How to Use

The numerous steps required for using the Hydrolab can seem intimidating. The information on this page provides step-by-step instructions to help you get started. The manuals provide additional instructions on how to use the equipment and IISG’s Great Lakes educator is available for video calls to discuss the set-up procedures.

Pro-tip: Limno Loan educators have found it helpful to complete a test run in the classroom before deploying the equipment in the field. Students can use the picture guides in the spiral-bound Limno Loan program manual to practice setting up the Hydrolab. 

Limno Loan Supply Checklist

Upon arrival and before return shipment, please make sure the following items are in the Pelican case: 

Basic Set-up

Two images showing proper connection of the cord to the Hydrolab.

To plug in the cable, use the raised dot on the cable (left image) as your guide. It should line up with dot on the bulkhead connector and the largest prong. To secure the cable, pull the plug cover over the pins and screw down (right image).

  1. Charge the Surveyor. The Surveyor must be on to charge. Charging is complete in 3.5 hours. The Surveyor will display “Charging Complete! Disconnect Charger for Normal Operation. Press any key…” when the charge event is complete. 
  2. Insert batteries. Internal batteries (eight C-sized batteries) should be placed into the kidney-shaped battery sleeve. Look for polarity markings. Don’t store batteries in the Hydrolab.
  3. Prepare to connect cables. Remove plugs from the cable and the Hydrolab and place them in a secure place. 
  4. Plug in the cable. Line up the raised dot on the cable with the dot on the bulkhead connector (prongs). 
  5. Secure plug cover. Pull the plug cover over the pins and screw down. You should hear a beep sound when a connection has been made. 
  6. Safety line. Attach the safety line that is attached to the cable to the triangular support bail using a screw link.
  7. Deployment line. Attach the deployment line to the Hydrolab support bail using the screw link.  
  8. Connect the Surveyor. Attach the serial port end of the Surveyor to the cable.  
  9. Power up. Use the power button to start the Surveyor.  

Dissolved Oxygen Calibration

All of the probes have been calibrated, but the dissolved oxygen (DO%) sensor must be recalibrated to match the barometric pressure of your location. Barometric pressure can change daily due to weather, therefore DO% should be recalibrated each day.

  1. Put a small amount of water in the calibration cup. The water should not touch the sensors when the Hydrolab is screwed onto the cup.
  2. Dry off the probes with a tissue.
  3. Dry the area where the cup will attach.
  4. Attach the calibration cup to the Hydrolab. Screw on and then back off ¼ turn. Allow at least 5 minutes for the air to become saturated with water.
  5. Push the power button to start the Surveyor.
  6. Find the barometric pressure on the Surveyor screen. It will say BP.  You will need this number to calibrate the DO%.
  7. On the Surveyor: 
    Press SETUP/CAL.
    Press SONDE.
    Use the arrow key to find DO% and press SELECT.
    Use the cursor keys to type in the BP.
    Press SELECT and DONE to return to the Home screen.
  8. Calibration is complete! 

Surveyor Display

Image of handheld surveyor with the buttons functions labeled.

There are three main types of keys to navigate the Surveyor display.

Function Keys: each of the four rectangular keys corresponds to one of the four menu options found at the bottom of the screen display.

Cursor Keys: these four triangle keys move the cursor up, down, right, and left on the screen. Hold down the key to scroll.

Backlight Key: the rectangular key with the lightbulb icon controls the backlight for use in low light.

The Surveyor display should show all the parameters that the Hydrolab DS5 measures. However, if you would like to change the display, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press SETUP/CAL (using the function keys).
  2. Press SETUP.
  3. Highlight − Display: TABULAR.
  4. Press SELECT.
  5. Use the arrow keys to highlight a parameter you wish to test.
  6. Press ADD.
  7. Continue to highlight and add or remove parameters.
  8. Press DONE when finished.
  9. Press any key, then press GO BACK to get to the main screen.

This table defines the abbreviation and unit of measurement used for each parameter included with the sonde. 

ParameterAbbreviation [Unit of Measurement]
Date and TimeD/T [month, day, year, hour, minute, second]
Depth Dep [m]
Barometric PressureBP [mmHg]
Temperature Temp [C°]
pH pH [Units]
Chlorophyll aCHL [μg/l]
Dissolved Oxygen Percent Saturation LDO% [Sat]
Dissolved Oxygen Concentration LDO [mg/l]
Turbidity Tur [NTU] 
Conductivity SpC [μS/cm] 
External or Internal BatteryEBa or IBa [% left]
Surveyor BatteryIBV [volts]

Deployment Tips

Series of images illustrating three deployment tips. Attach the sensor guard. Hold by the bail. Use the deployment line.

After the Hydrolab is set up and the dissolved oxygen calibration is complete you are ready to collect water quality data. Follow these tips for a safe and successful deployment: 

Quick Start Videos

The following videos provide a quick-start guide to using the Hydrolab.