Probeware Devices

Wondering what probeware devices are out there? Here is a listing, organized by device type & manufacturer, followed with some brand comparison analysis.

Device Type \ Maker Pasco Bluetooth Price 05/2018 Vernier Price 05/2018
Temperature Wireless Temperature Sensor (PS-3201)

$39 Go Direct® Temperature Probe (GDX-TMP)

Pressure Wireless Pressure Sensor (PS-3203)

$69 Go Direct® Gas Pressure Sensor (GDX-GP)

Conductivity Wireless Conductivity Sensor (PS-3210)

$75 Go Direct Conductivity Probe (GDX-CON)

Light Wireless Light Sensor (PS-3213) $59 Go Direct® Light & Color Sensor (GDX-LC)

pH Wireless pH/ISE/ORP Sensor (PS-3204)

$65 Go Direct pH Sensor (GDX-PH)

CO2 Wireless CO2 Sensor (PS-3208)

$195 Go Direct® CO2 Gas Sensor (GDX-CO2)

Dissolved O2     Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe (GDX-ODO)

Weather Wireless Weather Sensor with GPS (PS-3209)

Colorimeter Wireless Colorimeter & Turbidity Sensor (PS-3215)

$109 Go Direct® Colorimeter (GDX-COL)

Spectrometer Wireless Spectrometer (PS-2600)

$399 Go Direct® SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer (GDX-SVISPL)

Force & Acceleration Wireless Force Acceleration Sensor (PS-3202)

$99 Go Direct® Acceleration Sensor (GDX-ACC)

    Go Direct® Force & Acceleration Sensor (GDX-FOR)

Wireless Smart Cart (ME-1240/1241)

$169 GoDirect® Sensor Cart (GDX-CART-G)

Voltage Wireless Voltage Sensor (PS-3211)

$49 GoDirect® Voltage Probe (GDX-VOLT)

Current Wireless Current Sensor (PS-3212)

$69 Go Direct Current Probe (GDX-CUR)

Radiation     Go Direct Radiation Monitor (GDX-RAD)

Magnetic Field     Go Direct 3-Axis Magnetic Field Sensor (GDX-3MG)


My Choice For My School

In late 2017, I chose to lead my school in the direction of purchasing Pasco Scientific probeware. At the time we had some funds available, Vernier did not have equivalent equipment for sale. In addition, a big draw for me was Pasco’s Smart Carts. As an 8th grade teacher, physics is an important part of the year and having a smart dynamic track (I.E. Pasco Wireless Smart Cart) was a big draw. At the time, Vernier had nothing close. 

My Analysis

In 2017, Pasco had a clear lead with Bluetooth sensors for the classroom. At the time, Vernier had very few Bluetooth sensors, and was more known for their LabQuest data loggers and sensors.

In my opinion, graphical data loggers were more relevant before every student had a smartphone in their pocket. Vernier’s LabQuest 2 device costs $329. 

With these Bluetooth devices, I can rely on student’s smartphones and let students see how their phone can be used to solve real world problems. Logging the data to their own device means they have control of the data (no worries about the next class deleting it) and can analyze it in class or at home.

For the inevitable group or two that doesn’t have a phone, I make my old iPhone available, and I purchased an Amazon Fire Tablet. Both run Pasco’s SPARKvue software quite well.

Vernier has been introducing quite a few new products at competitive price levels making the decision of what brand to buy more difficult. In every category above, Pasco and Vernier have equivalent equipment priced competitively.

My Recommendation

If you are buying probeware for the first time, here are a few points to consider:

  1. Do you use
    1. Vernier equipment is easily available through standard suppliers. Both Wards’ and School Specialty are approved vendors and carry Vernier equipment.
    2. Pasco equipment requires a “special request” which requires teachers to have 6 “points”. See details here. Pasco had asked to be added as a vendor to DonorsChoose, but there is no timeline for that happening.
  2. Pasco is less expensive for equipment.
  3. Vernier provides free software for all platforms. 
  4. Pasco provides free software for iOS and Android, but charges a $200 site license fee for Windows and Mac software.
  5. My Pasco rep promised me a free license for my middle school for their “Capstone” software if I purchased over $1,000 of equipment. I purchased over $4,000 of equipment this year, so I was rather surprised when I was told “NO” they would not honor that promise. 

If you already have some probeware, I suggest sticking to your current vendor. The hassle of having to know and use two different data logging software systems is not worth it.