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Reader FAQ
How often should my reader be calibrated?

Your reader should be calibrated at least once a year. It is also important to send with the reader the set of reference electrets for re-certification. There is a charge for the calibration plus shipping and handling. The date of calibration is listed on the back of the reader and a calibration certificate and reference electret certification will be issued. At the time of calibration, if additional services are required, the manufacturer will contact the customer.

"Reference" electrets are used as part of your quality assurance program and a record of your weekly readings should be maintained. If your weekly readings remain essentially constant, you can be confident that your reader is functioning properly. Sometimes a low battery will produce different readings. Try replacing the battery and checking the reference electrets again. If both reference electrets are deviating more than ± 3 volts of the certified readings, it is recommended that you send your reader in for evaluation.

How do I get my Reader calibrated?

Fill out the Reader Calibration Form, enclose it with your Reader and Reference Electret Set and ship to Rad Elec for calibration. If you are a “walk-in” customer, we ask that you call in advance.

What is the cost for Reader calibration?

The cost for the Reader calibration can be found on the Reader Calibration Form. Shipping is extra. Please specify the shipping service desired. Any additional repairs or services needed at the time of calibration will not be performed until discussed and authorized by the customer.

Where can I find the Reader Calibration Form?

The reader calibration form can be found here (PDF or Word Doc).

How long does it take to calibrate my Reader and certify my Reference Electrets?

Rad Elec endeavors to calibrate and return ship the readers the same day they are received. However, some circumstances may cause a delay in the turn around expectations. If additional work is required Rad Elec will contact the customer once the reader is evaluated.

How do I store the reader and the E-PERM®s when not in use?

The reader should be kept in its carrying case to protect it from dust, dirt and moisture. A desiccant located under the flap of the case should be checked periodically to see if it needs to be dried. Follow the instructions for drying, which came with the carrying case. Proper storage of the reader is especially important during highly humid days.

E-PERM®s should be stored at room temperature away from dust or dirt. The electrets should be kept in their keeper caps and stored in the Tyvek® bags in which they are shipped. The chambers should be stored in the plastic bags in which they were shipped.

How do I know that my reader is functioning properly?

It is recommended that you read your reference electrets weekly to verify the functioning of your reader. At the time your reader is calibrated Rad Elec certifies the readings of the Reference Electrets (if they are sent in with the reader). Compare the current reading of the reference electrets to the certified readings. If one electret deviates significantly from the certified reference reading (usually more than ± 3 volts) and the other reference electret is reading closely to the certified reading, then most likely the reader is functioning properly and the one reference electret has dropped due to fibers or dirt on its surface. Blow off the electret with nitrogen and record the new value. If both electrets are deviating more than ± 3 volts, the Reader may need calibration or possibly repair. It is recommended that you send the reader and reference electrets back to Rad Elec for evaluation. Always remember, reference electrets should not be used for a calibration check. These electrets provide only one point of reference for the reader and should not be construed as a method of calibration. During the calibration of a reader, the reader is calibrated over the entire voltage range.

Additionally, you should also check the zeroing of the reader when no charge is present. A zeroing electret is used for this purpose, and the electret should read no more than ± 3 volts of 0. If the zero reading is more than ± 3 volts from 0 it is recommended that you send your reader to the manufacturer for evaluation. This zero check should be carried out weekly along with the reference electret readings and the results recorded as part of your quality assurance program.

How often should I change the batteries in the reader?

You should change the batteries when the "low bat" indication shows on the display panel of the reader. Always use new alkaline batteries when replacing the batteries. The SPER1 and SPER1-A readers use a 9 volt battery. The SPER1E reader uses 2 AA batteries. The battery case is located on the back of the reader.

Readings will not reproduce or they fluctuate

This malfunction can happen occasionally on very humid summer days or when moisture condenses inside the reader: e.g., as when a cold reader is brought into a warm, damp room. Avoid leaving the reader in a hot or cold car and then performing measurements. It is recommended that the reader be used in air conditioned rooms with a relative humidity of less than 75%. The reader should also be kept in its carrying case and the desiccant checked frequently. The electret receptacle may become dirty which may not allow good contact with the reader. Clean the electret receptacle on the reader. Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol onto a Q-tip and wipe around the receptacle, cleaning any debris off of the surface. Blow off the receptacle with nitrogen to make sure no lint or fibers were left behind. Do not open the shutter and expose the interior while cleaning the receptacle. Always read the electrets at room temperature. If the readings still fluctuate after doing the above, it is recommended that you send the reader back to Rad Elec for evaluation.

"LO BAT" appears on the display

This display is a warning to change the batteries. It is recommended that you always replace the batteries with new alkaline batteries.

No display shows on the digital panel meter

Pulling the shutter handle should turn on the reader. If the reader doesn’t turn on the batteries may be low. Try replacing the batteries with brand new alkaline batteries. If still there is no display, send the reader to Rad Elec for servicing.

The SPER-1 reader makes a high-pitched "whistling" sound

This sound indicates that the slide has not moved all the way up to its proper “OFF” position, usually because the metal-to-metal slide rail is binding the slide movement. The reader will stay on and run the batteries down if this sound persists. Try moving the slide back and forth, this will usually free it and allow the slide to return to its’ proper “off” position. If the problem persists, remove the battery and send the reader to Rad Elec for repair.

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