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The New Protimeter ReachMaster Pro

May 14th, 2020

All posts, Damp / Rising Damp / Damp Proofing /, Surveying


Protimeter Reachmaster Pro

A new instrument for your tool kit, the Protimeter Reach master Pro, what is it? and why you need one!

I’ve long been a fan of Protimeter instruments, in fact the Protimeter SurveyMaster has been my go to instrument of choice throughout my surveying career. It’s robust, ergonomically designed, intuitive to use and very responsive in comparison to other models and manufacturers. It includes all the features I require from a standard moisture meter with no added gimmicks. The only downside to the instrument, well that of course would be me! I’m a 38 year old 6 ft 1″ male. I have an arms length of 27.5″ (70mm) which in total gives me just 93″ (2360mm) of reach, 96″ if I include my tip toes and moisture meter. I’m generally considered tall by most people so perhaps you can sympathise with my frustration when the majority of properties I survey have ceiling heights varying between 2.5 – 3 meters, far beyond my reach. I’ve also noted that particularly on Fridays, the morning after my Thursday evenings kick boxing class, touching the floor without groaning is also a challenge.

Surveying anything at height has always been a challenge, I’m either on or off hop ups or up and down ladders, it’s a time consuming and sometimes limiting process. Over the years I’ve found multiple ways to speed up the procedure of surveying at height by using instruments such as thermal imaging cameras to reduce the survey area or even crudely attaching my moisture meter to poles. Yes, if you can think of it, I’ve probably tried it.

Until now, there hasn’t been much alternative to ladders, hop ups or self implemented mock-ups to allow quick and efficient surveying at height.

The new Protimeter ReachMaster Pro

The Protimeter ReachMaster Pro is essentially a none invasive moisture meter on a telescopic pole. Its looks clearly designed around the grey ergonomically revised MMS2 models that replaced the original yellow. The ReachMaster Pro will be available for purchase from the 15th May, although I’ve been lucky enough to be trusted with a prototype for onsite trials over the past few months.

So let’s take a closer look.

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The ReachMaster Pro incorporates a soft rubber moulded handle at the base of the extension pole which provides a comfy, none slip grip. The ReachMaster measures 720mm at its shortest length extending to 1235mm fully extended. The extension pole is constructed from a light weight alloy with incremental stops at 80mm which are securely locked by a simple and easy to use rocker switch.

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The Reachmaster Pro essentially features a display head unit located towards the handle which is thoughtfully surrounded by a protective casing and mounted upon a hinge mechanism allowing you to tilt the screen towards you. The head of the device incorporates the none destructive sensor which is 75mm2 and is also located on a firm hinge mechanism allowing the head to tilt smoothly back and forth, ideal for pitched angled ceilings. The head incorporates a raised protective wear plate which protects the sensor and is replaceable. A spare wear plate I believe will be provided in the final package.

The sensor head is powered by 2 x AA batteries and the display head unit powered by 4 x AA Batteries.

If you’ve ever used any of the other Protimeter instruments you’ll find the ReachMaster Pro intuitive. The sensor and display head unit both have a simple on / off button, with one touch on and a long press off. The sensor incorporates a light that flashes to indicate its status and the display head unit is lit green to indicate it’s also operational and connected to the sensor. The display head unit and sensor communicate to each other wirelessly which is in fact very responsive with no lag / delay.

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The display head unit incorporates all the controls for the sensor and a display window which is an approximate 40mm x 30mm. The display window provides all the information relayed from the sensor including; the current reading, mode and sensitivity. The display window also incorporates a small link icon in the top left corner to indicate it is connected to the sensor head, this will flash if it’s not connected and the coloured back light screen turns black. Two handy battery life indicators for each device are also shown on the status top bar. 

The sensor head uses a radio frequency method of measurement and as such, is none invasive, meaning it will not damage or mark the surface being tested. The measurement range is between 0 – 1000 on a relative scale and the measurement scale also includes the familiar traffic light colour system used on some other Protimeter instruments varying between green, amber and red. One exceptional feature of the ReachMaster Pro is it’s depth range. Most handheld none intrusive moisture meters have a maximum depth penetration range of around 19mm. The new ReachMaster Pro however, has a depth penetration range of up to 120mm / 5″. Protimeters radio frequency technology also means that the sensor head is not affected by surface moisture or condensation.

Both the sensor and display head unit incorporate micro USB ports on the side allowing the software to be upgraded when necessary. The sensor head can also be self calibrated in air which alleviates the need to return the instrument annually to manufacturer for calibration.

The ReachMaster Pro also incorporates two very useful functions that I’ve never seen incorporated in any other moisture meter before, a sensitivity adjustment and reference function.

When first initiated the sensitivity of the instrument defaults to the standard setting. The sensitivity however, can be increased or decreased by +5 or – 5 with a long press, followed by short presses of the up and down arrows located on the display head unit. You might be wondering how exactly is this feature useful?……..Well, have you ever been in the scenario when taking readings from say, a tiled concrete floor and the results displayed are 999 everywhere. In this situation, it’s very difficult to pin point the path of moisture beneath the floor as everything appears evenly affected. Having the ability to decrease the instruments sensitivity can allow you to more accurately pin point the source of the problem. Similarly, this feature is also useful in the opposite scenario where multiple floor coverings are used and increasing the sensitivity allows you to map beneath the surface coverings as explained in the video below. 

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Another useful function is reference mode. If you’re involved in water damage or flood restoration this function is particularly useful. Essentially, what it allows you to do is take a reading from one part of the structure known to be dry and compare all other readings to it. In the water damage industry this feature would be used to compare all readings to our predetermined drying goal or dry standard reading. Essentially, once the water damaged parts of the structure reduces back to this reading, they are then considered dry. There is also the ability to pause/freeze the result of any reading allowing you to take pictures or record the information within a report.

So after a three month field test, what’s my honest opinion?

Overall this is a well designed piece of equipment which is most certainly long overdue to the market. It is clear that Protimeter have seen the potential for this device, demonstrating they know and understand the requirements of surveyors and technicians using their equipment. 

The ReachMaster Pro functions just like a handheld device although with greater capabilities and is exceptionally response irrespective of its wireless communication. I’m impressed with the thought and consideration which has gone not only into its production with ergonomics and robustness in mind, but also on the functionality and features it incorporates. Replaceable wear plates, secure and functional hinge mechanisms make the instrument easy to use, protected and durable. Features such as, the sensitivity adjustment and reference mode suggest this product has clearly been designed with the end user in mind.

I understand that when the ReachMaster Pro does come to market in May the ReachMaster will be purchased in a hard-shell protective case and also comes with Protimeters standard two year warranty.

My only question to Protimeter was, why has this taken so long? My understanding of their reply is, there have been some technical challenges in it’s production that have required technological advancements before such a product could be produced. Whatever the challenges or reasons, I’m very grateful to have this device added to my arsenal of surveying equipment.

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If you’ve made it this far, I hope you found this review useful and if you have any questions or queries about the Protimeter Reachmaster Pro please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Happy surveying

Russ

If you would like to learn more about damp, moisture mapping or damp diagnosis you may also find the following articles useful:

Salt Decay in Masonry

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/moisture-salt-decay-masonry-none-scientific-well-worth-rafton-/

Industry Perception Study

– https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/industry-perception-study-russell-rafton-/

Moisture Content Analysis – https://www.dryfix.net/blog/explained-moisture-content-analysis-using-the-gravimetric-process/

Russell Rafton – Dryfix Preservation Ltd Senior Surveyor

Dryfix Yorkshires Leading Damp & Timber Specialists

A 4 x Industry Award Winning Company with the Property Care Association.



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