chemical compostiton of the water and its source) gives the TDS.

    Electrical conductivity is inversely related to the resistance of the water sample.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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